I have often harped on the overall declining value of the casino playing experience at too many casinos, and suggested strongly that “restoring player value” would be a profitable counter strategy.
Well, that got me to thinking about the casinos I have seen in the past couple of years that are providing significant player value. I think it is time to “give them some love,” in hope that their player-focused value examples catch on at more places.
This is by no means a comprehensive list. Even though I am pretty piped-in and visit scores of casinos in an average year, I am sure there are other great examples that I have missed. I would be delighted if you shared other examples with me. It is always a joy for me to hear about casinos “doing right” by their players.
The examples I am about to share about value-restoring casino practices are not all about big programs or even “loosest” gaming. In fact, some may appear rather mundane and not a big deal at all. But from my experience as both a player and a consultant, I find them all as providing real value to real casino players, often for different reasons.
So here are my kudos to the following casinos for some specific value-creating practices to make the casino experience just a little better for casino players.
Peppermill Hotel & Casino (Reno, Nev.) for user-friendly kiosks: Many casinos have gone to kiosks for players club information, redemptions and to execute casino promotions. But the Peppermill not only has enough kiosks (a couple dozen), but they have big screens with large fonts and work well. And they didn’t put the kiosks in to get rid of staff (they still have a lively players club booth operation adequately staffed), but to make the Passport Awards club member experience better. Kudos Peppermill!
Cache Creek Casino Resort (Brooks, Calif.) for dinner with VIPs: Cache Creek’s General Manager, Randy Takemoto, is retiring soon, but every week for the past several years, Randy and his wife, Dina, have had dinner with small groups of Cache Creek’s best casino customers. Some GMs do that occasionally, a few even somewhat regularly, but only Randy can say every week. What a loyalty building, personal gesture! Kudos Cache Creek!
Eldorado Casino (Reno, Nev.) for premium wines for players: Sure, it helps that the Carano family has a top notch Ferrari-Carano winery that makes great wines (trust me, I’ve sampled them many times). But by no means are they obligated to serve that great wine as comped drinks on the casino floor. It’s great value for casino players and great exposure for Ferrari-Carano wine. Kudos Eldorado!
Isleta Resort & Casino (Albuquerque, N.M.) for uncommon dice value: As an avid craps player, I really appreciate value on the dice table, and Albuquerque-based tribal casinos offer some of the best in the country (10X odds, free buy bets on the four and 10, etc.). But that value has been trimmed in this market in recent years—except at Isleta, which will get the bulk of my action now when I am in Albuquerque. Kudos Isleta!
Soboba Casino (San Jacinto, Calif.) for outrageous casino promos: They were the first casino in the country to give away a “tiny home.” They broke a Guinness World Record for “Most People Panning for Gold” at the casino property. They shot a slot machine into space! And the Soboba marketing director promised to shave his head if local newspaper readers voted Soboba as “Best Casino” in an annual poll. This would only be “weird” if Soboba didn’t also pack “value” into each promo—giveaways, free play, fun, celebrity appearances, surprises—and everything else that delights Soboba guests. Kudos Soboba!
Barona Resort and Casino (Lakeside, Calif.) for, well, everything: In good conscience, I couldn’t write a “praise to casino value” column without honoring Barona, the longtime master of providing extreme value to its players. Barona’s ATMs do not have ATM fees. Their managers roam the floor and hand out $10 or $20 slot vouchers to thank guests for coming to Barona or because it’s their birthday or because “I see you haven’t been very lucky.”
I could go on and on about Barona, but suffice it to say they deserve the highest “kudos” for illuminating the dimly lit path of customer value that all enlightened casinos should follow… if they want happier guests and more revenue.