At the moment PASPA was struck down by the Supreme Court in 2018, something changed in the way that many casinos think about the future of gaming. With 10 states having legalized sports betting and eight already accepting wagers, the frenzy to capture new and younger patrons was set into motion. 

Now casino marketers are scrambling to understand this new guest and what motivates them to game and stay at a casino resort. New environments are making their way onto the casino floor previously dominated by banks of slot machines. With these changes comes disruption, but also a chance to innovate. 

As a casino operator wanting to provide a stellar mobile experience for guests, your options are broad if you are willing to start from the ground up. For those unwilling or unable to follow this path, the next step is likely partnering with an established mobile solution provider, who must then undertake the difficult task of integrating the new software into established CMS, lodging systems and other popular platforms. And now we want to complicate the matter by appealing to a traditional slot player and a new sports wagerer. These audiences are very different, so addressing the attitudes and behaviors of these two groups is beyond the normal challenge of just building a functional mobile loyalty app for a traditional player.

The state of Maryland is expected to move forward with legislation and offer legal sports betting some time in 2020. Live! Casino Hotel Maryland has just launched their mobile app for their players and guests that addresses the needs and acumen of a typical slot player but has advanced experiential capabilities teed up to engage a tech-savvy sports enthusiast. The app is the first of its kind in the casino industry and is setting a new bar for how casino patrons and hotel guests will engage on mobile. I had the opportunity to get a sneak peek at this ambitious mobile loyalty app and speak to its creators, Venuetize. 

If you want to know what the standard feature set for U.S. casino mobile loyalty apps should include, the new My Live! Rewards Mobile App for iOS and Android has them all. Points, comps, slot play, base points, tier level, offers, push notifications and in-app message inbox are all par for the course across most casino mobile loyalty app provider offerings, and are featured in the first iteration of the new My Live! Rewards Mobile App.  Live! Casino Hotel has one of the most popular and state-of-the-art player tracking systems in the industry, a loyalty kiosk company, a hotel system, booking engine, a POS system, content management system and other disparate systems; creating a unified casino resort mobile experience difficult if not impossible to create. Yet, the vision and resources of Cordish Companies have been able to pull it together. 

“In gaming and hospitality, once it takes off here, more and more casino and hospitality companies will try something like this to where it’s almost commoditized so that guests are expecting it whenever they walk into a hospitality facility, that they can order service wherever they are… and it doesn’t have to be just drinks,” Brian Uran, vice president of loyalty marketing at Live! Casino & Hotel, recently told Lodgingmagazine.

Indeed, Live! Casino & Hotel staff members wear smart watches with apps that work in tandem with the guest-facing mobile loyalty app. This allows the guest to see where their server is while delivering the drink to them at their favorite slot machine or anywhere on property.

For the past decade I’ve worked for and with the top casino mobile app vendors, and I know nothing like the My Live! Rewards Mobile App that has ever come to fruition. This type of multi-functional guest-experience-focused app is only rivaled in terms of functionality by the Greektown Casino Hotel’s GT Connect enabled app which goes deeper into functions a casino player might want such as cardless slot play and charging at the slot machine. 

Over the years we’ve seen established gaming technology giants, consulting firms, printer providers and startups introducing customized casino mobile loyalty solutions, offering subscription-based licenses for their platforms. Venuetize offers a Platform-as-a-Service architecture, which is a modular-based platform that leverages an ever-growing ecosystem of integrations. This was key for Live! Casino & Hotel as it enables them to easily enhance and evolve the mobile experience over time to provide their guests with additional capabilities. 

With a broader vision for both players and guests, Venuetize is currently in the process of integrating the Intelity (Formerly KEYPR) mobile SDK to allow guests to check in to the hotel, use their phone—enabled with mobile keyless entry—to enter their room, order room service, request towels and essentially anything else you can think of. 

Venuetize is a newcomer to the casino space, so it’s interesting that they were chosen to build the My Live! Rewards Mobile App. I was told by Brian Uran in 2017 that, “We wanted a vendor who did not specifically work in gaming to get a new point of view and break the mold.” When you realize that Venuetize’s roots are in sports and entertainment, you get the idea that this was not a coincidence. Venuetize has worked with companies that breed fans like the PGA Tour, stadiums and arenas like the Amalie Arena in Tampa, Fla., and sports anchored, multi-use developments such as The District Detroit. 

Bringing venue management and services concepts to a casino does make sense. Tapping the engagement with sports fans is another strategy altogether and one I’m sure Cordish Companies had in mind all along when engaging with Venuetize.