Computers and their ability to manage vast databases, and competition for customers have driven casinos to establish ever more sophisticated players clubs.
The clubs do two things for casinos: build a base of loyal customers, and find out what customers want. For customers, joining a players club is an entree into discounted meals, rooms, “bonus” gaming and more.
A players club recognizes and rewards “the play and loyalty of customers through complimentary or reduced room rates, complimentary or reduced priced dining, free shows, invitations to members-only events, tournaments, concerts and giveaways,” said Bill Harland, vice president of table games and poker at Cache Creek Casino Resort northwest of Sacramento.
“Like any business, margins are analyzed and the overall expense of rewarding customer’s play is calculated and factored into slot and table games play, so we know what we can give each customer based on their play and still make money,” he said.
What the competition offers is also a factor in the rewards offered.
“The casino industry pioneered this technology due to the unique relationship we have with our customers. They come in, sit down at a device that is essentially a computer terminal and provide us with an opportunity to collect data about them,” said Rich Hoffman, CEO
of Jackson Rancheria & Hotel in Jackson.
“We learned when they like to play, for how long, their game preference, how frequently they visited, what denomination they preferred and so on,” he said. “We then leveraged that knowledge into more cost-effective direct marketing specifically tailored to the players’ very precise preferences.”
Some casinos are more generous and innovative with their rewards than others. Savvy consumers will track these differences.
Joining a players club is free. Signing up is simple, often involving only a photo ID, and there’s often some kind of bonus available just for joining.
“If there is the remotest chance you will visit that casino again it is worth joining,” Hoffman advised. “Play once with your card, and even if you only go one more time, there will be some type of
Even play at table games can be recorded on the players’ cards.
“The data is more subjective,” Hoffman said. “Some casinos simply take note of a player’s card number and then visually observe their average bet, then multiply that by the average number of hands that could be played in the time they are active. More sophisticated systems incorporate card readers at each seat at the table, and use chips that have embedded electronic signatures based on their denomination, enabling sensors in the table to attribute the exact bet to a specific player.”
Next week: What the future holds for players clubs.
Source: Rich Hoffman, CEO, Jackson Rancheria Casino & Hotel; and Bill Harland, vice president, table games and poker, Cache Creek Casino Resort