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  #1  
Old 21st July 2005
casinonomad casinonomad is offline
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Slot Cynics

I ran across this quote that relates to a new operation in an established market. Much of the feedback regarding slots in this forum is negative. Many believe they will not succeed. What many seem to be missing is the type of database/direct mail marketing that drives electronic gaming.

Data collection, and thus, target marketing to your NEW customer base will take time. If the investment community sees the potential...

"While revenue trends are very strong, we would caution investors that margins could be soft until the property builds market share," Deutsche Bank gaming analyst Marc Falcone said in a note to investors. "Similar to other recent property openings (Borgata in Atlantic City), it typically takes time and money to build up a database and the slot business."
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  #2  
Old 21st July 2005
matthew matthew is offline
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slot cynics

Casinonomad
While I agree that most of the comments regarding slots and electronic gaming appear negative, you have to realise that some of the advantages that you have in the States do not apply worldwide. The slots business and the marketing tools for it do not even apply in the UK although they do in certain areas of Europe. The Asian market has always been predominantly table orientated but the slots and electronic gaming side are slowly building up and although they will never achieve the volume of play as you do in the States the market is there.
In the UK the casinos have always been restricted with regard to machine numbers, type and max payout so to the majority of the posters this is an alien concept which they don't see will be effective given the low level of traffic through their operations.
"Data collection, and thus, target marketing to your NEW customer base will take time. If the investment community sees the potential..."
As far as I know casinos in the UK are still not allowed to market outside their membership base and most of their members are table players, very few go to a casino just to play the slots. It's going to take a few years to change the mindset of the players never mind the casino fraternity so bear with us we'll get round to it.
Matthew
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  #3  
Old 21st July 2005
anin1 anin1 is offline
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Wink No mountain, only a molehill!!!

In a market where so called slot machines are LPMs with a limit to both stake and maximum payout, return to player is set to a number significantly below 90%, electronic management systems are unheard of and the accounting is conducted by doing a hopper count each day and taking hard meter readings off the machines at close of business it is small wonder that this form of gaming is held in low regard.
There must be a potentially large market for a slots operation such as those in Australia, New Zealand, Southern Africa or even North America if the current offering in the UK is able to garner sufficient business through the bookmaker’s offices, piers, pubs and other sites. All that is needed is a company with vision and foresight to open in the correct position and to work through the initial stages while building the customer base. The customers for the slots will be a whole new market and will impact minimally on the tables business and despite the views of some of our members will consist of groups out for an evening. The slots give those in a group who do not play tables an opportunity to participate in gaming and many make use of this.
No large slot operation will open with a perfect mix or floor but the sharp manager will be able to fine tune in a short time. With the negative perceptions created by current offerings gaining the trust and participation of the customers will be the hardest part of establishing the business. No matter what the restrictions are on marketing this is where customer service and the power of the word of mouth will play a large part!!!
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  #4  
Old 21st July 2005
jhn jhn is offline
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Exclamation there may be some confusion here

I would say that there may be a little confusion

anin,

At the moment the discussions are centering around the decision of a major operator to drastically reduce the numbers of tables in their existing clubs and replace them with slots and electronic roulette.

This operator and others have already started on this road of low cost , low turnover, low profit operations and it has led to a significant reduction in custom and very poor financial results.

There is no doubt that when large scale operations are opened in the future that a slots floor will be part of it.It is arguable as to how big a part but they will be a part nonetheless.

Cynicism based on experience and knowledge not only of casinos but of the general population is a very different kettle of fish from negativity.

Sorry for being cynical but we know what people want from a night out due to current offerings not only in casinos but other leisure choices as well.We know what is/isn't ,will be/won't be popular because we and our acquaintances do the same sort of things ourselves.

As for success of AWPs in clubs and bars.Most clubs and bars have either taken them out or reduced them due to a decline in play.

FOBTs in bookmakers. Bookmakers in the UK are now betting lounges.Bright and spacious , comfy seats , big TVs and tea and coffee , they even have toilets. You go in to place a bet on the horses , get your cup of tea and sit down to watch the race "It doesn't start for ten minutes what can i do ? oh i'll give that a try" and hence the success. You are not waiting for anything to happen in a casino everything is happening constantly.

AWPs in bingo halls. In bingo you have regular intervals, again you have time waiting around doing nothing so during the interval you stick some money in the AWP.Again in a casino you are not waiting around for something to happen everything is happening constantly.

Now in a large scale operation with a concert hall/arena people come in they have 10/15 minutes to kill so they might stick some money in a slot machine while they are waiting. I can see that , it will happen.That is why you guys are there to make sure the slots are in the right place and are the right kind of slots. You could also put them next to a Punto (bacarrat table) as there is considerable time between the shoes.

Slots and other machines in the UK as the main/only attraction ?

Definitely not.It does not fit with our culture or our entertainment expectations.

Slots and other machines as part of the attraction ?

Can't see why not.

Last edited by jhn; 21st July 2005 at 06:29 PM.
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  #5  
Old 22nd July 2005
casinonomad casinonomad is offline
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Have a drink

In the States I see four main profiles of slots players: 1) 50+ players who like the human interaction and have expendable income 2) those tagging along with table players 3) those desperate to win a "mini-lottery" that may change their financial situation and 4) those out for a fun night (including tourists) who WANT THE FREE BOOZE.

I don't know if the booze will be free in the 17 newly crated casinos (probably not based on the culture), but the UK must have SOME potential in each demographic group. If the new casinos can market themselves as a fun destination, I fail to see how a night at a casino differs from a night out at a bar or club. You go to have a few drinks and have some fun. This would seem to apply to the broader culture in the UK.

I’m sure I come across as a little bit uninformed about the UK gaming business, but I truly believe there is a workable and profitable formula with slots that will succeed.

I do appreciate all of the insights I gain into human nature and international business by participating in this forum. Just thinking out loud on that last point… For the sake and sanity of everyone over there who works in the clubs owned by the big three, I hope the new operations give your bosses a kick in the ass…or if need be, in the head.
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  #6  
Old 22nd July 2005
Newview Newview is offline
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Once again, in my opinion slots will be huge, once they can offer a decent prize. AWPs and even casino slots are not a relevant comparison to what a linked, unlimited jackpot operation can offer - look at the current UK bingo market for your first, and easiest, slot target market. It's a different game !!!
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  #7  
Old 22nd July 2005
123 123 is offline
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I have to say I agree slots will become a major source of revenue. Current trends and attitudes are in my opinion unlikely to be a significant indicator of how casino slot operations will be received. Australians and new Zealanders are similar in attitudes to the British and they have more than embraced slots. Australia for example has something like five times as many as the US if measured in slots per person.
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  #8  
Old 22nd July 2005
slotmgr2002 slotmgr2002 is offline
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It seems to me from reading this thread that there are a couple of problems which when resolved would help the slots in the UK/EU tremendously. The set up with payouts being less than 90% is huge, and without a proper tracking system it is doomed. When/if these parts are addressed and with a little cust service type marketing I have little doubt that slots would expand significantly.
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  #9  
Old 22nd July 2005
123 123 is offline
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slotmgr2002

Exactly the case. UK slots have no resemblence to a "US Style" slot floor in any way or form. Comparing what is there now with what is to come and suggesting current preferences will influence future patterns is in my opinion an error.
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  #10  
Old 23rd July 2005
123 123 is offline
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One last thought

much will depend on the regulation. If there is a limit on the notes accepted, advertising of progressives or "pop up" warnings with time of play and amount of play (to address problem gambling concerns) then this will obviously affect popularity. I have no doubt slot operations will be more restrictive than the US. How much so remains to be seen.
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  #11  
Old 23rd July 2005
Craig Craig is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 123
I have to say I agree slots will become a major source of revenue. Current trends and attitudes are in my opinion unlikely to be a significant indicator of how casino slot operations will be received. Australians and new Zealanders are similar in attitudes to the British and they have more than embraced slots. Australia for example has something like five times as many as the US if measured in slots per person.
Yes there are a LOT of slots downunder, but also there is a huge amount of problem gambling down there, there is major problem with this, and politicians are taking notice! I am sure the British government have not said the last word on this, there are sure to be further amendments to come.

Bright pokies' lights fading away in SA
http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems...6/s1404337.htm

Also I do not agree that slots will be huge here, that is wishful thinking! They will be played yes, but they will not played in the manner everyone in the industry is hoping, people just don't like slots in the UK, the prizes maybe big, but the general public will not play on them in huge numbers, because you will not have the numbers in these casinos, I don't believe casinos will have the pull like they do in the States, so the numbers will not pass the doors.

People are extremely cynical about these machines, the UK market is different to the States and down under, they bear no resemblance to it at all, but we shall see how this all plays out with the benefit of time.

Craig
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  #12  
Old 23rd July 2005
slotmgr2002 slotmgr2002 is offline
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Craig -

I have to disagree. From what I have read there is a fundamental issue in the way slots are marketed, handled and set in the UK/EU. When and if these problems are corrected they will grow and surprise even the most hardline cynic. A simple approach would be to place a high payout on machines and place them around the popular table games. As soon as the people playing those TGs see a couple of people hit 1k, 3k, 5k, 10k or more they will give it a shot, not to mention multi hand poker etc etc. The main thing that I see being argued is the pre-conception about the machines, which can be over-come with a little determination and proper marketing.
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  #13  
Old 23rd July 2005
Craig Craig is offline
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Hi,

Yes things must change to ensure the success of these slots, but the things that must change is not just the way these are marketed etc, but the casino must fundamentally change, that means that HOs and managers must radically change their thinking about how things are run in casinos within the UK, I don't think they (the big 3) are up to the task, they don't believe in giving a quality product to the customers, they don't employ enough staff, they will never get the staff to man a casino on this scale, they operate at skeleton levels at all times.

Can you go to a casino in the States where half of the gaming tables are never opened, or go to a casino where they have ripped out a successful restaurant, and replaced it with bar snacks and buffets? This is the reality of the casino market in the UK, most clubs will not have the ability to have high limit slots in their clubs in the first place, only the regionals will be able to offer this kind of game, these will be limited to less than 20 in the whole of the UK, so unless there is one within about 20 miles of you, people will not (for the most part) travel to get to one!

I am not really cynical about slots, I used run a slot operation within casino for quite a while, its just that the companies here are saying they are going to be the biggest thing since sliced bread, I am saying they are gravely mistaken, the successful slot operation always runs on the fact that you got numbers coming through the door, in the UK the average is about 250 people in a whole gaming session (16 hours) for each casino, where are they going to get 1000s of punters for each unit from?

Craig
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Last edited by Craig; 23rd July 2005 at 01:48 AM. Reason: Added Something
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  #14  
Old 23rd July 2005
123 123 is offline
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Craig

I'm not suggesting Oz is the right model to follow. In my opinion it is the number of locations that cause a problem rather than number of slots in a particular casino. Hence the problems seem there.

I think most who are suggesting slots will be successful are thinking of the regional casinos. If I am correct in that there will be a maximum of *? slots per table game they will not be the biggest slots operations in the world but could still be considered successful.

If we take the industry as a whole and add the current 100+ casinos into the equation the the picture is less clear but slots will still be popular in the right location/enviroment.

I for one see many of these clubs closing down if a casino of any size is open in the area.

While agreeing with most of your points re the UK industry I disagree with both you and Jhn in your conclusion that Brits don't or rather won't play slots. i do not believe the current situation gives you a large enough sample size to determine that.
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