Darryl McEwen

{standaloneHead}Darryl McEwen{/standaloneHead}

At an annual casino host development conference last month in Las Vegas, meeting organizers asked participants to name the top three issues they face.

Their answers? Tied for number one were lack of qualified support staff and the availability of “perks” hosts can give their customers. Number three was their competition — other casinos in the area.

Yet another event designed to help celebrate Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa’s 15th birthday,…

As a follow-up, they were asked their three biggest challenges. Topping the list was lack of strategies or guidelines. For example: “Should I focus on a few of my highest playing customers or get more new customers into the casino?”

Their second biggest challenge was managing their time.

There was a tie for number three: No host software and lack of support from their superiors.

I reached out to a number of Atlantic City hosts for their reaction. While none would speak for attribution, most agreed that managing their time with so many customers assigned to them, as well as increased competition in the Atlantic City market, were their top two challenges.

The price is right — Experts speaking at a casino marketing conference last month in Las Vegas said that proper “pricing” of the slot playing experience – how frequently machines paid off and at what amounts — may be the single most important operations and marketing decision facing casinos today.

If some players have limited time to gamble, many don’t care about whether they win a big jackpot. Any money they lose is just the cost of entertainment — like buying a theater ticket.

If players are specifically visiting for the slot experience and aren’t under any time constraints, a casino could lose customers to competitors if the machines don’t pay off frequently — even small amounts.

One casino marketing consultant says players are looking for “escapism” — and that translates into spending more time at the casino.

If players had the option of a series of regular small wins that keep them playing for two, three or four hours, that’s better than winning a large bonus or progressive that doesn’t hit with any degree of frequency, he feels.

The bottom line? Casinos will get more money from players if they let them play longer.

Top 40 — In honor of its 40th anniversary, Resorts Casino Hotel is giving away $100 in slot cash to 40 winners every 40 minutes from 4 to 10 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 25. To be eligible your Star card must be active in a slot machine or at a table game, and you must be present to win.

The next day Resorts is giving away a 2018 Ford Mustang convertible. Earn entries – one for every tier point earned – through 3:55 p.m. Aug. 26. The drawing will be held at 4 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 26.

Recreational gambler Darryl D. McEwen, a former professional journalist, is president of his own consulting firm that manages several small national and international trade associations, and provides public relations and fundraising services for a number of charitable organizations. Have a comment on this or a question specifically related to an Atlantic City casino, players club or other promotion? Email Darryl at MrACCasino@gmail.com and he’ll try to respond to you personally. Your question – without your name – may appear in a future column. Follow him on Twitter @MrACCasino.

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