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Slot Club? Cash Back?
by Dennis Conrad

Slot Club? Cash Back?
By Dennis Conrad

One of the big issues that I have witnessed in Indian gaming is whether or not to have a player tracking system and whether or not to offer “cash back” as a benefit of the slot club that inevitably accompanies this system.

I admit to being a big fan of customer-focused slot clubs (although you can count the real good ones on one hand) and being a general critic of “cash back” (although there are a few situations where it might make sense because customers have been led to believe that “cash back” is what they should want). But for whatever reason, most decent sized Indian casinos have arrived at, or will arrive at, having a computerized slot club and some form of cash back benefit.

It seems that I am powerless to stop this trend. So at the very least, let me give you:

Some good questions to ask (and answer) in implementing a new slot club/player tracking system with a cash-back feature:

Strategic:
• Have you decided what percentage of theoretical machine win will be returned to the players in the form of cash/comps?
• Can your players earn cash and comps or cash or comps?
• Do you have a situation here where a guest can now redeem for cash and will still expect their typical comps?
• Have you made sure that your video poker players will earn cash at a slower rate than your reel slot players?
• Will the club card have any benefits outside of the gaming area (line passes, discounts, etc.)?
• Are you sure that at no time will your machine payouts plus your cash/comps plus your promotional dollars (double point days, etc.) ever exceed a 100 percent payback?

Operational:
• Are you comfortable that your pit and slot tracking will merge together effectively in a user friendly way for players that play in both areas?
• Have you decided how you will do data entry in your club booth, what information you will gather or not gather, how you will train your personnel in this function and, in general, how you will keep your data clean?
• Do you know when you will drop someone from your player database and does that policy fit the type of customer you have as well as what is reasonable from a guest perspective?
• Do you have a plan for using the information that you gather?
• What will you do with the current names and addresses that you have and will you enter them into the new system in a seamless, user-friendly way that gets them enthused about the new program?
• How will you fulfill the requested customer redemptions of cash or comps in this new system and is this process simple?
• What are your rules for your club and how will you communicate them to your players in a way that turns them on and not off.

Marketing:
• How will you segment your customers in your new system in a way that makes sense for your market? By theoretical worth per day? Per month? Per year? By lifetime worth?
• Do you have a direct marketing plan ready and have you decided how that will work? Will everyone get a mailing upon initial sign-up? Before retiring their account? Anywhere in between?
• How will you accomplish sign-ups on the floor and what is your organizational structure around that process?
• Do you have a communication plan for your new player’s club? How will your employees and guests find out about it?
• Have you decided what collateral material you will need — signage, brochures, danglers, wobblers, flyers, etc. etc.?
• Will you need to advertise your new players club?
• Do you have an effective plan to roll this out to your current, already known VIPs?
• How will you insure that compulsive gamblers will not receive your marketing material for your new club?

Accounting:
• How will you accrue for point/cash liability on your books? What percentage of actual liability will you anticipate eventually being redeemed?
• What will be your process for taking liability off your books?
• What controls and procedures will you need for your voucher system of cash redemption?
• What process will you have for reinstating inactive guest accounts, along with their cash balances?
• Will you have a clear procedure for redemption on joint accounts and a system of dealing with disputes between joint account holders?


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Dennis Conrad is the President and Chief Strategist of Raving Consulting Company, a full service marketing company specializing in assisting gaming organizations. He has just released his second book, “Conrad on Casino Marketing,” which is loaded with more of his casino marketing wisdom and common sense customer focus. Order your copy today by calling (775) 329-7864, or you can e-mail Dennis at dennis@ravingconsulting.com. Visit Raving’s Web site at www.ravingconsulting.com.

Date Posted: 16-Aug-2009

Dennis Conrad is the President and Chief Strategist of Raving Consulting Company, a full service marketing company specializing in assisting gaming organizations. He has just released his second book, “Conrad on Casino Marketing,” which is loaded with more of his casino marketing wisdom and common sense customer focus. Order your copy today by calling (775) 329-7864, or you can e-mail Dennis at dennis@ravingconsulting.com. Visit Raving’s Web site at www.ravingconsulting.com.

 
 
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