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Best of John G. Brokopp

Gaming Guru

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Casino Play and Brand Loyalty

30 April 2003

When it comes to visiting casinos in the Chicago-area, how does "brand loyalty" come into play for gamblers?

For the majority of average recreational players who make occasional trips, it really isn't a factor. But for people who make casino outings a regular part of their leisure time entertainment, loyalty to a particular establishment does play a role.

Encouraging loyalty is a primary marketing activity among casinos, especially in a market such as the Chicago-area where destinations are limited and the competition for the gambling dollar is fierce.

Do you recall when supermarkets used trading stamps as a way to encourage customer loyalty? Casinos are no different in this respect.

Casino guests build "equity" on their play through the use of player's club tracking cards. The more visits an individual makes, the more money that is "churned" through the slot machines or at the table games, and the more hours that are spent gambling are what build the equity.

On the same token, people should be careful not to become "slaves" to the system. When more trips, more money, and more time is spent gambling than a person is truly comfortable with, then player's clubs are using you instead of the other way around.

Direct mail promotions, cashback coupons, and the availability of "comps" are based strictly on the quality of a gambler's play. Here are some things to take into account when choosing a casino:

If you're an average player who makes an occasional visit with a gambling budget of a hundred dollars or so, your primary considerations should be going to the casino that most appeals to you from a variety of perspectives.

If you combine a fine dining experience with your visit, you should go where the ambiance of the restaurant, the quality of the food and service, and the value for the money you spend are what's right for you.

If you put a priority on the buffet, the deli, or the snack shop, then you should go to the casino which offers what you consider the "best bets".

If ease of self-parking, or the fastest, most efficient valet service makes the big difference for you, by all means make that casino your destination of choice.

Last but not least, the comfort level of the casino itself, the availability of the games and slot machines that most appeal to you, and the customer service and friendliness of the employees.

At the other end of the gambling spectrum are the "high rollers". They are welcome with open arms at any casino and in all likelihood will be offered dining room comps, and, if available, free hotel rooms. Even though a majority of high rollers exhibit brand loyalty, the fact of the matter is they are capable of generating the highest level of rewards at any casino they choose to play.

Right smack dab in the middle are players who are semi-regulars. This category would include guests who go gambling as frequently as once a week or at least several times a month. They are the most vulnerable to the perks that encourage brand loyalty and the people who should be most on guard to avoid falling into traps.

Take the rewards based on the play, time, and money that are comfortable for you. It makes no sense to make a an unplanned casino trip to collect a $15 cashback offer if you're going to wind up gambling and risk losing a whole lot more.

Neither does it make sense to go to a casino if you hadn't planned on going just because a promotion or cashback offer is scheduled on a specific day. Such offers are the most manipulative of all.

John G. Brokopp

John G. Brokopp's gaming column appears in Chicago Sun Times (Chicago, Illinois), The Times (Northwest Indiana), The Quad City Times (Davenport, Iowa), The Courier News (Elgin, Illinois), The Gazette (Southwest Suburban Chicago) and Senior Wire (Denver, CO). He's also a regular contributor to The Colorado Gambler, Midwest Gaming & Travel, Casino Player and Strictly Slots. John possesses 28 years of experience as a professional handicapper, publicist, freelance writer, and casino gaming correspondent. He is also the author of two very popular books, The Insider’s Guide to Internet Gambling and Thrifty Gambling.

Books by John G. Brokopp:

> More Books By John G. Brokopp

John G. Brokopp
John G. Brokopp's gaming column appears in Chicago Sun Times (Chicago, Illinois), The Times (Northwest Indiana), The Quad City Times (Davenport, Iowa), The Courier News (Elgin, Illinois), The Gazette (Southwest Suburban Chicago) and Senior Wire (Denver, CO). He's also a regular contributor to The Colorado Gambler, Midwest Gaming & Travel, Casino Player and Strictly Slots. John possesses 28 years of experience as a professional handicapper, publicist, freelance writer, and casino gaming correspondent. He is also the author of two very popular books, The Insider’s Guide to Internet Gambling and Thrifty Gambling.

Books by John G. Brokopp:

> More Books By John G. Brokopp