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Best of John G. Brokopp

Gaming Guru

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Fine dining finds home in gaming industry

7 February 2007

People will always go to casinos primarily to gamble, but the opportunity to enjoy a fine dining experience or take in a show is playing a more prominent role.

In Las Vegas, Broadway plays are taking the place of glitzy production shows, while upscale restaurants are drawing attention away from the bargain buffets.

According to Damian J. Mogavero, CEO and founder of New York City based Avero, the nation's leading provider of business intelligence software for the hospitality industry, gaming jurisdictions across the country are emphasizing hospitality related non-gaming amenities:

"The rest of the country is taking its cues from Las Vegas, which is not just a gaming experience any more. The guest experience has been redefined to include entertainment, food and beverage. Atlantic City is investing millions to remake itself. The model is also being followed in Mississippi and throughout Native American gaming."

Las Vegas is Avero's fastest growing marketplace with well over 200 customers who use the company's patented flagship software product, Avero Slingshot, to maximize food and beverage outlet productivity while at the same time improve customer service.

America's love affair with cooking, fueled by the popularity of cable TV network shows devoted to the culinary arts, has made pop culture icons out of chefs who view Las Vegas and other gambling jurisdictions as a bold new frontier for exposure.

A growing number of celebrity chefs have opened signature restaurants in Las Vegas, including Wolfgang Puck, Bobby Flay and Emeril Lagasse just to name a few. Chefs of lesser renown are making names for themselves because of their connection with the Las Vegas dining scene.

"There has been huge annual growth rate in the number of celebrity chefs," Mogavero confirmed. "Representatives from the gaming companies are in every major city scouting for talent. Now they're starting to go even deeper on the bench because people are becoming celebrity chefs because they were brought to Las Vegas."

Casino owners make a science of maximizing revenues from their gambling business. Similarly, according to Mogavero, the gambling industry is really looking for food and beverage to be a differentiator.

"Gaming executives know this is a totally different game than $5.95 buffets," he said. "It's about making real money. Food and beverage has become a competitive weapon for casinos to attract guests to the property and then to retain them."

The desire on behalf of casino properties to create the most pleasant experience for their guests extends beyond upscale restaurants. It also reaches to 24-hour snack shops and coffee venues, as well as cocktail service.

Whereas gambling revenue was always the primary source of income for casino operators, the trend in recent years has seen money generated from restaurants, upscale retail establishments and showrooms to catch up with and in some instances even surpass what's offered on the gaming floor.

CASINO NEWS:

For the third straight year Single Table Satellite Tournaments are being held in the poker room at the Hollywood Casino in Aurora, Illinois every Sunday through March 11. The buy-in is $90, with the winner receiving an entry into the Super Satellite 80-player tournament to be held on March 25. Buy-in for the Super Satellite is $500 with the grand prize winner receiving a $25,000 entry fee into the World Poker Tour Championship at the Bellagio in Las Vegas April 21-27 plus $2,500 travel expenses.

Prime Rewards players club members at the Blue Chip Casino & Hotel in Michigan City may now redeem points for same day cash-back in the form of downloadable credits at the slot machines.

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