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Best of John G. Brokopp

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Majestic Star Forges Ahead with Innovative Marketing

23 March 2005

The Majestic Star Casino in Gary has done what every casino in America wishes it could do: It has branded itself as the winning place to play. This perception has worked, whether it's true or not. It was created via a combination of owner Don H. Barden's business savvy and property pitchman Mike Ditka's charisma.

Last year Don & Mike's Sports Bar celebrated its grand opening on board the vessel. This lively area, quite unique in the market, features a sports motif in honor of Da Coach with wall-sized murals of great Chicago sports figures, giant baseball bat pillars, sports memorabilia, a round bar, television monitors throughout, a concession stand, plus video poker machines in the tables, along the walls, and at the bar.

"Don & Mike's is going gangbusters," said Troy Keeping, the Star's vice president and general manager. "We did a big Super Bowl promotion this past weekend, and we're going to follow that up with a March Madness celebration. As we learned what the guests like we tweaked some of the product. It has become exactly what we had envisioned."

The Star's identity with Ditka continues to be reinforced. In January a new Ditka Dollars bank of progressive slot machines was introduced. The jackpot is seeded with $100,000. In celebration of the new slots, Majestic Star will be featuring Ditka Dollars Ritzy Weekend Giveaways in February and March. Prize winners will receive dinner for two at Ditka's Restaurant, a weekend getaway in downtown Chicago, limousine service, a spa package, and, if the winner is present for the drawing, $1,000 cash.

There's even a craps table known as The Coach's Table, appropriately themed in the orange and blue colors of the Chicago Bears with an embroidered Coach on the rails at the end of the table to the boxman's right.

The Majestic Star's second annual $60,000 Blackjack Tournament Series began in January. The entry fee is $60, and each tournament in the series will feature $10,000 in prize money. This year the Majestic is inviting the winner of each series in the tournament to participate in a head-to-head showdown against Coach Mike Ditka for an additional $1,000 in prize money. If Ditka is unable to participate, a member of the casino's management team will deal the hand.

Starting Monday February 7 and continuing every Monday, Club Majestic players club members may compete in the all-new Mad Money Mondays slot tournament, during which $1,000 in cash prizes will be awarded. Registration starts at 6:30 pm and the tournament starts at 8:00 pm. Visit the Club Majestic Booth for full details.

"Giant big-screen 7X10 feet TVs have been put in place in anticipation of our Game Zone concept that we're working with the Indiana Gaming Commission for approval," Keeping revealed. The idea is, for example, if a dealer gets a certain number of blackjacks in a row, the players at the table can penalize the dealer and actually send him or her to a real penalty box and request that a new dealer be brought in.

Last summer the property experimented with an outdoor venue on lakefront property near the casino by presenting entertainment and boxing matches.

"It was a start-up year for the outdoor events, so for us it was a learning experience," Keeping noted. "We are scaling it back for 2005 until the planned additional development happens in the area with construction of a convention center and hotel."

Guests are also treated to live entertainment on the second level of the vessel in the Star Stage every Thursday through Sunday from 8 pm until 2 am.

Meanwhile, the beat goes on at the Majestic Star, where aggressive marketing continues to be the focus.

"We revamped our entire data base program in terms of making it, in my opinion, the most lucrative data base program in the market," Keeping added. "In fact, everybody is now following us with same day cash back. Our direct mail cash program is also very aggressive and our play is starting to show that in terms of the loyalty. It was designed for the long term relationship that we wanted to establish with our customers."

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