American vs Australian gaming environment

US vs Australian gaming environmentHello again from the USA and the Global Gaming Expo 2012 (G2E).  G2E is the world’s premier casino-entertainment event where gaming executives and buyers meet in Las Vegas to see the most in-depth source of new products, learn the latest information and networking.

G2E is presented by the American Gaming Association (AGA) represents the commercial casino-entertainment industry by addressing federal legislative and regulatory issues. The AGA membership includes 150 casinos, approximately two-thirds of the commercial casino industry, with 255K+ employees.

Since arriving in the country, it has been noticeable at the distinct differences between the American gambling market and the Australian. We enjoyed a great two hours at Mesquite Casino, about an hour and a half outside of Las Vegas with Chris, the Marketing executive for that and several other Casinos in the state of Nevada. When we described the club industry in Queensland and the legislation that we work under, he was genuinely surprised at the constraints which we continue to work within. He was also interested to note that our clubs do not have a level playing field with major casino’s in Queensland.

Some brief distinct differences in legislation that we noted include

  • Minimal RSA

  • No restriction on number of gaming machines in a venue

  • Gaming machines and alcohol available in gas stations

  • Smoking is permitted in licensed casino’s

  • Free alcohol to players if playing slots (EGM’s)

What was pleasing to see is that whether it is in our backyard in Queensland or in Las Vegas, the competitive nature of our businesses are similar. The drive for membership and loyalty programs was evident to see wherever we went. One Casino in particular had a tiered loyalty system of five levels. The other major initiative is the social media drive in the casino markets. At MGM, the foyer has enormous visual electronic screens (see picture) asking people to tweet. The tweet message board was moving constantly.

Whenever I was in a venue, I would log onto the free wifi available, so I could keep in touch with work and Danny Nixon-Smith from DWS. To join I always had to give my email address, just another way to capture details that could then be used in a marketing campaign.

Being a casino in such a competitive market means that the venues are constantly looking for a specific point of difference to attract clients. This includes all manner of promotions from 99 cents Margaritas to all you can eat buffets from $13.00 US.

The States in the US all have different regulations in relation to gaming, so again, another similarity with Australia.

As General Manager at CTA, I would highly recommend visiting Las Vegas and the attending the Global Gaming Expo 2012 (G2E), as it provides an invaluable insight into our industry, and provides great opportunities to bring innovation and new marketing opportunities back to your venues.