Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Fickle Gamblers

Kiss, Kiss, Bye - Bye

Gamblers are a fickle lot, not unlike other consumers. Many pine for the good old days even though others say the good old days are old, but were not as good as the legends purport. Stories abound of the relationship between gamblers and casino owners. One in particular tells of a high roller (they were not called whales in those days) who gambled away all his money. In those days there were no cell phones nor ATMs, which may have been a good thing for the habitual gambler. But, as the story goes, the casino owner put his arm around the shoulder of the drunken busted high roller, comped him dinner, and paid for his return airline ticket. Those little things endeared players to casinos just as surely as bonus points and free samples endear high spenders today to upscale stores today.

But make no mistake. If a shopper finds a better deal elsewhere s/he will scamper there faster than you can say, "customer loyalty." As corporate stores replaced mom and pop stores it became easier for individuals to shop elsewhere without feeling guilty. Ditto casinos. Just as Howard Hughes might have run the mob out of Las Vegas casinos, so have corporations run out the individual owner for the most part. That put the gambler one step farther away from the casino owner and customer loyalty took a hit.

Further encouraging the fickle gambler to take his business elsewhere was the opening of casino gambling in New Jersey. No longer was a four hour plane ride required to pull a handle or double down. The Las Vegas casinos moaned a bit but continued to reinvent themselves by offering other attractions and making the Vegas experience even grander. But another setback in the life occurred as Indian casinos began to compete for the gaming dollar. Still, shows and top name performers as well as new, even grander hotels, broader-based events, and conventions again reinvented the Vegas experience as visitor numbers continued to climb.

New Jersey didn't follow the Las Vegas model of continuous review and reinvention and as has Las Vegas and find themselves in the midst of a fall in gaming revenue. As betting and slot parlors open in New York and Pennsylvania, gamblers find it no longer necessary to fight the traffic to get to Atlantic City. Those staying away are some of New Jersey's best customers. The result is that for 10 of the last 11 months revenue has fallen.

Gaming has more competitors than ever. Internet gaming as well as some sort of games of chance available in 48 states offer plenty of choices. No longer are a handful of establishments the only games in town. A little blogging music maestro.... "Don't it make my brown eyes blue..."

Dr. Forgot

No comments: