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As many of you have probably heard, the gaming industry and the University of Nevada suffered a huge loss today with the passing of Professor Bill Eadington. He had been battling cancer since mid-2011 and was a true fighter until the end. I had the great pleasure of studying under Bill since 2001, when I started my undergraduate degree at UNR. I continued to take his classes in Economics and Gaming Management all the way through my MBA. I feel so honored and blessed to have been able to learn from him and be mentored by him throughout the years.

The first thing I remember about Eadington is that I was in one of his Econ 101 classes on 9/11. The class was at 9am, and I remember waking up, seeing the news and thinking…GREAT class will be cancelled for sure. This may seem vastly insensitive, but you must remember I was 18 and 9am was EARLY. Of course, class was not cancelled, and true to form Bill spent the entire 50 minutes teaching Economics. Never a moment to be wasted when we could be learning. This was a quality that he never lost throughout the years.

I took every available Gaming Management class that I could from Bill. Even though he also taught Economics, he was truly passionate about the subject as anyone who came across him would acknowledge. I had friends and classmates who would take these classes because they heard that he taught you how to count cards and figured it would be an easy pass. Of course they were dead wrong. Bill always held his students to the highest standards, and even though he did teach about card counting, his classes were always challenging because he would never want a student walking out with a free pass. If you were in one of his classes, you WERE going to learn something.

In October 2011, Bill was selected to join a very elite group and was inducted into the Gaming Hall of Fame. This was a BIG deal. Previous inductees include legends such as Steve Wynn, Bill Harrah and Phil Satre. The group of inductees with Bill included: Sheldon Adleson of LV Sands, the Blue Man Group and Charlie Palmer. I remember reading about this, and thinking that it was shortly after he was diagnosed with cancer and was undergoing chemo. I sent him a congratulatory email and hoped that he would be well enough to attend, which he was. I am so proud to have known him and so happy that he was able to enjoy this great honor while still alive.

Through friends that had classes with Bill after his diagnosis I had heard that he actually taught a class through Skype from his hospital room. This would not surprise anyone who actually knew Bill, he never wanted to miss a class. He taught one of my classes via Skype while in China on business. If he did have to miss a class and couldn’t remotely teach, he would always schedule a guest speaker. Never waste a moment not learning.

Bill will take with him a wealth of knowledge that will not be easily matched by one mind. I count myself lucky to have been able to know him, call him a mentor and in his memory I am committed to making myself a smarter, better representative of the gaming industry.

RIP Bill, you will be missed.

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As you may have heard today, Caesars Entertainment has again announced plans to go public and offer an IPO in the near future. So, how about a little history to get us started on how this began:

In 2005, Harrah’s aquired Caesars Entertainment in a $9 billion buyout, the largest at that time.

In January 2008, Harrah’s Corporation was purchased by two private equity firms and was removed from the New York Stock Exchange. In December of that same year, Harrah’s announced plans to change its name to Caesars Entertainment.

In late 2010, Caesars began the IPO process. They initially valued the stocks at $15-17 per share, hoping to raise over $500 million, however the company ended up not going forward with the process, citing market conditions.

Fast forward back to today. The IPO process was started back in November of 2011, and today the announcement was made that the company is indeed moving forward with the IPO next week. They plan to sell 1.81 million shares at about $8-10 per share for a total of $18.1 million.

Project LINQ. Click for credit...

Going public will allow the company to move forward with some new projects it has planned, including Project LINQ in Las Vegas, casinos in Ohio and possibly a casino in the Baltimore area. I read an article that Caesars is the only company that has actually been expanding since the recession hit in 2008.

So, do you think that this IPO is a good idea for Caesars Corporation?

So, it’s unfortunately been quite a while since I’ve blogged and I just realized the other day that it’s sad because I think I had a pretty good little page going here. I have spent some time talking to my co-workers about different gaming topics from Internet Gaming to customer loyalty programs and as I was talking to some people the other day I realized that I had a lot of knowledge about our topics because I had previously blogged on almost every single topic of conversation! With that said, I think I’m officially back.

A lot has happened since I’ve been away. I am proud to announce my new position as Events and Promotion Specialist for Caesars Entertainment, Nevada Region! I have relocated to the Las Vegas area and have been at my new position for going on three weeks. So far it’s very interesting. I kind of get to see a new side to the business. At my former position in Reno, I was in charge of events from their conception to execution. Now, I am getting to actually help brainstorm the ideas and plan them all the way up to execution and then it gets passed off to the properties for execution. It’s very different than what I’m used to. It’s also very new to me to work for such a large corporation. I worked for a large property but Caesars is a HUGE company with a very far reach. I see good things in my future here.

There is a lot going on in the industry today. Some new stuff and some stuff like Internet gaming which has been a hot topic for some time. I’m glad to be back and hope there are still some of you out there to read my stuff!

There’s a lot of buzz these days about social media and its use in business. In casino marketing, email blasts are beginning to replace the old standard of postcards and self-mailers to invite guests to special events. Room offers are being sent through email. Special deals are being “tweeted” and “facebooked” (sidebar: interesting that tweeted and facebooked are now very well known verbs in the English language) so friends and followers can obtain the same deals, or maybe better deals, than loyal gaming customers. However, because social media has become such an overnight success, I am left to wonder if anyone has really taken the time to evaluate whether these online tactics are actually more beneficial, or have a higher response/success rate than snail mail?

I came across an article that addressed this point. At a recent Casino Marketing Conference, three marketing professionals argued that social media is not worth all the hype it is receiving. When it comes down to what your customer really wants, the most important things are as follows:

1. Program Transparency: Every casino tracks and rewards players differently, and customers want to know how they can maximize their rewards. The most successful tracking systems allow customers to readily view and track their points and comps. In a tiered system, they want to know how to reach the next level. And when they receive rewards or offers, they want an easy way to redeem their offers, rather than a bogged down system full of long lines and paperwork.

2. Free stuff: Ok, clearly everyone likes free stuff. But, for example, having a free tournament with a decent prize structure versus having a tournament where a guest has to pay, but with a higher payoff will end up being more attractive to the majority of guests, and will not cost you as much. Focus on the free. What kind of promotions can you run that will benefit the most guests and will still not cost you an arm and a leg to execute. Which leads me to…

3. Creativity: This goes back to one of my previous posts about chasing your competitors. Customers want something new and different. They like new ideas and creative promotions, rather than the same ideas that your competitors are promoting down the street. Simply copying an idea that you think is successful won’t cut it with gaming customers who have so many choices in the marketplace.

4. Direct mail vs. social media: It seems that direct mail is the way to go. Customers value room offers and offers with high dollar values. They also like calendars, so they can plan their trips in advance. Of the almost 40 million people who check social media sites and email several times a day, few are actually gaming customers and even fewer actually hold value for your business. Also, casino databases do not have comprehensive email information for their customers, and often many of the email addresses are incorrect.

Do you think that social media will eventually phase out traditional “snail mail” direct mail campaigns? Or do you think that direct mail will always be an important part of the casino business?

Well, faithful followers, I have returned. I must apologize for my absence, but between graduation, getting a new place, a summer school class and ten days in New York City (ah-mazing by the way, thanks for asking), life has been a little hectic. I have finally pressed the pause button on life and slowed things down enough to get back to the blog-o-sphere.

Today, I’d like to talk (again!) about some of the great things I’m discovering about the Total Rewards program at Harrah’s! Harrah’s as a company has a long, successful history, but as of late have kind of fallen off the radar in terms of hotels and casinos. They have gone through some financial hardships since 2007 and are not generally mentioned when people talk about great places to visit, especially in Reno. But man, they are stepping up their game in the Total Rewards department. The newest feature is called Total Rewards Marketplace. Now, in addition to gambling, spending money in Harrah’s restaurants and other outlets and booking a convention at a Harrah’s property, you can now earn Total Rewards points by shopping at some of your favorite retail outlets. Yep, you heard me right. Now, by spending money at places like Apple, Barnes and Noble and Target online. All you have to do is log into the Total Rewards Marketplace with your Total Rewards account number and let the shopping begin. You will earn 1 point for every $1 spent and 2 points for every $1 spent if you shop with your Total Rewards Visa card. I think this is another great way to get the Harrah’s and Total Rewards name out there. I’m going to dig my Total Rewards card out and use it the next time I need to shop online. Earn points while shopping for things I would have bought anyway? Yes please!

Hello all.

No, I haven’t forgotten about you, just been roaming the streets of New York City for a little over a week and haven’t had the Internet connection or the time to blog. But rest assured, I’ll be back home Tuesday and will pick up right back where I left off!

Tomorrow, I plan on trying to visit either Aquaduct or Yonkers Raceway, so I look forward to offering a different perspective on what the racinos look like up here and what’s new.

Thanks for following, and I look forward to getting back to blogging shortly!

Cheers from the Big Apple!

Click for credit…

Now this is an article that I found very interesting. Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t the idea lately on the Las Vegas Strip, to capture high end business so as to increase profitability? Well, I guess in the opinion of Phil Ruffin of the Treasure Island, it is not. Ruffin purchased the Treasure Island property two years ago. Treasure Island is located across the street from the likes of Wynn Las Vegas and the Venetian (Las Vegas Sands). So, you would think they would be competing for that same business. A relatively easy walk across the street for gamblers who are losing too much or who are looking for something new, but still want to remain in the high end business spectrum.

On the other hand, this might be a genius move by someone who knows when he is beat. It would be very hard to compete with the likes of Bellagio, Wynn and Venetian…three very well established properties in the high end market. Ruffin has identified a possible niche in the market and is going for it full force, win or lose. One of Ruffin’s first moves was to remove the high end Italian restaurant and replace it with a country-western themed bar/restaurant. Then, a jewelry store was replaced by a pizza by the slice shop. In December, a Senor Frog’s will join the ranks at the Treasure Island. I think that about covers the mediocrity part.

So, now I ask, is this a smart move? In this economy, it may very well prove to be an extremely smart move. People are not spending like they used to, and giving them an affordable option on the Strip is not a terrible idea by any stretch of the imagination. The rooms at TI were recently renovated, and Ruffin has no intention on down-playing that aspect of the business. One of the goals is to have a place where they can attract more business from the free pirate show outside, to come inside. They feel that the addition of Senor Frogs will do just that.

Well, I suppose it remains to be seen whether or not this is a smart business move for the Treasure Island, but I think it might just be crazy enough to work. Mix together a poor economy + a propensity to look for a deal + a fun, well known dance club AKA Senor Frogs and you just might have a recipe for success!


About Me

This blog is devoted to the gaming industry news and information - keeping you up to date on the happenings in the gaming world. My personal expertise lies in event planning and entertainment in casinos.

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