From Sydney in Australia to Las Vegas in the USA there is often a popular casino complex that entertains thousands of customers daily just around the corner. These bastions of entertainment offer glitzy shows, all-you-can-eat buffets exciting casino games (both conventional and digital) to entice the patrons through their doors and keep them on their casino floors. But all of this real estate, and the technology and security to keep it running smoothly costs an absolute fortune. So the question on so many punters’ lips is often “exactly how do casinos do good business?”.
Are Casinos Profitable?
It is a total misconception that a casino will always be profitable because the running costs of such large gaming venues are astronomically high. However, there are many reasons why casinos can and do make a profit when well-run because it’s not just their killer marketing strategies that grab the attention of the average Joe, but also the fact that they offer an extensive range of games and services that apparel to a wide audience. They also know how to market directly to their target audiences, be it through naming conventions such as Slots in the USA., Fruit Machines in the UK and Pokies* in Australia (to name but a few) or even by offering the right games to the right players in the right country (Poker in the U.S. and Fan-Tan** or Tien Gow*** in Macau). So although they can and do appeal to the universal attraction of gambling they give their players exactly what they want and when they want it.
Casinos are also exceptionally good at controlling their costs and this includes everything from salaries and marketing budgets to comps (freebies that casinos give to their best customers) as well as shows that they put on.
*The Australian word for slots is pokies and it is derived from the “Pok” sound found in the original term used for slots which is “Poker Machine”. Of course with the typical flare of Australian lingo use, and the obsession with abbreviating, the word pokies was coined and became universally used across the country almost overnight. Today Australian casinos market these games exclusively under the term pokies, some of which you can click here to experience, which has caused a fair amount of confusion for many non-Australian visitors to the country who are oblivious to the term and what it means.
*Fan Tan is a Chinese gambling game in which players must attempt to guess the remainder after the banker has divided the number of hidden objects on the table into four groups.
*Tien Gow is a popular Chinese gambling game which is played either with a pair of dice or a set of Chinese dominoes.
The Casino Business Model Explained
The business model used by all casinos is simple:
They generate revenue through gambling games in which they (as the house) have a slight edge.
Of course, certain games such as Blackjack enable players to take on the casino on more even terms but for the most part slots and other digital-style games such as video poker are powered by Random Number Generators (RNGs) which as the name implies pay out randomly. All of the bets placed on these games allow the casino to take a cut of the wagers, and this along with any other income-earning services such as food, drink, and entertainment sales if run properly should make the casino profitable. It is therefore imperative that the casino both attracts and retains its customers and it does this through comping and VIP casino programs.
Comps are free casino giveaways that are awarded to their best customers. This includes, but by no means is limited to, free meals, hotel rooms, and show tickets. This entices these customers to return, even if they’re not winning.
Casino VIP Programs
Although this does include comping as explained above, the VIP or Casino Loyalty Programs also included structured tiers that are based on wagering amounts. The more you wager over time the more impressive the VIP benefits become. These include exclusive VIP offers, VIP Services, VIP Access (to shows and restaurants), meet and greets with famous artists, as well as the ability to upgrade hotel rooms and food service bookings.
There is however one thing that brings all of these different aspects of a great casino experience together, and that is the actual venue itself. Some casinos are themed (such as Ceasers Palace or the Venetian) and some have a nostalgic or historical appeal (The Flamingo in Vegas which was developed by the notorious gangster Bugsy Siegel). But the one thing that they all successful casinos have in common is that they expertly create an atmosphere that is exciting and fun. By doing this they ensure that their fun-loving patrons will return to gamble again.