Player Clubs Review: Part 1 of a 5-part series sure to inspire new Loyalty Schemes

** UPDATE: We invite you to also read additional articles of this Clubathon series:

Part #1Part #2Part #3Part #4, Part #5

Judging from the recent posts, you’d probably conclude that this blog’s focus is limited to Alcohol, Hot Girls, Dublin and how easy it is to get a senior iGaming position if you have an experience as a taxi driver and your name is Thomas. Sadly, we have to expand our discussion so that when your boss asks “Well, what the hell do you intend to do in order to improve our profits during this miserable Q3?” you top-level executives actually have an answer.

We’ll start with the classic answer of them all: Loyalty Schemes! And even better, we’ll combine that idea with a competitive analysis of the Bricks and Mortar Casinos landscape!

What we call a VIP Program these offline guys refer to as Player Clubs. The term first appeared in Atlantic City about 30 years ago, when local establishments were trying (surprise!) to boost their customers’ loyalty by offering rewards connected to their gaming engagement. Back then, this was innovative. Today, it’s just routinely referred to as Player Development, and in other, less sexy industries it’s lumped into the category of CRM.

Why weren’t Player Clubs invented in Vegas, you ask? Simple: The Atlantic City clubs had a greater need to keep players in their building than the Vegas clubs did. Most of the gaming traffic in Atlantic City consists of people who arrive at the casino floor, play for few hours, and drive back home. With the famous boardwalk, Atlantic City gave players a convenient method of moving from club to club during their short stays.

By contrast, Las Vegas, with its remote location in the middle of a desert, tended to draw visitors who would fly in for a few days and stay at a hotel. Until recently, those hotels tended to be isolated and disperse. So visitors would be inclined to stay put, preferring the comfortable danger of the one-armed bandits, rather than wander outside amidst the scorpions and rattlesnakes.

Besides, anything people could do outside gave them a bitching hangover they hopelessly tried to forget — either getting drunk or married, and you can’t really enjoy the latter without the former.

In Atlantic City, these loyalty clubs are often referred to as Slots Clubs due to the history of their development. The Golden Nugget kicked off the concept of accumulating points by giving players a card that they could insert into slot machines each time they played. That card collected their gaming data and allowed them to redeem their points with a dinner at the hotel restaurant or free rooms for future bookings. In American bricks-and-mortar casinos, slots are by far the biggest revenue generators, representing more than 75% of casino income. So naturally, their version of you people (i.e. Player Marketing Executives, except with a real chance of success with the opposite sex) had to take good care of these slot players and ensure they wouldn’t have a reason to think about taking their talents to the competition.

It took a while to work. Players became suspicious of the new system, telling each other “the machine won’t let you win if you insert the card” (which, if true, would be as sensible from the casino side as spitting in their own eyes, or even worse – hiring Thomas). But these days, most mid-size operations own such systems, and the perks are just getting better and better.

Next week we will begin reviewing the leading programs and their benefits and rate them the only way we know: in a hilarious and objective manner (because sadly enough, no one these days is willing to bribe us for favorable reviews.) But for now, just imagine the smile on your highly moral boss’s face when he starts thinking about the loads of cash he will be making by tapping into that lucrative U.S. traffic … it will probably take two hours just to wipe it off :)

** UPDATE: We invite you to also read additional articles of this Clubathon series:

Part #1Part #2, Part #3Part #4Part #5

About iGamingCRM Blog

Shahar Attias, CEO "Care to Make it Interesting?"
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