Issue 223
December 20 - 26, 2004
Volume 4
page 3

Best Casino Promotions of 2004
By John G. Brokopp

As gambling has expanded over the past decade, the marketing might of casinos has intensified proportionately. Fiercely competitive gaming jurisdictions have evolved around the country, prompting corporate management to come up with ever increasing creative ways to drive in business.

One of the most popular forms of marketing tools that casinos use is promotions. They vary in size and scope, but the bottom line goal for all of them is to encourage brand loyalty and increase the frequency and number of gambling outings.

Playback, an e-report that is written entirely by players, sponsored the Ten Best Casino Promotions of 2004 at this year's Global Gaming Exhibition in Las Vegas, citing the need to judge the value of promotions from the player's perspective as opposed to judging them based solely upon the casino's perspective.

What follows are the award winners and the reasons they were the favorites of players:

1. Downtown Reno: Stay, Play & Win $1,000,000 – A unanimous selection among the judges and the best promotion of the year. Four Reno casinos partnered to create promotions that allowed each property to hold qualifying slot tournaments and send their top 500 winners to the final. The 2,000 qualifying players then played in a two-day tournament championship with the winner receiving $1 million. Players appreciated the fact so many were given a chance to win.

2. Barona Valley Ranch Resort and Casino (Lakeside, California): Lucky Numbers – This promotion gave players a chance to win by matching randomly drawn numbers to the ID number on their player's club cards. The more numbers in sequence the player had, the bigger the prize. There were a lot winners and all players had to do was listen for their numbers.

3. Las Vegas Hilton (Las Vegas): Supernova – This promotion utilized a two-story high game board in the Space Quest Casino. Everyone who signed up for the new player's club cards was given the opportunity to play the game and a chance to win $1 million. Players liked the fact that everyone was guaranteed a prize.

4. Jerry's Nugget (North Las Vegas): 40th Anniversary – A player's favorite during the celebration was guaranteed winner scratch cards. They made it clear that they do not like to receive scratch cards that say "sorry" as a reward during a promotional period.

5. Grand Victoria Casino (Elgin, Ill.): We'll Pay Your Bills Giveaway – The creative and guest-friendly aspect to this promotion was that it allowed players to choose which drawing time they wished to be eligible for by giving them a choice of drums in which to deposit their entries. There's nothing worse than not being able to be present for a drawing.

6. Casino Regina (Regina, Saskatchewan): Casino Regina Playmates Promotion – The casino made a promotion out of their new Playboy slot machines by giving players "meet and greet" photo opportunities with three Playboy Playmates who were in town for the Grey Cup, the Canadian Football League's Championship game.

7. Trump Taj Mahal (Atlantic City): Donald Trump's Birthday Bash with 100 Donalds – One hundred Donald Trump look-alikes walked through the casino handing out cash at random to people on the casino floor.

8. Casino Windsor (Windsor, Ontario): Trade In and Trade Up: After a 41-day closing because of a labor dispute, the casino welcomed players back with complimentary food offers, free entertainment, double cash back and reward points.

9. Gold Strike and Nevada Landing (Jean, Nevada): Signature/Signature Elite Memberships – The two casinos permitted their best players to write their own comps. They also received a free 3-night stay each week without redeeming any of their comp dollars.

10. The Lodge Casino at Blackhawk (Black Hawk, Colorado): Break the Bank – The casino had 110 piggy banks filled with cash. Winners received an opportunity to select a piggy bank, throw it down a chute and break it to see how much money they had won.

About the Author

John G. Brokopp is the gaming columnist for Chicago’s Daily Southtown newspaper and a regular contributor to Midwest Gaming & Travel magazine. He possesses 28 years of experience as a professional handicapper, publicist, freelance writer, and casino gaming correspondent. He is also the author of two very popular books, The Insider’s Guide to Internet Gambling and Thrifty Gambling.

Of Related Interest

Thrifty Gambling

Thrifty Gambling explains the best methods for recreational gamblers to use to reduce their risk while still giving them a good shot to win and a great deal of fun! This book can make you a winner

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