Our slot rooms are still running on outdated ideas
Slot rooms marketing, or pompously called “casino marketing”, is still being done in a brainless way, on beaten paths and using outdated tools, and the paradigm hasn’t changed yet, there’s still talk of staggering prizes and “races for millions”, and women in provocative outfits still cover the facades of the gaming halls and mash-ups in the cities.
I’ve been going around gambling halls lately to see what gambling operators have understood from the messages they’ve been getting from the public, influencers and politicians lately and, I don’t want to generalize, but it seems…nothing.
Of course, I didn’t limit myself to just analyzing grassroots marketing, but also the messages sent to the mass-market through the mainstream channels that slot hall marketers typically use to be visible and to praise their bosses for doing something…memorable. Let’s say OOH (street billboards, in Romanian) because the country is full of them.
Marketing in the gambling halls, the phase on prizes and winnings without number
At Maxbet Dristor, for example, I went one evening and I was expecting to be shown a mature and modern marketing, focused on safe gambling, on technology, on the scale of the 20 years that made them, but I found only a shabby room, with a mix of machines where I mainly found EGT machines (of course) and a “worked” roulette from Alfa Street (I didn’t understand, do they want to amortize it until the pieces fall off or what?). Nice team here, nothing to say, the classic questions, nothing out of the ordinary, then they gave me a break. There was some excitement in the room, and prizes were being diligently extracted from a wheel of fortune given to loyal customers, with the famous tickets placed in an urn from which the presenter was doing her job of calling out to the players. The wheel had a broken tongue running through the metal frames separating the prizes and the whole thing took a comical turn that was resolved by a funny improvisation. Anyway, that’s not what’s important, it’s the fact that they’re still working with the same instruments from 15-20 years ago. So nothing new under the sun…In general, looking around to see what Maxbet has in store for his players I see talk of prizes, on top of prizes, of millions of lei. I thought we were no longer promoting the idea of winning, but of having fun, but while I was in this location I heard nothing but operator’s employees talking about winning. It’s one thing to talk when we attend events with politicians (with the authorities, in general) or with each other, but it’s another thing to talk about in the gaming halls.
Just to point out how Gets Bet “has baked it like Ploiesti” (a Romanian expression) in terms of its communication campaign on mash-ups and outdoor billboards. Where Bianca used to throne on mash-ups of dozens of square meters – the size of a 10-storey high building – urging you to play, to catch promotions, to various stuff,…in more and more indecent poses, now these banners have been replaced by mash-ups that tell us: “We are with you…Play responsibly”. Funny…and most of all…hypocritical. Gets Bet gave it “ja cote” and that’s it! From today onwards it invites us to be responsible and get our heads in the game, or else we’ll blow our wallets. I have nothing more to say…
Marketing in the gaming halls, the phase on chicks with silicones
The RedSevens guys seem to like big-breasted women, blonde or brunette, it doesn’t matter. Frankly, I like them too, even if I prefer more natural. But even from the outside area of their rooms we have “captures” with images where various dolls practically invite us in our bras to join their club and make loyalty cards (we have a wallet full of cards, from pharmacies, hypermarkets, clothing stores, shoe stores, etc. Never mind an extra card, right?), or wish us “Welcome to RedSevens – a new level of gaming”. I thought it was that we were no longer sending messages by exposing emptiness, but trying to be responsible, informing the customer that this is where they come for fun, that there are chances to lose money, that math, that statistics, that stuff. People have accused us of promoting indecent images in public places, where children and old people and women who go to work and drop their children off at school on the way… If you really care about such messages, you could move these ADs indoors and outside be honest and tell people that there is an opportunity to have fun here, but also to lose money…Yes, maybe some of them will gain something, but in general they will lose, because otherwise there wouldn’t be a hall on every street corner, right? Be honest with your players, don’t blow their minds! That would be the best marketing!
It can also be good
In the Las Vegas arcades I liked the variety of slot machines, I found something other than EGT. That’s what I liked. I also appreciated something else, which I haven’t seen at other gaming halls, the possibility to have a game card made that you scan at the slot machine (tricky) before playing and then present yourself with it at the ballot box where after you have it quickly scanned by an electronic device ready printed tickets with your name and other identification data automatically fall into the ballot box to participate in various raffles or promotions. Clever and quick. And that’s what I liked. And it seems like their halls are a bit more airy, more ergonomic, better space sharing. More modern marketing where we have posters where we are invited to scan QR codes to find out what the operator has prepared for you. It’s going with the idea of “Benefits”. It’s like in Las Vegas halls they go more on creating atmosphere, nice ambiance, and more technology in the communication with the player. A bit more sophisticated the whole thing. I liked it.
We have noticed for some time a concentration of interest from operators to offer this Happy Hour. In certain time intervals predetermined by the operator and in certain hourly intervals you win higher or more prizes, but most of the time you, the player, also have to play more consistent amounts or play on a higher bet (after all that’s what it is) and in the end I can’t figure out who this happy hour is actually for? For the player or for the operator? Maybe the gaming room should offer more during that certain period of time…without asking anything in return from the player. That would be normal.
At the Eldorado, for example, I hit a happy hour one evening but I had to play on a bet of 1 leu hand. There are games that only give you a “double” (gamble) on the tenth game. To give 10 lei in 30 seconds to see a “double” that I can lose doesn’t seem like a “deal” to me. So a conditionality…
Make campaigns simple and easy to understand
Another thing that intrigues me are these complicated marketing campaigns, these “prize multiplier”, “two-week” or “stage draw” offers like we’ve seen at Redsevens. My advice to you: stop complicating things! If you want to give a bigger prize just give it away and stop multiplying prizes by 1.1 X, or 1.3 X or 1.5 X, it’s silly! I mean, we want to bring players into the fun era, to make them forget for an hour or two about everyday problems, but do we think anyone cares whether or not a prize is multiplied? I mean, do you think he’s aware when he starts playing that he’s chasing it? In other words we’re making players think only of the money. We shove this stuff down their throats as soon as they walk into the slot room.
I’m trying to come to a conclusion and the only thing that comes to mind is soap operas TV series, you know the ones, like “Young and the Restless”, which you could take a break from for a few months if you wanted to because you wouldn’t miss much. I get the same feeling visiting the arcades. It feels like nothing has happened in the last many years in many locations, and in others timid changes in approach to business and communication with the default player. I know you go to conferences and exhibitions dedicated to the industry at home and abroad…haven’t you found anything new to help change things? Or what’s going on? Are you afraid to make changes? Don’t you approve of the above? Don’t have the courage to propose more substantive changes to your bosses? I don’t know what’s going on but try to change things from the grass roots, in the relationship with the players, to a more honest and grounded approach to the idea of fun and try to stop going down the beaten track because the players start wanting something else. You can ask them, I’ve done it, I know many of you haven’t done it in a long time, get out of the office…and come on, courage! What the hell!