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the money wagered on a game became com- monplace, and the big jackpots meant players still loved the games. The popularity of penny slots led to some

intriguing new variations of slot technology, not the least of which was the return of the classic reel-spinner—in a revised format. All of the major slot manufacturers began releasing games in mechanical reel-spinning formats, with five reels and multiple paylines.A new type of hybrid game was thus created—the traditional mechanics of the spinning reel was combined with the most effective features of video slots, such as multiple paylines and free-spin bonus events. At the same time, LCD video screens were added into the mix to allow video-style bonus events in a classic reel-spinner.

New Club, New Marketing In addition to all their cash-access wizardry, kiosks have developed on a separate track over the past decade—one of marketing. Sweepstakes events and other casino promotions no longer require a big drum in the middle of a casino containing thousands of slips of paper (unless the casino marketer wants them to, of course). Over the past 10 years, technology has taken

over the sweepstakes, to where players typically need only show up at a casino and swipe their players club cards in a kiosk to qualify for a sweepstakes drawing. The advantage for the casino is more time at the machine for the play- ers—play continues right up until the time a drawing is accomplished (electronically, nor- mally), and a player needs only stop playing long enough to collect the promotional prize. The use of kiosks is only one of many tech-

Top: New cabinets at G2E 2007 Middle: Table games made a big comeback at G2E 2008

Bottom: G2E 2009 exhibit floor

nological advancements made to the players club over the past decade.At the turn of the cen- tury, the benefits of a players club were largely in the mailbox. Players would earn paper coupons for cash-back awards, and for “bonus coins”— known in the trade as “bounce-back cash”—that would require them to return to the casino where the rewards were earned to receive the money. “Couponomy,” a term coined by Anthony Curtis’ Las Vegas Advisor, was in full swing: The smart players earned their cash-back on double-point days and made tours of casinos lugging the coupons they had earned. Roomoffers, free meals and just about every

other player’s club award was accomplished by sending paper through the mail. Of course, at the time, the internet was still young. Over the past decade, casinos have used the

internet to transform the direct-mail culture into much more of an email culture. To be sure, this evolution is still ongoing—most players clubs still send room offers and other coupons through the mail. However, we are gradually moving toward paperless marketing. It is now easier to book free rooms through a casino’s website than to call that 800 number on the direct-mail piece. The players club reward system is another

work in progress. The newest slot machines incorporate a “service window.” Like free play, it is known by any number of promotional names, but basically, it is a second video monitor on the face of a slot machine used purely for promo- tional purposes. Many of the latest slots even employ split-screen video technology for this purpose. Slot machines themselves are now becoming ancillary marketing tools. Casino marketers are only beginning to dis-

cover the benefits of this tool. The smaller video window is used to advertise shows, tournaments and special events to the customer, but as the age of server-based gaming approaches, new uses are cropping up all the time. The windows are beginning to be used for promotional games— “games within games” earned by the players through the players club points. In the past 10 years,mining the information

present in players club databases has become an art in itself.Customer relationship management sprung up when marketers began looking at the “total spend” of each player, through records gleaned from placing data collection using the players club card not only in the casino itself, but at point-of-sale locations in the hotel, the retail outlets, restaurants, nightclubs, ultra- lounges, spas and everywhere else in the new integrated resort. From efforts such as these came new soft-

ware modules for the casino’s IT and marketing departments to access.Mariposa, a software sys- tem now part of the IGT systems division,was the first to provide a technological tool by which marketing programs are tailored to individual customers, based on the history of where in an integrated resort each customer has spent money.

• New machines combine cashless gaming and bonusing

• Show highlights breakthroughs in table game technology

• Interfacing people with systems is goal of many new products

• “Same Suit” lunches bring together various disciplines in the industry

• RFID technology and its gaming applications is hot topic

56 | G2E Preview 2010

• Community gaming makes big splash

• NCRG conference co-located at G2E for first time

• Conference addresses “green” issues • Mobile gaming comes of age • Tiered players clubs and how to use them • G2E Asia debuts

2006 2007

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