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December 7, 2012

Casino Consultant Predicts 5 Reasons Intense
Competition Will Define Gaming in 2013

Intense competition will define the casino industry in 2013 and casino consultant Martin R. Baird has announced five reasons for why this will happen.

“If casino managers thought gaming was a brutal market in years past, they haven’t seen anything yet,” says Baird, chief executive officer of Robinson & Associates, a guest service consulting firm to the global gaming industry.  “Competition will ramp up for a number of reasons.  And that is why 2013 must be the year of quality service for casinos that want to survive.”

The Headlines Are Already the Proof.  “Three headlines already tell the world that there is an increase in competition for casinos that will only blossom in 2013,” Baird says.  “The headlines are ‘New Law in Massachusetts Allows for Three Casinos,’ ‘Maryland Voters Add Vegas-Style Table Games At State Casinos,’ and ‘Chicago Casino Closer to Reality After Election Results.’  This all adds up to new competition.”

Baird gives a real-life example of this competition in action.  “A few years ago, Maryland didn’t have any casinos and its residents drove to Delaware or West Virginia properties to play,” Baird says.  “Now those people can stay in their home state and play.  On top of that, Maryland can cannibalize gaming revenue from neighboring states that don’t have table games.  It really changes the tide when Maryland goes from no casinos and losing tax revenue to adding table games and perhaps luring new revenue.”

States Will Want More and More Gaming Revenue.  State governments love tax revenue from casinos and they will want more as they grapple with budget deficits, Baird says.  “It’s no wonder state government adores gaming revenues,” Baird  notes.  “According to the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, direct casino tax revenue nationwide increased 92.58 percent from 2001 to 2011, or from $4.1 billion to $7.9 billion.”

Only six states – Alaska, Arkansas, Montana, North Dakota, West Virginia and Wyoming – do not have budget deficits for 2012, according to Pewstates.org.  “This website also reports that Texas is planning to cut $10 billion from its educational programs,” Baird says.  “With education on the line, Texas legislators might consider adding gaming revenue to the equation.”

Gaming Is Growing Faster Than Population.  “From 2000 to 2009, the U.S. population increased 8.8 percent while gaming jobs increased 46.1 percent,” Baird says.  “Since 2009, states like Kansas, Ohio, Maryland and Pennsylvania have either introduced or expanded gaming.  There are more and more gaming choices without a major increase in population.  That means increased competition for people’s entertainment dollars.”

Internet Gaming Is Looming.  The website for the National Conference of State Legislatures reports that California, Delaware, Hawaii, Iowa, Illinois, Mississippi and New Jersey have introduced legislation authorizing forms of Internet gaming in their states, according to Baird.  “The reason they are doing this is because they want to make sure they are not left out of this possible revenue stream,” Baird notes.

“Sweepstakes” Competition Is Growing.  “Internet cafes that promote ‘sweepstakes’ as a way to get around casino laws are opening in states like Ohio, South Carolina, Michigan, Texas and North Carolina,” Baird says.  “These states are trying to decide the best way to deal with them.  The Wall Street Journal reported that in North Carolina alone ‘researchers estimate the industry’s total annual sales…are between $4.6 billion and $13 billion before payouts.’”

Intense competition means that casinos must make 2013 the year of service for their customers, Baird says.  “Many casinos have talked about improving their service for years and some have even done some work toward that goal, but 2013 will be the year for an all-out assault on service,” Baird says.  “Goodwill will not be good enough.  Increased competition will dictate that casinos will either need to provide amazing guest service or risk failing.  Casinos that are not prepared will feel a huge ripple effect from the slow-growth economy and the fast-growing gaming market.”

There is a challenge with service improvement, Baird points out.

“Improving service isn’t a 30-day program,” Baird says.  “It takes a long-term vision and commitment to achieve service greatness.  Service cultures are not hatched in an executive office, they are created over time by consistent expectations and management.

“2013 will be the year that many casinos separate from the pack.  They will do what it takes and invest in service so they are the casino of choice.  They will create guest and associate advocates in a consistent way.”

About Robinson & Associates

Martin R. Baird is a casino consultant and chief executive officer of Robinson & Associates, Inc.  For 20 years, Robinson & Associates has been dedicated to helping casinos improve their guest service so they can compete and generate future growth and profitability.  A Boise, Idaho-based consulting firm to the global gaming industry,  Robinson & Associates is the world leader in casino guest experience measurement, management and improvement.  Recently, it announced Simply Share, a real-time customer feedback platform that makes it fast and easy for casino customers to share their experience directly with casinos instead of posting comments online at social media sites.

For more information, visit the company’s Web site at www.casinocustomerservice.com  or contact Lydia Baird, director of business development, at 208-991-2037 or lbaird(at)raresults(dot)com.  Read about casino customer service improvement at Martin Baird’s blog at www.mbaird.blog.com. Robinson & Associates is a member of the Casino Management Association and an associate member of the National Indian Gaming Association.

Lydia Baird

Tom Ellis