Data Visualization Expert
Customer wallet calculations vital to casino pricing structureArticle and Journal Publications
These publications are largely in Casino Enterprise Magazine. New publications will be in the Casino Journal. In all cases I thank my co-authors, in particular, Dr. Singh from UNLV, and Dr. Thomas from VizExplorer for the hard work and collaboration we have had in working together. I also thank the readers for their support as we continue to write and extend this body of work.
August 2017: A Third Option for Casino Big Data In the eighth of a 12 article series themed on where the money is now for “smart” casinos, VizExplorer executives discuss the merit of third-party data collection and how this information could be potentially monetized for a property’s benefit.
February 2017: Making Data Talk: How to Set and Execute on Powerful Data Stories (The Three Steps of Presenting Data Visualization In this article we will talk about how data visualization can make the most complex story understandable. In fact pictures can take the learner to a deep level of understanding in a truly accelerated manner. Executed correctly the journey of learning the story of the data from a pictures is both memorable and relevant.
November 2016: Customer wallet calculations vital to casino pricing structure In this sixth article of our 12 part series on customer centric gaming floors, we will examine customer wallet size, and how it influences a whole host of slot floor pricing strategies.
October 2016: Queueing metrics to help optimize slot floor experience In this fifth article of our 12 part series on customer centric gaming floors, we will examine the value of availability and queuing mathematics, and how they can be applied to the slot floor
August 2016: ChatBots and why you need one In the fourth of a 12 article series themed on where the money is now for “smart” casinos, we debate the promise and peril of casino-produced mobile apps and a potential solution in the form of chatbots.
July 2016: Determining game volatility through customer behavior and gambling experience In this fourth article of our 12 part series on customer centric gaming floors, we will examine game volatility and its use as an analytic tool in the casino of the future.
June 2016: Analytics and the ongoing inside space technology revolution In the third of a 12 article series themed on where the money is now for "smart" casinos, VizExplorer executives explore the art of analytics, and make a case as to why its vital casino operations embrace this specialized skill when considering the inside space revolution.
May 2016: Revenue sharing games worth it? In this third article of our 12 part series on customer centric gaming floors, we tackle participation games and how casino operators can maximize potential returns.
April 2016: Adoption of new technologies into casinos In the second of a 12 article series themed on where the money is now for casinos, VizExplorer executives examine the impact technology adoption rates are having on the gaming enterprise from both a customer and operations perspective, and how properties can best adapt to these changes.
March 2016: Theoretical win and other traditional outcome metrics miss the boat when it comes to optimizing slot floor performance In this second article of our 12 part series on customer centric gaming floors, we dig into the player experience and why theoretical win is just plain wrong when looking at game performance.
February 2016: Big Data capabilities in casino employment In this first of a 12 article series themed on where the money is now for casinos, VizExplorer executives Andrew Cardno and Dr. Ralph Thomas explore the impact Big Data is having on casino staffing and labor, and how properties can use it to make sure that the proper team members are present at the right times to match the customers at all points on the gaming floor.
December 2015: HireCalling In previous articles, we described how with the right approach to database marketing programs, a marketer gains an almost superpower-like ability to understand the likely outcome of their activities.
November 2015: Using analytics for profitable advantage Mastering analytics provides incredible insight into your business. This insight gives you the confidence to act, the ability to measure your results, and brings along with it the self-assured attitude of a superhero… it makes you a Superpowered Marketer.
Casino Enterprise Magazine:
September 2015: Where is the Money? Part 15 of 36 Mastering analytics is like having a superpower, and mastering marketing analytics is like that superpower being mind control. The power to see the future is called precognition, and if you have this ability as well (again, achieved through analytics), you are hard to beat. A marketer who has mastered these powers can see what her customers are going to do, predict the outcome of many marketing programs, and relate the past to the future. She can also truly understand the desires of her customers, and work to shape the product and offering to meet those desires. The primary goal of marketing is to change customer behavior and the super powers of analytics go a long way toward achieving that goal.
August 2015: Where is the Money? Part 14 of 36 Real-time data is a complex beast. We not only have to stream data from table games and slot machines, but also hotel, point-of-sale and now social media. Taming this beast is both difficult and necessary. An operator needs to monitor, understand and act on this data. What’s more, the real-time nature of mobility brings the harsh reality that it is no longer enough to see data that is current as of yesterday; today we need to put the stream to work as events happen in real time. These data streams transform front-line staff into knowledge workers empowered to make informed decisions. This article will define the complex nature of real-time data, its challenges, and both how we can and why we must bring it into the business.
July 2015: Where is the Money? Part 13 of 36 The Smart Casino Communication and the Tennis Analogy In this article, we explore how, when providing real-time service, we need to be able to enable our service teams to play the communication game to the benefit of both the customer and the casino.
June 2015: Where is the Money? Part 12 of 36 Why Your CFO Should Stop Asking About Hold Percentage Hold percentage has long been used as the metric that determines cost of play. Doing so is dangerously misleading for many reason, including the variability of the rate of play of customers, and that the rate of play is determined by a combination of the player, the bonus rounds and game. In this article, we collaborate with Robbie Sawyer, vice president of slots at Grand Casino Mille Lacs, to examine a more meaningful and mathematically accurate measure of the cost of play.
May 2015: Where is the Money? Part 11 of 36 Finding the Millennials In this article, we dig into the game preferences of millennials and explore how the Soboba Casino is using preference filters to tease out the play patterns and the preferences of millennials to build the future of gaming.
April 2015: Where is the Money? Part 10 of 36 Market Basket Analysis Enables Success at Soboba We revisit market basket analysis and how it has been applied to profit improvement. The critical observation is that the behavior of customers is fundamental to how we can optimize the gaming floor.
March 2015: Where is the Money? Part 9 of 36 Social Media Meets Player Development (Mixing Personal and Business Relationships) As we established in parts 7 and 8 of this series, social media is now a powerful force in the casino industry. And guess what? Good hosts exploit it. Social media is like an invisible force in the management of relationships with customers. Players and hosts can and do send messages, share personal stories and communicate on a very personal level via social media. This remarkable social channel is completely outside of the control of the casino, and because the relationship is personal, exactly who owns the relationship is questionable. In this article, we dig into these ownership questions and suggest ways that the casino can maintain ownership of the patron while the host is connected on Facebook. Before we dig into the player development side of social media in this article, we’ll set the stage with some critical concepts. These concepts define the difference between business and personal relationships and allow us to build out a way of understanding the quite different world we find ourselves in with the advent of social media.
February 2015: Where is the Money? Part 8 of 36 Player Development in Mobile Real-Time World Player development exists as a special gateway between customer and business, and the numbers are often substantial. The percentage of hosted business varies tremendously between markets, with a typical casino running about one-third of its business as hosted. Player development teams work hard to communicate, market and personalize the gaming experience for their players. But in today's real time, mobile-enabled world, player development needs new tools to achieve great results. In this article, we dig into the core requirements for player development tools.
January 2015: Where is the Money? Part 7 of 36 Innovation Analysis We recently explored the role of innovation and the need for change leadership in the gaming industry. However, adapting and enhancing a business is just plain difficult. We can act on research, intuition and guts, but that is not enough. We must also know if our actions are effective. This brings us to the role of analytics, which is to identify opportunities for change and measure the impact of those changes. This article is the first in a sub-series that looks at the analytical methods associated with the identification of opportunities and methods to measure outcomes.
December 2014: Where is the Money? Part 6 of 36 The Rise of the Innovator This article looks at the role of innovation in gaming and a massive sea change in the gaming vendor landscape. This massive sea change will change how the the industry innovates, and the effectiveness of this innovation will in many ways define the vibrancy of the industry in years to come. This article revisits horizontal innovation and how it will be applied to the gaming landscape.
November 2014: Where is the Money? Part 5 of 36 Business as a Privilege It seems like businesses around the world are being blasted with computer hacking events. There are now hundreds of millions of customer credit cards floating around in cyberspace. In this fifth installment of our new "Where if the Money?" series, we examine what being subjected to a major hacking event means in the gaming industry.
October 2014: Where is the Money? Part 4 of 36 Operating in Oversupply In this fourth installment of our new "Where is the Money?" series, we look at front-of-house optimization and its counter-intuitive impact on pricing strategies.
September 2014: Where is the Money? Part 3 of 36 BI to Compete in Oversupply This article looks a front-of-the-house optimization, including how player development, campaign management and gaming operations need to tie together. We also describe how these ties need to be in real time, especially considering how the new diversification of gaming into table games and electronic table games is changing the face of the industry. This discussion extends the previous article of this series, where we looked at the nature of growth in what is often an oversupplied market.
August 2014: Where is the Money? Part 2 of 36: Why Optimize your Gaming Floor? The gaming world has changed dramatically since 2007, and to respond to this change, management practices have also needed to change dramatically. To understand how these new management practices emerged, let’s take a time warp back to to the period from 2000 to 2007.
July 2014: Where is the Money? Part 1 of 36: The Rise of the Gaming Systems Vendor This is part 1 of the new “Where is the Money?” series, which will focus on analytical questions in gaming. We thank our readers for following our previous two installments of this series and look forward to our journey together through these next 36 articles. To start us off, we’re first going to take a look back at an old look forward.
June 2014: Where is the Money Now? Part 18: Looking Back, Moving Forward This article concludes our 18-part “Where is the Money Now?” series. This final article summarizes our journey, highlighting key points from the last 18 months and exploring the four major themes that we have explored: The Customer, Volatility, Big Data and Mobility.
May 2014: Where is the Money Now? Part 17: The Mobile Intersection In this article, we examine the evolution of software development from untamed opportunistic ideas to realistic, real-world rollouts. This evolution seems to take place each time a new development platform is launched. Another evolution has also occurred in who is carrying out this development. Consider the early days of gaming operators who owned the gaming systems and employed large programming teams to constantly evolve features compared to today’s operators who just buy gaming systems from vendors. This evolution is extremely relevant as some gaming operators are once again becoming software engineering firms, building their own apps with substantive development teams.
April 2014: Where is the Money Now? Part 16: Data Ownership as a Bundle of Sticks In our January 2014 article, we described “crazy” campaign relationship management and how to establish control of your customers. In this article, we explore ownership of the customer relationship, its intrinsic value and how easy it is to give this ownership away. One great model to explain ownership is the property ownership model.
April 2014: Yogonet International "Big Data in Gaming" Part 1 This is the first in a 12 part series on big data in gaming, this series will introduce the key concepts around big data, where this data is coming from and touching on how to apply this data in your bricks and mortar business. After reading the first article you should appreciate what big data is or might be doing to your business and some key ideas on how it can be harnessed to move your data world into the age of transactions.
March 2014: Where's The Money Now? Part 15: Online Gaming- Watch This Space The early results from the newly legalized online gaming in New Jersey provide small clues with potentially huge implications—Internet gaming is real and growing slowly. If its adoption follows a typical adoption curve and there is no cannibalization, we may well have a “black swan” event where Internet gaming could double the size of the market in the next five to 10 years. This article explores the numbers from New Jersey and other market data to gain a deeper perspective on the changes. If the results from online gaming continue in this way, then we can say gaming has “gone social” and will truly enter into the world of big data. This article also builds on some of the ideas about customer marketing developed in Prof. A. K. Singh’s and our book, The Math That Gaming Made.
February 2014: Where's The Money Now? Part 14: The Myth of One-to-One Marketing This article looks at one-to-one marketing, the idea and the myth. The article expands on parts 12 and 13, in which we looked at test and control and marketing analytics. The term one-to-one marketing has been around for many years, and yet, closer examination reveals that in many ways it is a complete fiction—or, possibly, that the definition of one-on-one marketing needs to be adjusted. This article also builds on some of the ideas about customer marketing developed in Prof. A.K. Singh’s and our book, The Math That Gaming Made.
January 2014: TDWI "It Takes Guts and Insight to Make a Good Decision"
January 2014: Where's The Money Now? Part 13: Crazy Campaign Relationship Management This article will look at the specialized marketing tools that the casino database marketer needs, building on the ideas introduced in Part 12 of this series. We look deeper into test and control and why a casino has a need for these methods. We explore this by illustrating the needs of a mythical retailer and how it would be considered crazy if it did what gaming database marketers do every day. This article also expands on some of the ideas about customer marketing developed in Professor A. K. Singh’s and our book, The Math That Gaming Made.
December 2013: Where's The Money Now? Part 12: Controlling Customers This article illustrates that marketing with test and control provides true analysis of the results. However, this true analysis does not often result in an immediate lift in the business. Instead, it provides gradual and continuous improvement in the ongoing business. The opposite is also true: Inaccurate marketing may not result in an immediate drop in business, but it is more likely to bring on the beginning of a slow decline. An analogy of this is a super tanker. Turning the wheel of the ship has almost no immediate effect, but once the ship is turning, it is hard to stop. In our experience, the time periods for “turning the ship” are measured in months, but the results will be felt, and the final “direction” will be a dramatic change. In the world of gaming, it is our experience that marketers are responsible for revenue (despite the product also being of utmost importance), so having ways to show how the ship is turning is fundamental to take us from a world of gut instincts and reactionary management to a world of entrepreneurial goal seeking.
November 2013: Where's The Money Now? Part 11: The Unusually Difficult Multigame Player This article looks at some real-world examples of multigame player information. Multigame player information is nonexistent in most gaming systems, and this complete lack of information makes a mockery of almost any theoretical win-based marketing program. This article is a case study of how advanced data matching makes this data easy to handle, relevant and actionable. Using examples from the Silverton Casino, we show how the correct theoretical win is quite different to the box average, with specific examples of how players are incorrectly compensated.
October 2013: Where's The Money Now? Part 10: Theoretical Win vs. The Tipping Point In this article, we look at tipping points and video poker players, with a new twist on accurate individualized game data. The great challenge in the past has been that we know about players at a location and about the games that are played, but not about which games certain people play. This lack of knowledge has plagued the industry for years, but by applying an intelligent data-matching engine, we have figured it out. Remarkably, this new data set gives us a true calculation of theoretical win for each player.
September 2013: Where's The Money Now? Part 9: Scenarios for the Future In this article we continue to dig into the gaming machine perspective that is described in Dr. A.K. Singh's and our book, The Math That Gaming Made, and deepen our understanding of the concepts explored in parts 6, 7 and 8 of this “Where is the Money Now?” series. The adoption of online gaming in North America is a complete unknown, and rather than try to predict the future, this article looks at four possible futures. In describing each of these possible futures, we dig deep into four forecast scenarios to show the overall numbers and what the combined commercial/online world might look like.
August 2013: Where's The Money Now? Part 8: Product Adoption Curves In this article we dig deeper into the gaming machine perspective described in our book The Math That Gaming Made, co-authored by Dr. A. K. Singh, and broaden our understanding of the concepts explored in parts 6 and 7 of this “Where is the Money Now?” series. The huge potential changes descending on the gaming industry, from online gaming to new forms of electronic table games, drive us to analyze the adoption rates of these new technologies.
July 2013: Where's The Money Now? Part 7: The Human Side of Data In this article, we dig into the gaming machine perspective that we, along with co-author A. K. Singh, described in The Math That Gaming Made1. We will also more deeply explore the concepts covered in Part 6 of this “Where is the Money Now?” series by looking at the human side of data. This human side of data might be messy to manage and analyze, as it involves intuition to decipher, but in many cases it can enable true value creation.
June 2013: Where's The Money Now? Part 6: The Human Side of Perspectives of Data: Financial Vs. Slots Vs. Marketing The perspectives of data show how three different consumers of gaming performance data can have three different sets of numbers and that all these different perspectives are actually correct. In this article, we draw heavily from the analysis shown in our book “The Math That Gaming Made,” co-authored with Dr. A.K. Singh, and expand with canonical exemplars that quantify the actual differences. The article describes how these perspectives illustrate the human side of data, a side that is messy, fraught with arguments and strange business rules that determine when things change. This human side results in examples in which it seems like there are no good answers on how to view the data.
May 2013: Where's The Money Now? Part 5: How Players Change Luck III This article further explores how to model streaky play and digs deeper into the math models of real-world gaming machines. We’ll also carry out a “streakiness” analysis, showing how players interact with the gaming machines, using real-world examples of game play. Then we’ll investigate the gaming decision process, looking for changes in game-play speed that indicate a decision has been made (such as changing bet). Finally, we’ll revisit some horizontal innovation techniques described in our book, The Math That Gaming Made, co-authored by Dr. A.K. Singh, such as real-time progressive jackpots that can adjust the gaming experience and how these games can be thought of as changing the “hold” of the game.
April 2013: Where's The Money Now? Part 4: How Players Change Luck II This article further explores how to model “streaky” play, answering questions such as, what is the probability of a player winning five times in a row? The answer, when explored as part of a sequence of games, may seem quite counterintuitive. What is more important is that the “streaky-ness” of game play is a central part of the player experience and stands far above ADT in terms of understanding a player’s response to a gaming experience. Next, this article will introduce a new measure called “Streaky-ness of Gaming Experience” (SGE), which represents how streaky a player’s gaming experience is on the day of their visit. This measure is considered experimental, but when combined with the actual win on a gaming day, it truly shows what is happening.
March 2013: Where's The Money Now? Part 3: How Players Change Luck This is part 3 of the Where is the Money Now Series, this article explores the relationship between lucky and visitation frequency looked. Long held as being invariant the theoretical win of a game is the statistical win of the players over the long term. While from the perspective of the casino with large numbers of players this number is correct, when looking at it from the perspective of the response of the player to the game play is absolutely central to the gaming experience. Managing frequency lies at the center of yield management and customer marketing programs, in this article we will explore different measures of frequency and how these measures of behavior are affected by both luck and the marketing department.
February 2013: Where's The Money Now? Part 2: Why is Fishing Like Gaming This article explores how customer behavior and demographics are suboptimal when it comes to looking at player behavior. This is called “DvB conflict” and is fundamental to how marketing can be refocused on events that relate to how the customer experiences the gaming offering. One example we will consider is the effect of luck—have they been lucky or unlucky? This fundamental gaming experience differs hugely from the average daily theoretical measurement, which measures the expected value of the game play. Furthermore, the expected value of the game play completely (and deliberately) misses the effect of luck. Finally, we will use obfuscated data to show how the variation in gaming experience on games is likely to vary from trip to trip, and discuss how the player might react to this random effect.
January 2013: Where's The Money Now? Part 1: The Youthful Player This article examines changes in player demographics, in particular the games that different age groups like to play. One notable example of player preference is that younger players are playing heavily on electronic table games (ETGs). We will show how ETGs and their small, but growing, market presence may well be a portent of future gaming preferences.
December 2012: Where is The Money: Part 18: Series FinaleThis article summarizes the highlights from the 18 part "Where is the Money" series.
November 2012: Where is the Money: Part 17 Will Macau be the Biggest Gaming Market in 2032 In this article, we’ll analyze the Macau and the Las Vegas markets, but with a twist in time. One of us authors has the privilege of working both in Macau and in Las Vegas. This cross-continent, cross-cultural experience reveals a sharp contrast between the two markets when comparing them in the present day. However, when comparing the Macau of today with Las Vegas in 1992, the similarities are remarkable. This article digs into these comparisons and then rolls forward 20 years to what Macau might look like if development of gaming in the East follows a similar pattern of growth as it has in the North American gaming market.
October 2012: Where is the Money: Part 16: Optimizing Participation Games One of the biggest questions on any slot floor is how to decide on the right level of participation games. This question of participation is a matter of huge debate and underpins an enormous rift between manufacturers and operators. One party might say that these games bring incremental revenue, while the other is questioning if participation games are just reallocating revenue that the casino would have collected. Let’s dig into this question and outline some real ways that, through customer preference and experimentation, we can discover the true value of a participation game. First let’s introduce ourselves to a couple of operator types when it comes to participation games.
September 2012: Where is the Money: Part 15: Great Games in Gaming-The Amazing BuffaloTo find the money once again this month, let’s dig into the analytical challenges posed by another great game in gaming, Aristocrat’s Buffalo. This great game confounds mathematicians and analysts alike, with its amazing ability to continue to generate revenue, despite many versions of this game being nearly 10 years old. Buffalo has been reinvigorated in new cabinets and new gaming platforms but, in essence, it remains the same remarkable game it has always been. Let’s explore the analytical implications of such a great game, addressing issues of how to deal with what can only be considered as remarkable data.
August 2012: Where is the Money: Part 14: Great Games in Gaming-Clue In this installment of our “Where’s the Money?” series, we dig into the analytical challenges posed by another great game in gaming, WMS’ Clue™. This great game combines an online experience with a traditional in-casino experience. The game is changing the way that players play, and the analytical challenge is now how an operator can understand player behavior when much of that player behavior is interaction with a “gaming” experience outside the four walls of the casino.
July 2012: Where is the Money: Part 13: Great Games in Gaming-Wheel of Fortune For the lucky 13th installment of this Where’s the Money series, the authors dig into the performance of another great game in gaming—in this case, the classic IGT game Wheel of Fortune™ (WOF). This amazing product is considered a must-have in nearly every casino across the planet, so we’ll dig into how the analytics related to this “must-have” perception, in fact, make it a reality for at least some properties. Then we’ll expand on strategies for capitalizing on WOF to drive revenue by building out its ability to be a central feature or magnet game for an area.
June 2012:Where is the Money: Part 12: Magnet Games & Paradise Fishing This is part 12 of the 18-part “Where’s the Money?” series. In this article, magnet games will be examined and their role in mini casino design explored. Magnet games often dominate the character of both the area and the players in an area. The examination will continue with a deep dive into the performance characteristics of Aruze’s Paradise Fishing, using preference filters and market basket analysis.
May 2012: Where is the Money: Part 11: War Room Analytics This is part 11 of our 18-part series, “Where’s the Money,” and part three in our subseries on big data. In this article, we look at how money is made by enabling operators to act and that these actions can be facilitated by war room analytics. We then examine how reporting and analytics are very different, and how confusing them is like confusing a motor bike with an 18-wheeler; both can get you to your destination, but the ride is quite different. We describe the art of analytics and how it draws on creative insight and skills that enable a world of collaborative opportunistic profit improvement. Looking deeper into this, we draw on some of the previous case studies of gaming analytics to illustrate how this collaborative opportunistic has been successfully applied.
April 2012: Where is the Money: Part 10: Big Data & Locational Intelligence This is the second article in a subseries to investigate “Big Data.” Locational intelligence is the data that joins brick-and-mortar businesses to social media-centered interaction data explosion. For an introduction to Big Data, please see the March 2012 issue of CEM.
March 2012: Where is the Money: Part 9: Big Data In this article, we will look at “big data,” what it means for the gaming industry, and specifically, what it means for the gaming floor. Big data is essentially ultra-large data sets that are being updated frequently. These data sets are at the forefront of many of the biggest changes in the world today—Google, Facebook and Yahoo! are three canonical business at the epicenter of the big data explosion. The gaming industry has a deep history of exploiting data, and big data is unlikely to be the exception. This article will start to prepare you for the changes that big data might bring.
February 2012:Where is the Money: Part 8: Player Preferences Learned From Jackpot Wharf, Part 2 This is the second article of the “Where’s the Money?” series that focuses on Jackpot Wharf, a mini casino area within Silverton Casino. This article will look into player displacement and clustering analysis of the player behavior. It will also introduce a new concept, preference filters, which are designed to highlight areas of preference for gaming product on the gaming floor. Preference filters are a critical tool for discovering what drives play from players who have a preference while filtering out players who spread their play widely across different gaming products.
January 2012: Where is the Money: Part 7: Finding the Money in Jackpot Wharf, Part 1 This is part 7 of our 18-part series on “Where’s the Money.” This is part 1 of a two-part series on Jackpot Wharf. The second part will look into customer displacement and scientific control. This article digs deeper into the measurement of success of gaming mix optimization in the Jackpot Wharf area of the Silverton Casino in Las Vegas. The objective of this project was to create a destination-style gaming area the builds on the high level of non-local customers in the property. From a very high level, the task was to identify games that had high levels of non-local play and cluster them together around the mermaid tank. This analysis applies metrics such as spend per hour (SPH), utilization and percentage of non-local while considering yield per square foot. One important attribute of the analysis was taking into account what was a significant reduction in the number of gaming devices.
December 2011: Where is the Money: Part 6: Player Experience and Slot Optimization This article will define two kinds of metrics: optimization metrics and outcome metrics. We will also explore how metrics that are related to the player experience can be used as the central driver of gaming floor optimization. In future articles, we will explore how we can use mini casinos combined with optimization metrics, such as corrected utilization and corrected theoretical win, to explore revenue optimization.
November 2011: Where is the Money: Part 5: Gaming Density and Yielding the Floor This article continues to explore how gaming analytics and the right initiatives can drive incremental revenue by looking at a real-world example of how changes in the density of gaming machines impact game performance. In future articles, we will explore how we can use mini casinos combined with new metrics, such as corrected theoretical win, to explore the displacement of revenue from these insight-driven initiatives.
October 2011: Where is the Money: Part 4: Gaming Density and Yielding the Floor In the gaming machine space, for this article we define yield management as techniques to allocate gaming resources among a variety of patrons. For example, offering different times on a slot machine to different tiers of patrons. One measurement of this yield is revenue per square foot. Let’s explore revenue per square foot, then set a framework for optimizing the yield of the gaming floor and maximizing this revenue.
September 2011: Where is the Money: Part 3: Horizontal Innovation in Gaming Machines, Gaming Software and Casino Architecture In this article, we’ll give some specific examples of horizontal innovation that are available today and look into the future at what may yet be to come. First we look at horizontal innovation within a vertical.
August 2011: Where is the Money: Part 2: Data & Databases This article examines one more critical factor in horizontal innovation: analytics. In future articles, we will cover innovation of gaming product, innovation in the gaming hardware and architectural innovation. After we have completed these topics, we will cover how other yet-unseen forms of horizontal innovation may provide the innovation that drives growth in the gaming industry.
July 2011: Where is the Money: Part 1 Horizontal Innovation & Gaming Standards This is part 1 of a planned 18-part series covering how money is made by connecting innovative gaming products with the customer. This article introduces the concept of horizontal products and the innovation that they bring to the whole gaming floor. When looking at horizontal innovation, we will examine two critical factors: innovation of gaming platforms and innovation of the connecting systems. We will examine a further four critical factors in subsequent articles, including innovation in analytics, innovation of gaming products, innovation in gaming hardware, and architectural innovation. This innovation is accessed in terms of how it provides or enhances the return on investment on the gaming floor, and it is compared to the vertical innovation. These areas of horizontal innovation are some of the critical features that define the player experience or shape the player’s perspective of the gaming product. For this article, we welcome the contributions of Peter DeRaedt, president of the Gaming Standards Association.
June 2011: Gaming Floors of the Future: Part 12: Where is the Money? This article provides a recap of the six themes that we and the other authors of this series have discussed over the last year, then brings the series to close while introducing our question for the next year and beyond: Where is the money?
May 2011: Gaming Floors of the Future: Part 11: A New Kind of Gaming Metric This article explores how most of these real estate metrics are now relics of the past and how optimization based on these metrics will, in many cases, result in a reduction in profit. We will consider two broad kinds of new metrics—cost-based metrics and revenue-based metrics—and how these metrics will change with the dynamic gaming floors of the future. When we look at the cost or price metrics, we dig into how the price of the gaming machine and the gaming experience needs to be considered from the analytical perspective. We then dig into revenue metrics and revenue models, showing how test and control can be used to determine the true revenue impacts of gaming optimizations.
April 2011: Gaming Floors of the Future: Part 10: Hold Another Sacred Cow Every slot operator knows the overall average hold percentage of the slot floor. On a day-to-day basis, this does a nice job of letting you know how lucky you (or your customers) were on any given day. Unfortunately, this number is often aggregated over longer time periods and then used to discuss the “price” of your games. However, this aggregation of hold often provides irrelevant and misleading data. While the hold percentage on a single game is a relevant component (although not the entirety) of price, it becomes irrelevant when talking about the price of a group of games, or even the entire slot floor.
March 2011: Gaming Floors of the Future: Part 9, Clustering: to Uncover Hidden Behavior, A Case Study of Silverton Casino In the previous articles in this series, we focused on the combined high-level results of the Penny Alley mini casino at Silverton Casino and the product-based marketing initiative that followed, talked about the opportunities that secondary games bring to the casino and most recently, the behavior-based clustering of Penny Alley customers. In this article, we’ll take a look at how behavioral clustering can uncover the hidden behavior in an otherwise similar group of customers, and how these similarities in behavior lend themselves to direct, product-focused marketing initiatives.
February 2011: Gaming Floors of the Future: Part 8, Clustering: The Key to Understanding High-Dimensional Data-A Case Study at SilvertonCasino After digging into Silverton Casino’s Penny Alley data in the last two articles of this series, we will now take a look at statistical clustering methods and how they can be applied to understanding different customer demographics. It is important to note that all numbers herein have been presented as percentages to obfuscate the raw data and that looking at the actual figures may show some different patterns.
January 2011: Gaming Floors of the Future: Part 7, Mini Casinos Meet Mini Games at Penny Alley: A Case Study of Silverton Casino Part 2 After digginginto Penny Alley data, we decided that we simply cannot do it justice in a two-part series, so we extended this sub-series of “Gaming Floors of the Future” to three parts. Last month we explored the results of combined marketing and slots initiatives that drove significant value to the bottom line at Penny Alley, an area of Silverton Casino that showed that 1-cent games outperformed other games in the area. In this second installment, we will explore secondary devices and the flexibility that they bring operators, specifically a mini casino-focused marketing program that was successfully delivered at Silverton.
December 2010: Gaming Floors of the Future: Part 6, Mini Casinos Meet Mini Games at Penny Alley: A Case Study of Silverton Casino Part 1 After looking at the optimization of the gaming floor, the next step is the extension into product-based marketing. We all welcome Jada Evans, founder of MindSight Analytics, who has worked closely with Silverton Casino Lodge, as a co-author of this article. The mini casino strategy, combined with the power of mini games, is a dynamic pairing. This article explores a real-life case study of how the Silverton Casino used nearly zero capital to deploy a mini casino on its slot floor that lifted net revenue by 10 percent. The case study looks at how the mini casino was designed, how product strategy was combined with marketing strategy, and how the results were analyzed. Furthermore, we open the door to how this mini casino strategy can be expanded into multi-game analysis.
November 2010: Gaming Floors of the Future, Part V: An Analyst's Guide to Slot Floor Optimization When looking at gaming floors of the future from an analytical perspective, in many ways the final goal is to optimize the revenue of that floor. In this article we will discuss single-variable approaches to doing this, as well as some common and costly traps to avoid. In later articles, we will dig deeper into multi-variable analysis and show how these more advanced models can provide even more precise floor optimization.
October 2010: Gaming Floors of the Future, Part IV: Can Multi-Theme Slots Change Players? Part II This article continues our exploration of multi-theme games. Simply put, we were surprised by the clarity and strength of the visual results from our data. Furthermore, the analysis is a great example of an exploratory analytical process (see the Spielman diagram from “Gaming Floors of the Future, Part III” in the September issue of CEM) that we followed to come to our conclusion. We will hold off presenting more statistical analysis on this dataset to preserve its confidentiality. In future research, we plan to involve a wider set of properties and a larger dataset with more statistical analysis, and with this wider set of data we will be able to verify that these results are not specific to our sample properties.
September 2010: Gaming Floors of the Future, Part III: Can Multi-Theme Slots Change Players? The debate rages in the back offices around the effect of multigame slots. These are games that are so sophisticated that they can change from a penny video reel to a virtual reel slot at the press of a button. Furthermore, this press of a button can be made by the player. There seems to be two opposing schools of thought on the subject—the first is that players given more choice will spend more time on device; the second is that players will still move around. This is part one of a two-part subseries on multi theme games. In the second part, we will provide examples of real analysis of the questions we are describing in part one.
August 2010: Gaming Floors of the Future, Part II: The Download on Free Play Harrah’s started its customer loyalty program in 2002 with an investment of about $6.9 million; this figure grew to $95 million by 2005. 1,2 Free play has now become a major part of many marketing programs3, and depending on the system, it can be directed to specific players, games, areas, times of the day or days of the week. This ability to direct the behavior of players is a powerful instrument of change in managing the gaming floor. This article will first cover the math of free play analysis, and then begin to explore how this free play can be applied to downloadable games.•
July 2010: Gaming Floors of the Future Part I of 12: Downloadable Games This article covers the fundamental difference between traditional and downloadable slot games and how this difference may affect the dynamic gaming floors of the future. Currently, operators’ use of downloadable games seems to be due to the ability to run a floor in the same way but with fewer slot techs, so we’ll also explore management techniques for downloadable games that will change the way we run gaming floors. We welcome Dr. Thomas as a new contributor to this series.•
June 2010: Perspectives of Data: Financial vs Slots vs Marketing In this latest installment of our series on the use of quantitative analysis to increase understanding of casino games and operations, we’ll explore how different analytical perspectives have completely different data requirements. In fact, a correct view of the data for a slot analysis may be misleading for marketing purposes. The mathematics involved here derives from set theory and database queries. This article will also begin to delve into data warehousing and data schema design, covering slowly changing dimension (SCD) and how these methods apply to downloadable games, something we will expand on in future articles.•
May 2010: Why do I Need Math? Part V: Skewness and the Player Experience Most of the articles in this series on quantitative analysis are written from a casino’s perspective. In this installment, we take a look at a player’s experience at the casino and the effect that skewness has on that experience.•
April 2010: The Long and Short of It: Slot Games from a Player’s Perspective From a statistical standpoint, the obvious question that comes to mind is: When casinos offer table games that have a much smaller house edge, why would anyone play slots? One would think that academics would have figured out a definitive answer to this question by now, but unfortunately it is not easy to study slot machine gamblers.2 A possible answer is that slot machine games are the only casino games in which a small wager can result in a huge award.•
March 2010: Why do I Need Math? Part IV-A Second Look at the Rebate on Loss Formula This article, while very mathematical, deals with a simple question: How do we calculate a rebate on player losses? Although our previous article used a well-established approximation, our computer simulation reveals that using the formula has many inaccuracies—some quite startling. For example, one player rebate that the approximation formula calculates at 20 percent should be only 10 percent, and the simulation method puts it closer to 8 percent. The mathematics are not for the faint of heart, but considering the potential revenue lost by “over-rebating,” studying this effect is worth the effort for any operator with a rebate on loss scheme.•
February 2010: Why do I Need Math? Part III: Gaming Interactions: The Invisible Force of Social Networks This article, the third part of a series on the mathematics of gaming analysis, takes a look at the effects of social networks within a gaming floor. These invisible forces are a combination of actual social networks and subconscious behavioral patterns.•
January 2010: Why do I Need Math? Part I-Does a 25% Rebate Actually Equal 25%? This article introduces the difference between game play and expected value, following from our CEM Blog series on the difference between actual and theoretical win. In this article, we show how mathematics and statistics play a crucial role in many of the marketing decisions routinely taken by the casinos to increase their base of loyal customers. Specifically, this article discusses the commonly used “rebates on player loss” program and demonstrates why careful analysis is required in using this marketing tool.•
December 2009: Gaming Interactions that Drive Profits, Pt. I: Fuzzy Spatial Association and Gravity Modeling This is the first in a new series of articles on gaming floor analysis; in these articles we will first discuss the analytical building blocks that can be used to decode the interactions between gaming devices on the casino floor. These building blocks include fuzzy spatial association rules, gravity modeling, visual representation, experimental design, mini casino management and social network analysis. This first article covers fuzzy spatial association rules and gravity modeling.•
November 2009: Who is Due Back Part 4: Applying BI to Measure Marketing Results The world of marketing is full of rules of thumb. For example, according to Web Marketing for Dummies, “As a rule of thumb, spend no more than 10 percent of your average sales amount on advertising.” While these “rules” can be powerful mechanisms for making “practical” decisions, we’re going to dig deeper and show how we can apply modeling instead to find an optimal amount of marketing effort. Further, we will show how you can use business analytics to determine if marketing promotions significantly impact win in a positive way.•
October 2009: Conference BI Poster: "A Simple Information Based Method for Clustering High Dimensional Sparse Transaction Data With an Application in Gaming." •
October 2009: Who is Due Back Part 3: A Closer Look At Theoretical Win In this article, we look at the reliability of the measurements themselves. This is a critical addition to our now four-part series, because measurement of the outcome is fundamental to understanding every aspect of the marketing program. It seems that casino marketers have theoretical win in their DNA. This is because they are likely, as are marketers in many industries, to have the recency, frequency and monetary value (RFM) gene.•
September 2009: Who is Due Back? Part 2 This is the second of a three-part series on predicting customers’ “due-back.” Reliable prediction of when customers are due to return to the casino allows the marketing department to correctly select who to include in the next marketing campaign and to decide upon the right level of incentives to offer. This relies largely on segmentation, which is a mathematical classification system.•
August 2009: Who is Due Back? Part 1 This is the first of a three-part series on collecting relevant data so that “customer due-back” can be predicted; this information can be used by all marketing programs. Correctly modeling customer due-back allows the operator to differentiate between customers who should be targeted for the next campaign and who should be left alone.•
July 2009: Golden Gate in 2008: How Golden Gate Casino is Dealing with Recession Gaming companies have historically made a huge proportion of their revenue from only a small proportion of their customer base. A senior casino executive who did not wish to be named once told us that “50 percent of the revenue comes from only 1 percent of the customers.” This huge skew, combined with a massive overall reduction in wealth places the key revenue drivers of gaming business at risk in today’s economy. We think winners in the gaming market are like the winners in the retail market: The operators that cater to the wider market will find growth opportunities in these difficult times. The Golden Gate Casino is a perfect example of this.•
June 2009: Market Basket Analysis VI: The Quartal Graph is Worth Several Thousand Words In this article, we discuss some of the problems faced by operators who, for years, have been collecting ever more detailed interaction data. Since it is extremely difficult to find patterns from tables and charts in voluminous reports, a tool for visualization of multidimensional data on a 2-D plot is a must for BI applications. There are several such tools available, but the quartal graph enables users to plot large amounts of data on an easy to understand 2-D graph that clearly shows the users’ patterns, relationships and interactions among several variables that are very difficult to see otherwise.•
June 2009: Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad "Clustering as a Business Intelligence Tool In this paper, we describe a method of clustering stores or customers based upon transactions data. We illustrate the method using a simulated example.•
May 2009: Turning Market Basket Into Action The Curse of Dimensionality affects data analysis and data visualization as well. We briefly discuss how to deal with high dimensional data from a casino floor in performing market basket analysis.•
April 2009: The Art of Statistical Clusters: Building and Forecasting In our earlier series of articles, we showed how market basket analysis can be used to produce a set of customer behavioral clusters. Once clustering is complete, the next step is the identification and analysis of the individual clusters. This article focuses on how clustering information can be incorporated into forecasting models to improve the forecasts (for variables such as revenue) for each cluster. These forecasts take into account seasonality and other factors and produce a fine-grained behavioral view of the business. Thus, the clusters become mini-business units with their own seasonality and profitability.•
March 2009: Smashing Boundaries with Internet Protocol Research activities in the area of Future Networks are seen as the basis to deliver the next generation of ubiquitous and converged network and service infrastructures for communication, computing and media. This entails overcoming scalability, flexibility, dependability and security bottlenecks, as today networks are primarily static and able to support only a limited number of devices and applications. Such new infrastructures will permit the emergence of a large variety of business models, involving a multiplicity of devices, networks, providers and service domains.•
February 2009: Market Basket Analysis, Part III: Using Demographics and Spatial Information This is the third and final article in our Market Basket Analysis (MBA) series. In last month’s article1 we discussed how market basket analysis can be used not just to analyze a mix of different products purchased by a casino patron in a single visit, but can also be used to determine customer preferences for options and characteristics of modern multi-game machines. In a customer centric organization, the knowledge of customer preferences is key to building a good customer loyalty program2. Here, we will round out the picture by showing how to incorporate customer demographics in the MBA, so we can see the relationships between behavior and a patron’s demographic profile.•
January 2009: Market Basket Analysis, Part II: Recovering Mr. Benedict's Money In this article, we will provide more-sophisticated and practical illustrations, identifying a particular customer interaction with a slot machine as a market basket product. This work will be extended in a third article that will show how customer demography can be combined with the market basket to enable marketing activities that combine both behavioral and demographic insights.•
December 2008: Let's Talk Turkey: Applying Retail Market Basket Analysis to Gaming This is the first in a series of three articles discussing how "market basket analysis," which is well known to retailers, may be applied in the gaming industry. This article covers the fundamentals, the second article will dig deeper and apply practical examples, and the final article will cover how to effectively communicate the results of market basket analysis.•
November 2008: The Math that Gaming Made The history of probability, as you can see, is relatively short. The ancient Greeks and others developed theories of geometry, astronomy and numbers, and other branches of mathematics were developed during the Italian Renaissance. Probability theory, however, was introduced and essentially developed by the Chevalier de Méré’s interest in gambling, which involved three great mathematicians—Pascal, Fermat and Huygens. Today’s Theory of Probability, which forms the basis of the casino industry, has applications in almost every other discipline and industry.•
October 2008: Gaming 2018: Searching for a Simpler World The gaming experience is in many ways a way to provide a simple thrill in what is—and will continue to be—an extraordinarily complex world. The tools to make gaming products will develop huge capabilities, but the manufacturers’ challenge is that, in the end, players are looking for a simple game.•
September 2008: The Petabyte Era of Gaming Data The volume of data in the world is increasing at an extraordinary rate. This growth rate is so staggering that we now consider it possible only to estimate the total volume and the potential end point. This astronomical growth in data storage means that by 2010 the world will be storing more than 1021 data points (10 with 21 zeros)—this number is about the same as the estimated number of stars in the universe.1 Businesses operating in this universe of information will be challenged to apply not only their own data, but also to relate it to the data produced and stored by other businesses.•
August 2008: Gaming: An Endless Fountain of Cash It is our hypothesis that the slot machine gaming market reaches saturation when the number of people per slot machine, which we will refer to as the people-per-slot (PPS) ratio, approaches 100 in the population. Once this number is reached, the addition of more gaming machines will no longer result in additional revenue. We do not have sufficient data to prove this statistically, but the available data from both the Australian and U.S. gaming markets seems to support our hypothesis.•
July 2008: The Demise of the Slot Manufacturer? With the midway mark for 2008 just freshly passed and 2009 mere months away, we believe it may be time to take yet another cue from the computer industry to ensure the continued success of the gaming industry. If we applied the Manifesto for Agile Software Development (http://agilemanifesto.org)—which states that software developers should value individuals and interactions over processes and tools; working software over comprehensive documentation; customer collaboration over contract negotiation; and responding to change over following a plan—to the business of game development, hopefully no gaming manufacturer in the future will be forced to go the way of Wang Laboratories.•
June 2008: No Recession in Las Vegas This article discusses a study that covers the Las Vegas gaming market, which is a huge part of what is now a massively growing industry. Given the strong correlation between visitation and gaming revenue, it is our expectation that—provided the market is not over-supplied—the impacts of regional gaming on Las Vegas are minimal. Our statistical study of the visitation patterns in the Las Vegas market gave us what statisticians consider a good model using the well-proven ARIMA methodology. The results forecast that Las Vegas will continue to grow in the upcoming months and will respond in a positive way to upcoming openings.