Give Them What They Want

by Ed Meyer

posted on October 19, 2010 in General Discussion | No Comments >>

I love the idea about rebates for players. I have worked in the industry for some that embrace the idea, and those that fear the thought. But, if you come right down to it, where else would you rather have your money? In some advertising, that may or may not have an effect, or would you rather re-invest in your best players?

For me, the answer was simple. I loved the possibilty of giving back to our biggest players. You cannot give a cash reward to everyone, and it would become a vicious cycle of people chasing the $3 in cash. It would have the feel of a slot promotion, as most horseplayers don’t want to be mentioned in the same sentence.

Here is an idea. Take your 100 best players at the track. Let’s set a rate of 4% to start. This doesn’t sound like much, but we can pull from the budget of promotional tools that will never hit this demo. Take player “A” he bets $500,000 a year. Now, we give them a nice┬árebate of 4%, for the sum of $20,000. I would make a big evening of this, and invite them to come out and bring a guest for dinner at the races. I think if we invest in our best players, that we can count on their loyalty. The casinos will not recognize this as fast, and unless you live in Vegas, this idea is never going to be used by everyone.

You are probably saying that $20,000 is too much. But, it hides behind the numbers. Take 2% from their handle all year long, and the rest can come from the budget allotment. How many can there be? Out of 100, there may be 30….. That comes to a tidy sum, but it is well-deserved.

I say that we have $1 beer and dogs for the young crowds, and have a few bands sprinkled in for the fun. Hats and t-shirts for the masses, and minor events from your marketing gurus. But, the biggest part should be paying attention to the whales in racing. There are plenty who bet off-track, and they will continue because they like your product. For the on-track players, we need to build up a loyalty program, and give aspirational goals to the next level to get their playing rates up to your expectations. You can even toss in a few players who are on the bubble.

Just think, you will create loyal players. You will give them what they desire, and publicly thank them. The days of expecting are over, and it won’t be long before they make the endangered species list. And if they go, your business will follow.

We had a player who bet over $4 million a year. I plucked him from a competitor track, and they never even missed him. They just guessed where the money went, and nobody cared. I grabbed him , and we took him in… He loved it, and stayed loyal for a long time. He was up near $6 million, and Vegas called. They catered to him, and he finally outgrew the desert. He now lives there, and bets offshore getting 8% back on his money win or lose….He vanished into thin air, and I happened to see him not long ago. He was back for family, and he told me that things were going great. He had just eclipsed $8m for the year, and things were far from over. He said the rebate would kickstart his year, and keep him coming back for quite a long time. He shook my hand, and thanked me for being so nice to him long ago. I told him the pleasure was mine, and that if he ever came back, we would always be there for him…. I just don’t think we will see him. The rebate hook is set, and this whale is gone far out to sea.