THE UN-LICENSED COMPETITOR

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Do you know with absolute certainty who ALL of your competitors are? Maybe, but now imagine a competitor who provides more convenience than you can, one who has a massive amount of personal information about your customers, and one who doesn’t have to play by the same rules. Seems unfair and impossible as you think about how hard you work to acquire and develop customers over your competitors and the capital you invest in marketing offers and staff to entice players to choose you over someone else. Now imagine that same competitor not having to reinvest anything of significance and simultaneously garnering billions in revenue from your market. The harsh reality is you’re already competing against such an opponent. In addition, that competitor is using the practices established by you over the years and applying them with very few restrictions and responsibilities. Who is this competitor that seems to operate in a fantasyland compared to yours? Online.

Casino operators have amassed an industry filled with excitement, loud and flashy games, guest service, hotels, shows, the excitement of travel, and everything else that will attract customers. When you boil all of that down, it’s very simple; we aim to make a player feel good. We’re selling the experience. You can say it’s winning that makes them feel good. You can say it’s the rewards and amenities that make them feel good. Those certainly can play a part in the big picture, but there’s something more physiological to all of it. The key component that we don’t exist without is dopamine. The brain, by nature, loves a casino. The brain wants to figure out puzzles. Only the smart can figure things out, so the brain rewards itself with dopamine when it can deduce a pattern. It’s why players “know” when a machine is going to hit. It’s why the near miss works. As it turns out, the brain really goes bananas when it figures out a puzzle, and it doesn’t quite understand how it figured it out. Essentially, your brain can feel lucky. It’s also why some people will sacrifice everything for that reward and become “problem” gamblers. A slot machine or a hot roll on a craps table both play perfectly into this process.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE BY MICK INGERSOLL IN THE FALL 2020 EDITION OF GAMING & LEISURE MAGAZINE.

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