As we all know at this moment in time only 3% of the UK population have entered a casino. The number of those who then return is dependent on so many factors such as standard of service, atmosphere and in many cases how lucky they were at the tables.

We have now seen the emergence of several new operations in the UK who are recognising the need to change direction and have become “entertainment venues” rather than casinos. The first of these large scale operations, Star City in Birmingham was followed in October 2005 with Aspers in Newcastle and soon after Manchester 235. The most recent venues to open are the Empire in Leicester Square and the Isle casino in Coventry which has an enormous 100,000 sq ft of space, 5 bars, 3 restaurants, and live stage along with the normal gaming facilities of live games, poker and slots. There are several other operations opening within the next few months which are also continuing this new trend towards entertainment.

The question on many industry analysts’ lips is how are they going to fill these venues on a regular basis? Certainly the Isle located in the Ricoh Arena, does have the advantage of regular football games and concerts, however will this be enough to bring the return on investment required?

It is plainly obvious that such operations cannot survive wholly with the middle of the road ‘punter’ or high roller. All casinos need to make themselves attractive to a much wider range of clientele. The ‘destination’ casino has arrived here in the UK and it is paramount that operators grab what chances there are to pull new customer through their doors.

The lowering of restrictions on casino advertising and the need for membership no longer required from September 2007, allows casinos to target their facilities to a greater audience.

How can they do this simply and cost effectively? – through Mobile Marketing is the answer.

Using the device that everyone has to hand all day, whether they are out for lunch, watching TV at home or in the car, casinos can target existing and potentially new customers with a simple direct message via SMS or MMS.

It is predicted that in the UK in 2007 over 45 billion text messages will be sent, with over 3.75 billion per month, equating to over 123 million per day. This makes over 2 messages per person per day in the UK alone.

Mobile Marketing has successfully been used in the Nightclub arena for many years especially by companies such as BarPromoter, located in the North East. Club owners send regular texts to their database of subscribers informing them of events, special drink and food promotions and provide vouchers for use in their premises.

Using a Pull and Push marketing method, casino marketing departments can increase their customer acquisition programmes by pulling in data from subscribers during a marketing campaign or as a standalone promotion tool. Once a database has been generated and using their existing database on members, messages with relevant context are pushed out to encourage customers to visit your premises.

The beauty about mobile marketing is that it is generally initiated by your customer through an ‘opt-in’ mechanic. This then gives the operator the permission to market as much of their product for as long as they wish until the subscriber ‘opts-out’ by texting STOP to the provided text number.

By texting a ‘keyword’ such as ROULETTE to an advertised shortcode (a 5 digit number such as 60777), subscribers can interact directly with your brand, using a personalized service, direct and simple communication and the opportunity to provide feedback. These keywords and shortcodes can be included in any advertising material used across all methods of media such as TV, radio, posters and press.

The benefits for the casino are that you can communicate quickly and easily with thousands of your potential customers, target specific client groups, raise your brand profile and provide the opportunity for instant feedback to them.

Mobile marketing is also cost efficient. With messages costing from as little as 5p, this cuts your direct mailing budget by at least 80% not including printing costs. Why not use email ? I hear you say. Well with email there is less likelyhood of opt-in, messages are content heavy whereas texts are context heavy- more direct and to the point. With emails, people tend to ignore such while direct messages to their handsets do not need to printed off and just need to be shown on arrival at the casino.

So you want to know more about mobile marketing? One of the UK’s leading mobile strategist and solution providers are Interlinked Media. With over 5 years working with high profile clients both here in the UK and more recently in the US, they can work with you to achieve valuable, successful and above all cost efficient marketing campaigns. Operating the BarPromoter nightclub SMS marketing service, Interlinked Media have the technological knowledge together with real casino industry experience to assist any operator to increase the effectiveness of their mobile channel.

You can contact Colin Stewart at Casino Marketing Design by texting COLIN to 60777 or email at Colin@interlinkedmedia.co.uk who will be happy to arrange an illustration of how mobile can increase your marketing effectiveness.

Colin Stewart is Director of Casino Marketing Design and worked in the casino industry for over 23 years in the UK and Europe.

www.casinomarketingdesign.co.uk

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