Casinos are an integral part of the Gulf Coast economy, but how do they differentiate themselves from one another? Executives in the casino industry say it's the non-gaming areas, such as pools and restaurants, which give casinos the competitive edge. Slot machines and table games are staples you can find at any casino, but executives in the industry say games aren't where casinos can pull in new customers and win big profits.
Casino leaders say pools and restaurants now yield a bigger profit margin than the cards and slots and because of this, they are working on ways to raise the bar in these areas. Thomas Hoskens of Cunnigham Group Architecture, Inc. says, "You have to get beyond the restaurants. You have to get beyond the pools and nightclubs, what's that other big thing that's going to regionally draw people." It's the attractions unique to Biloxi that executives say will pull more tourists to casinos in our area.
Bradley D. Schulz, the Vice President of Bergman Walls & Associates, says nightclubs and pools are the two non-gaming amenities that bring in the biggest profits, but he says although it works in this market, that isn't the case with casinos across the board. Schulz says, "Astronomical, the amount of money that they're getting for the cabanas around the pools and the nightclubs, the table service, the bottle service is generating huge income, but that won't work in all markets." Speakers from the Southern Gaming Summit say the key to success in the casino industry is targeting the right demographic with your non-gaming amenities.
Hoskens also says, "I think people love the combination of the young and the old together. I think the fact that when you create a casino, you have every demographic there." Industry leaders say older gamblers tend to head to the slot machines, whereas young people hit the tables, nightclubs, and pools, but nightclubs are trying to find a way to incorporate casino games that appeal to younger gamblers.
Schulz closes, "So we're visualizing that games are going to play similar to video games.” As the casino industry continues to adjust to newer gamblers, they still want to remain loyal to their older customers.