I’ve been having some fun with my gaming blog watching what is happening in the casino and gaming market. While I’m no business analyst and would be lucky to win a game of poker against my dog, I do have my ear to the ground on twitter and have wicked Google skilz. Let’s see where that takes me (I avoided mentioning staying at the Holiday Inn Express but heres a good video if that adds to my credibility 🙂  )

Las Vegas

So, for my first wild prediction, I predict no change.  OK, I think customer count and the amount they spend will increase in 2011 so it will be a better year than 2010 which was better than 2009.  However, unless you live there, flights are not getting cheaper (which is what is slowing me down) and new casinos are opening as other states try to get a piece of the pie. Assuming Atlantic City gets their act together as well,  it makes tough competition  for the increased spending of customers.

Social Media Involvement

We already know many of the casinos are involved with Facebook and twitter with some of them getting pretty good at it. However, relative to other industries, they all can improve. Those that have started blogs have likely seen hits are increasing but the number are small relative to traffic on their website (I’m just guessing from their content).

I predict we will see the laggards catch up by finally getting their own Twitter addresses, Facebook fan pages, blogs and iPhone and Android apps.  Those that are here already will be consulting the experts on how to do it better and measure it better.  The gaming community (aka customers) has more influence than ever before so we’ll see more urgency to tap into this in 2011.

Location based Apps

While we are on social media, one of the growing areas are location-based apps like Four Square, and Facebook places.  Mashable has a good article on more of them.

If I check into a place, all my friends know. I suspect it will be a no brainer for the casino marketing folks to realize that my checking into my favorite casino is going to get their brand name in front of others. Maybe my friends will talk to me about it.  Maybe we will go together next time. Maybe they will give a discount to the “Mayor”. Maybe they can track customer data from this.

BTW, marketing people – why don’t you load your favorite location-based app right now and see who is checking into your casino … or your competitors casinos. I do, and it turns out it’s me and my friends.

Online Poker

Online poker becomes legal –depending on where you live. This is a really touchy subject. Gambling addiction is a problem so being able to access it with a few clicks of the mouse definitely concerns many people. On the other hand, by keeping it illegal in the US causes any potential income to be lost to foreign countries. Plus, those that want to gamble can still get to these foreign sites (yes, some block it but you can get around it if you want to). At least if it is monitored and regulated in the US, we can keep the money in the US, make sure safeguards are put in place, and help those with a real problem.  So watch for the practical arguments to start outweighing the moral arguments in 2011.

More Game and Network Based Video Slot Machines

This is really less of a prediction than an acknowledgement that the current trend in slots will continue.  Personally, I became more of slots player in 2010. Why?  Because I found the Star Trek machine from WMS.  It was a blast from the past. Then my wife and I started playing the new “Reel em in” which is a classic that has continued to evolve.  Being able to compete against the people you are sitting next to or watch the big fish move between the machines is a much more social and fun activity. It also keeps track of your high score like the old arcade games.

This new breed of network game machine can attract a whole new set of customers. I haven’t seen the data that the casinos so closely watch but I can easily tell which seats are full when I visit the casinos.  I do know whomever brings the Star Trek slots back to Tunica will be getting most of my money 🙂