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Arizona bets on customer loyalty

30 January 2008

ARIZONA -- As reported by the Arizona Republic: "Arizona's booming casino industry is stealing a page from Las Vegas' playbook.

"It's building prosperity on middle-class consumers who are armed with rewards cards similar to frequent-flier cards.

"Gamblers are pumping a steady stream of revenue into casinos like Harrah's Ak-Chin or the Gila River properties, hoping to get enough points for prizes like all-expense-paid trips to Lake Tahoe or seats at sporting events.

"...They have issued more than 500,000 rewards cards that allow them to collect valuable demographic information and generate brand loyalty in an increasingly competitive market.

"...Harrah's has 73,000 active Phoenix-area members in its rewards program, which is so well known in the business world it's used as a case study in many MBA programs.

"...James Ward, who researches customer-loyalty programs as a marketing and management professor at Arizona State University's W.P. Carey School of Business,said Harrah's figured out it could make more money catering to middle-class people than to a few jet-setting billionaires..."

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