How New England Casinos Will Start Recovery in 2021

How can New England’s Casinos increase visitation and revenue? That’s our question today in Part Two of our Series “Assessing New England’s Casinos in the Last Week of 2020.” Here’s How New England Casinos Will Start Recovery in 2021.

Missed Part One of the Series? Here It Is – Assessing New England’s Casinos in the Last Week of 2020

Related PostMaine Casinos Lead New England in Revenue Decline.

Casino gambling’s immediate future in New England has never looked so bleak. It’s time to see where we are, where we are going, and how we’re going to get there.

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Getting Guests Through the Doors

New England’s casinos must get people to visit. With available vaccines and testing, we hope for the number of hospitalizations to diminish. But that won’t have an impact on the next three months.

We’ve seen that those who gamble increasingly visit the casino. It’s the fringe players that need to show up. Guests who enjoy gambling, amenities, dining, and entertainment are shying away. Many people like to gamble, as long as they have all the other stuff that accompanies the experience.

Dining is limited by capacity and a lack of sit-down dining. Entertainment is on the back-burner at most New England casinos until April. And, only three of the eight possible casino hotels in New England are open. Where do we go from here? Little steps are needed. Little steps forward.

Keep Protocols and Dedication to a Healthy Environment

The beginning of 2021 is no time to let the health and safety measures slack. If anything, casinos need to pound out the steps to bridge that confidence gap between casino and fringe players. All former guests must be made to feel confident on the gaming floor, in hotels, spas, restaurants, and stores.

Offers and Promotions Must Improve

Casino marketing can’t throw the usual gambling promotions and expect the same result during the pandemic. After players are more confident visiting, give them promotions that will get them through the door. Combine gambling and dining promotions that give players a reason to spend a long time there.

It may mean raising the bar on multiplier days. Adding promotions that are easy for 1/2 day sessions. Getting away from the all-day entry type of sweepstakes promotion. With casinos not offering the usual non-gaming amenities, casual patrons are apt to stay for those all-day marathons. C’mon, marketing staff – it’s time to not only think out of the box, but it’s also time to make a new box.

More of How New England Casinos Will Start 2021 Recovery

Entertainment Is A Must…..Down the Road

As soon as possible, live music must be offered. It adds to the atmosphere of the casino and provides a major non-gambling option. Patience is needed, and months may have to pass by. But during this time of pulling back, levels of entertainment offers must be in the planning stages. When hotels open, how about a package that includes in-room streaming of concerts, room service, and room discounts. Of course, with any new developments, state legislatures will have a say in the more lenient experiments. (One advantage to tribal casinos on sovereign lands.)

The Reinstatement of Live Poker Rooms

Opening poker rooms will bring back a clientele that stays longer and utilizes the dining options available. Take-out is not a problem. And while the rake is a small part of poker wagering that helps revenue, it a little step towards revenue increase.

But poker rooms bring in another clientele that’s different from the slot player, video poker player, and other table games. Getting more bodies inside is the ultimate plan.

More Safe Dining Options

Instead of closing up space, use it for food options. Encore has food trucks in their casino. Foxwoods uses the Ballroom for the VIP lounge area. With additional space, bring out restaurant facades with temporary plexiglass stations separating eating customers from those walking by. Mohegan Sun has a long walkway to the Winter Garage. Add temporary take-out kiosks along one side that fit into the beautiful Native American culture theme.

The bottom line is that dining is the one thing that is allowed in most casinos. Please take it as far as your state legislatures allow. But always be reminded of our first suggestion above – Keep Protocols and Dedication to a Healthy Environment.

Summary

It’s a “Catch 22.” Without revenue, the staff is at an all-time low. Without enough staff to care for customers, revenue decreases because guests don’t believe the casino wants to care for them. Thus, players don’t return. Whatever it takes, casino employees need to get back to work.

I understand that my suggestions are over-simplified. But this is not the time to pout over state restrictions, waiting for normal to magically appear. Guess what? The virus is not going to magically “go away” either.

It’s going to be a long haul to the end. But as long as casinos and management continue to work hard on building confidence in the player, the race to recovery might not take so long. Little steps forward.