Acres unveils method to calculate a slot player’s gambling bankroll

February 24, 2024 10:04 AM
Photo: CDC Gaming Reports
  • Mark Gruetze, CDC Gaming Reports
February 24, 2024 10:04 AM
  • Mark Gruetze, CDC Gaming Reports

Acres Manufacturing has developed a new benchmark of player value that uses slot machine data to gauge the size of a player’s gambling bankroll.

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The company’s Player Budget feature aims to replace average daily theoretical loss (ADT) and actual loss, the long-established formulas for ranking and marketing to players.

“Theoretical (loss) is simply not accurate and actual loss is often misleading or manipulated,” the company’s Noah Acres said. With the data collected by Player Budget, “you can’t disguise your play, you can’t lie about it, you can’t trick the casino. It’s pinpointing everybody’s tolerance level for gambling.”

Player Budget identifies the customers “with deeper pockets and higher profit potential” for operators’ best marketing offers. The company estimates that inefficient marketing costs operators tens of billions of dollars a year in lost profits.

Player Budget is a recent addition to Acres Manufacturing’s Foundation system, which collects real-time data from each slot machine on a gaming floor, whether the player is carded or uncarded. Noah Acres said the data for Player Budget has been accessible since Foundation was installed in a casino, but the dashboard giving operators the ability to easily work with the information wasn’t available until recently.

The application bases a player’s bankroll on their total buy-in at a machine, one of the hundreds of data points Foundation monitors continuously. To illustrate weaknesses of the ADT and strengths of Player Budget, Acres used an example of two players who each end a 90-minute slot session with a $100 loss. One buys in for $100, hits a few payoffs early on, and continues playing until the credit meter zeroes out. The other also buys in for $100, but a stretch of bad luck leads them to put an additional $700 into the machine. As they reach the last credit, their luck begins to change and the second player cashes out with $700.

“We’re benchmarking the highest in-session gaming loss a person experiences,” Acres said. “It’s not what they walk away with. It’s what they were exposing to the casino of their own money.” While the first player racked up club points by playing through all the winnings, the second player demonstrated more long-term value to the casino by putting far more of their own money at risk.

Acres said the example illustrates “a really big problem” for the industry: Marketing offers are the same for every player in a particular tier. “Some of these players may have earned that (reward), but for a really big percentage of them, it’s just a random guess.”

The Player Budget dashboard also suggests one of four marketing strategies to maximize spend and loyalty for each player:

  • Meet: This effort targets uncarded players whose spending level suggests they are potentially valuable. A host or other casino representative should encourage the player to join the loyalty club.
  • Maximize: This targets club members with additional profit potential and includes enhanced marketing offers.
  • Maintain: This targets club members with established frequency and loyalty; marketing offers can be kept at their current level or possibly reduced.
  • Exclude: Advantage players, problem gamblers, and other unwelcome customers would get no marketing offers.

The result, Acres said, is that operators become able to cherry-pick the best players and give them an incentive to return instead of a reward based on play history. “Incentives are personal. Something that might incentivize you might not incentivize me,” he continued. “Player Budget is one tool that casinos can use to determine, on a person-by-person basis, what it takes to incentivize you.”

Acres said the company has a team of data scientists working full time on finding correlations about what makes games popular and how players behave. One current area of study involves determining how much new money specific games bring to the gaming floor. That would provide a metric beyond the standard of win-per-unit. “We’re just trying to predict what games are really contributing to profit,” he said.

That’s also the goal of Player Budget.

“By looking at every player’s individual budget as their spending threshold, a casino can truly personalize a marketing offer to their players,” Acres said. “Any marketer, no matter what business, wants to know how much money you have in your pocket and how much you’re willing to spend. Player Budget goes a very long way toward answering both those questions.”