The Costco Casino

April 2, 2024 7:14 PM
  • Dennis Conrad
April 2, 2024 7:14 PM
  • Dennis Conrad

A great number of profitable casino-development opportunities still remain. And depending on the country, market, funding, leadership expertise, and strategic plan, many of them could make sense for the right casino company or individual. These opportunities include:

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  • Buying an existing casino
  • Building a new casino
  • Expanding an existing casino
  • Buying an existing online casino or sportsbook
  • Starting and operating a new online casino or sportsbook
  • A variety of other casino or “casino-like” business opportunities

All have their own challenges, hurdles, key-performance indicators, and paths to profitability, though they can all be viable for the right casino investors and management. But one packaged opportunity, I believe, would be a category killer in the casino world. I haven’t seen anyone attempt to build it or precious few casino innovators even dabble in it.

I’m calling it the “Costco Casino.” No, these are not casinos in Costco. But come to think of it, maybe that’s not a bad idea.

Costco creates value for its customers in every aspect of its stores, mostly as defined by its items having the lowest prices. Sometimes you have to buy bulk quantities or specific Costco brands (e.g. Kirkland) to receive these very low prices. And of course, you have to pay a yearly Costco membership fee.

Costco has both its detractors and its devotees. I get that. But here’s where I think the power of the Costco formula lies (and why an innovative and courageous casino company should emulate it). When Costco comes to town, it’s always mobbed and profitable. So why not a “Costco Casino?” Let’s call it “Casinco.”

You’re likely skeptical about, if not downright antagonist toward, the notion of a Casinco. Well, let me see if I can warm you to the notion by describing my vision of it.

  • In a Casinco, the price of every gambling game is the lowest possible to still maintain a profit for the owner. Customer value is embedded throughout.
  • In a Casinco, the actual price of the slot game is listed on every slot machine. By “price,” I don’t just mean the denomination, but also the hold percentage. And the price to play a Casinco-branded slot machine is even lower.
  • Every Casinco has its signature promotion, its own version of the Costco $1.50 hot dog. It might even be a $1.50 hot dog.
  • Casincos are necessarily locals’ casinos and located in cities with a certain threshold population. They are indifferent to other nearby (non-Casinco) casinos. In fact, they welcome nearness to casino competitors, because of the power of their value formula.
  • Like the Costco free-sample stations, a Casinco has periodic free samples of new gambling games, or “specials” (perhaps bonuses) on longstanding games for short periods of time.
  • A Casinco is mainly about the gambling that takes place there, as gambling is the primary reason most Casinco customers (and customers of “regular” casinos!) go there. The employees at a Casinco are trained to take customers to their desired game, show them how it works and how to play it, and fix it if something goes wrong.
  • When new games are to be purchased or leased for a Casinco, the casino customers are actively involved in selecting them.
  • A Casinco has no ATM fees, so a customer never has to pay to access money that will be spent at the Casinco.
  • Food and drink are good quality, easy and quick to get, and inexpensively priced. It’s easy to eat while gambling and surprise treats are routinely served on the floor.
  • Casinco employees speak “casino.” They know how to celebrate winners and gently console losers.
  • For senior managers, their “office” is the casino floor, and their “job” is to make employees’ jobs easier and to make customers feel appreciated.
  • Signage in a Casinco is always happy, fun, thankful, and encouraging. You’ll never see “Rules of Prohibited Conduct” in a Casinco.

In short, a Casinco is the liveliest and most value-filled casino experience you can imagine. In fact, it has so much value that Casinco customers gladly pay the $100 annual membership fee to gamble there ($200 for the deluxe membership), in case you’re wondering, “How do I make money by giving away the store?”

So for all of you current and would-be casino owners and developers, here’s your opportunity. Take a look at all of the orphan, underperforming, or even closed casinos that you can purchase for a song. Turn them into Casincos (or whatever catchy name you want to call them). Stop focusing on how much faster or more thoroughly you can take gambling customers’ bankrolls and focus exclusively on how much value you can give them. You’ll soon have all the business and something tells me you’ll be happy with your ROI.

Don’t believe me? Well, just go talk with the Costco folks. I’ll bet they could give you some thoughts on how to “do casino.”

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