In this episode, Nick & Don welcome ReelCast's first guest--industry consultant and executive education pioneer, Lucien Wijsman. In this wide-ranging discussion about mix management and slot marketing, Wijsman emphasizes the critical importance of player segmentation, and expresses his concerns about how over-diversification, imbalance, and obsolete mix management practices are hampering slot performance.


Nick Hogan:

At Reel Metrics. We collect and analyze a ton of slot data, and we’re hit up frequently for insights, tips, and tricks. So we decided to do a webcast in which we present, discuss an otherwise nerd out on our work. Coming to you from our offices in lovely Leiden in the Netherlands, welcome to Reel Cast.

Hi Don. How are things today in your neck of the woods?

Don Retzlaff:

Gorgeous. It’s a beautiful day. How about you?

Nick Hogan:

Yep. Spring has finally sprung over here. We’re recording this on Mother’s Day, and incidentally, the day of the Leiden Marathon in which plenty of mamas are participating. My wife is also out there running today. So after this, I need to run over to a post-race barbecue that we’ll have raging next to our canal this evening, so that should be a hoot. As you know, I’m fresh back from Mexico City where I spoke at AGS’s Game on Mexico event. Once again, AGS absolutely hit it out of the park. Cool venue, great speakers, very enthusiastic customers. There was a big marketing focus at this one with a great presentation by a Mexican marketing professor named Cesar Enriquez Moran. That was phenomenal. And then a very lively keynote by the Mexican boxing champion, Ricardo Finito Lopez. Do you remember this guy is Don?

Don Retzlaff:

I do.

Nick Hogan:

Okay. So that guy has a ton of energy and interestingly during that keynote he quoted Jose Saramago, George Bernard Shaw, Hermann Hesse, and Theodore Dostoevsky. So not exactly the type of books you’d expect to see on a boxer’s nightstand. A pretty fascinating, dude. But in any event, it was a great event. Huge thanks to AGS, the attendees and fellow speakers. It was absolutely worth the trip over. So moving along here, we did receive a listener question that I thought we could address quickly. And on that note, we’d love to tackle any questions that anybody listening may have. So if you have a question about what we’re presenting or something you’d like us to present, please drop us an email at Again, that’s R-E-E-L-C-A-S-T Our policy is to keep all questions anonymous, so please speak directly and don’t worry about us revealing your identity. We don’t do that.

Okay, so this question came from a name that really surprised me. Now, we have our anonymity policy here, so I can’t reveal the name. But let’s just say it’s a person who wrote one of the more foundational books ever written about casino operations. I read it in my late twenties. It remains my bookshelf to this day. So can’t name the name, but trust that it’s a very heavy hitter in our industry. So the question was in response to our last episode on Jackpot Liabilities and High Links and it reads, I recently discovered Reel Metrics enjoying the podcast. One question. Are the comments and data derived from your analyses relevant to American tribal casinos? Many are in more rural locations and tend to be much smaller operations. So again, many thanks to listener who sent us that. Hugely appreciated.

Now, first, just to clarify, a sizable portion of our data comes from tribal casinos, both big and small. So not only are the insights relevant to tribal casinos, but many are derived directly from them, so that’s that. And with respect to the jackpot liability topic, Don, in that first or in that episode, you were very careful to introduce a few caveats about six digit jackpot seeds and very small operations, specifically those that lack the players who can afford those higher average bets. So any chance you could reiterate a few of those points on the smaller casinos with those much larger jackpot seeds?

Don Retzlaff:

Sure. You definitely have to have the clientele to be able to pull off one of those large progressives. Just like you wouldn’t have a hundred dollars blackjack game at eight o’clock on a Monday morning when all your players are betting $5 [inaudible 00:04:44] you really can’t have those large jackpots if you have a small casino. You can, you just have to have a lot of courage to be able to pull it off. I’ve got casinos that track their large players because there’s so much of their win. If they come in and they drop a hundred thousand dollars, it’s a large percentage of their daily win. So you really have to look at it. Do you have the clientele to be able to pull these off? Most casinos have $5 and $10 machines on their floor. You know that over the life cycle of the machine, they’re going to hit, but it’s not going to kill you.

But some of these new video games that have these million dollar jackpots or half a million dollar jackpots, you’ve really got to be careful and make sure you have that customer base. It’s the same thing on the video poker side. Some of the action gaming games, if you set them up incorrectly and someone gets super, super lucky, it could have a really big effect on your bottom line. So you just have to look at your liability and all your games and figure out what your comfort point is. Yeah, is it a hundred thousand dollars jackpot? Are you comfortable with that? Is it a quarter million dollar jackpot, are you comfortable with that? Look at your customer clientele. Talk to your GMs, talk to your executive teams and figure out where you want to be for what’s your largest hit, because they do hit.

Nick Hogan:

Yep. And I seem to recall, Don, you were saying something kind of in terms of the size of the slot floor. I think you were saying something like below two to 3 million a month in slot revenue. You may want to be a little bit more

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