How to Stay in Business and Attract Customers in a Competitive Environment


After the success of Goodfellas, Martin Scorsese re-teamed with Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci to make Casino. At a time when violent, profane criminality was back in style thanks to the breakthrough of Quentin Tarantino, it looked like the film would be a monster hit.

The fact is, however, that casinos are extremely competitive businesses. They are competing not only with each other, but also with non-gambling resorts, on-line gaming and an illicit gambling business that is much larger than the legal one. It is rare for a casino to be profitable, and many casinos end up bankrupt. So how do they stay in business? And how do they attract and retain customers in such a competitive environment?

In his book Designing Casinos to Dominate the Competition, author John Friedman outlines how casinos use design and psychology to lure and keep customers. His key premise is that it is better to have people in the casino than it is for them to leave. Therefore, he says, remove all indicators of time and other external realities to keep players in the casino longer. This includes making it difficult to find the bathroom or other necessities.

Casinos are a unique destination, and it is important to market them in ways that set you apart from competitors. Consumers almost always trust each other more than they do brands, so highlighting testimonials from happy guests and recent winners is a great way to boost credibility.