The Friedman Management Group (FMG) is pleased to offer its proven expert consulting services in six areas (click, or scroll down this page):
Let us show you how our 37 years of successful U.S. and International casino consulting and management operations experience can work for you. FMG will help guide you through a successful transformation of your casino business.
The FRIEDMAN CASINO DESIGN PRINCIPLES® are derived from the first mathematical analysis of player counts in both busy and slow casino interior settings. The findings show how players are positively or negatively affected by specific casino design elements. This 20-year research project concluded that interior design and equipment layout have a greater impact on player counts than marketing, management, and operations combined.
When casinos compete for the same market, the one that most conforms to the FRIEDMAN DESIGN PRINCIPLES® always has the highest player counts, win and profitability. This rule is validated by every casino market competition - in every gaming venue in the world.
Many major casinos use striking exterior themes and/or extensive marketing promotions and advertising campaigns to attract a steady stream of potential players into their facilities, but few casinos showcase or merchandise their gambling equipment. Traditional casino design fails to effectively display the gambling activity, and this is why only a small percent of first-time visitors stop and play in these casinos.
In contrast, the FRIEDMAN INTERNATIONAL STANDARDS OF CASINO DESIGN® highlight the gambling action and focus visitor attention on it, enticing them to play. In addition, the majority of players return to the intimate, appealing, comfortable gambling settings time and time again. This is why the FRIEDMAN PRINCIPLES® always dominate the competition!
Bill Friedman, president of FMG, offers four closely related, but separate, design consulting services that utilize the FRIEDMAN CASINO DESIGN PRINCIPLES®, which are presented in the book DESIGNING CASINOS to DOMINATE the COMPETITION. You may select the FMG service(s) that will best assist you to achieve your goals.
*Drivers are non-gaming facilities - such as food, beverage, and/or entertainment - that are needed to attract enough players to keep the tables and machines occupied. Drivers should be strategically located to draw players into the least accessible gambling areas.2. CASINO DESIGN - DISPLAYING THE GAMBLING ACTIVITY:
The FMG team studies every exterior property element that affects an establishment's image. Then FMG presents to management both the reality of what is there, and the way visitors perceive every exterior element's visual impression and its impact on potential play. This report and the accompanying photographs typically surprise management by revealing what visitors actually see and experience.
Our recommendations lead to correction of existing problems, and they remove many problems from future expansion and new building plans that customarily occur. Application of the FRIEDMAN CASINO DESIGN PRINCIPLES® literally builds in competitive advantages. The FMG evaluation and recommendations include:
Finished designs for new projects, expansions and remodels will conform to all the FRIEDMAN INTERNATIONAL STANDARDS OF CASINO DESIGN®, and Bill Friedman will imprint his "Stamp of Compliance" and "Compliance Seal" on the drawings.
The FRIEDMAN DESIGN PRINCIPLES Compliant® certification mark proprietary seal informs Lenders, Investors and Gaming Analysts that architectural and layout plans comply with the "Friedman Winning Design Principles" presented in the book DESIGNING CASINOS to DOMINATE the COMPETITION. It also affirms that Bill Friedman contributed to the design planning.
Bill Friedman has an unrivaled record of transforming long-term losing Las Vegas Strip casinos into winners. He transformed two perennial losers - the Castaways and Silver Slipper - into Nevada's top performing casino profit makers per square foot for more than a decade.
Innovative marketing is Bill Friedman's trademark. He compiled an historical catalog of every major Nevada casino's marketing program since 1931, and this knowledge enabled him to develop numerous new casino-marketing programs that appealed to players' desires and interests. These programs contributed to the Castaway's and Sliver Slipper's extremely high player counts, gambling equipment occupancy, and profitability. In addition to developing many new concepts, he improved upon earlier casino's successes and avoided repeating anyone's failures.
Bill Friedman created the original slot club programs at the Castaways and Silver Slipper, which other casinos did not copy until the development of card system technology to track player performance. The slot club is now the casino industry's primary marketing tool.
FMG is prepared to introduce the next evolutionary phase in casino marketing by exploiting the weaknesses in today's slot player clubs. He has prepared new concepts and plans utilizing his updated marketing catalog to take advantage of these weaknesses. These innovative programs are design to capture today's player markets and propel your casino's business far ahead of the competition.
Casino companies are copycats. In American corporate culture, executives who innovate a program that fails are never promoted again, but if they copy other companies' policies, no matter whether they succeed or fail, or if they do nothing, they continue to advance up the ladder. Thus, casino marketing contains little originality. Every U.S. casino offers the same basic marketing program, with minor variations.
The major gaming corporations have "standardized" corporate marketing policies, a one-size-fits-all, cookie-cutter approach. No adjustments are made for the unique market, facility, and competitors at each location. Thus, all American gaming corporations operate at least one long-term, seriously under-performing casino.
In contrast, FMG specializes in guerilla marketing tactics. This means FMG first analyzes the physical and marketing strengths and weaknesses of your operation and your competitors' operations to identify market opportunities. FMG then designs specific facilities and marketing programs to successfully position your property and to pirate your competitors' players into your casino by attacking their programs where they are weakest and unable to sufficiently adjust or retaliate.
No competitor is so large or successful that creatively-designed targeted guerilla tactics cannot substantially impact their player base. This is why Bill Friedman and FMG have been able to take smaller, older casinos and grab enormous market share from major luxury resorts that have finer and more diverse amenities. These proven marketing plans enable FMG to transform long-term losers into winners.
This approach is especially effective against corporate-owned casinos, which typically ignore their competitors' new marketing attacks. Even when they recognize the detrimental impact on their market share, their marketing staff is restricted by company guidelines and corporate training. In addition, FMG launches its marketing assaults after competitors have already committed their promotional budgets.
Our advertising approach is also unique. Most agencies just make pretty pictures that show your logo and create a nice image. But FMG creates ads and commercials that deliver players to your casino, while establishing who you are. FMG uses attractive pictures, but they package strong messages that produce player response as well as player awareness.
FMG knows how to reach all types of bettors. For example, its innovations pioneered Nevada's large sports book business, when Bill Friedman opened the Las Vegas Strip's first sports book in a casino at the Castaways. The inventive programs made it America's most popular and publicized book.
The many innovations include: introducing the first football handicapping contests - the "Challenge" ($1,000 entry fee) and the "Ultimate Challenge" ($5,000 entry fee, unheard of then, and still today) - creating the first parlay cards for Monday Night Football, proposition bets, and teasers; offering higher maximum wagering limits; introducing the 10-for-11 basketball line and the dime baseball line; and establishing a multi-media network, radio, TV, cable and newspapers (over 100) and wire services for the "Castaways Vegas Line."
Building & Expanding Your Casino Player Base - Summary:
The primary casino marketing goal is to attract the highest-denomination slot players and highest-limit table players available. Bill Friedman and the FMG team specialize in targeting and delivering the most valuable casino players obtainable. This is achieved with market identification research, effective marketing programs, personalized hosting, player productive events, and alluringly designed VIP tables and slot areas.
In contrast, only a few U.S. casinos attract upper-income players, and a small percentage attracts large numbers of middle-income players. Despite the tremendous proliferation of casinos across America, the Las Vegas Strip casino win has continued to increase every year (until the 2008 financial collapse) due to the vast majority of the nation's casinos catering primarily to low-income players, thus creating a market void.
Every Native-American tribal casino, and every U.S. racino (racetrack slot casino), attracts predominantly low-income, small budget slot and table players, which minimizes their potential profitability and market growth. This includes the two large Connecticut tribal casinos because they too suffer from the standard tribal casino weaknesses. However, both attract some high-limit and high-denomination play because they have the advantage of location. They are in the center of America's densest concentration of wealth, and their location places them closer to these high-end players than the Atlantic City casinos, which are situated inside a high-crime neighborhood.
Every one of the many Native-American casinos and racinos that have been managed and marketed by U.S. gaming corporations and management consulting firms has suffered from this typical low-end problem. Even the expensive VIP slot areas in racinos and tribal casinos that were designed and marketed by the U.S. gaming corporations managing them have been embarrassingly empty failures.
The Las Vegas gaming corporations have similarly made mistakes in concept design to serve and merchandise their high-end table players. The Strip resorts have led the world in high-end play, but they have faltered with their new private gaming salons, showcased to cater to "whales," who risk $1 million or more each trip. Three were introduced on the Strip in 2002, but the average annual win at the MGM Grand, Caesars Place and Mandalay Bay was far less than one million for each casino. This means the world's biggest players have totally rejected these elegant, exclusive gaming salons, according to a January 6, 2004 Las Vegas Review-Journal/Gaming Wire business article distributed worldwide titled: "Plenty of Good Seats Are Available: Aimed to Attract High Rollers, Private Gaming Salons Flop." The article reported a recent Nevada Gaming Control Board analysis.
Every U.S. racino and tribal casino suffers from major mistakes in design, marketing, positioning, imagery, operations, and non-gaming drivers. In spite of this, most are still profitable, but they are producing the most minimal profits possible instead of maximizing their potential win.
No Native-American casino or racino has successfully targeted the middle and upper-income players, who live in their market area. Thus, these valuable players travel to Las Vegas or other destination gambling resorts.
FMG wants you to win and to win big by optimizing your profitability. Thus, our competitors' survey (see: the Casino Planning and Development section below) will focus on the interior design, amenities, and non-gaming drivers of every high-denomination slot area and high-limit table area at competing casinos.
Since most casino VIP slot and tables areas are poorly designed, Bill Friedman's application of the FRIEDMAN INTERNATIONAL STANDARDS OF CASINO DESIGN® will produce far superior high-end player settings. FMG will use the competitors' survey information to recommend the types and sizes of upscale amenities and non-gaming drivers to keep the VIP slots and tables busy by accommodating every potential player market's tastes.
Targeting High-End Players - Summary:
Machine player appeal greatly increases or decreases potential win. Unfortunately, 99% of all new slot types have a disappointing return. When a few slots of a new type are placed on the floor as a novelty, their win is almost always above the house average due to player curiosity. But, their wins drop below the house average before they pay for themselves, a strong indication that manufacturers and casinos do not understand the elements of positive player appeal.
Even the popular 9-line 10-coin slots are developing serious player dissatisfaction. Fortunately, Bill Friedman's effective payoff schedule solution will make them top moneymakers for many years to come. The casinos that apply this formula will capture their competitors' players.
By studying the characteristics of every slot type that has achieved long-lasting popularity in history, Bill Friedman has found the consistent patterns that accurately identify which new machines will be successful and which will not. These proprietary findings are contained in his copyrighted analysis THE FRIEDMAN SLOT ADVANTAGE, which has not been published, but is available to clients.
This information enabled Bill Friedman to popularize the $1 slot machine in Nevada in 1976 by creating a special $1 slot reel strip. Every Nevada casino copied his innovation, so $1 slots increased from just 3% to 50% of the state's total slot win in just three years. His promotion created a new market of slot players, doubling Nevada's slot win.
He introduced these slots at the Castaways and Silver Slipper, where they produced Nevada's highest average win per machine for more than a decade. This was achieved while competing with the surrounding luxury Las Vegas Strip resorts offering finer and more diverse amenities. Both casinos were the locals' favorites even though the neighborhood casinos were located nearer to the residential markets.
Bill Friedman and his FMG associates can create exciting new reel strips for your casino to lure today's slot players away from your competitors.
To maximize win, all machines need to be strategically located by machine type and denomination in relation to the traffic flow, the non-gaming drivers, and the crossover play that occurs between specific types of machines and with other games, such as the tables, live poker, and bingo.
The setting for each type of machine is important, especially for high denomination slots, which should be placed in very special areas that are much more player appealing than those found in almost all of today's casinos.
Player Appealing Slot Mix - Summary:
The Las Vegas Strip resort casino designs have long served as the world's model. The megaresorts offer elaborate exterior facades and attractions to entice enormous numbers of tourists, who are walking and riding along the Strip, to enter their casinos, but few of these visitors stop and gamble. "No Strip megaresort is able to lure even 10% of its visitors to its gambling equipment, and some have player-to-visitor ratios below 2% to 3%," as explained in DESIGNING CASINOS to DOMINATE the COMPETITION: The Friedman International Standards of Casino Design.
These poor player-to-visitor ratios cause low player occupancies at the tables and slots. Even when the Strip resorts are sold out and when the casinos are busiest during the evening, it is rare for a single casino to achieve 20% slot occupancy. Typically, a few Strip casinos approach 15%, and many of the rest are nearer to 5%. The high-end VIP table- and slot-area occupancies are even lower.
These extremely low occupancies are surprising because 86% to 87% of tourists gamble an average of four hours a day, according to Las Vegas Convention and Visitor Authority surveys conducted for decades. Tourists walk from one Strip casino to the next looking for an alluring gambling setting, but only a few specific areas in all these casinos are ever busy. These areas feature the FRIEDMAN INTERNATIONAL STANDARDS OF CASINO DESIGN®.
Bill Friedman has guided numerous clients on a walking evaluation of ten casinos that reveals their many serious interior design and performance weaknesses. Participants are always stunned to see all the empty slots and tables in every traditional barn-style design. This walk graphically demonstrates why casino operators should not use the Las Vegas Strip casinos as models.
The Megaresorts deserve credit for greatly increasing Strip room, dining, and entertainment prices and retail sales. However, Strip casino design and marketing policies produce weak player occupancies, minimizing win.
Any of these resorts could dramatically increase its player market share and dominate the competition by attracting a much larger percentage of its huge visitor flow to gamble. This can be accomplished by utilizing the FRIEDMAN CASINO DESIGN PRINCIPLES®, and the innovative, progressive marketing strategies, all above. These generate top player counts, optimizing profitability.
FMG offers two related, but separate, casino research analyses before casino planning can proceed. They ensure that the conceptual plans, interior designs, equipment-selection, and marketing are appropriate and effective for a specific location. The two consulting services follow:
This table- and slot-player-market and casino-competitors' evaluation compiles the information needed to accomplish the four essential goals that follow:
1. Identify the available table- and slot-player markets and assess their population size, income levels, and gambling potential:
FMG conducts a demographic analysis of the available markets and also visits the key markets to evaluate the types of transportation available, the difficulty in commuting, and the travel time to go from major residential areas and hotels to the casino. FMG produces a detailed written market analysis that identifies the most valuable available market segments for targeting. These segments are categorized by population density, affluence, propensity to play tables or slots, ethnicity, and professional or personal affiliations. This information is used in the Marketing service (above) to provide a strategic blueprint of marketing solutions to produce the largest and most affluent player base possible.
2. Evaluate the competing casinos' design, marketing, and operational strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. And also determine the distances and travel time between every casino and the primary markets:
FMG conducts a survey of the casinos competing for your potential player markets. These casinos will be evaluated for number of tables by wagering limits, number of slots by denomination, types of tables and slots, table- and slot-occupancy rates, average player-wagering levels, player profiles, table and slot wins (as available), hosting and complementary policies, and the number, types, seating capacities, price/amenity levels, and occupancy rates of the non-gaming drivers. FMG combines this information with the market potential analysis in number 1 (above) to produce the indispensable data in numbers 3 and 4 (below), which is required to design a casino of the ideal size and possessing the proper amenities to match up with the size of the potential market and the intensity of the competitive situation.
The following calculations need to be correctly computed and specified to the architects before the drawings are begun for an expansion or a new casino. This analytical data prevents the investment and casino size from being too small to satisfy the available market or to maximize profits, or from being too large, which squanders capital and produces a spacious, uninviting gambling setting.
3. Determine the appropriate number of each type of table game, and each denomination of machine, for the potential player base:
FMG combines the information about the player-market potential and the competitors' features, and locations in relation to the primary markets, in numbers 1 and 2 (above) to determine the correct number of each type of table game and each denomination of machine and the appropriate size of the VIP table and slot areas.
4. Determine the number, types, and patron capacities of pertinent non-gaming driver* facilities needed to keep the specific number of tables and slots busy:
FMG combines the information from the previous three (1, 2 & 3) computations - player-market potential, competitor intensity, and amount of tables and slots - to determine the correct number, types, and patron size of non-gaming drivers to keep the recommended number of tables and slots busy and to effectively accommodate every potential player market. This includes the amenity levels for the VIP table and slot areas, and the types of up-scale and ethnic drivers needed to target and accommodate the available high-limit table-player and high-denomination slot-player niche markets. FMG will recommend menu items that players are known to prefer. These drivers affect player satisfaction for each income level and ethnic group. All of these complements will make your casino a major player attraction in its area and for a large radius surrounding it. FMG combines the driver sizes, amount of equipment, and back of the house support functions to precisely determine the total square footage or footprint needed for the casino expansion or new building.
*Drivers are non-gaming facilities - such as food, beverage, and/or entertainment - that are needed to attract enough players to keep the tables and machines occupied. These drivers should be strategically located to draw players into the least accessible gambling areas.
This competitors' survey focuses on the current mix of machines, and the total player counts for each type machine, at every competing casino. Occupancy rates reveal which machines are hot, and which are not. Every casino has many types of under-performing machines, so occupancies are critical to determine market preferences and avoid copying other casinos' purchasing mistakes. FMG looks at every factor that will be involved in the slot selection process, including the ratio of each slot type by denomination and the ratio of progressive and proprietary lease machines. It is best to conduct this study at the time the machines need to be ordered, so the purchasing decisions will be based on the most up-to-date competitor results, but this can be included as part of the competitors' design, driver, and location study above.
Planning & Development for Expansions & New Casinos - Summary:
A preliminary phone discussion and/or meeting is needed to establish your objectives and goals. If the meeting is held outside of Las Vegas, there will be a fee for travel time and for an evaluation of the casino or the proposed project. Then FMG will submit a proposal for those services that you are interest in.
THE FRIEDMAN MANAGEMENT GROUP
Phone: +(775) 372-1271
P. O. Box 373, Amargosa Valley, Nevada 89020, USA