Eyes on the ball in Las Vegas

The greatest BI show of them all opens a week from this Sunday in Las Vegas, the TDWI World Conference. Naturally, anything about Vegas and The Strip draws my attention—such as Sunday’s story about the local paparazzi.

They just can’t get a break there. Celebrities come and go, often in private garages, and the poor picture poppers mope around like neutered cats.

Las Vegas is where the money-makers have their eyes on the ball: the little guys who lay down their spare change at the roulette wheel, Keno parlor and slot machine.

At Harrah’s casinos and probably others, they do more than watch. It’s all about data, and like good card counters everywhere they keep figuring the odds on every known player.

Harrah’s customer-relationship management, aka CRM, won recognition from our very own TDWI in 2000. Harrah’s is said to know, for example, that gamblers who lose money (forget winning) for 18, 20, 24 hours or more actually give up less money than those who go for shorter stints with breaks in between.

What’s a casino keeper to do? Well, he goes down to the hard-working but about-to-be-fatigued player and presents a nice little meal voucher. “Mr. Player, we’ve noticed that you’ve been losing money for five hours straight. We’d like you to have dinner now—on the house—at Bad Restaurant With A View.”

The player, rested and fed, almost always returns to play more than he would have otherwise.

The money’s in the data.

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