ATLANTIC CITY – The future of the casino business belongs to those who embrace and push for cutting-edge technology to improve customer service and back-of-the-house efficiencies.
That’s the word from an executive whose company this year issued a card that players can use to accumulate gambling points at one casino, redeem them an hour later for show tickets at another casino and charge dinner to their hotel room at a third casino that night, with all data updated every 8 seconds.
“They (customers) love it,” said Jim Murren, president of Las Vegas casino giant MGM Mirage. “They want us to know everything about them. They want to be recognized for their value.”
Murren was keynote speaker at the Gaming & Technology Conference, an annual confab where industry wonks discuss the most profitable ways of getting customers to spend more.
MGM Mirage uses sophisticated software programs for a variety of tasks to service its behemoth casino hotels on the Las Vegas Strip. With the click of a mouse, employees can monitor construction and renovation projects, coordinate hotel group sales among different casinos, or place intracompany office orders.
It’s that kind of thinking that prompted InformationWeek magazine to rank MGM Mirage 68th on its list of the most Togel Hongkong technologically innovative companies in America, tops among gaming or hospitality companies.
In all, the company uses 10,000 desktop PCs, 500 servers and 21 operating systems to keep its $3.6 billion operation running smoothly.
On another front, MGM Mirage last month became the first major U.S. gaming company to start an online casino. Its PlayMGMMirage.com site operates from the Isle of Man, a small island in the Irish Sea, and uses a blend of technology to ensure that it accepts bets only from countries where Internet gambling is legal.
Murren said the task of creating MGM Mirage’s frequent-gambler card, called Players Club, was daunting. The company had to combine, cleanse and weed out redundant information from the names of customers among its nine different casino player cards.
In April, some 18 months and $25 million later, the company has a database of more than 20 million names.
“That’s pretty powerful,” Murren said.
Murren urged casino companies to buy technology solutions before building them, saying it’s cheaper and more flexible to use outside vendors.
MGM Mirage is co-owner of the $1 billion, 2,010-room Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, scheduled to open here next summer. Because lead partner Boyd Gaming Corp is operating Borgata, it won’t be part of MGM Mirage’s Player Card but will benefit from the company’s technology expertise, Murren said.
“It’s a technology-rich facility,” he said.
Murren did not mention his company’s decision last month to shelve plans for a wholly own casino hotel next to Borgata. He did emphasize that MGM was responsible for boosting the size of Borgata by 800 rooms and $250 million and that his company is spending millions on infrastructure for the Borgata and possible MGM Mirage casino sites in the Marina District.
LCI to sell casino at 50 St James
London Clubs International, the troubled casino operator, has put its prestigious 50 St James Casino up for sale with a price tag of more than £50m.
The group completed a debt restructuring in the summer, but still has £320m of borrowings, which it has promised to reduce.
LCI admitted it wanted to release cash from the casino, but said it was looking at a number of options. Gaming sources said the business was being auctioned by Deutsche Bank, LCI’s advisers.
Sol Kerzner, the founder of Sun City in South Africa, recently bought £30m of LCI’s debt. He is understood to have met with LCI’s senior directors in London last week.
The 50 St James Casino is valued at £55m in LCI’s books. It owns five other casinos in London, two more in the UK and four abroad. It also manages the insolvent Aladdin casino complex in Las Vegas, which was recently placed in Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
LCI is also believed to be preparing to sell The Sportsman, a downmarket casino in London. The building’s lease is about to expire and LCI has leased a new one, but needs money to fit out the casino.