Casino must be designed to keep people coming back

Getting customers in the door for a first look at a new casino is easy. Everybody wants to check out the new joint in town.

Having the right game mix to keep the players coming back — now that’s a different matter.

Modern gaming floors must be all things to all players if the seats are going to remain occupied. Novice and expert, budget player and high roller all have to be satisfied — all with dashes of glitz and excitement, if you please.

More than 80 percent of casino revenues come from electronic gaming devices, but not all slot players are alike.

Some gravitate to the reel-spinning slots that have been with us for generations. Others head straight for the video slots, whose animated bonus rounds and free spins yield plenty of entertainment back for the buck — or nickel, or penny.

A healthy mix of slots with progressive jackpots feed player dreams. A percentage of all wagers is added to the jackpot until someone wins, and lighted signs blare out the prize amount. Such signs, along with big, brightly lighted games, sound effects and video displays, help fill the sensory excitement gap left when slot machines started paying in bar-coded tickets rather than coins clattering in the tray.

The flash and exciting mix of games will satisfy most players, but a core of casino veterans will need to see games that give them a fighting chance to win, video poker with the right pay tables and blackjack with a fair set of house rules, if they’re to return.

On the tables, most of the players will flock to standards such as blackjack, craps, roulette, Three Card poker, Caribbean Stud and roulette, but novelty games help keep interest. Some players will be looking for low minimum bets to stretch their bankroll — USD 10 a hand is about as low as it gets in Detroit — while the high rollers will be looking for maximum bets in the thousands.

Budget players and high rollers alike will be looking for cash back, meal comps and other perks through the casino’s player rewards club. Friendliness counts, too. A rude dealer or supervisor is a sure way to send the customer to the competition.

A customer who wins money is always the most satisfied. No casino can guarantee that, but with the right mix of games and service, any customer can have enough fun to come back for another try.