Data Analytics: How Market Basket Analysis Unleashes Creativity in a Diversifying Tribal Gaming Market

by Andrew Cardno

Tribal casinos have a wealth of data, yet without the ability to get the data to the right team members who have the skills to use it effectively, it is impoverished. Now, more than ever, the need for transformative data and analytics strategy across gaming operations is integral to the ability to control the constant growth in data, and is especially critical to the ever-evolving need for access to actionable data.

Making sense of data on a granular level allows a tribal casino to understand and visualize patterns of player activity and discover new ways to optimize the business across operations in an ever-changing world. After all, the true value and beauty of data is not just its ability to describe reality – it is to deepen our understanding of it and to use that understanding to take meaningful actions.

Data can be applied to powerful analytic techniques such as market basket analysis (MBA). By performing an MBA, a wealth of actionable data can be discovered providing insight to the customers’ behavior. This insight helps tribal casinos explore a great deal of cross-selling opportunities, optimize game placement and mix, accurately manage comps, more effectively target players with personalized offers, and discover more lucrative operational policies. Once the casino team learns the value of this powerful technique, they will likely be drawn to other equally powerful methods that can allow for creativity to be unleashed with the guiding hand of data.

The massive diversification of entertainment offerings in Indian gaming will provide substantial growth for those who apply MBA techniques to their casino’s product and service offerings as it allows the casino to unlock the complexities of managing a huge range of products. Considering just the gaming floor, there are dozens of manufacturers, new game types, and entertainment games all providing an extremely dynamic gaming experience. The ways we looked at data ten years ago are just not sufficient enough to understand how to obtain the right mix on the gaming floor for all the different demographics that make up a modern resort customer base. Thus, MBA bolsters the ROI from the property’s diverse enhancements with greater velocity and capability. Extending the market basket analysis to encompass all areas of gaming operations will equip a team with a 360-degree view of their customers to explore the complex combinations of their spending patterns and product choices in both gaming and non-gaming areas.

As proponents of MBA, a tribal casino’s marketing and player development teams will be empowered with the knowledge of newly identified market segments and characteristics to target specific audiences of customers at the right time with messages and offers that are most relevant to them. As these different market segments are viewed from the perspective of the mix of products, the marketing team can target actions to specific groups of products to ensure that they are bringing customers to areas with a capacity to provide a great customer experience. In addition, MBA is a kind of analytics where it is not reliant on forecasting to drive value, and this is intrinsically sensible in a world that seems to be rocked with “black swan” events with severe impacts every year.

Organizational data is the most valuable asset as it is the starting point of discovering the answers and solutions to business questions. A great deal of actionable customer behavior can be discovered even as a casino begins conducting simple analyses and amazed by the seemingly limitless depth at which they can understand their customer base and guest preferences as they dive deeper into the rabbit hole of patron data and reveal finer grain segments that were once imperceivable.

Whether or not it has been realized yet, every tribal casino has already collected vast amounts of data and can make transformational and innovative changes through MBA to increase revenue, player development, and customer loyalty in ways that were previously unimaginable. In order to achieve greater results from the data already collected, however, it must be analyzed from different angles to find new perspectives and insights. Achieving a competitive advantage will require innovation, and that begins with getting innovative with data and how it is put to work.

Upon searching for ways to give old data new meaning, a treasure trove of information can be discovered to guide the tribal casino to make better business decisions to develop a greater level of intimacy with players and optimize operations across the enterprise, thereby optimizing revenue and customer loyalty. Furthermore, as an organization applies market basket analysis, it is using the kind of analytics that can withstand an uncertain and unpredictable future.

Andrew Cardno is Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer of Quick Custom Intelligence (QCI). He can be reached by calling (858) 299-5715 or email [email protected].