Redefining Casino Strategy: From Revenue to Experience

by Andrew Cardno

In the sprawling expanses of the modern casino, where fortune flirts with every spin, an invisible metric has been silently shaping the fate of the gaming floor: Win Per Unit Per Day (WPUPD). At a glance, WPUPD seems like a straightforward yardstick, with the daily earnings of each machine indicating its success. Yet, within the intricate dynamics of the gaming world, leaning too heavily on WPUPD can misguide casinos and potentially erode larger revenue prospects without also understanding metrics that provide insight into the player experience. Therefore, as the gaming world evolves, so should its metrics.

From Revenue-Centric Days to Player Experience

Historically, the gaming industry was straightforward in its approach to floor optimization. Each game’s placement was dictated primarily by its ability to generate revenue. The rule of thumb was simple: if a machine couldn’t keep up with the average revenue expectations of the house, it would find itself on its way out, replaced by a newer, presumably more attractive option.

During the initial phase of the casino industry, such an approach was not just justified but perhaps essential. The demand for gaming experiences far outweighed the supply, and the number of choices available to players was comparatively limited. In such a scenario, revenue was a logical and effective barometer to measure a game’s worth.

Today, amid an abundance of online and offline gaming avenues, players hunt for experiences, not just games. It’s no longer about which machine earns the most, but which keeps players seated the longest. While some players might get wooed by modern slots, there are still segments who remain loyal to their favorite classic machines and themes.

Pitfalls of the Revenue-Only Approach

Blindly following the revenue and machine-based performance metrics poses risks to the player experience. Replacing a machine due to its poor machine-based performance metrics might mean you are removing a high-value player’s favorite game. Without taking the player experience into consideration before taking machines of your floor, you could be unknowingly driving away a high-value guest or small group of loyal customers; therefore, removing a low revenue machine can displace incremental revenue that reduces your property’s overall bottom line.

In today’s saturated market, standing out is essential. Diverse, strategically grouped game offerings that cater to the wide-ranging types of gaming experiences desired by your players’ can be the game-changer to differentiate your tribal casino from its competitors.

Navigating with “Win Per Unit Per Day”

The metric WPUPD, though straightforward, hides several nuances. This standard industry metric provides valuable daily insights, but using it as the sole yardstick is treacherous. A machine’s weekday performance might pale in comparison to its weekend dazzle. Plus, WPUPD overlooks the broader narrative: player preferences and experiences. Some units, despite unimpressive WPUPD stats, might be catering to a niche but dedicated player segment; removing such a game might leave you realizing those players’ loyalty resided with that game, rather than your property. Therefore, a necessary aspect of retaining player loyalty means understanding your customers’ gaming experience and which machines keep them coming back.

Limiting game choices based on WPUPD can deter both regulars and newcomers. Imagine the regular casino-goer, loyal to a set sequence of machines, only to find one missing. It might not just interrupt their gameplay but potentially deter future visits.

Furthermore, high volatility games, offering larger but infrequent payouts, might show inconsistent WPUPD, yet draw thrill-seekers. Player experience-based metrics such as volatility, devotion, occupancy, and theo per hour of play (i.e., the average cost to play a machine per hour) can help you determine whether removing a lower performing machine will impact players’ experience and how they interact with your gaming floor.

Thus, the path forward demands a deeper dive, understanding player patterns, embracing feedback, and seeing the larger picture beyond immediate earnings.

Flying Blind With WPUPD: The Real Cost

Misreading or over-relying on WPUPD can cost casinos dearly. Decisions based on this transient metric often misalign with player preferences. Benching a machine that’s a weekend or special event star, for instance, risks alienating a faithful segment. And the implications extend beyond gaming revenue, potentially impacting earnings from food, beverage, and entertainment.

Moreover, in a competitive era with countless gaming choices, losing a loyal patron due to an uninformed floor change can lead to sustained revenue losses. Such miscalculations can sometimes result in a drastic 10% dip in revenues – a significant, yet avoidable, loss.

Towards a Player-Centric Future

Modern casinos in this highly competitive industry require a holistic, player-centric approach. While revenue metrics are pivotal, they should seamlessly intertwine with the broader canvas of player experience. A blend of traditional metrics, modern analytics, and keen understanding of player behavior is the need of the hour.

The gaming world is in flux, and adaptability is the key. Prioritizing player experience isn’t just a modern strategy; it’s the future. By balancing both revenue and experience, casinos can truly strike gold in this ever-evolving arena.

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].