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A Great Business Opportunity

How to develop an effective Asian casino business strategy

These days, the demographic of the Asian population is changing rapidly. In the past, the only places with large Asian populations were in big cities like New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco. But now the Asian population is more spread out throughout the country. In addition, you see smaller groups of different Asian nationalities like Hmong, Laotian, Thai and Cambodian, at the side of high-gaming-profile Chinese, Vietnamese and Korean depending on your casino’s location. Therefore, wherever your casino is located, Asian casino business is here to stay.

I have many opportunities to visit casinos in the U.S. due to my consulting business. And I was particularly surprised to witness that many casinos are taking a very reactive Asian marketing development approach, even where they have very healthy or potential Asian business.

Developing Asian marketing is no different than domestic casino marketing. You have to develop and maintain Asian business with proactive marketing effort regardless of the volume of your current Asian business. That is the right marketing policy, and rewards will support your bottom-line performance.

The first step toward developing Asian marketing is total understanding of the nature of Asian business in your marketing territories, locally, regionally and nationally. Since the Asian population is everywhere and there are many Asian ethnic groups that exist in your marketing territory, understanding, recognizing and identifying demographics of Asian population is a must.

Based on these analyses, you should establish your Asian marketing plans, strategies and goals as well as your Asian host language mix, and the number of hosts/player development staff you need. Then, establish effective Asian marketing programs by ramping up your Asian marketing to the next performance level.

Secondly, it is important that you choose the games that appeal to Asian players. Any casino seeking to develop the Asian market must offer Asian table games that appeal to Asian clientele: baccarat, pai gow poker and pai gow tiles (a traditional Chinese game that is found at major casinos where there is a large Chinese clientele).

Another essential step is that your casino must have Asian hosts who speak the Asian languages. Having someone who speaks the Asian languages is a very basic marketing tool for developing Asian marketing as well. There are some serious language barriers and cultural diversity issues with Asian players, so it is critical to recognize these issues.

Your casino needs to send a message to the Asian communities: “We speak your language.” Asian players do not expect Asian-style decorated hotel rooms from the casino, but Asian players definitely expect an Asian host who can service them with their own languages. It demonstrates your proactive desire to service Asian players.

Another important basic is providing Asian menus in your property. It is also one of the very basic marketing tools for developing Asian business. Recognizing the Asian patron’s dining needs is one way of saying “We welcome your business” and “We know how to serve you.” It creates a huge welcome to Asian customers. Your property must create the high-standard authenticity of Asian menus, environment and ambience that is necessary to effectively market to and continuously capture the Asian players.

Finally, the core gaming business is providing a variety of casino games on the floor, and at the same time we provide a high standard of customer services to Asian players. As we all know, Asian patrons want to enjoy themselves and not be mistreated by anyone, just like any other customer. And understanding gaming-related cultural diversity issues and managing language barrier problems will definitely help us to service the Asian patron better.

Therefore, some form of Asian customer-service training programs will assist all employees. These include VIP service, player’s club, host department, marketing, table and slot operations, security department, hotel and all supplementary customer service departments.

Certainly implementing some form of diversity training program should not be ignored if you want a successful Asian business segment. Without this customer service support from all departments, the best-laid marketing plan will fail. Training and educating your employees will definitely set your property apart from your competitors. Having different cultural backgrounds or not being able to speak English well does not make the high-gaming-profile Asian patron any less a customer for our casino business. You must acknowledge the value of Asian customer services if you want to develop loyal Asian customers.

If you are not getting enough activity or you want to enhance your current Asian performance from these high-gaming-profile Asian players, take proactive marketing approaches on
developing your Asian market. Remember, your competitors are enjoying the Asian revenue right now.

Thomas Lim is an Asian marketing specialist working with CDC Consulting. He has worked with Sun International, Harrah’s Entertainment, Mohegan Sun and the Trump Organization in international marketing positions. He can be reached at 1-702-277-2780 or at

Thomas Lim is an Asian marketing specialist working with CDC Consulting. He has worked with Sun International, Harrah's Entertainment, Mohegan Sun and the Trump Organization in international marketing positions. He can be reached at 1-702-277-2780 or at

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