Right now, most Americans' idea of a game of chance is
going to work to see if there's a pink slip stuck to their computer screens.
It's not hitting the slots or the craps table at the nearest casino.
With discretionary spending but a quaint memory, gambling resorts across the country are losing their shirts: Revenues are down nearly 5 percent at Minnesota's 17 casinos; Donald Trump's three Atlantic City properties are in the bankruptcy; and in Vegas some 50,000 hotel-room nights have been cancelled in the last six weeks alone. The industry's tactical response to troubles like these usually takes the form of giveaways and heavy discounting. But if there's one big no-no in the hospitality biz-which trades heavily on fantasy and escapism-it's admitting that things are bad. Well, don't tell that to the marketing folks at Mohegan Sun. The gambling mecca in the Connecticut hinterlands has just introduced something it calls the "Stimulus, Recovery and Rebound Package."
Hmmm. No need to wonder what that's all about. Is this package still a lot of giveaways and heavy discounting? Sure, but it's got a recession theme-aimed squarely at a new breed of customer: the budget-conscious high roller. The minimum bet at the black jack table has been dropped to just five bucks. Half- and even quarter-cent slot machines have hit the gaming floor, too. Meanwhile, the Sun is hoping to recapture some of the fast-disappearing expense-account trade with its "Business Bail Out" program, which includes free gaming lessons for corporate clients.
Hell, even the GM brass could justify that kind of getaway.
—Posted by Robert Klara