Las Vegas casinos are content marketing champions!
If you use Facebook — or own a smartphone or a tablet — you have likely heard about MyVegas. It may first appear as a “simple” virtual casino game. However, the clever application is, in reality, based upon a well-oiled marketing machine, and that machine provides a great ROI for the casinos of Las Vegas.
Launched in 2012 as a social casino game on Facebook, MyVegas moved to mobile platforms (iPhone and Android) in 2013.
The game’s editor, Playstudios, teamed with MGM Resorts International, who owns 80% of the casinos on the Las Vegas Strip. The hotel group plays two parts. It is a marketing partner who sponsors the prizes up for grabs (see below). It is also a financial partner – an investor in the start-up.
How the game works
From the outset, MyVegas adopted an alternative approach (as compared to the majority of other virtual casino games) by betting upon an innovative business model. While most casino games are free to download, they subsequently encourage users to purchase virtual tokens to continue playing beyond a specific point.
MyVegas, on the other hand, offers an (almost) unlimited, free play system. It allows players to win authentic prizes that can be used in actual Las Vegas casinos: all-you-can-eat buffets at the Bellagio, a roller-coaster tour at New York New York, tickets for a Cirque du Soleil show, etc.
What is in it for Las Vegas casinos?
There are three marketing stakes in this scheme for MGM Resorts International hotels and casinos.
As Playstudios’ founder, Andrew Pascal, points out: “more people will play slot machines on Facebook this month than visit Las Vegas this year.” This insight is confirmed by the performance of MyVegas: the app was downloaded more than 18 million times to date and is being used daily by more than a million players.
This experienced and engaged user base – already a captive audience to the brand – becomes a marketing asset for the casinos, to the extent that players:
- Are repetitively exposed to MGM Resort International brand names (MyVegas Facebook app).
- Interact with same-as-life slot machines that are actually present in Las Vegas (MyVegas Slots).
- Can discover Black Jack’s rules and variants, gearing them up for the real-life tables (MyVegas Black Jack).
In other words, the application introduces and familiarizes players with MGM Resorts International environments – even before they ever set foot in Las Vegas.
The application MyVegas allows its users to win – “at no cost” (except time spent playing) – real life prizes to be used in participating casinos. These rewards are offered in the form of coupons, delivered by email.
In order to take advantage of their coupons, players are invited to visit one of the M Life teller windows in participating casinos and subscribe to the group’s loyalty program. In essence, the application serves as a channel for member enrollment in the program, which also offers access to other advantages – always within the same network of participating establishments.
The vast majority of rewards available in MyVegas are linked to purchase obligations:
- Two beers for the price of one at Tom’s Urban in New York New York.
- An open breakfast buffet, subject to a minimum one-night stay in a group associated hotel.
- 25% discount on room pricing at Luxor.
In other words, the application does not merely limit itself to generating traffic toward participating casinos – it also draws business from this traffic. This is without even taking into account the “indirect” revenue gleaned from these visits, such as shop purchases or wagers placed in the casino.
The application MyVegas constitutes far more than a game for publicizing the brand of MGM Resorts International’s establishments. It represents a real marketing funnel that aims at creating large scale visibility, developing new leads through a loyalty program, and generating increased revenue among the participating members. Are Las Vegas casinos content marketing champions? Without the slightest doubt.