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OPINION: Betting on Enterprise Data Warehousing

Noel Pettitt | Aug. 16, 2011
Gaming industry places its bets on Enterprise Data Warehousing for better patron experience.

The gaming industry today is faced with many challenges, from multiple patron choices to increasingly aggressive competitors. One of the biggest challenges is delivering differentiated patron experiences that retain patrons and attract new customers, while also paying careful attention to operational costs and profitability. Many of the leaders in the gaming business have come to realise their secret weapon to meeting customer needs and increasing revenue is enterprise-wide access to their data.

Casinos are data rich environments, given the depth of transactional information collected in the various operating systems. However, transactional system architecture is typically not conducive for in-depth operations analysis. Data warehousing technology has enabled casinos to make better use of their transactional data for both performance analysis and marketing operations. How casinos employ this technology to better analyse and operate data warehousing, online analytical processing, campaign management systems, and data mining are critical to understanding the growth of this industry.

To help these companies drive increased patron profitability and improved operational performance requires an integrated view of all aspects of gaming business information. The analysis of this data yields actionable and even surprising results that can drive both top and bottom line growth.

Business analytics is the practice of analysing past data-often from a data warehouse-to drive future actions. For example, most casinos issue player cards to slot machine players and encourage players to insert their cards into slot machines during play. Players accumulate points that can be redeemed for various prizes or "comps," but the casino accumulates valuable data: when the player plays, how long they play, how much they gamble, how long they sit between spins, and so forth. Business analytics helps extract interesting information from all that data so that casinos can offer room or meal discounts and other promotions. The casino tries to offer different promotions to different groups of players so that each distinct subset of players gets a promotion they are more likely to take advantage of-getting them back into the house for more play time. Casinos add promotion response to the data mix so that they can learn which promotions are more effective at getting players to return.

Recognising the need for analysis of two critical business functions, customers and machines, Ameristar Casinos Inc (NASDAQ: ASCA), one of the top 10 casinos in the US, also announced the implementation of a data mart appliance earlier this year. Making the decision, Ameristar stated that previously, the analysts spent too much time compiling the data, and not enough time delivering the insights that could give them a competitive advantage.

In another example of gaming companies realising value in better data warehousing, Station Casinos was awarded earlier this month for its success in using the Active Enterprise Data Warehouse platform. Using real-time data capture and integration to gain a complete view of customer across its 18 casinos and hotels, Station Casinos has been able to improve player development profitability by $2 million per month, cut more than $1 million a month in targeted promotional campaign expense and improved guest retention by nearly 10 percent.


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