Marketing Goes to the Tables—GPI’s Themed Products

We’ve all heard that marketing has gone digital. But what you might not have heard is that marketing has gone to the tables. Literally. Gaming Partners International is one company seizing on the potential marketing opportunities that are already in operation on your casino and table games floor—themed and promotional products, including layouts, chips or dice.
Want to promote a fight coming to your property? What about a concert? Or even that new buffet you debuted? Consider it done.

Pat Butrico, GPI’s director of themed products and area sales manager for the company’s U.S. operations, is one man who can help you do it. It may even put the pep back into your players in the pit.

GPI is committed to working closely with its customers to ensure the best end product—and end result. “It’s really important to identify the client’s objective for their themed product and make it an impactful and unique experience to their guests,” Butrico said. “We’re trying to come up with something that would entice someone to play table games that normally wouldn’t. When they see that type of atmosphere, maybe a party pit or something like that, it sparks their interest.”

GPI has offered custom chips for some time, but recently they’ve introduced packages with layouts, chips and dice to market and promote events at casinos.

These days, competition is tough. Giving your customer something special they won’t forget is one way to get ahead—and provide that top-notch experience. Debra Nutton, senior vice president of casino operations at MGM Grand, commented that players love the chips … and sometimes want to hold on to them and not cash them in.

Some projects are unforgettable for those involved. Butrico shared one of his favorite promotional items: “We did a series of layouts to promote KISS appearing at The Palms, then we did a special number of chips, which was really unique because the chips identified with all the album covers that KISS put out over the years. It was a really big hit—and not only with the casinos and their guests; it was also a big hit with the KISS fans that typically may or may not gamble. It was one of the most memorable events I’ve been associated with.”

Themed products go beyond casinos’ typical marketing efforts, Butrico said. “It offers the guest an experience of not just seeing those promotions, but touching and feeling the chips, the layouts, the dice, so it brings their marketing efforts all the way to the tables for a more interactive experience.”

The Palms has used themed products to generate interest, too. Gene Trimble, poker/special events coordinator at The Palms, noted: “They’re a marketing tool and they’ve proven to be a good one for us. They get a lot of interest from customers.”

Trimble said, “Almost anything that’s going to bring people into our casino we put blackjack layouts on.” Some of the other layouts that GPI has made for The Palms besides KISS were for Pamela Anderson, the NHRA, Michael Andretti, Playboy and Jack Daniels.

MGM holds many events at Grand Garden Arena, and with each comes the special marketing opportunity afforded by themed items. Nutton said table felts have been made for UFC fights and concerts. “If you came into my office, all the artwork on my walls is different felts we’ve done for different events,” she said. “The other thing we do with them are tournaments, and we create different table felts just for that tournament. We love to do chips because then we don’t have to buy them so often.”

Themed casino products as mementos have gone over well with customers. The souvenirs give them something tangible to keep. MGM offered a whole kit for the World Cup this summer, and customers loved it. “It was so popular that I took some of the layouts we did and made miniature ones and framed them and gave them to our customers,” Nutton said. “They liked that a lot.”

Butrico said the World Cup was big for GPI, too. The company promoted casino industry events and parties associated with the World Cup. “We sold quite a number of layouts and chips promoting that event,” he said.

A great product is nothing without great service, and GPI is recognized for great service. “They do beautiful work and they just keep adding things till they’re right—and they’ve got to be right,” Trimble noted.

GPI’s service and ability to place promotions right at the tables has caught on. Nutton added: “Now marketing is so attuned to what Pat can do that they come to me a lot and say, ‘OK, now we have customers that have their own poker table or their own blackjack table,’ and we’ll create custom layouts with their picture, their family logo, or for one guy we just put his initials on the layout. Whatever we send to Pat, he can create something custom just for that customer. There is no one better in the world to work with.”

But it’s not just in Las Vegas where you can find this great service from GPI. Themed and promotional products can be made for any casino property, anywhere, worldwide.

So, what are you waiting for?

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