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For Casinos, Gambling on Digital Marketing Is Still the Right Thing to Do

Converting Print to Digital

For Casinos, Gambling on Digital Marketing Is Still the Right Thing to Do

Casino marketers have been hit with a conundrum of sorts. Exact Target’s 2012 Channel Preference Survey found that 77% of adults surveyed preferred having marketing messages emailed to them. Makes sense, doesn’t it? People are on the go these days and mobile technology has all of us obsessively checking our email inbox no matter what we’re doing. 

However, Houston, we’ve got a problem…with conflicting data.

Our own 2014 Gambler Preferences survey reported that gamblers still prefer direct mail correspondence to email by a 72% margin. Findings also revealed that gamblers aren’t as open to SMS text messaging and social media as one would think given recent mobile marketing trends.

communications channel

This begs the question is the casino marketer that’s still marketing like it’s 1999 actually smarter than the rest of us dubbing this as some sort of revolutionary digital marketing age?

The answer is a resounding no. 

Casinos Must Still Adopt a Digital Marketing Strategy

What this conflicting data means is, while casinos might have to hold the customer’s hand a little as they transition from direct mail to email promotions, it’s still a very necessary transition that must happen. Casinos without a digital marketing strategy aren’t only leaving money on the table; they’re losing money to casinos already effectively using email, SMS text messaging, and social media in their marketing.

The median age of a casino customer may skew a bit older, but even older players are out and about with a mobile device firmly in hand. They’re okay with email promotions; even though they might not know it yet.

Web traffic from mobile devices increased 77% in just one calendar year. In this time, mobile traffic grew at nearly twice the rate of traffic from desktop PC computers. There are more people going online and opening emails today on mobile devices than with desktop PCs. And baby boomers are a growing segment of this number.


The widespread use of mobile technology has happened so quickly that many people don’t even realize they’ve already accepted digital marketing in their day-to-day lives. Probably because everyone is too busy on their smartphones and tablets to notice that the marketing and selling landscape has changed.

Casino Customers Will Adapt

The casinos that have already successfully shifted from direct to digital marketing typically begin by sending an email – sometimes even a direct mail notice – to the customer proclaiming “We’ve Gone Digital!” or “Enroll for Electronic Delivery Today!”

It’s not uncommon for casinos to first incorporate a digital marketing campaign as a means to support a current direct marketing campaign. This is more or less an icebreaker designed to introduce and sway the customer into agreeing to opt-in to digital correspondence. The customer gets to set his or her e-mail preferences while the casino promotes the benefits of no more cluttered mailboxes and environmental consciousness.

They may then offer incentive strategies to increase response rates. For instance, they may email game invites, free play promotions, or give customers an all-access pass right from their smartphone.

congratulations winner

Casino customers adapt to opt-in email or SMS text message marketing with little to no resistance. In fact, players who elect to receive offers digitally respond to these digital communications just as they did with traditional direct mail communications and results are measurable. You can assess the ROI with insight into a campaign’s open and click-through rates along with response codes attached to offers.

There is a Payoff for Everyone with Digital Marketing

You have the ability to personalize digital marketing messaging to better target the player’s specific interests. As a casino marketer you can segment email lists and deliver messages that are relevant to a specific customer or group of customers. The more relevant the messaging, the more likely the customer will take up the offer or respond to the call-to-action.

Comparatively, direct mail campaigns, while very effective in many cases, are less customizable and less timely. Email marketing allows for same-day promotions. Opt-in SMS text messages provide a means to communicate with players while they’re on the actual floor – encouraging them to scan QR codes in the casino or text a promo code that opts them into receiving text messages offering food, drink, and gaming deals throughout their stay; keeping them in the casino longer and inviting them back when they’ve been gone too long.

In the end, digital mediums offer a smarter approach to marketing with clear advantages over the tried and true, yet somewhat dated, direct marketing methods. Just be sure you properly manage opt-outs and comply with regulations and spam laws.

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