It’s time to set your gaming floor up for the year ahead. Here’s a quick checklist and some reminders that may come in handy.

So this is the period of the year when everyone is on holidays and we have a little extra time in our week to spring clean and double-check our gaming floor. In gaming, we would normally expect to see a fairly quick decline in our turnover into January and February as traditional holiday months, before we start to lift again in March. This gives us a couple of months to re-evaluate the gaming floor and put ourselves into a good position for the first half of the gaming year.

  1. Preparation for buying new machines

This is one of the best periods to start looking at new games with a view to adding them in around March/April. Checking through your gaming rankings to see what you need to remove is important now but remember December is an odd month with some abnormal turnover days such as the Christmas period and New Year’s Eve, so make sure to look at an average of the last few months when deciding what to trade out.

   2. Check for game conversion requirements

Check to see if any of your newer machines need a game conversion. If the games don’t make it through the busy Christmas period successfully, they won’t make it during the slower first few months of the year. Either change the games to something new or for the older machines, go back to long term solid performing games.

    3. Budgets

Even the smallest clubs need both a gaming forecast and a buying/conversion budget. Planning your budget around the two main trade shows (AGE Show in August and AHG in March) is the most effective because this is when the manufacturers release their new games. If you negotiate any possible conversions required from the company you are purchasing machines from you can often get a better price for them.

    4.  Getting the balance right

One of the hardest decisions to make in purchasing gaming machines is how to work out what to buy with so many great games available from all of the manufacturers. It’s easy to get lost in the sizzle and take your eye off the steak, particularly at a trade show when all the games are new!

The key to a successful gaming floor is to have the biggest variety of games for your players. In a club, these often fall into two different markets: those who are playing big to win big, and those who want to spend hours and have some fun. This second group generally spend the same amount of money but don’t want to feel like they are chewing through their money too quickly. There is also a split between what men and women like to play.  In most clubs, if you look at your top few tiers of players, the majority of these players are women and you ignore their preferences at your peril. Their expectations are very different. Comparing the turnover, net and installation percentage for any group of machines is the easiest way to quickly check your games are fitting your market.

    5. Check your in-house links

In the busy lead up to the Christmas period, from August onwards, your in-house links would have been ticking over quite quickly. Now that we are in a slower period, it is a good time to have another look at the hit rates to ensure they are still being triggered quickly enough to encourage extra turnover. The lower number of hits at the beginning of the year will disguise percentage adjustments to the links.

   6. Review your gaming promotions

This is a good time of year to check through your data if you have any available, to ensure promotions are appropriate to the times you are looking to boost, and to ensure they still meet your market. If you can’t explain who your target market is and why you have a promo on at a particular time, then you probably need a reboot. You can also check your competitors’ promotions in case they have added something new that is attracting your best players.

   7. Update policies and procedures

It’s a great time of year for house-keeping your policies and procedures. They can become out of date quickly in gaming.  Add any changes to staff handbooks and procedures and communicate them to staff.

    8 Check your building and furniture

Sometimes when you are in the venue every day you forget to notice small things that need fixing. Gaming stools and benches are one area many clubs and hotels overlook and these can be sent for repair easily while the gaming floor is less busy. Get the staff to check for nicks in walls and doors and windows that don’t close properly, and other easy cosmetic repairs that can ensure your gaming floor always looks fresh. You should be doing your gaming compliance checks regularly but if not, it is a good time of year to check machine gambling stickers and link stickers are all in place and completing OLGR checklists to ensure all room signage is in place after the Christmas period.

Would you like independent advice?

Justine Channing (The Drop Gaming Specialist) is currently available to assist small and medium sized clubs to complete an in-depth check of their gaming floor and product offering. Summer specials (e.g. 50-120 machine clubs $900 plus GST) are available, and both country and city clubs are welcome (I love a trip to the country!). Call Justine on 0418 260 856 for a site visit and appointment to discuss.