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New Book: "What Stays in Vegas"

Discussion in 'Misc. Vegas Chat' started by bardolator, Oct 8, 2014.

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  1. bardolator

    bardolator Lifelong Low Roller

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    The premise of the book is that US corporations, not the NSA or other governmental agencies, gather and store the most information about ordinary people. The study focuses on Caesars Entertainment but includes Facebook, Amazon, and numerous other snoops and their customers. The author obtained permission from Gary Loveman to explore some of the inside workings of the great casino empire we all love, hate, or both. Loveman's philosophy of developing loyalty by knowing his customers better than the competition knows them is the reason he was hired. The key to making the philosophy pay is in knowing which information matters and how to exploit it.

    Loveman's eureka moment came through an encounter with an older couple in an elevator at Harrah's in Las Vegas. The husband was unhappy. Loveman asked why, and the man asserted that the slots were tight compared to the ones he usually played at Harrah's in Atlantic City. Loveman knew that the slots in Vegas were actually 2 percent looser than the ones in Atlantic City. He concluded that players don't notice the size of the hold, and therefore, it could be increased to raise profits without losing business. He just had to learn what would make players come to his casino instead of somebody else's. One corner piece in that puzzle came when Rich Mirman, another math geek brought to Harrah's by Loveman, was touring his new place of work. The hotel manager interrupted the tour to greet some people in the buffet line. Mirman was shocked to learn that the people he greeted were some of the casino's biggest slot players. He could not fathom why such valuable assets would be kept waiting in a line when they could have been out losing more money than the cost of the comp. Tiers were born.

    Chapter 7 discusses several direct marketing companies and their tactics. Most surprising was the importance marketers assign to ethnicity. A complex computer program guesses a person's ethnicity from his or her name and possibly one or two other pieces of data. It's easy sometimes; other times, not so easy. Getting it right can make a big difference. Ads are tailored to different ethnic groups in various ways, some as simple as choosing a photograph of models who look like the customer.

    If I like Shaq, I'm hetero. If I like Britney, I'm gay. Or so say the Facebook data miners. How well can various traits and preferences of individuals be learned or predicted by what they post or like on Facebook? Apparently, astonishingly well.

    It works a lot better on Five-0. The book discusses cheater identification systems, from the venerable Black Book to the Griffin Book to facial recognition. I-view, the prevalent facial recognition system, is not very effective because for every potential cheater it hits, the system generates ten false positives.

    Another chapter deals with websites specializing in the posting of mugshots. We aren't talking about the FBI's Most Wanted. One woman who was arrested because of a $3.68 error on a restaurant bill was on the site for months. Not only was she listed, but the site owner had conned Google into moving all his postings to the top of its search listings, supposedly in the public interest.

    By 2012, the tiered reward system was causing problems. There were lines to get into lounges, and every minute a player stands in line is a minute that player isn't spending. One man was eating all his meals in the lounge. Caesars decided to raise requirements for Diamond and Seven Star tiers and weed out the “grazers”, as they were called. Naturally, there was fallout. But when the smoke cleared, the take had not changed. Customers visited less frequently but spent more per visit. This is the precise result Caesars had hoped for.

    Casinos run on cash, and cash is hard to trace. But ATM usage can be traced. Some casinos have done just that in order to learn how much money their customers spend in rival casinos. Cell phone GPS tracking is possible now but used little. It is another way to follow us, both to learn about our habits and to send more specific and timely marketing offers of various kinds.

    The book goes on to discuss consumers taking control of or even peddling their own personal info in the future, and concludes with a compact but comprehensive and valuable list of applications, practices, and websites that can help you make your browsing, email, smart phone, social networking, and other activities safer. A big part of it is to avoid some sites, don't sign up for anything you don't need, and don't answer any questions, however innocuous they seem, that you don't need to answer. Remember: just three common pieces of information: your sex, date of birth, and zip code, will usually identify you.
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2014
  2. VegasBound413

    VegasBound413 Tourist

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    Thanks for the overview. Sounds like a very interesting read.
     
  3. Tree DA

    Tree DA High-Roller

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    Thanks for the review.
     
  4. Tellafriend

    Tellafriend High-Roller

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    Great info, thanks!
     
  5. sybgal

    sybgal VIP Whale

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    Very interesting info.....Big Brother knows us well and it appears casino groups have adopted many of their resource avenues....
     
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