The Ilani Casino opened its doors on April 24 to a throng of disgruntled patrons. Being the closest casino to Portland, Oregon, The Ilani knew they were going to attract a strong local crowd, but had no idea of the mayhem that would soon unfold.
Among the problems, the grand opening drew in thousands of patrons, clogging local roads and the I-5 North for eight miles. On top of that, the casino’s 3,000-space parking lot was completely full, leaving guests circling the lot or looking for parking, even worse, simply leaving. The hysteria reached a frenzied peak when guests assembled at the front door and chanted “Open! Open!” until the casino finally let them inside.
No wonder players are choosing to gamble online at casinoroom.com and other online casinos.
So what can the casino industry learn from this incident?
For starters, never underestimate gambling’s popularity. This might be best evidenced in the rise of online gambling, especially mobile online gambling. Recent reports show that mobile gambling is growing at roughly 10% annually. Plus, mobile gambling is poised to make up 40% of all online gambling by 2020. While mobile capability has a lot to do with this increase, it goes to show that the more availability you give players, the more they will play.
Back to The Ilani. One of the biggest mistakes they made was not anticipating such large crowds. When guests are leaving without stepping foot in your casino because there’s no place for them to park, you’re potentially losing millions of dollars. This misstep on The Ilani’s part showcases one of the best features online gambling offers: unlimited space for players.
Online casinos never have to worry about parking spaces or if there’s enough room on the casino floor to accommodate all players. It’s a given that a player can log in and find their favorite game without having to wait. That’s the real beauty of online gambling. Players never have to wait to gamble.
If you’ve ever tried to get a seat in The Bellagio’s poker room, you know that there’s usually a wait, sometimes an hours-long wait. In our instant-access society, waiting becomes a bad experience for players, which is why Las Vegas poker rooms are on the decline. They simply can’t keep up with the demand. But that’s kind of a catch-22. Simply put, poker rooms don’t make the kind of money other table games do, so they don’t have the same real estate value on the casino floor as does blackjack or craps. Players want poker, but the casinos can’t afford to give it to them, creating a poor guest experience. It’s little wonder online casinos are quickly becoming the choice for gamblers.
As more land-based casinos make decisions that harm guest experience, online casinos will continue to rise in popularity.