Interview: Damian Cope of Rank Interative GamingAbout Rank Gaming
In the UK we have 32 bricks-and-mortars casinos. We’ve recently opened a Hard Rock-themed casino in Manchester which opened in July, next up in November we’ll be opening a Hard Rock-themed casino just off Leicester square in central London. That’s the first two instances since the opening of the Hard Rock Casino in Las Vegas in 95, which is not actually part of the Rank Group. It’s the one Hard Rock Casino that is not part of the Rank Group. Our most recent addition to the Hard Rock brand is www.hardrockcasino.com.
Why we chose Hard Rock
On the Internet we were very aware of the fact that, although we’re restricted on some of the jurisdictions that we can take business from, as a global brand, Hard Rock is clear and away the biggest brand we have in the group. On the Internet, which is genuinely an international medium, it made sense that we would brand our first online casino, the first because we’ll have many more in the future, on Hard Rock.
Again, because we have an extensive brick-and-mortar based casino business in the UK with a casino membership of approximately a million people, we immediately have quite a large database with whom we can work in terms of promoting our online casino. We’ve actually done relatively little marketing to date online or offline of HardRockCasino.com to attract the general public.
What we’ve tried to do is concentrate on offering to our existing offline casino members, for the last couple of months we’ve been doing some extensive marketing to our bricks-and-mortar based customers which has been very successful. In fact, we’ve gone a step further by closing the loops in a bricks-and-mortar casino, we will offer incentives for people to come and play online and we are now offering our online customers incentives and offers to go back to the casino again. Whether it be for a free meal, a free drink or some other promotion. We’re achieving what a lot of organizations would like to achieve; the complete circle of an online and offline integrated business.
The biggest difficulties we had in the UK are just from a legislative point of view. There are restrictions on what an online or offline member can or can’t do. We’ve already got visions of huge progressive jackpots where you can link up an online game to an offline game and create jackpots that are currently only seen in LV, but under current UK laws that’s not possible. We’re hoping for that in the future, with new UK legislation in over the next 2-3 years that would become a possibility.
Other than that, it’s really trying to get a feel for which of your offline customers want to play online or have the ability to play online and have Internet access at home or at work and vice versa.
We may have a lot of online customers who for whatever reason are not attracted by the atmosphere of a casino, whether they might find it a bit too intimidating and it might feel a little bit safer playing online. And on the reverse, there are many people who like to go play in a casino because of the atmosphere, and they find playing online rather antiseptic. What we’re saying really is that we want to provide the ability for one of our members, whether they are an offline or online member, to game where and when they choose.