A recent New Yorker article by Jonah Lehrer – who also writes interesting stuff at Wired – shows how intelligent design helped, pun intended, change the game for the gambling industry. Challenging convention generated a new type of Vegas hotel that seems more successful than previous models. And this – an article with innovation, behavioral traps, money-making through independent and analytical thinking! – could mean “happy ending” for Buysiders.com readers if it wasn’t for one thing: it’s never this easy.
This model has its own problems (huge capex as companies compete for the next new, insanely opulent hotel). And there’s always the Harrah’s Entertainment/ “Competing Through Analytics” story to be told. Harrah’s once asked… “What if there’s an even “more different” way of doing this casino thing”? How about low-end, low-capex, low-maintenance casinos catering to serious gamblers who will carry a card and allow extreme data collection/analysis that creates loyalty rewards that reinforce the whole, sorry again, “wheel of fortune”? And the rest is history, Harvard case studies, books and so on – and one of the most interesting business stories of the last decade or so. So interesting that we will have to do another post on it, someday.