With each Editor’s Introduction I write, the time between issues feels shorter and shorter. And in this short span, so much has happened in our world at the International Gaming Institute! In early June, the IGI hosted the 16th International Conference on Gambling and Risk Taking at the Mirage in Las Vegas. The Conference was a huge success, eclipsing even the super-successful 15th International Conference from 2013, with over 600 attendees from 31 countries. And I am thrilled to say that in August, I returned to my old, most-welcoming home, to take the position of Director of Research at the IGI. Finally, two announcements we forgot in our last issue – earlier this year, the IGI was promoted to a University-level Center of Excellence, one of only two institutes on campus to receive the honor. My co-Executive Editor, Dr. Bo Bernhard, was named to the Philip G. Satre Chair at the University of Nevada, Reno, a position held previously by his (and so many of ours!) mentor and founder of the gambling research field, Dr. Bill Eadington. So it is with much good news and happiness that we close out 2016, and that excitement extends to the Fall 2016 issue of the UNLV Gaming Research & Review Journal.

Our research section starts out with a manuscript that investigates the interrelationships between two common concepts in tourism literature – visitor attitude and place image. Suosheng Wang creates a conjoined model based on the theories of planned behavior and place image, and tests them within a casino environment. Dr. Wang’s analysis establishes that the conjoined model offers a more comprehensive look at what drives behavioral intentions in casino patrons. He further recommends that casinos focus their marketing efforts not only on the image of their own property, but more generally on generating a positive image toward general casino gaming.

Next, we publish strong analytics in loyalty program data from Drs. Myongjee Yoo and Ashok Singh. The authors build on a long history of loyalty program analysis in the hospitality industry to investigate the effectiveness of a hierarchical loyalty card system in a casino setting, testing whether loyalty card tiers actually stimulate a member’s behavioral usage. Importantly, Drs. Yoo and Singh found that purchase/gambling behaviors were not significantly related to card tiers, and conclude that current loyalty program rules are rewarding patrons equally, and further note that some marketing tactics generate more value than others. Download their article for more information!

Following this, UNLV’s own Dr. Toni Repetti discusses the impact of the Great Recession in Nevada casinos. The study analyzes the effectiveness of management adjustments in payroll, with a particular emphasis on post-recession effects on payroll – were further changes made? Did management stick with the changes made during the recession? Or did management return the payroll management they had enlisted prior to the recession? Dr. Repetti’s analysis suggests that the Recession taught management much more effective staffing practices, as post-recession service standards are efficiently met with lower payroll expenses.

The Journal continues with Dr. Eunju Suh and Matt Alhaery’s application of Exhaustive CHAID, a data mining algorithm, to explore how online casinos can reduce player churn and retain their customers more effectively. The two authors are known throughout the gambling research field as the leaders in predictive modelling, and their superb work is carried on here. Early churn indicators are identified, and casino managers can focus their marketing efforts on players that show these signs to gain a higher ROI on marketing dollars. In addition, they have provided their extensive variable list as an appendix, for those who wish to replicate their work.

Next, Drs. Sandra Sun-Ah Ponting, Jess Ponting, and Katherine Spilde provide an in-depth qualitative look at tribal casino employee perceptions of tribal governments’ self-sufficiency and philanthropy. The authors find that employees take pride in sharing the tribal government’s community engagement and philanthropic activities with casinos guests, and suggest that employees are a good resource for communicating positive messages to casino guests, who view the employees as sources of information about the tribes and not just a conduit to the gambling experience. The authors further recommend engaging tribal casino employees directly in the development of giving campaigns, and utilizing these CSR practices to inspire employee loyalty and retention.

We wrap up our research section with another analytical manuscript, Dr. Barry King’s data mining alternative to Croston’s method, as a means of more accurate gaming traffic forecasting. The increased accuracy of this method is particularly useful to casino management in planning staffing levels at different hours throughout the day. Dr. King further indicates that his analysis was conducted in R, an open source statistical computing software that offers these methods to casino management without the financial cost of commercial software.

Please enjoy the product of so many brilliant minds!


Brett Abarbanel
Co-Executive Editor

Original Research Articles

Review Article (Essays, Opinion Pieces, and/or Book Reviews)