CINCINNATI – Side bets weighed heavily on Jack Cincinnati Casino’s revenue in January, but General Manager Chad Barnhill is keeping the nerve testing new game variants to increase customer loyalty.
“It’s one of the best things that can happen to us for a guest to win,” said Barnhill. “It’s always exciting to see someone meet a winner. We try to encourage that too. “
Downtown Casino ranked last in Ohio with $ 14.6 million in revenue in January, a 10 percent decrease from last year. Barnhill said almost all of the decline was due to higher profits from table game customers, who took home 80.5 percent of all bets placed in January – compared to 74.4 percent last January.
Volume rose nearly 4 percent, with $ 27 million bets placed on Jack Casino tables. As long as those bets keep going up, Barnhill seems happy to share the booty.
“We actually had some big winners,” said Barnhill. “We’ve had some people come in and have a great run, but … a lot of these new side bets allow players to win … up to $ 10, 15,000 at a time. We had met some of them too. It’s always fun to watch our guests play the side bets. “
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Jack Cincinnati Casino recorded the best year in its history in 2017 with total revenues of $ 198 million, up 4.6 percent from the previous year. Cincinnati remains the market leader, accounting for 23 percent of the $ 851 million in 2017 generated by seven casinos and slot machines with a one-hour drive through downtown Cincinnati.
Hollywood Casino in Lawrenceburg ranked second in 2017 with $ 167 million, followed by Miami Valley Gaming in Monroe with $ 148 million.
Barnhill has been pursuing a long-term goal of $ 20 million in monthly revenue at Jack Cincinnati since 2016 – an increase of 20 percent over the monthly average in 2017.
The company plans new investments in electronic games and table game variants this year. The Synergy Table Games section, which is expected to open in March, offers 28 electronic game stations with 27-inch video screens, as well as live dealer tables and a DJ booth to make the gaming experience more social. Barnhill said the casino is also developing two new games based on its own branded version of blackjack called JACK JACK.
“We are obviously very optimistic about the property and the market as a whole,” said Barnhill. “Ohio is one of the fastest growing markets in the country.”
The Cincinnati market could change this year with the proposed merger of two regional gaming companies: Penn National Gaming and Pinnacle Entertainment. Penn’s Hollywood casinos in Lawrenceburg and Dayton account for 31 percent of the area’s gaming revenue, while Pinnacle’s Belterra nameplate generated 23 percent of Cincinnati’s total gambling revenue. It is expected that Boyd Gaming Corp. acquires the Belterra properties as part of the merger transaction, bringing a new casino rival to Cincinnati.
Barnhill said the companies could use their combined loyalty programs to attract new customers, but he believes Jack Casino can keep up by highlighting its own loyalty incentives and a better gaming experience.
“You have to expect that they will follow us a little as we know our market share is still number one,” he said. “We have seen growth this year that has been the best year in real estate history. You have to assume that they’ll come in and be a bit aggressive, but we’re prepared for that. “