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Best of John Robison

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More on Harrah's customer service

13 March 2006

Hi, John,

I just wanted to comment on the letter about the service at Harrah's casinos.

My sister and I have just returned from a three-day stay at Harrah's Cherokee casino. The service was not good at all. My sister was playing two quarter 777 machines. The casino wasn't busy at all when we got there and she had been playing these two machines for over two hours. Then when some other customers decided that they wanted to play on these machines, the manager informed my sister that she would have to give one machine up. Even though there were no rules posted saying that you could only play one machine at a time and not to mention all the money that she had put in the machines, the manager informed her that he made the rules.

They were very rude to her. The casino surely didn't have a problem with her playing two machines and spending her money before another customer decided they wanted one of her machines. And not only that, we drove four hours to play there. I spent $700 in just a few hours with only a few bar hits and that was on quarter machines. A lot of people were talking about how tight the machines are now and they are taking all the fun out of gambling by not giving any play before taking all of your money. We normally go to Mississippi to gamble, but since Katrina, all of our favorite casinos are no longer there. We always had a great time at several different casinos in Biloxi.

It's like you say, John, only play if you are having fun, if you aren't having fun, then move on. Well that's exactly what we are going to do. The next time we plan a get away it definitely won't be Harrah's!!!!

It's a fairly common practice for casinos to limit players to one machine when the casino is crowded. Some casinos do have signs stating that they have that policy.

It's not clear from your letter how crowded the casino was when they asked your sister to play only one machine. One could infer that it had gotten more crowded.

Still, there's no excuse for being rude to a patron who isn't doing anything wrong.

I received a number of other letters about declines in Harrah's service and that is the theme for this week's column. Perhaps Harrah's grew too big too fast.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John


Hi, John,

I just read the e-mail from Charles about how Harrah's has taken over the Horseshoe and now the service, etc., is really bad.

I experienced the same exact thing in Indiana. Harrah's has become very cheap. I was at the Rio in May, and an employee who was incognito and off-the-clock was telling me the same things about how they have tightened up the machines, done away with lots of promotions, and just don't treat the customers like they used to at the Rio before Harrah's took over. Also, the Harrah's in Joliet is the same old crap, too!

Francine

Dear Francine,

Harrah's purchased the Rio in 1999. At the time, the Rio was known for providing good games and great rooms at a reasonable price. Like the Palms today, you could be practically on the Strip, but have better games.

Harrah's has never been known for having the best games in the area, so I'm not surprised that they lowered the paybacks on their machines. In fact, according to an article I found in In Business Las Vegas, the property is now more profitable than it was under the previous owners.

But I am surprised to read so many letters about poor service at Harrah's casinos. There's probably some marketing adage that says that it takes a lifetime to earn a loyal customer and only one bad incident to lose them.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John


Just read your March 6th edition. I agree with the Horseshoe customer. We have been Harrah's Diamond Club members for years. We traveled the country to various Harrah's properties and we were very loyal.

Lately, we have the same problem getting our usual customer service at Harrah's properties, let alone their new acquisitions. They have too many members to satisfy. We are very disenchanted with their Total Rewards now. Bigger is not always better. We are ready to change our loyalty to another casino brand.

Karen

Dear Karen,

I've never been a fan of Total Rewards. I like open slot clubs and knowing how much play it takes to earn various rewards. Can you imagine an airline telling the members of its frequent flyer club that they should just fly and the club will let them know when they've earned free tickets and other rewards?

On the other hand, others have said that the club has treated them so well that they don't care that the club's formulas are secrets. John Brokopp's column this Wednesday will have more details about how the club operates.

I don't think all the consolidation that has happened in the casino industry in the past few years is good for the players. Competition yields better games for players and more generous and innovative players clubs.

What do you readers think about the consolidation? Has it improved your casino experience?

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John


Send your slot and video poker questions to John Robison, Slot Expert, at slotexpert@comcast.net. Because of the volume of mail I receive, I regret that I can't send a reply to every question. Also be advised that it may take several months for your question to appear in my column.

John Robison

John Robison is an expert on slot machines and how to play them. John is a slot and video poker columnist and has written for many of gaming’s leading publications. He holds a master's degree in computer science from the prestigious Stevens Institute of Technology.

You may hear John give his slot and video poker tips live on The Good Times Show, hosted by Rudi Schiffer and Mike Schiffer, which is broadcast from Memphis on KXIQ 1180AM Friday afternoon from from 2PM to 5PM Central Time. John is on the show from 4:30 to 5. You can listen to archives of the show on the web anytime.

Books by John Robison:

The Slot Expert's Guide to Playing Slots
John Robison
John Robison is an expert on slot machines and how to play them. John is a slot and video poker columnist and has written for many of gaming’s leading publications. He holds a master's degree in computer science from the prestigious Stevens Institute of Technology.

You may hear John give his slot and video poker tips live on The Good Times Show, hosted by Rudi Schiffer and Mike Schiffer, which is broadcast from Memphis on KXIQ 1180AM Friday afternoon from from 2PM to 5PM Central Time. John is on the show from 4:30 to 5. You can listen to archives of the show on the web anytime.

Books by John Robison:

The Slot Expert's Guide to Playing Slots