When your establishment has video gaming terminals, you may occasionally feel like you’re walking on eggshells to follow all the rules and regulations that come along with the responsibility. While there are plenty of laws and statutes you are required to obey, there are also many marketing and hospitality errors that plague the video slot machine industry. Luckily, most of these oversights are easy to fix.
To help give you some peace of mind, we’ve compiled a list of the most common video gaming legal, marketing, and hospitality mistakes that happen at gaming locations.
According to the Video Gaming Act Rule 1800, licensed video gaming locations cannot accept incentives from video terminal operators to convince them to use or maintain video gaming terminals at their establishment. By accepting any inducements, both sides may be subject to legal action.
Not Keeping Your Terminal Operator and IGB Informed
You are required by law to notify your video gaming terminal operator of any major changes at your establishment. This includes changes in ownership, board members, or gaming managers, whether it be by death, marriage, or other causes. You must notify them of any criminal charges against anyone on your IGB application, as well as legal charges or fines against the corporation itself.
If employees aren’t trained properly, there are a range of potential legal concerns waiting to happen. As an example, all employees should card anyone who appears to be under 30 years of age. Failure to do so could lead to underage gaming at your establishment, leading to heavy fees or even having your gaming license revoked.
Illegal Raffles or Sweepstakes
It is vital that you understand the proper way to conduct a sweepstakes at your video gaming location. Do the necessary research to discern the difference between a raffle and a sweepstakes and what is allowed. You should also avoid other illegal forms of gaming such as competition brackets, strip cards, playing cards, wagers, dice, and any additional games played for money or prizes.
Remodeling Without Notifying Terminal Operator
While we don’t want to micromanage, video gaming establishments are required to notify their terminal operator of any structural changes they are planning to make at their location. This is especially true if the video gaming terminals need to be moved during the remodel. Any changes to the electrical system should also to be shared as the video slots must remain on their own system at all times.
Inaccurate Hours of Operations
Following your advertised hours of operation is vital to your success and reputation. Ensure your hours are presented correctly on your door, website, social media profiles, and other local search pages.
Avoiding Social Media
You’re missing a huge opportunity to reach a large audience if you’re not using social media to promote your video slot machines. Use sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to post about special events, share pictures of winning tickets, advertise your gaming rewards program, etc.
No Exterior Signage
Though online marketing efforts are a great tactic to get people through your doors, ensure you also have signs outside to catch the attention of passing traffic. Some areas won’t allow exterior signage, but if you’re able, then make sure you have it out there for the world to see. Here at AHG, we offer each of our locations access to complementary banners, flags, neon signs, and more to promote their slots.
No Interior Signage
This may seem obvious, but if your video gaming area is hidden or not right next to the entrance, make sure you have signs and arrows to direct guests to terminals. Keep posters up to advertise current promotions and even post photos of some people who have won big at your location (with their permission). Don’t forget to post all the legal signage required by your state, such as your gaming license, contact information signs, your DOJ letter, and the standard 21 and over signs.
Treating Gamers Differently Than Other Guests
Whether a customer comes in for a drink or heads straight to the slots, every person who walks in should be treated equally. For those who do come in to play in the gaming area, visit them on occasion to offer drinks or appetizers. If they refuse, simply offer your assistance if they need anything during their visit.
Dirty Gaming Area
Visit the video gaming area at least a few times a day to clean up any leftover food or drinks. Ideally, you should check the area each time you see a gamer leave to pick up and wipe down the machine they used. Grab a clean cloth and some water to keep the equipment in pristine condition for each new guest.
No Complimentary Snacks or Non-Alcoholic Beverages
While alcohol is often included in the same thought as video slot machines, many gamers are not there to drink. Rather, they are there to strictly play your games, so encourage them to stay a bit longer by offering complimentary snacks or drinks during their stay. Invest in a Keurig to offer some free coffee to each guest who plays the slots or put up signs to mention complimentary snacks available from the kitchen.
Gaming and Dining in Same Area
It is required by the IGB that video slot machines be separate from a dining area to prevent underage individuals from gaming or entering the area by mistake. Keep your video gaming terminals as secluded from the dining section as possible by placing a small wall or simply putting it in another room. If these options aren’t available, ensure there is clear signage to keep the two areas segregated.
Avoid These Video Gaming Marketing & Legal Mistakes
If you see any items on this list you may be doing, we recommend making the necessary changes to prevent issues coming up in the future. These video gaming legal, marketing, and hospitality mistakes can have serious consequences from heavy fines to losing your gaming license and more.
To learn more about how to improve the setting at your establishment, feel free to contact us. We are fully prepared to answer any questions or concerns you may have.