Purpose – Most of the growth in casino expansion for the foreseeable future will take place in Asia. Western casino operators appreciate the immense opportunities afforded by the Asian markets, but judging by their performance abroad some have not adapted in ways necessary to survive and prosper. The purpose of this paper is to expose key differences between Asian and Western gaming jurisdictions. In light of these differences, it is a serious mistake for Western casino executives to follow an ethnocentric approach when planning marketing activities and customer service initiatives for Asian customers. To rectify this situation, a framework is advanced that will assist Western operators to adapt to Asian markets.
Design/methodology/approach – Differences between Asian and Western gamblers in both their game preferences and behaviours are based upon cited data sources and upon the authors' observations during field trips to various casino jurisdictions. When appropriate, insights gleaned from a series of informal interviews conducted with senior executives in Macau as well as gaming-related consulting conducted by the authors in both Asia and North America are shared, albeit for legal reasons the sources are confidential. The TROPICS framework presented herein was developed by the lead author and presented to senior gaming executives at the University of Nevada, Reno 2008 executive development program. The seven elements of this framework – now refined – are targeting, retention, organization, people, incentives, culture, and systems.
Findings – This paper concludes that in order to better serve Asian markets, there is an urgent need to empirically assess patron behavior and the attendant casino marketing adaptations that will be required to succeed in these markets.
Practical implications – A series of questions and issues related to each of the seven elements in the TROPICS framework are raised. The proposed framework is equally applicable to firms operating in Western countries as well as those in Asia; however, when put into practice, the outcome will be different marketing strategies adapted to each casino's market structure and macro-environment. Regardless of context, this systematic approach to strategy formulation will ensure consistency and alignment across various elements of strategy.
Originality/value – The paper identifies the differences between Asian and Western gamblers to assist Western operators to adapt to Asian markets.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/mark_spence/7/