Get More Answers: Learn the Raving Way

Traditional conferences go like this: a subject-matter expert teaches from the podium to the masses. The flow is from one to many, in one direction. This is how it’s been done since elementary school and worked for half of us, and the other half of us got bored. Then, we preach that learning from your peers is critical. Finally, we expect you to find and connect with that fellow marketing director (who just bought the system that you’re researching) during networking breaks. Yeah, that’s nearly impossible.

Oh, and don’t forget “why” you’re attending the conference in the first place. It’s to find solutions to your current issues, right? Many attendees leave conferences not finding an answer to what’s really top of mind. Our goal: for attendees to leave with more answers and resources to solve the issues that they bring to the event.

Starting in 2018, we committed to stepping out of the traditional conference mold and offered more organized interaction between you and your peers, as well as designing a more interactive classroom. We’ve added tools such as:

  • Interactive polling
  • Attendee engagement program
  • Pre-conference survey
  • Opening Think Tank exercise
  • Group roundtables
  • Plus, several organized networking events

After all, not everyone learns in the same way, and we want you to get the most out of your time with us. A pre-event survey helps us gather information on what’s top of mind for you, and we develop our “Think Tank” around this data. Throughout the conference, we’ll make sure that we’re addressing those hot buttons and that each session is relevant to your learning.

Agenda from the 2019 event - 2020 Agenda coming soon!

Sunday, January 27

  • Registration Open

Monday, January 28

  • Setting the Stage: Your Issues, Your Input, Your Conference
  • Player Reinvestment: Is there a Secret Sauce to Avoid Over-Investment?
  • Keynote Luncheon: How Data Scientists Changed Major League Baseball
  • You're Missing Data! Leverage Player Research to Drive More Revenue
  • Marketing the Casino Resort: How To Work with Your Community to Drive Incremental Revenue, Extend Stays and Increase Return Visits
  • Take the Raving Challenge: Apply Your Skills to a New Industry: Wine-Blending, Team-Building and Marketing Competition
  • Welcome Gala Reception & Trade Show Opening

Tuesday, January 29

  • Opening Keynote: Milestones, Missions and Vision – Developing a Path for Tribal Leadership
  • Test and Control: Why It's the Most Profitable Analytical Technique in Gaming
  • Creating Intentional Culture: Outperform Your Competition and Attract and Maintain Amazing Talent
  • Luncheon Keynote: The Power of Understanding Consumer Expectations and the Principle of Behavioral Economics
  • Speed Solutions in Small Group Roundtables: Learn from an Expert and Your Peers
  • Sponsored Cocktail Reception

Wednesday, January 30

  • Creating a Power Relationship Between Marketing and Slots: How to Maximize Net Profit and Minimize Over-Investment
  • Free Slot Tournaments and Mega Slot Tournaments: Players Love Them, But Do They Work?
  • Incorporating Kiosks into Your Overall Marketing Strategy: Creating Profitable Guest Experiences Through Effective Planning and Execution
  • Luncheon Keynote and Tribal Spirit of Giving Celebration: A Story of Struggle, Recover and Giving Back
  • The Wild West of Digital Advertising: Does It Really Make a Difference to Your Bottom Line or Do You Just Think You Need to be There?
  • Marketing Strategies that Move the Bar: "Is the Promo Right?" Game Show
  • Raving Riches Giveaway
  • Flip-Flops, Smores and Cocktails: Poolside Wrap Party

2019 Sessions

Sunday, January 27

All Day
Explore Temecula!
4:00 – 6:00 PM

Monday, January 28

7:00 AM
7:00  8:30 AM
8:30 — 10:30 AM
Setting the Stage: Your Issues, Your Input, Your Conference

This three-day program is about fully understanding the top challenges you're facing in your broad roles as marketers and casino executives as well as identifying solutions and opportunities. We kick off the program with a two-hour “Think Tank” with a format unlike any other traditional conference. Get ready to roll up your sleeves, speak out, contribute, and absorb. Take advantage of the wealth of experience, education, and insight in the room.

In a roundtable format, we will undertake the critical issues based on data gathered from an attendee survey. After the conference, all attendees will be sent an exclusive report, summarizing the solutions developed during the morning’s “think tank.”

10:30 — 11:00 AM
11:00 — 11:45 AM
Player Reinvestment: Is There a Secret Sauce to Avoid Over-Investment?

What is the current industry standard for player reinvestment? Is there really a magic number? How does this investment impact the lifecycle of the guest? Should it include hotel costs, entertainment, and comps? Are some tiers a lower investment than others? How much do we want to invest in their worth? What is the percentage you want to give back? How do we value free play in the reinvestment rate? In this session, we’ll look at strategies that will help us avoid over-investment. Tomorrow, we’ll cover how to test your strategy to avoid over-investing.


  • How to value free play and non-gaming revenue in reinvestment calculations
  • How to approach reinvestment from a guest lifecycle perspective
  • How to make room for reinvestment that is planned and expected by the guest paired with offers that surprise and delight
Presenter: Nicole Barker, Senior Raving Partner, Database & Loyalty Marketing
11:45 — 1:15 PM
How Data Science Changed Major League Baseball: What the Gaming Industry Can Learn from Batter Up!

Even if you’re not a baseball fan, or maybe not even a data geek, most folks found the movie Moneyball fascinating. In the film, Oakland A's general manager Billy Beane (Brad Pitt) challenges the system and defies conventional wisdom when he is forced to rebuild his small-market team on a limited budget, using data analytics in addition to scouts and forever changes the way the game is played. Before 2002, baseball players were often misjudged by their market as people who were using their “gut,”  not data. The movie is based on Michael Lewis's best-selling book, “Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game.” Sabermetrics changed the way many major league front offices do business. 

Nearly two decades later, data scientists have not only changed the game of baseball, but they are impacting how casinos are making decisions and courting their guests. And there’s yet another connection; with sports betting now legal, will more of our guests be demanding even more data?

Taking the stage for this entertaining keynote is Ari Kaplan, a leading figure in sports analytics, having created the Chicago Cub's analytics department and working with over half of all MLB organizations and many global sports media organizations.

His baseball career spans 30 seasons, and Sports Illustrated named Ari “Top Ten General Manager Candidate.” He received Caltech’s “Alumni of the Decade” distinction for pioneering groundbreaking sabermetrics used to evaluate pitcher talent.

Ari is one of the few long-term baseball leaders with a proven track record at Fortune 500 companies, as well as successfully running several high-profile organizations as CEO or President. On the media front, Ari co-authored five best-selling books on analytics, databases, and baseball. Ari’s work has been profiled on CNN, Chris Matthews, and the Today Show, and one of his high-profile analytics projects has been turned into a documentary on the History Channel. 

Presenter: Ari Kaplan, Sports Analytics
1:15 — 1:45 PM
1:45 — 2:30 PM
You’re Missing Data! Leverage Player Research to Drive More Revenue

You already know a lot about what your players are doing while at your casino.  How much do you know about what they’re doing when not at your casino? Where else in your market do they gamble, and how much? What percent of your active players’ total gaming budget do you get? How can you layer your research and database to potentially drive more revenue from existing players? And, if they are no longer as active, what happened?


  • Explore the advantages of taking a market view
  • Learn the tension between loyalty and opportunity
  • Enhance your understanding of individual players’ gaming behaviors
  • Rethink your strategy about which players to incentivize
Presenter: Sara Hart, Ph.D., Director of Research, InfoSearch International
2:30 — 2:45 PM
2:45 — 3:30 PM
Marketing the Casino Resort: How To Work with Your Community to Drive Incremental Revenue, Extend Stays and Increase Return Visits

Tribal Casinos are now fully integrated resorts. Have you created those relationships not only in your community but with other businesses to drive incremental revenue and increase return visits? How do you leverage and embrace activities outside of the casino not as competition but as partners? How do you create a seamless experience for your guests even while they are outside of your property? In this session, you’ll take away strategies for working with your Convention and Visitors Bureau, local businesses, and other travel and tourism resources.


  • Leave with insider tips for working and negotiating with community organizations
  • Discover new strategies to drive incremental revenue through partnerships
  • Learn ways to drive hotel occupancy during non-peak times
Moderator: Mark Astone, Strategic Raving Partner, Branding, Advertising and Media Services and CEO, Catalyst Marketing Company
Scott Wilson, Director of Hotel Sales, Pechanga Resort Casino
Aaron Moss, General Manager, Black Oak Casino Resort
Jeff Littrell, Director of Catering and Events, Wilson Creek Winery and Vineyards
Barbara Newton, CEO, California Travel Association
3:30 — 3:45 PM
3:45 — 5:15 PM
Take the Raving Challenge and Apply Your Skills to a New Industry: Wine-Blending, Team-Building and Marketing Competition

As marketers, we must have the ability to brand and develop diverse outlets and products. In this hands-on session, attendees will work together to develop and market a product. This creative exercise will allow you to work with your peers on a wine-blending competition conducted by local, family-run, award-winning, Wilson Creek Winery. You think you've got skills? Don't miss this fun learning and team-building event.

5:15 — 7:15 PM
Welcome Gala Reception & Trade Show Opening

Continue those conversations started during your first day of learning with your fellow attendees, sponsors, and presenters while enjoying drinks and hors d'oeuvres. Explore the quality marketing and analytics products and services of exhibitors prepared to show you additional ways to grow your gaming business. This reception is a perfect icebreaker for two more days of rigorous learning and relationship building!

Tuesday, January 29

7:30 — 8:30 AM
8:30 — 9:30 AM
Milestones, Mission and Vision: Developing a Path for Tribal Leadership

After decades of planning and a lengthy legal battle, the Cowlitz Tribe opened a gaming, dining, entertainment and meeting destination, ilani, just 25 miles north of Portland, opened in April of 2017.  In the forefront, leading a team of more than 1,500 employees and representing over 4,000 members of the Cowlitz Tribe: Kara Fox-LaRose. In this candid keynote, Kara will share how she started her career in gaming with her Tribe’s flagship casino, Mohegan Sun located in Southeastern CT, and the opportunities, support and the self-challenges in her journey thus far. As some Tribes still struggle to create a path for strong Native leaders to run their organizations, her story will highlight her unique position as she leads this compelling joint venture between two Tribes. Look forward to an honest discussion of how she’s stretching herself, her team and her organization to make a difference, not only for shareholders, but to the future of the Tribal gaming industry.

Kara Fox-LaRose, President and General Manager, ilani with Q & A by Molly Maloney, Employment Manager, ilani
9:30 — 10:00 AM
10:00 — 10:45 AM
Test and Control: Why It’s the Most Profitable Analytical Technique in Gaming

Have you ever rolled out an offer in your newsletter without testing beforehand and destroyed your revenue for an entire month because your guest segment did not respond well? Have you ever discovered through proper testing that you could get the same result from a $10 offer that you do from a $15 offer?

Through "test and control” methods, attendees will learn why it is such a valuable tool to ensure positive marketing ROI. Using real-life case studies, Lynette will guide you through how to best implement test and control methods at your property using your reinvestment strategy; learn how to minimize potential negative impact and accurately measure the results. This session builds upon Nicole Barker’s Player Reinvestment session of the previous day.


  • Understand the benefits of using this tool at your property
  • Create the steps to execute test and control methods
  • Learn how to measure your results
Presenter: Lynette O’Connell, Raving VP of Operations
10:45 — 11:15 AM
11:15 — 12:00 PM
Creating Intentional Culture: Outperform Your Competition and Attract and Maintain Amazing Talent

We have all of these programs and strategies we expect our team members to fulfill: guest service, performance improvement initiatives, safety programs, etc. Most of the time, we sit back and wonder why we continue to have high turnover, why our team members aren't meeting guest service benchmarks, and why we are not meeting our numbers. We think it is out of our control, but in reality, improving this takes a deep dive into building an intentional culture within our organization and there is a process to doing so. Culture happens no matter what; you can either roll the dice or create it. In this session, learn how you can ensure your organizational truths are consistent throughout and how to define and measure them to drive ultimate performance.

Presenter: Paula Allen, Raving Partner, Leadership and Tribal Development
12:00 — 1:30 PM
The Power of Understanding Consumer Expectations and the Principle of Behavioral Economics

Data monitoring tools may aid in the development of more sophisticated guest profiles, and behavioral analytics can help to understand their interactions with brands online. However, are you getting it right? Today's gambler is neither exclusively online or offline, so how do you form a better understanding of their expectations and preferences across all channels? How do you know what makes them loyal? How do you nudge them to come back more often?

Humans are complex, and merely reflecting them through data - even big data - might be too limiting. For years, the marketing and research world tried to convince us that more data would be the solution to more predictability - better models could tell us when, who, where, and what. Although we have come closer, we still don’t know why people do the things they do or will do in the future. This session will explore and explain how understanding the individual’s expectations and the principle of behavioral economics will have an enormous impact on the future of marketing, guest engagement, retention, and loyalty.

Leading this discussion is Christian Goy, co-founder and managing director of the Behavioral Science Lab. Opera-loving, former professional athlete, two-time Hall of Fame inductee, and sub-four-minute miler, Christian was raised in East Germany, overcame adversity, and fell in love with design thinking and the importance of how people make decisions. This appetite led him to help pioneer behavioral economic research tools that are applied to product innovation, marketing, economic development and other business applications today.

Presenter: Christian Goy, Co-Founder and Managing Director, Behavioral Science Lab
1:30 — 2:30 PM
2:30 — 5:00 PM
Speed Solutions in Small Group Roundtables: Learn from an Expert and Your Peers       

Your overwhelming feedback from last year’s conference was that you found great value in learning from your peers, addressing your individual pain-points, and sharing in interactive roundtables. Welcome to Raving’s Speed Solutions. You’ll choose the top areas that you’d like to explore. And you’ll be writing notes like crazy, getting specific answers from an expert and your peers. You’ll have just under 20 minutes at six different tables. So, split up your teams, choose your highest priority topics, and let the speed solutions fly!

Speed Solutions topics include:

  • Marketing without amenities – Tom Osiecki
  • Connect your hosts to your marketing efforts – Janet Hawk
  • Techniques for yielding hotel rooms to drive more play – Brett Magnan
  • Tele-selling to increase revenue from your top players – Daniel Wood
  • Reputation management tools and resources – Justin Shank
  • Variable and automated printing and email – Tami Jones
  • Newest trends and applying digital marketing – Mark Astone
  • Free play and reinvestment strategies – Nicole Barker
  • System secrets: pull the data you want without spending more – Lynette O’Connell
  • Keys to creating a high-performing PD team – Steve Browne
  • Gamification ideas to drive ROI – Jerry Epstein
  • Critical technology solutions to complete the guest journey – Federico Veytia
  • Casino entertainment strategies for Tribal casinos – Kell Houston
  • Connect marketing and gaming operations – Kevin Parker
  • What's your next amenity that will drive new players? – John Stewart
  • Tribal executive development strategies: your path to success – Dan Stromer
5:00 — 7:00 PM
Conversations and Cocktails sponsored by Imagine This and TPI

This is your chance to relax after a long day of learning and have some honest conversations with your fellow attendees and presenters under the stars. Didn’t get a chance to ask a question during a session? Want to get the real inside scoop on free play or what you really should be paying for entertainment? Want to know what it’s like to be an analyst in a region that you’ve been thinking about relocating to? Our presenters are approachable, and you can learn a lot from your peers. Join us at the spectacular Eagle’s Nest Lounge and enjoy sweeping panoramas of the twinkling city lights and the Temecula Wine Country.

Sponsored by Imagine This and TPI

Wednesday, January 30

7:30 — 8:30 AM
8:30 — 9:15 AM
Creating a Power Relationship Between Marketing and Slots: How to Maximize Return and Minimize Over-Investment

The challenge: how do we bridge the gap between slots and marketing to ensure we are getting the maximum return for our organization and to resist redundant reinvestment? What does alignment between slot operations and marketing look like? How can metrics be shared more efficiently? Ultimately, how can the guest benefit from this unified form of decision-making? Top minds who are working feverishly to cross the chasm between two robust silos share their forward thinking methods for success.


  • Develop a better understanding of the different forms of player experience at the slot machine
  • Understand how to incorporate theoretical hold to develop better performance metrics
  • Consider what’s next for slot segmentation to deliver more timely and relevant incentives
  • Establish steps to prepare for and celebrate slot floor changes without blindsiding guests
Moderator: Deana Scott, Raving CEO
Michael Minniear, Assistant Director of Business Strategy Development, Pechanga Resort Casino
Nicole Barker, Senior Raving Partner, Database & Loyalty Marketing
Kevin Parker, Raving Partner, Gaming Operations & Technology
9:15 — 9:45 AM
9:45 — 10:30 AM
Free Slot Tournaments and Mega Slot Tournaments: Players Love Them, But Do They Work?

Invitation-only, private, traveling and mega slot tournaments – they are great fun for our players, induce camaraderie and add a level of energy to our gaming floor, and we do a lot of them. However, do slot tournaments drive additional play? What are the best strategies to evaluate their impact on your bottom line? In this session, we’ll discuss when it makes sense to incorporate a tournament bank into your slot floor and how to blend this into your overall marketing mix.


  • Begin utilizing slot tournaments around different promotional ideas
  • Learn how to use them to drive more trips
  • Equip yourself with the right questions to ask your vendor
Moderator: Deana Scott, Raving CEO
Amanda Hopkins, Director of Marketing, Sky Ute Casino Resort
Tony Phongsavath, Promotions, TournEvent® by Everi
Rita Contreras, Director of Promotions, Special Events and Entertainment, Valley View Casino
10:30 — 11:00 AM
11:00 — 11:45 AM
Incorporating Kiosks into Your Overall Marketing Strategy: Creating Profitable Guest Experiences Through Effective Planning and Execution

You’ll find kiosks on just about every gaming floor, but how do you know if you need one? Their goal is to drive incremental gaming revenue, improve efficiency, and create a better winning atmosphere for your guests. The loyalty kiosk provides an assortment of opportunities to use alternative valuation factors to deliver a win or “wow” factor to high-frequency guests who may not win on the gaming floor. What are some ways to ensure that you aren’t just creating another giveaway and, therefore, over-investing in your players? How can a property use them more effectively, avoid lines at the club booth, and keep from migrating high-value guests to stand in line at the promotional kiosk? How can loyalty kiosks make your property more profitable while simultaneously enhancing the overall guest experience?


  • Leave with new ways to incorporate kiosks into your marketing mix
  • Learn how to best reward lower value/high-frequency players through kiosks
Moderator: Lynette O'Connell, Raving VP of Operations
Agata Maher, Director of Marketing Operations, Pechanga Resort Casino
Jaci Marx, Senior Director of Marketing, Isleta Resort & Casino
11:45 — 1:15 PM
A Story of Struggle, Recovery, and Giving Back

At this special luncheon, we put down our pens and stop taking notes; we put thoughts of spreadsheets and post-formas aside. We take the time to think about what fuels us to find connections with others; to be the best version of ourselves; to give more to our families, our friends, our fellow team members; and how we seek joy each day even during hardship.

We are honored to have Retired, Army Staff Sergeant, Ian Newland, enrolled member of the Chiricahua Apache Nation, shares his story of recovery, motivation, and determination, and how he is paying it forward.

Ian joined the Army after being impacted by the terror attacks of September 11, 2001. On his second deployment to Iraq in August 2006, his unit would become the hardest hit unit in 20 years – assigned to the bloody NE sector of Baghdad.

On December 4, 2006, Ian’s convoy was ambushed by enemy fighters. During the ambush, an enemy fighter threw a hand grenade into Ian’s truck. His gunner, 19-year old, Ross A McGinnis, jumped on the hand grenade, giving his life to save the other four soldiers in the truck.

Ian was severely injured in the grenade attack, and what followed was years of physical pain, life-threatening post-traumatic stress disorder, and depression. But through it all, he learned something about himself. He is a survivor. He’s been using his experience to help others.

Following this keynote presentation, we will recognize team members and their organizations that participated in the Tribal Spirit of Giving Award program – who have also “paid it forward” by going above and beyond the work they do for their gaming organizations.

Presenter: Retired Army Staff Sergeant, Ian Newland
1:15 — 2:15 PM
2:15 — 3:00 PM
The Wild West of Digital Advertising: Does it Really Make a Difference to Your Bottom Line or do You Just Think You Need to be There?

In the world of digital marketing, there are a lot of choices to convey your message. What tactics are the most effective—and cost effective? What should you be paying for your SEM, display and pre-roll? How do you segment your markets to measure your campaigns? How is OTT (over the top) affecting the way we advertise? Join us to learn how to push your digital advertising to the limit utilizing the latest proven techniques that will give you an upper hand on the competition. We will discuss the best use for each medium, how to target gamers, and how to segment your markets to correlate your efforts back to gaming revenue. Don’t miss out on this amazing opportunity to enhance your digital marketing.

Mark Astone, Strategic Raving Partner, Branding, Advertising and Media Services and CEO, Catalyst Marketing Company
Vikki Pass, Senior Media Director, Catalyst Marketing Company
Josh Williams, Client Services Director, Catalyst Marketing Company
3:00 — 3:30 PM
3:30 — 4:15 PM
Marketing Strategies That Move The Bar: “Is the Promo Right?” Game Show

Are you beating your head against the wall trying to come up with new promotions? Are you driving additional trips? Are you engaging new players? Are your promotions truly moving the bar? Welcome to “Is the Promo Right” – the interactive learning game show where our celebrity host will lead contestants through a series of challenging questions on casino marketing promotion strategies that they can take back to their Tribal gaming operations. The final contestant is guaranteed one of four seats in the Raving Riches Giveaway for their chance to win some cash in the following session.

4:15 — 4:45 PM
Raving Riches Grand Finale
Sponsored by Engaged Nation

Introduced in 2018, we created Raving’s engagement laboratory, Raving PLAY. Through this online gaming software, attendees learn about the conference and each other before and during the conference by playing social games. The goal? Take our attendee’s conference involvement to more than passive learning. Give them opportunities to connect with everyone they can learn from at the conference (presenters, fellow gaming executives, and exhibitors) while heightening their experience in a fun, non-intimidating way. The more you engage, the more entries you receive towards your chance as a contestant in the Raving Riches Grand Finale. Up to ten attendees will walk away with cash ... will one of them be you?

7:00 — 9:00 PM
Flip-Flops, Smores and Cocktails: Poolside Wrap Party
Sponsored by Power Promotions

Pack your flip-flops and your favorite sweatshirt – it’s summer somewhere! Free for all conference attendees and sponsors – no registration required! We’ll have the fire’s going, melted chocolate and marshmallows for deluxe smores, cocktails, and cool music to transport attendees away from winter doldrums to your happy summer place.

Come and celebrate all the learning and solidify those new bonds you’ve made over the last three days. You can’t attend the conference without staying for this event, trust us! You’ve worked really hard; this is the time to let your hair down. Let the storytelling and new friendships begin under a starry sky.

2019 Online Brochure - 2020 Brochure Coming Soon!

Tired of looking at screens? Print a copy of the brochure for your office!

if you prefer to hold what you're reading, you can download the brochure. Remember, the site will always have the most current information, but the brochure does look REALLY cool.