Casinos Use Promotions To Generate New Business

Grand Casino rolled out its finest limousine to welcome Lucille to is Gulfport resort. Lucille is a chicken -- and apparently a darn good Chik-Tac-Toe player.

"I played him yesterday," Grand Casino marketing director Austin Miller said during a news conference announcing the casino's new promotion. "I'm sorry to say, I lost."

In the Chik-Tac-Toe promotion, the chicken is O, you're X. If you can beat the pesky bird, you take home $10,000. Connie Boger owns and trains the chicken. She described the new casino game this way, "Obviously, this is something people think is unique and different."

Grand Casino executive Duncan McKenzie had his own description of the Chik-Tac-Toe game. He said, "We think it's going to bring a lot of good exposure to the coast."

McKenzie is also the head of the Gulf Coast Gaming Association. He says the coast has done a great job of marketing itself to the world. "We're all very excited," McKenzie said. "We had some big additions in 1999 with Beau Rivage and Imperial Palace. I think the market has pretty much absorbed those properties. And we've got no where to go but up."

In July, coast casino revenues reached their highest level ever. One month later, revenues fell 10% below the August 2001 total. Industry leaders like Joe Billhimer aren't worried. "I think the gulf coast is one of the prime destinations in the United States right now," Billhimer said. "I think it's going to be just fine."

With a little help from a chicken named Lucille, the casinos think they can peck away at new tourism opportunities.

The Chik-Tac-Toe game will be at Grand Casino Gulfport from September 24 until October 24. The chicken moves to Grand's Biloxi property in November.