By Paul Kelly, Paul Kelly Design
Over the past 18 months gaming in New South Wales seems to have stepped up a notch. We are constantly trying to better our last design and achieve a higher return for our customers.
We have created the largest indoor smoking rooms in the country, taken people away on resort holiday interior concepts and even found out a way of dealing with Mother Nature while keeping the health department at bay. But the question remains where are gaming rooms going, and what is the ultimate gaming room?
In my opinion, the customer is after a well laid-out room, with good ventilation and facilities like a cashier, toilets and complimentary snacks. But where is the gaming market heading and how can we continue this growth in the gaming sector of the business?
We have a strategy where we are treating the gaming customer like someone who goes to a shopping centre – if the shopping centre only sold apples then most people would go elsewhere as they’d be sick of apples. What I mean by this is, with a gaming room, a lot of the customers want to feel like they’re in an exclusive environment within the pub, so we need to provide them with a very unique experience.
This customer is potentially the biggest market share for the gaming facility, so what we are looking to achieve is a total gaming experience for patrons who whose main focus is neither food nor alcohol. The way we are looking to achieve this is by creating break-out areas within the gaming room – with full view of the machines – that have the ability to provide a soft gaming experience for the punter taking a break who doesn’t drink or who is not interested in racing.
What we are after is a customer who comes to the venue with the sole intention of experiencing a gaming concept. We want to break the perception of the patron on what the hotel is, and almost provide a venue within a venue. This has already been done with designated gaming-only facilities, but they are still very masculine and very alcohol- and sports-focused. We want to create several areas for a variety of soft gaming options within the gaming room. Essentially the hotel would be split in two – with the gaming area having a very low beverage focus and a very limited TAB facility. We want the majority of the racing focused TAB and sporting events to be outside of the gaming room.
We are starting to roll this concept out with the Punchbowl Hotel, which should be fully complete by November this year. Our current gaming projects are exploring these concepts and I see the potential, especially for non-gaming belt venues, to be very high.