Every casino visitor hopes to come home a winner – whether by collecting some extra spending money from the slots or cards, or by experiencing a high-quality meal, exhilarating entertainment, relaxing spa treatment or just an escape from the real world.
When guests are happy, the casino wins, too, and that means keeping up with new technologies that can boost guest satisfaction, increase convenience and create a bright, stimulating ambience that complements the gaming floors and entertainment options.
When the largest casino in California realized it needed a more effective alternative to static signs, it saw an opportunity to enhance its guest experience with high-tech digital signage, and needed the right technology partner to help it meet its goals.
Upgrading to New Technology
Pechanga Resort Casino, located in Temecula, California, has the largest casino floor in the entire state, clocking in at a whopping 200,000 square feet – in fact, it's even bigger than the largest casino floor in Las Vegas. The casino features more than 4,000 slot machines, 154 table games, a non-smoking poker room, and an ultra-modern, 700-seat bingo facility.
The casino has been wowing guests since 2002 with the latest in entertainment and gaming offerings, but not long after its grand opening that year, staff realized that the signage around the property was not meeting Pechanga's high standards.
"When we first opened, and for a long time after that, we were using backlit fluorescent Mylar printed displays, and those were becoming archaic," said Rick Gonzales, technical services manager for Pechanga. "Plus, it was a time-consuming, labor-intensive chore to change them out after every event, so we decided to go after digital signage."
The casino's initial digital signage experiences were not very positive.
"[The vendor we were using] had a manufacturing issue with the color engine in all of their panels, and we had panel failures at an alarming rate, to the point where it was causing a customer issue," Gonzales said. "There were dead screens out on the floor, and we couldn't have that."
The casino didn't give up, however, and began looking for another option. Gonzales looked into "every major player on the market" and ultimately selected NEC Display Solutions as Pechanga's new digital signage provider.
"We were pleased with the sales team and customer service, and we got the quickest response rate with NEC," he said. "They also offered a wider product range at the time, and continue to do so. We've been consistently using NEC since 2003."
According to Gonzales, the early deployments were "very small," consisting mainly of digital displays showing content above static backlit maps, and a handful of other displays peppered throughout the property, but as the casino expanded, it incorporated more digital signage elements. In 2004, Pechanga added an additional 80,000 square feet of gaming
space and built new entertainment options, both of which prominently feature NEC displays and projectors.
"The No. 1 thing is the quality of the product and the quality of the customer service – they go hand-in-hand for us," Gonzales said. "We're here 24/7, 365 days a year, and we push the products to their limits, and their longevity is a testament to their quality."
Pechanga's Digital Signage Spread
Pechanga now has 155 P-series flat-panel displays throughout the entire casino and resort, including in Kelsey's Restaurant, the Round Bar, Pechanga Bingo, at the ends of slot machine banks as end caps, in elevators and more. The displays show house-created content as well as promotions, upcoming events and information about Pechanga, and broadcast television and sports games in the bars.
"The NEC displays' durability is what made us buy those to show a sports game in our bars instead of a consumer-grade television off the shelf," Gonzales said.
The Bingo Hall features NEC displays that stream the bingo feed around the circular hall, as well as a large screen at the front of the hall onto which the feed is projected with an NEC PA653UL laser projector and NEC PX700W projector. The Round Bar uses an NEC PX700W projector to project television programs and sports games onto a 16x9 drop-down screen.
The Round Bar was designed with a focal point called "The Beacon" in the middle – an approximately 60-foot-tall stained glass structure encircled by 8 NEC P463 46-inch flat-panel displays. During showings of major events like pay-per-view fights or major sports games, the bar has a motorized drop-down screen onto which it can project content.
Gonzales said the digital signage has helped the casino better serve its guests.
"When we used static signage, we had instances where the Mylar backlit signs were still showing events that had been over for a week," he said. "With digital signage, the minute an event is over, the display updates to new content, so it helps with guest satisfaction because it keeps everything up to date in real time."
In addition to complimenting the consistently fresh content, casino guests also have lauded the quality of the content and location of the displays, Gonzales said. To maintain and build on this goodwill, the casino is looking to expand its digital signage initiatives.
"Wayfinding digital signage is one of our target future objectives, and we want to provide touch overlays, with maps and slot [machine] finders, for true wayfinding capabilities," he said.
Pechanga hosted the grand opening of its $300 million resort expansion on March 3, 2018. The project adds an additional 568 hotel rooms and suites, a 25,000-square-foot luxury spa, a 4.5-acre pool complex, 68,000 square feet of added event space (inside which is the Pechanga Summit, a new event center and ballroom), two new restaurants and a fourthfloor roof garden. All meeting rooms and breakout rooms will feature 15 NEC NP-PA803U projectors to amplify engagement during events. At the vast pool complex, cabanas offer guests 40 NEC P404 displays in weatherproof encloses. The P Series was chosen for the pool cabanas for its high brightness, which will allow visibility even in sunny weather, Gonzales said.
"Something we always tout here at Pechanga is uptime and customer service, and I can't say enough that NEC has exemplified both of those," Gonzales added. "That's why we're still with them."