Chartwell to Supply Isle of Capri with Play-for-Fun Site

21 August 2001
After aligning itself with Harrah's Entertainment earlier this year, Chartwell Technologies has once again agreed to develop a land-based operator's play-for-free site. The Canadian-based software company will supply Isle of Capri Casinos Inc. with its latest suite of software to run a play-for-fun virtual casino.

The agreement has Chartwell, a company that in the past has catered to the online gaming sector, teaming up with a traditional bricks-and-mortar gaming company. Isle of Capri Casinos Inc. owns and operates 14 riverboat, dockside and land-based casinos at 13 locations and is the 7th largest publicly traded gaming company in the United States.

The play-for-fun section of the site will center around promotions for its more loyal customers. The company currently has a customer loyalty program, iGold, and that program will play a central role in the site. Chartwell's suite of games will be available to all current and new iGold members, offering loyalty points for monthly prizes that are redeemable at any Isle of Capri's properties.

Chartwell President and CEO Darold Parken said he is amazed by the knowledge and expertise companies like Harrah's and Isle of Capri have in getting the most out of their customer loyalty programs.

"We have found that these guys really work their loyalty programs to their advantage," he said. "It is unreal how they are able to drive traffic to a play-for-free site. The rewards aren't based on the outcome of the game, but instead the frequency of play."

The site will also include regular updates on property news and coming attractions, bringing the unique Isle of Capri Caribbean brand to the Internet.

Parken said Chartwell is making a concerted effort to target land-based companies as partners for a more stable long-range business plan.

"They may still be two years away from being able to get to the Internet, but when it happens they are they ones that will be able to take advantage of their brands," he said. "We certainly feel like getting those relationships established now is a great opportunity for us. We have learned a lot about the industry through these partnerships because, let's face it, these guy are the absolute experts when it comes to gaming."

Harrah's, unlike Isle of Capri, has a property on Las Vegas's strip. Both, however, have land-based properties spread throughout the country.

Parken feels there is a slight advantage to companies like Harrah's and Isle of Capri when the time comes to getting their brand on the Internet.

"When you have a property on the strip, there are so many other facets that go along with it besides gambling," he said. "These companies that have regional properties where they can target their customer base have a better chance of getting them to their property through their website. Often the property isn't part of a big entertainment complex and these play-for-free sites can be the little marketing tool that propels the customers to come and play."

Chartwell isn't the only winner in the deal either. Isle of Capri CEO John Gallaway said the agreement gives his company a leg-up in developing its online casino.

"The Isle places a high value on the use of cutting-edge technology in our industry, and Chartwell was able to develop a Web program that matched our expectations," he said. "They have extensive knowledge in developing diverse and player-friendly programs, which is exactly what we want our customers to experience when visiting our iGold site."

Parken said there is no target date set for launching the site.