By MIKE HUGHES, Prime Times
WHEELING - Wheeling Island Hotel, Casino, Racetrack is also looking for new ways to market itself to new customers and continue enticing loyal patrons back through its doors.
And the 55-and-over community is no exception.
For years, the casino has catered to seniors on Wednesdays, offering various promotions from luncheons to live musical performances and other assorted gifts.
But what Wednesday.
Kim Florence, marketing director for Wheeling Island, explained the thinking behind making the middle of the week “senior day” at the facility.
‘‘It actually began with the greyhound racing,’’ Florence said.
“We would offer free coffee for seniors on Wednesday’s because have double post times on that day.
‘‘It just sort of blossomed from there.’’
Like most promotions at the casino, in order to take advantage, one must hold a valid Players’ Club card. It’s free to sign up for the club and there is no monthly fee to be a member.
Florence noted that promotions specifically targeting seniors have been in effect since the slots first were installed at the track.
But, such promotions have expanded since table games were added to the facility.
‘‘Over the years it’s has improved,’’ she said. ‘‘We’ve added more elements to the program.’’
The ongoing Wednesday promotions are dubbed “Young at Heart Senior Wednesdays” and runs from 10 a.m. until 10 p.m.
Each Wednesday of the month brings about a different promotion, but every Wednesday players can earn double points in slot play.
There is also the opportunity for a free hot dog or serving of ice cream.
Next Wednesday will be the free senior appreciation lunchy from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. in the showroom.
The Jack Tady Polka Fest also makes a monthly stop at the showroom to entertain seniors from 2-5 p.m.
Tady, dubbed Western Pennsylvania’s King of Polka, most recently visited Wheeling Island on March 10 and will be making a return trip on April 14.
Florence said the casino tries to mix up the promotions and come up with new offers. But the Polka Fest and senior luncheon are two staples that make one appearance per month, usually spaced two weeks apart.
Despite being around basically since gaming’s inception at the facility, Florence explained its still a popular event each week.
‘‘It’s very popular,’’ she said.
‘‘The 55-and-older players, they really enjoy it. It has a lot of special benefits that they can only get on Wednesdays.
“Plus they enjoy the interaction with the people they get to see each week.
‘‘We’re very happy to do it and it’s definitely grown over the years.’’
Another bonus available to all players began recently in September. Anyone who signs up for a Players Club card will be eligible for a free play on the slots. Players receive a pin number, similar to the four-digit ATM pin numbers, that once entered, entitles them to a free pull of the handle.
And while no money is placed on the cards, they are utilized while using the slots to build points which lead to greater rewards down the line.
Hughes may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
WHEELING?ISLAND?Hotel, Casino, Racetrack’s “Young at Heart Senior Wednesday’s” promotion has been a hit with the 55-and-over crowd since its inception.