According to the American Gaming Association, gross gambling revenue in casinos across the nation for 2007 was more than $92 billion, with Las Vegas, Atlantic City and Chicagoland grossing the highest revenues. Many gamblers, particularly those that are older, like to be able to be picked up near home and driven to a casino. This also allows them to have a drink, if they desire, without worrying about driving home. Starting a bus service for casinos is not be without challenges, though it could be profitable.
Complete a feasibility study to identify the likelihood of a casino bus service being popular in the location you intend to serve. If there are no casino bus services currently serving the area, this may be a good indication that the location does not have a sufficient volume of potential bus users. If there are already existing services, you may find it very challenging to compete with them.
Determine your operating costs and overheads, the prices you will need to charge and the volume of customers you will need to make a profit.
Contact the Small Business Administration office in your region. The professionals there can provide free advice and resources to help you complete your feasibility study, develop a business plan, comply with business licensing and taxation requisites, and source loans and grants. They will also be very familiar with the region and have in-depth knowledge of the economic climate and the local market.
Source a fleet of vehicles. Compare purchasing buses to leasing them. Your bus(es) must comply with public transportation safety standards and you must have adequate insurance coverage. Contact the Federal Transit Administration to get detailed information pertaining to the regulations with which you must comply. You must also comply with your state's laws pertaining to insurance.
Negotiate a fuel contract with gas stations near your departure and drop-off points. You will also need experienced bus mechanics available for routine maintenance and to respond to emergency breakdowns. You may want to contract this service to a local garage.
Contact the customer-services departments at the casinos you intend to serve. Find out if they are interested in collaborating with you in your business venture, or if they offer incentives to companies that bring customers to their facilities.
Market your services by advertising in local publications. Contact local senior centers, retirement homes and associations such as the American Legion and Elks. Offer incentives to those people who organize group travel for their participants.
Develop a list of passenger guidelines. You should stick to a strict time schedule and ensure that passengers know they are responsible for being back at the bus prior to the departure time. You will also want to develop a booking and cancellation policy.
- casino image by Valery Sibrikov from Fotolia.com