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Supreme Court Ruling: Sports Betting Is Now Legal in US

On May 14th, the Supreme Court ruled against the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), which had become a federal law in 1993 under George H.W. Bush. At the time, sports betting was already illegal, but the law took things one step further by preventing states from being able to regulate and earn tax revenue from betting. Nevada was grandfathered in under the law, which means that it has been the only state to allow sports betting over the past 25 years. New Jersey filed a lawsuit, claiming that the law was unconstitutional and in a 6-3 decision, the court sided with the state and effectively struck down PASPA. So what does this all mean?

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How Big is Sports Betting in America?

Make no mistake about it; Just because sports betting has been illegal in 49 states, doesn’t mean that it isn’t a thriving industry. The underground market makes approximately $150 billion a year. Legal sports gambling in Nevada earns just $5 billion. That is a enormous amount of money that states want to the right to tax. States argue that bookies, who have been running an extensive black market fueled by the internet, are the only ones who have really been profiting off the law.

Who Is Against Legal Sports Betting?

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You might be surprised to learn that the NCAA, MLB, NFL, NHL and NBA have all strongly opposed legal sports betting and supported the  PASPA as an instrument to protect the integrity of their games. In 1992, the sitting commissioner of the NFL, Paul Tagliabue, had this to say to Congress:

Sports gambling threatens the character of team sports. Our games embody our very finest traditions and values. They stand for clean, healthy competition. They stand for teamwork. And they stand for success through preparation and honest effort. With legalized sports gambling, our games instead will come to represent the fast buck, the quick fix, the desire to get something for nothing. The spread of legalized sports gambling would change forever—and for the worse—what our games stand for and the way they are perceived.

The major professional and amateur leagues fear that bringing more money into the sports arena will undermine the very things that make sports great and lead to more corruption and games that are intentionally thrown. Now that PASPA has bee declared unconstitutional, teams may be forced into partnerships and sponsorships with bookmakers or risk completely losing out on any slice of the financial pie.

Opponents of PASPA

Those who have long been opposed PASPA claim that making sports betting legal will actually make it more difficult to fix games. They argue that by bringing betting into the open, it will be easier to regulate and monitor. Leagues and regulatory agencies will be able to identify irregular behavior and prevent corruption.

From an economic standpoint, states stand to gain billions of dollars in revenue and some experts estimate that 1.4 million jobs will be created. Legal sports betting will also help money stay in the states instead of being shipped overseas, which is where a lot of gamblers place their bets now.

Finally, proponents of legalized sports gambling argue that addiction and other illegal activities related to betting will decline. Compulsive gamblers will feel less stigmatized and be more likely to seek out help. Gamblers will also be operating in a more regulated environment, which means more reputable bookies and more fair deals. While a lot of this is speculation, there is no arguing that individual states to stand to gain a lot from being able to regulate and tax sports betting without federal oversight.

What’s Next for Sports Betting?

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Many states have already been pushing through legislation in anticipation of the Supreme Court ruling. That means that they are primed and ready to pass sports betting laws and quickly implement the practice throughout the state. In fact, one sports bookie in New Jersey has already built a booth at Monmouth Park and is ready to open. Casinos throughout Atlantic City are also gearing up to incorporate sports betting in their locations. New Jersey has been preparing for this legal shift for some time, but other states up and down the east coast are also looking forward to benefiting from this new revenue stream.

Delaware is likely to be the next state to enact sports betting laws. They have been trying since 2009 to expand current sports betting options and are currently about 90 days from being able to enact specific legislation. Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania and West Virginia are all expected to follow closely behind with a total of about 20 states legalizing sports gambling within the next year.

Don’t expect the Federal government to give up on their case though. Ultimately, the Supreme Court is only tasked with deciding whether a law is constitutional, not whether it is fundamentally right or wrong. This leaves plenty of space for Congress to go back and create another law that will pass constitutional muster. The fight over legalized sports betting is anything but over, however, it will be years before there are any major changes.

For now, states, bookies, casinos and major sports leagues have no choice but to adapt and find the best ways to move as quickly as possible to address the new challenges associated with a $150 billion industry instantly becoming available.

  • States will have to decide how they are going to regulate betting and enact laws that leagues, gamblers and venues can accept.
  • Bookies may be looking to expand their operations while also complying with new laws.
  • Casinos and other betting venues will have to hire more personnel, which means a greater demand on resources. Betting booths may need to be installed along with additional employees and hardware and software. Casino Schedule Ease could serve as a vital tool during this time of transition and expansion.
  • Leagues and individual team will need to consider whether they want to partner will specific bookmakers and what steps they will take to reduce the likelihood that money will play a factor in how games turn out.

While it remains to be seen exactly how the recent Supreme Court ruling will affect sports and the gambling industry, overturning PAPSA marks a historic decision and a new era.

 

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Best Restaurants Located inside Las Vegas Casinos

In recent years, Las Vegas has become home to world-class entertainment with some of the biggest names in music taking up permanent residence. At the same time, the town has become one of the premier food scenes in the country as casinos look for more ways to attract visitors and offer a unique experience. Today, the strip attracts some of the biggest chefs and plays host to a wide range of restaurants that serve up gourmet food at a variety of price points. For those who want to enjoy some great food as they gamble, here are some must visit restaurants that are located right in Las Vegas casinos.

Michael Mina Seafood at the Bellagio

You know a restaurant must be good when it is simply named after the chef. Michael Mina is an award winning Michelin-star chef who has a clear passion for seafood. The menu features only the freshest ingredients and focuses on seasonal dishes and unique takes on classic seafood recipes. Many of the offerings come directly from Mina’s cookbook. To enjoy a well-rounded dining experience, consider ordering from the tasting menu and asking for wine pairing recommendations. This is the best strategy for sampling as much as possible and experiencing how the right wine can bring out the flavors of a well-designed dish.

Joel Robuchon at MGM Grand

Joel Robuchon has been dubbed the “Chef of the Century” and is the mastermind behind the only Las Vegas restaurant to be awarded three Michelin stars. His French cuisine can be sampled through a 6-course or 16-course meal. This is fine dining at its best, so be prepared for a more formal venue. Notable dishes include French classics like steak tartar and free-range quail.

Guy Savoy at Caesar’s Palace

Guy Savoy is a world-renowned French chef and owner of 5 restaurants. While most of his establishments are located in the heart of Paris, Las Vegas visitors have the unique opportunity to eat at his only restaurant outside of France. The location is small and intimate, which helps create a true dining experience. Be prepared to spend top dollar on your meal, but the cost is worth being able to eat at a two star Michelin restaurant right in the heart of Las Vegas. Don’t leave without sampling the famous artichoke and black truffle soup, which has helped the restaurant to earn the AAA Five Diamond Award and the Forbes Five Star Award.

Estiatorio Milos at the Cosmopolitan

If you aren’t a fan of French cuisine, then consider visiting Estiatorio Milos, a Greek and Mediterranean restaurant that prides itself on offering the freshest seafood available. Once you are seated and ready to order, you will be taken over to a cooler where you will be able to choose the exact fish you want to eat for dinner. Your choice of delicacies will then be expertly prepared and served up with fresh, seasonal vegetables and delicious sides.  Compared to other dining options, the prices are relatively affordable with entrees ranging from about $30 to $50. While you can always opt for the lamb chops or filet mignon, it would be a shame not to sample some of their fresh seafood during your visit.

Gordon Ramsay Steak at Paris Las Vegas

Gordon Ramsay is probably one of the most recognizable names and faces in the culinary world. He trained under Guy Savoy and has hosted and starred in numerous television shows where he is known for demanding excellence and losing his temper now and then. While you might not want to work for him, you shouldn’t pass up the opportunity to eat one of his steaks at Paris Las Vegas.

The atmosphere is a little more loud and energetic than some of the other restaurants on our list, which gives it a more causal feel. The dining area is meant to evoke the atmosphere of busy London streets and includes a giant Union Jack flag on the ceiling. Whether you order the ribeye or Kobe beef cap, you won’t be disappointed.

Holstein’s at The Cosmopolitan

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If you want to enjoy a hearty meal without having to worry about spending a fortune or putting on some formal attire, then swing by Holstein’s for what some say are the best burgers in Las Vegas. Keep in mind that these aren’t your average burgers.  They offer over 25 gourmet burgers with creative toppings and recommended beer pairings for a full dining experience. Also, be sure to save room for dessert because you don’t want to miss out on sampling one of their giant and famous shakes that come topped with all sorts of extras, including an entire donut.

The Buffet at Wynn

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No Las Vegas restaurant list would be complete without mentioning at least one buffet. The Buffet at the Wynn hotel and casino has long been regarded as one of the best options in town. The dining area is bright, colorful and full of beautiful flower arrangements that will make you feel transported to a different place. Food choices come from around the world and the buffet includes 15 live cooking stations and over 120 different dishes. You can sample new foods and enjoy your favorites as prepared by world-class chefs. If your brought your appetite to Vegas, then the Buffet at Wynn is worth checking out.

If you have never been to Las Vegas or it has been while since your last visit, you will be amazed to see what area casinos have to offer. As casinos work to attract new customers and stand out from the competition, there has been an incredible influx of technology along with entertainment and dining options. The casino floors are being revolutionized by new games, hospitality is being improved with management and scheduling solutions like Casino Schedule Ease and the biggest names in food, music and entertainment are taking up residence in Las Vegas. You don’t have to travel any further than the strip to experience some of the best food in the world.

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The High-Tech World of Casinos

When you think of technology, places like Silicon Valley probably come to mind, but you might be surprised to learn just how high-tech gambling destinations like Las Vegas have become. With millions of tourists visiting every year and billions of dollars at stake, casinos rely on a wide range of technology to operate more efficiently, create a better customer experience, improve safety and encourage visitors to spend more money. Here are just a few of the technology based tools that help keep Las Vegas casinos on the cutting-edge:

Anti-Cheating Technology

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You have probably seen at least one movie where savvy criminals are able to beat the house, but in real life, it is incredibly difficult. Almost all of the technology that is designed to prevent and catch cheating is completely invisible, so gamblers don’t even know they are being monitored. Surveillance begins the moment you pull onto the casino property with license plate scanners that match information against a database of cheaters and gambling addicts. Biometric face recognition can also be used to identify unwelcome visitors.

At the tables, both cards and chips are now commonly equipped with tracking information. A system called Angel Eye uses cards that are printed with unique barcodes in invisible ink. This prevents any card switching. Small homing chips can also be embedded in casino chips. Authorized chips will emit a signal that is detected by reading equipment at the cashing booth. Any counterfeit chips can quickly be identified.

Powerful Analytics

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In the past, pit managers made adjustments to the gaming floor based on their own observations and years of experience in the casino business. There wasn’t a system in place to test the performance of changes or measure results. Basically, what games were being featured and where they were placed was all left to educated guesses.

Today, casinos are using data and predictive modeling to measure specific ROIs and make more informed decisions. In addition to using data to determine the best placement of games, analytics are being used to decide which customers are offered special deals on hotels and meals. Customers who are more apt to gamble and spend a certain amount at the casino are offered a free dinner or a discounted stay at the hotel. By identifying customers who are more likely to gamble, the casino is able to practice highly targeted marketing and increase revenue.

Analytics can also be used to identify trends that might be an indication of cheating. TableEye21 uses an overhead camera and a variety of other technology to track what cards are being played and how much is being wagered. At the same time, advanced software is analyzing all the information and providing detailed stats that can reveal if a player is counting cards and if the dealer might be working with some of the players at the table.

IBM’s Relationship Resolution software is another analytics tool that can detect larger cheating rings. Using massive amounts of data, the software can identify relationships that wouldn’t be obvious at first glance. For example, the software might identify a playing trend only to discover that the dealer and winning player were college roommates. While casinos were the first to use this technology, the government quickly recognized its powerful implications and adopted the software following the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Scheduling Solutions

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Software is also playing an important role solving scheduling challenges, which in turn improves employee job satisfaction and leads to a better customer experience. Imagine working as a scheduling manager at a busy Las Vegas casino. You have hundreds of employees with different skill sets and preferred schedules and a casino that needs a capable staff 24/7. The logistics of effectively trying to place everyone while also taking into account unexpected emergencies, is an organizational nightmare. That is exactly why Casino Schedule Ease was invented.

Casino Schedule Ease allows managers to work with a visual map of the casino floor and easily assign employees according to when they can work and where they perform the best. The software also streamlines the communication process by providing a single portal where employees can request days off and managers can see who is available to fill slots. Ultimately, this technology frees up time for managers while also working to get the most out of each employee.

Increased Safety and Security

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As discussed in a recent blog post, casinos are looking for new ways to improve security without introducing obtrusive solutions that take away from the fun environment and put visitors on edge. Having to walk through a metal detector doesn’t exactly provide a warm and welcoming greeting, but it is the most effective way to identify weapons and prevent them from entering the building. That is why more forward thinking casinos have already incorporated invisible metal detectors at all their entrances. These devices can’t be seen by visitors, but are constantly at work and being monitored by uniformed and undercover security personnel.

Enterprise Level Content Management

Paperwork and casinos don’t seem like two words that would go together, but the average casino produces 45,000 pages of documents a year. That is a lot to keep track of and manage. From human resources to accounting, casinos rely on many of the same departments and back-office components that any other average business needs to operate. That is why many casinos are going digital and getting rid of paper documents altogether. Not only does this approach streamline communications, it also reduces costs and provides better access to important information.

When it comes to casinos, the use of technology goes well beyond new games. Casinos rely on a wide variety of hardware, software and services to better manage their facilities and their employees while also constantly working to improve the customer experience. In fact, the items list above represent just a small portion of the technology that casinos use on a daily basis. There is a lot more going on behind the scenes so that visitors can have a safe and pleasant experience.

 

 

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How Casinos are Working to Improve Security

Recent events have heightened anxieties over safety and forced hotels, entertainment venues and casinos to re-examine their security and emergency response plans. Mass shootings have been a harsh reminder that no one is immune from these seemingly random acts of violence and made it clear that the hospitality industry has to take additional measures to make sure that guests feel safe. The challenge is that the presence of metal detectors and uniformed guards can actually make guests more aware that safety is a concern and cause unease. This means that venues need to implement subtle security solutions that still allow guests to have fun and enjoy their stay without constant reminders of potential threats. It is a complicated issue and one worth taking a closer look at.

Casinos Could Be Held Liable for Shootings

It is an unfortunate truth that at this point in our history, mass shootings are considered “foreseeable.” This type of violence has reached a level of saturation that it is no longer acceptable to say that we didn’t see it coming or there was no way to prevent it. Essentially, casinos are responsible for recognizing and preventing this type of threat. In the future, it is feasible that casinos could be held legally liable for a shooting on their property. This puts added pressure on security teams to improve safety and institute preventative measures.

What’s the Best Security Solution?

At the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, where a gunman killed 58 people and injured almost 500 by firing into a crowd of concert goers from his hotel room, metal detectors and X-ray machines were immediately implemented. However, these extra measures are set to be phased out over time because they are simply too inconvenient. Guests don’t want to have to wrangle their luggage and go through security lines just to be able to check into their room. Hospitality is supposed to be about creating an enjoyable customer experience and while metal detectors might work on a practical level, they also present some real challenges when it comes to creating a fun experience.

Casinos and hotels have also relied heavily on security cameras to monitor guests, but these measures do little to actually prevent incidents. A camera might be a deterrent to some, but they certainly aren’t enough to identify someone with a gun and ill intentions. Consider the fact that the Mandalay Bay shooter was able to bring in duffle bags full of weapons and go completely unnoticed. High powered assault rifles can be broken down and stowed in suitcases, which wouldn’t raise any alarm unless they were identified by a metal detector.

Wynn Casinos Provide a Look at the Future of Security

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Casino magnate Steve Wynn has been warning that Las Vegas is a perfect target for some years only to be labeled as paranoid. Despite this criticism, he has been quietly working to beef up security at his properties for some time and has managed to incorporate less intrusive solutions. While many of the measures are kept private, we do know that there are invisible metal detectors at every entrance and hundreds of undercover security personnel who are constantly patrolling the floor. These guards work on two hour shifts to prevent boredom and ensure that they continue to stay alert and vigilant. There are also trained handlers with dogs that can sniff out bombs and drugs. While many thought that Wynn was worrying too much, many casino owners may now be looking to him as an example of how to handle security.

Going Low-Tech

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There is an app for practically everything, including new mobile room keys, but this technology is problematic when it comes to hotel and casino security. High-tech tools tend to eliminate the need for guests to interact with the staff, which means fewer opportunities to observe strange behavior or notice red flags. Well-trained hotel staff can be one of the most important security tools. This means that while the rest of the world might be going mobile, hotels and casinos are better off staying low-tech and encouraging more personal interactions.

Moving forward, casinos will have to think more like the secret service and be aware of vulnerabilities. This means monitoring rooftops, having sniper teams in place and organizing events so that there are clear evacuation plans. There has to be a clear plan for both preventing an attack and responding to a shooting in a way that limits the number of casualties and injuries.

Ultimately, the best way to improve security comes down to people. While there are some high-tech solutions that can be unobtrusively incorporated in a way that doesn’t distract or inconvenience guests, security personnel and hotel staff are the best line of defense. Casinos need to invest in targeted training that teaches staff what to look for and put in place a clear procedure for reporting any suspicious behavior.

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This also means that casinos will need to implement better staff management strategies to ensure that there are enough staff and undercover security personnel moving on the floor and stationed at entrances. Scheduling software, like Casino Schedule Ease, will serve as an invaluable tool when it comes to making sure that hundreds of employees are in the right locations. Software will also make it easier to constantly rotate security experts so that they can stay alert.

Las Vegas and other gambling hubs host millions of visitors each year. Unfortunately, that also means that these locations are prime targets for people looking to inflict maximum harm. It is a sad reality, but one that can’t be ignored. For casinos and hotels, the challenge then becomes one of providing adequate security without introducing new levels of inconvenience. When it comes to technology based solutions, invisible metal detectors are some of the best tools available. However, the best way casinos can invest in and improve security is through staff training. Staff should be constantly interacting with guests and on alert for suspicious behavior. Without a well trained security team and staff, it will be easy for attackers to go unnoticed.

 

 

 

 

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Casino News Round-Up: What You Need to Know

Things are heating up around the world when it comes to the casino and gaming industry. New regulations are being introduced, casinos are opening and existing complexes are expanding to incorporate more opportunities for shopping and entertainment. All of these happenings reflect emerging trends that are worth taking a closer look at, so we have gathered up some of the most important and revealing stories to help keep you up-to-date.

Russian Casino Turns Focus to Amenities

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In many ways, Russia is a new market for casinos and gaming. In 2015, the Tigre De Cristal, which is owned and operated by a Hong Kong-based firm, opened in Murav’inaya Harbor and became the first casino in the region. The initial phase of construction included 121 hotel rooms and suites. Over the course of just a few years of operation, the casino has had trouble accommodating visitor demand and now plans to add 500 more rooms. This second phase of construction will also focus on adding other amenities, including: shops, a golf course, a ski resort, entertainment facilities, etc.

While this might not be breaking news in the US, it does give an indication of what customers and gaming enthusiasts expect from today’s casinos. Not only will casinos have to incorporate more sophisticated and modern gaming options, they will have to provide a more comprehensive experience that provides year-round activities. For some casinos, this trend may signal the need for a major shift in strategy.

Cherokee Nation to Open New Casino

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Russian and Asian partners clearly have a vision for the future of the gaming industry and are taking immediate measures to ensure their new casino meets the changing demands of customers. The Cherokee Nation is also taking steps to upgrade their facilities and update their strategies in an effort to meet these same challenges. The Cherokee Nation has been operating casinos throughout the US for well over 20 years, but they also seem to be taking notice that traditional gambling models might not be the best approach in a modern world.

As a result, the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma is opening a new branch of their Tahlequah location that will replace the existing casino.  Construction broke ground on March 26, 2018 and the Cherokee Springs Plaza is scheduled to open in 2019. This new complex will feature more space for entertainment and dining along with a luxury golf course. The hope is that all the amenities will attract lucrative convention contracts.

Las Vegas Opens First eSports Arena

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Time and again, we have talked about the evolution of gaming and its effect on the gambling. If you have been skeptical about how far Vegas-style casinos would stray from traditional games, then it is time to take a look at the first eSports arena located in the Luxor casino, which opened to the public on March 27, 2018. This 30,000 square-foot complex will allows visitors to participate in multiplayer games, creating a more competitive and interactive gaming experience. The arena will host classic games, like Pong and Pac-Man, along with more modern and sophisticated games.

The Las Vegas eSports arena is just one of six complexes that is the result of a partnership between MGM Resorts International and Allied Sports. Ultimately, the Vegas location is meant to be the flagship destination that will host championship events and televised competitions. For those who have been wondering about the future of gaming and the viability of slot machines in a market that is increasingly dictated by the preferences of Millennials, the eSports arena is a good sign of what is to come.

New Hampshire Won’t Join East Coast Gambling Trend

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In recent years, we have watched as more states along the east coast have loosened restrictions on gambling and even passed amendments to allow for the construction of Vegas-style casinos, complete with hotels and entertainment. Typically, those pushing for new casinos are interested in improving the economic conditions for residents in local economies. However, these measures are often met with a lot of resistance.

Just recently, New Hampshire once again voted against legalizing gambling. State Senator Lou D’Allesandro has been a staunch advocate in favor of legalized gambling for the past 20 years. He continues to argue that New Hampshire is losing out on revenue while states up and down the east coast are capitalizing on this industry. While the vote was close, 11-10, the state will continue their ban on gambling, perhaps to the relief of neighboring states who don’t want to have to deal with increased competition.

What Does it All Mean?

There are some major takeaways from these stories and trends:

  1. Younger customers, who now make up the bulk of casino business, are more interested in an experience than simply sitting at the tables and slot machines. For casinos, this means providing more entertainment options and modernizing management tools in order to provide a more seamless experience. From adding golf courses to incorporating scheduling software, like Casino Schedule Ease, organizations are going to have to go the extra mile to win over new customers. Perhaps most importantly, this is true whether you are doing business in Russia, China or Oklahoma.
  2. When it comes to modern gambling, multiplayer is the name of the game. As we can see from the opening of the first eSports arena in Vegas, it isn’t too much about the game, but the competitive experience. People are flocking to the arena to play old-school video games like Pac-Man with the added draw that they will be directly competing against other players and can experience a fully immersive day of gaming.
  3. While gambling laws and restrictions are becoming more relaxed, especially along the east coast, there is still a lot of skepticism around gambling and resistance to making it legal in certain areas. In New York state, much of this resistance was put aside in the hopes that casinos would give a needed boost to areas that were suffering due to the decline of manufacturing. As the economy continues to evolve, we may see more states looking towards casinos and the hospitality industry to provide jobs and revenue to local economies.

 

 

 

 

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How the Seasons Affect Casinos and Gambling

It is almost the end of February, which means that spring is within sight and cabin fever has officially set in. People are looking to get out of the house and perhaps enjoy some warmer weather. For casinos, especially those located in southern cities, now is the perfect time to offer great deals and attract additional customers. However, northern locations are experiencing a whole different set of challenges. While most tourist destinations have predictable peak seasons, casinos seem to operate by a different set of rules. Understanding the ebbs and flow that come with the seasons and month to month changes can help casinos develop pricing and  marketing strategies and effectively schedule employees for more effective budgeting.

Seasonal Statistics for Vegas Casinos

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Because Las Vegas enjoys relatively warm weather throughout the year, they aren’t quite as susceptible to seasonal fluctuations as casinos in cities like Atlantic City. However, there are some notable trends worth paying attention to because they represent real opportunities for casinos to change up their strategies and try to bring in more customers during slow times.

For casinos located along the strip, January is the busiest month with revenue rising about 6% above the average numbers. May and December are also usually busy months while April and June are historically the slowest. You might expect a real slow-down between Thanksgiving and Christmas as people either stay home for the holidays or travel to spend time with relatives, but Las Vegas has been able to temper this revenue lull by hosting huge events like the National Rodeo Finals and offering great room bargains to keep a steady stream of revenue flowing.

It is important to note that while December isn’t one of the slowest months when it comes to revenue, it is clearly the month with the fewest visitors. Throughout the month, fewer people visit, but those who do make the trip are still spending plenty of money. Ultimately, it all comes down to New Year’s, which is a huge earner for Las Vegas and the reason why despite fewer visitors, it is still a strong earning month that leads directly into the strongest earning month, January.

Unlike most resort destinations, with Las Vegas, there isn’t a direct correlation between the number of visitors and the amount of revenue casinos earn. High-rollers and a big holiday, like New Year’s can turn a month when there are fewer visitors into a profitable time. For casinos, this means that they have to be looking at a several different variables and how they will play out in order to design marketing strategies and effectively staff their facilities.

Seasonal Statistics for Atlantic City

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As another well-known gambling destination, Atlantic City (near and dear to our hearts) also offers some interesting insights into seasonal gambling trends. You might assume that Atlantic City performs better during winter months as people are looking for something to get them out of the cold and also out of the house. In reality, the summer months are a boon time for the city. Visitors are on vacation and looking to have a good time. The beach, combined with plenty of entertainment and gambling options, make August the busiest month with revenue numbers a full 23% above average. In contrast, November is the slowest month and revenue totals drop a full 30% below average. These represent much bigger swings than can be found in Las Vegas where even the highs and lows don’t stray too far from the average.

For visitors who are purely interested in gambling, December-February are the best months to visit. Hotel prices drop significantly to try and lure in more customers and there aren’t any crowds. However, this also means that many of the attractions are closed and the entertainment schedule isn’t quite as full.

For Casinos, surviving the winter months without losing too much revenue can be tricky. Obviously, cutting back on attractions and lowering room rates are two options, but there are some other tools that can help cut down on costs.

Tools for Reducing Spending During Slow Months

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One of the easiest ways to reduce expenses, which can be vital during slow months, is to work on staffing casinos more efficiently. Too many people working on the floor will eat away at profits. For employees who earn part of their income through tips, being overstaffed can also mean that they earn less, which inevitably leads to lower employee morale and higher turnover. To help combat these issues, many Atlantic City Casinos have turned to Casino Schedule Ease for help.

This simple to use yet sophisticated software program has been especially designed to help casinos manage their unique scheduling challenges. It allows managers to optimize their employees and create the best possible schedules that not only keep the casinos running, but cut down on costs and improve employee relations. Casino Schedule Ease also means that managers will have more free time to focus on other areas of the business and can avoid wasting time try to solve scheduling puzzles.

Employees can simply log into the Team Member Portal from any computer switching and offering days that they would prefer to work. They can also request time off and communicate any other preferences. The manager is then able to quickly synthesize all this information and create an optimal schedule. The software even provides a visual diagram of the casino floor to help managers place employees at the tables and areas where they perform best. With such precise tools, managers can avoid being understaffed during the busiest months and cut down on staffing costs during slow months.

While Las Vegas, Atlantic City and other casinos all over the world may not follow the same seasonal trends, each location will have their own patterns. Casinos can use this information to decide when to raise or lower room rates, when to schedule big name entertainment and how best to staff their facilities according to demand. With tools like Casino Schedule Ease, Casinos can put this information to work for them and better weather slower months when revenue inevitably dips.

 

 

 

 

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Casinos are Hiring: Why it Might be a Great Career Move

While certain famous gambling hubs in the US have experienced their fair share of ups and downs over the past decade, many casinos are looking to shake up leadership and undertake bold new expansions. This is good news for gamblers who don’t want to have to travel to other parts of the globe to enjoy high quality establishments, but it is even better news for workers looking for high paying jobs that also come with great benefits. If you have been underemployed or simply dissatisfied at your current position, casinos are hiring and it might be a the right career move for you.

Which Casinos are Hiring?

1. Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City

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The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City is scheduled to open in the summer of 2018 and the company is in the middle of a hiring frenzy. They need to fill over 3,000 positions by this summer in order to be ready to welcome the public. Right now, the company is holding massive job fairs to try and recruit new hires. They even contacted former employees from the recently closed Trump Taj Mahal. Out of 1,600 employees who received a letter or email, about 1,400 responded and scheduled an interview. That is a pretty good sign for those who are wondering if casino employees like working in the industry.

What they are looking for in applicants

Hard Rock has a very specific and recognizable brand. They are all about the high energy, rock and roll experience and they want team members who will interact well with the customers. That is exactly why employees wear shirts that say “I’m with the band” and managers are known as producers. If you are an outgoing person who loves music, then you might be the next rock star they are looking to hire.

2. Sycuan Casino in San Diego

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On the other side of the country, San Diego is experiencing a casino building boom and that means massive amounts of jobs. Currently, six out the the area’s 10 casinos are in the middle of expansion projects. The Sycuan Casino alone is looking to add 700 jobs. While some of the positions are entry level, they are also looking to fill upper management positions that come with six-figure salaries.  As a result of the area’s booming economy, the San Diego area has an unemployment rate of 3.3%, which means that casinos are desperate to attract employees.

For job seekers, it is definitely an employee’s market. Casinos know that they have to offer enticing compensation packages to get workers to relocate or travel longer distances to their new jobs. If you are looking to start on a career path, then the Sycuan Casino is ready to offer you a highly competitive salary along with plenty of benefits and job perks. Keep in mind that they are also interested in employee retention, so there will also be opportunities for career advancement.

What they are looking for in applicants

Casinos are a part of the hospitality industry, which means that they are in the business of creating a customer experience. If a visitor has a good time, they are more likely to return and provide positive PR through word-of-mouth recommendations. Employees have to be outgoing, friendly and willing to go the extra mile when it comes to creating pleasant and memorable interactions with customers. While some of these skills can be learned over time, Sycuan Casino is looking for people who can hit the ground running because things are moving quickly with the expansion.

Why Casinos Offer a Great Career Path

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If you have never worked in a casino before, you might be surprised to learn exactly what they have to offer. With thousands of employees working at any one location, casinos can’t afford to have constant turnover. They need a staff of happy and well-trained employees to keep things running. This means that they are very concerned with employee retention and go above and beyond to maintain job satisfaction.

Great Salaries, Benefits and Earning Potential

For management level positions, the average salary is $70,000 with the potential to earn over $100,000 depending on where you work. Dealers begin with a generous base salary and can effectively double their take-home pay with tips. On top of pay, employees enjoy great health insurance, retirement benefits, bonuses and onsite perks. Employees often eat for free and have access to fitness centers and plenty of recreational activities. Casinos also try to boost morale and strengthen teams through softball teams, retreats and other fun outings.

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For some people, one of the biggest drawbacks of working at a casino is the 24-hour cycle. There are workers who prefer the night shift for a variety of reasons and others who need more flexibility in their schedule so that they can attend family events. Fortunately, casinos rely on advanced scheduling software like Casino Schedule Ease to help them manage scheduling and ensure that the specific needs of different employees, along with special requests, are addressed. As an employee, you can use the dashboard to log-in and list preferences and request days off. Managers can then easily process all this information and optimize worker’s schedules and make sure they are placed at tables or areas where they perform best. With conscientious managers and tools like Casino Schedule Ease, you won’t have to worry about being stuck with a shift that doesn’t fit your schedule or your lifestyle.

Start a Career Instead of Landing a Job

Finally, as mentioned above, perhaps one of the best parts of working at a casino is they that they are looking to offer a career and not just a job. If you are an ambitions and hard worker, there aren’t any limits to what you will be able to achieve with the right casino company. You can take advantage of education credits, advancement opportunities and plenty of training and certification programs that will help you develop new skills and become even more marketable.

Casinos across the country are undergoing massive expansions projects and they need skilled and capable workers right now. It is an employee market where you can enjoy great compensation packages, flexible scheduling and career oriented positions. Now is the perfect time to consider a career in the casino industry.

 

 

 

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Top Marketing Tricks that Work for Casinos … And Some that Don’t

Marketing in the casino industry can be tricky, especially in 2018 when the gambling is in a state of flux. Casinos are starting to realize that the same old techniques aren’t going to produce the same results. Patrons are younger, more tech savvy and simply have different expectations when it comes to entertainment. With that in mind, we decided to take a look at classic marketing techniques that are still standing the test of time and other approaches that could be updated.

The Keepers

Sex sells

Let’s face it: Las Vegas is a sexy town. As the saying goes, “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.” The entire city has been branded as a place where you can go and let your hair down and return to your normal life after a long weekend of fun. While this marketing technique might not play as well to audiences in Pennsylvania, a little excitement and risk is part of what makes gambling fun. The idea that sex sells is still a valid one when it comes to marketing, especially in the casino industry.

The VIP Experience.

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If you have ever watched a movie that takes place in a casino, then you are familiar with the allure of the high rollers. These are exclusive patrons who receive the VIP treatment and whose every whim is catered to by the staff. Any time you can offer a special experience that isn’t available to the average customer, you are going to have a marketing win. It is an age old truth that people want to feel important, stand out and be seen. Creating VIP packages will continue to be a valuable tool.

Variety is the spice of life.

One of the great things about casinos is that practically anyone can play and have the chance to win big and enjoy a taste of luxury. If you can’t afford the VIP treatment, casinos offer a low entry fee. For example, all-you-can-eat buffets for $2.99 or dime slot machines. Offering a unique experience that comes with a low price of entry means everyone can participate and allows casinos to cater to a wide variety of customers. Some people get more of a thrill out of a good deal than dropping thousands of dollars on a VIP experience. It is a good idea to market to the full range of consumers who walk through the doors of casinos.

Where There is Room for Improvement

Gambling is risky. Gaming is fun.

Language is incredibly important. The word “gambling” comes with some negative connotations. Gambling is risky and people naturally associate it with losing money, even if they do it hoping to win big. There is also gambling addiction, which makes the practice seem seedier than simply gaming. Replacing gambling with the word “gaming” helps casinos convey more of a entertainment factor. People are visiting to play games and have fun, not try to win enough money to pay their mortgage that month.

Focus on creating an experience.

This has been another noticeable shift in the casino industry and the way it markets itself. In the past, gambling was the main attraction and the food, drinks and shows were just part of the fun. More and more, people are looking for the full package: a completely immersive experience that includes great customer service, luxurious accommodations and plenty of entertainment options. Casinos have adapted to these increasing demands, but there is still room for improvement.

While some casinos have been leaders in catering to Millennials by incorporating more lounge spaces and social gaming experiences, others have been slower to adopt new approaches. In some cases, the problem comes down to logistics. Running a casino requires complex feats of organization and messing with an existing process by throwing new games and bars into the equation can be a nightmare.

The casinos that have been able to successfully adapt to changing markets and implement changes are using technology to help their efforts and streamline processes. Software like Casino Schedule Ease allows managers to schedule and optimize employees and employees can easily request shifts and communicate with managers. By simplifying this process, casinos are able to operate more efficiently, adapt more quickly to customer demands and make the move towards better service that helps to create a well-rounded experience for patrons.

Make the move to digital and mobile.

Believe it or not, casinos still spend a surprising portion of their marketing budgets on print advertising. This can make sense when it comes to billboards, but physical fliers and newsletters are a waste of money. Making the move to digital and mobile advertising would allow casinos to target customers based on their location and their search habits.

For example, geo targeting allow companies to serve ads based on whether potential customers are within a certain range of their business. Imagine being able to set up a 20 mile virtual perimeter around the casino and send people ads, enticing them to stops by whenever they are close to the casino. It is simply a smarter, more effective way to market.

Take full-service to a whole new level.

Another way to create a better experience for customers is to anticipate their needs and go above and beyond. Most casinos are self-contained. Patrons don’t have to leave to do some shopping, eat at a great restaurant or even receive a spa treatment. The more you are able to provide convenient services, more likely they will be to stay in the casino and spend. For example, instead of just providing a fully stocked gym, why not also provide a free trainer and fitness classes throughout the day? You could even stock locker rooms with free supplements and protein shakes. These gestures can pay off in a big way through positive word of mouth marketing and customer loyalty.

There is no arguing that the casino industry faces some unique challenges when it comes to marketing, but there are some simply changes that can be made to keep up with new demands. The first step is to recognize what is working and where there is room for improvement. From there, it is important to arm yourself with the right tools, like Casino Schedule Ease software and mobile marketing geo targeting apps, to set yourself up for success.

 

 

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How Casino Scheduling Software Can Help Develop a Superior HR Strategy

The importance of a strategic HR strategy cannot be underestimated. HR departments go beyond simply managing employees and handling workplace conflicts and work to recruit and retain the best possible talent. Dedicated and satisfied employees directly translate into a better, more welcoming casino, and these employees will ultimately ensure the success of your establishment. With all that in mind, we have put together a comprehensive guide to help you better understand HR management strategies and how you can take advantage of tools like Casino Schedule Ease to improve your business.

What is Human Resource Management?

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At the very heart of human resources is the idea that employees are a casino’s most valuable resource and their health, well-being and overall job satisfaction should be a top concern. This means that the HR department works to attract talented employees who will positively contribute to the company and then provides those recruits with competitive compensation, benefits, training and opportunities for advancement. All of these factors help set employees up for success within a company and make them more likely to be loyal to their employer.

The HR department also needs to ensure that all their efforts and services are designed to align with the short and long-term goals of the casino. This means that the casino should have establish a clear vision of how they want to position themselves in the industry and how they want to continue to grow over time. A clear set of objectives will allow the HR team to create specific strategies that will ensure that these goals are met.

Why is HR Important?

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Think of the HR department as the captain of a team. If one player is suffering from an injury or in a performance slump, the entire team is affected. It is up to the captain to address the needs of each player so that the team can operated as a cohesive unit. The HR department needs to sure up any weaknesses, so that the entire organization can continue to grow and strengthen. This also means being aware of changing needs because businesses and employee are dynamic entities. There won’t be a one-size-fits-all policy that can be put in place and stand the test of time.

Without a coordinated HR department and clear strategies for recruiting, retaining and managing employees, casinos will experience high turnover rates. Ultimately, this eats away at employee morale and makes it difficult to create a consistent experience for visitors. You don’t want to have to be constantly training and integrating new employees. Instead, you want to be able to rely on a experienced staff of consummate professionals who feel invested in the success of the casino.

Having a HR strategy in place also allows management to make quick decisions and handle issues as they arise. When managers are faced with a challenging decision, they can easily determine which course of action best aligns with the HR strategy. This not only streamlines the decision-making process, but it also provides clear justification for a decision, which can then be communicated to other parties involved as needed for greater understanding and consistent management practices.

How Casino Scheduling Can Improve Your HR Strategy

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One the biggest challenges that casino managers face is how to best schedule hundreds of employees so that their talents are being put to good use, customers are receiving superior services and employees are happy with their work/life balance. Unlike most other businesses, casinos operate on a 24 hour schedule. This makes it even more difficult to make sure that enough tables are being manned by qualified dealers throughout the night and day. In addition, many employees many not be able to work just day or just night hours because they have other responsibilities, including children, to take care of. You can’t simply place people in time slots without creating conflict and ending up with a lot of disgruntled employees on your hands.

Casino Schedule Ease was designed to address all these problems and provide a comprehensive and easy to use system that allows managers to align their scheduling efforts with larger HR strategies. It also serves to streamline the communication process between employees and managers so that workers can easily request time off or provide notification of any potential scheduling conflicts.

Benefits of Casino Schedule Ease

 

Here are some additional benefits of Casino Schedule Ease and how it can support HR strategies:

 

  • Mangers can view a detailed map of the casino floor that will help visualize the scheduling process.
  • Successfully automates up to 90% of the scheduling process so that users have more time to focus on other tasks.
  • Offers a flexible design so that casinos can set their own parameters and make adjustments as needed.
  • Provides robust reporting tools in order to quickly view and digest important information.
  • User friendly design is intuitive and easy to onboard for anyone familiar with Windows software.
  • Mangers can assign each employee with a skill rating so they are appropriately placed in a way that ensures success.
  • Employees can submit their availability and be automatically assigned based on pre-determined parameters. Managers can also easily make adjustments to the constant schedule at any time as the need arises.

Casino employees also enjoy the fact that they can simply log-in to the system to submit scheduling requests and view their assignments for the week. The system provides a centralized dashboard for both managers and employees, which helps facilitate communication and automate almost the entire scheduling process.

Comprehensive HR strategies need to cover a wide range of issues for both employees and employers. Casino Schedule Ease provides a simple and affordable solution that can help you create a superior HR strategy that directly addresses challenges for all employees. When used as part of a larger strategy, the software will help casinos define goals, create policies that are in alignment with these goals and make sure that everyone involved is poised for success. Automating and streamlining the scheduling process also means that casinos will be able to retain better talent and cultivate lasting relationships with patrons. A small investment in scheduling technology can have far-reaching benefits.

 

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A Look at International Casino Trends and What They Mean for U.S. Companies

North America is responsible for over 46% of the market when it comes to casino revenue. As the clear leader, it is important for U.S. casinos to look to international trends when developing progressive strategies to build on existing success and continue to attract international customers. While many of the trends that are affecting the international market are also occurring in the U.S., there are a few worth noting and taking into account in 2018 and beyond.

New Marketing Strategies

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You may be surprised to learn that casinos around the world still rely heavily on direct mail marketing. It is still by far the most popular marketing tool despite a whole host of digital options. Moving forward, casinos are looking to adopt more technology-based techniques and optimize social media and mobile advertising.

The real challenge here is to serve ads in a way that feels personal without being intrusive. Younger demographics are used to constantly being barraged with online ads, which means that they have become desensitized and don’t have a problem simply skimming over ads. Casinos are going to have to develop high quality content that is both informative and entertaining in order to grab the attention of their target audience.

Winning over Millennials

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Not only are casinos looking to win over Millennials with new marketing strategies, they are also changing the landscape of their casino floors to attract more customers from this age group. This goes beyond incorporating new types of games and includes re-purposing underutilized space with more intimate lounges and speakeasy type bars that reflect the tastes of younger gamblers.

Online Gambling

While brick and mortar casino locations are still by far the largest source of revenue, there is an increasing demand for online gambling. Countries who do allow online gambling are raking in all the money from this profitable form of betting. The U.S., in particular, has been especially strict about regulating online gambling. As it stands now, only a few states permit this form of gambling and only residents of that state are allowed to participate. However, as the international online gambling market continues to grow, the federal government may feel more pressure from casinos to loosen restrictions. It will be interesting to see how the U.S. continues to handle this trend.

Smaller Scale Gambling Operations

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In the United States, we are used to large gambling meccas like Las Vegas and Atlantic City. A visit to one of these cities is meant to provide an immersive experience that includes fine dining, entertainment and superior accommodations. Hotels are built to serve the casinos and act as an additional, luxurious draw to consumers. All the glitz and glamour is part of the bigger experience.

This same approach to attracting customers has been used around the world, but there is now a noticeable shift towards smaller scale gambling operations. Instead of making the casino the destination, companies are bringing gambling to existing destinations. For example, there are more slot machines and games showing up in hotel lobbies, bars and restaurants. Casinos aren’t as concerned about bringing customers to them as they are about meeting customers where they already are.

Continuing this trend in the U.S. is problematic because of gambling regulations, but again, it is a trend worth watching. U.S. companies may want to start exploring new ways to partner up with the hospitality industry.

Social Gambling and Interactive Games

It should come as no surprise that more interactive games that allow you to play with and against your friends are also gaining popularity across the globe. Technology has the power to make us feel more isolated, but it can also help us connect and turn gambling into a more social activity. Apparently, a trend towards more social experiences is one that crosses all borders and will continue to be important on an international level.

What Other Countries Can Learn from US Trends

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There are also some big things happening in the U.S. that may be of interest to foreign casino companies also looking to stay competitive. While the presence of technology is becoming more visible on the gaming floor, it is also being used to address management challenges and streamline many of the complicated processes that keep casinos running.

For instance, Casino Schedule Ease (CSE) is a software program that helps managers to easily schedule employees and maximize performance. Just imagine the balancing act required to make sure that all the tables are covered over a 24-hour period by an employee who has the skills and experience to expertly run each game. Not to mention all the unexpected variables that can pop-up during the day, including unscheduled absences.

Casino Schedule Ease allows employees to log into a centralized dashboard and put in requests for vacation time and let managers know what days and times they prefer to work. Mangers can use the software to create an ideal schedule that takes into account the needs of the casino and preferences of individual workers. CSE even provides a visual representation of the casino floor to help managers create a clear picture of who will be placed where.

This type of management and scheduling software is allowing casinos to run more efficiently and provide both employees and guests with a better experience. As a result, casinos enjoy more repeat business and are able to reduce operational costs. Moving forward CSE and other software will increasingly become invaluable tools that allow large scale casinos to better manage daily challenges. International casinos may want to take note of this growing trend as they continue to look for ways to increase revenue and stay competitive.

Conclusion

It would be a mistake for casinos to ignore what is happening across the globe in the gambling industry. Even though the U.S. owns the largest share of the market, being the leader can often result in complacency. Taking a larger view of the market can help identify emerging trends and help casinos position themselves for ongoing success. On that same note, international casinos may want to take a look at how major U.S. companies are using technology and software, like Casino Schedule Ease, to improve performance and increase revenue.

 

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New Casino Openings and Trends for 2018

The year is quickly coming to a close and it is time to start looking forward to 2018 and preparing for emerging trends that may influence the casino industry over the next 12 months. While there have been some notable closings over the last year, the future is looking bright with plenty of new openings scheduled. Each upcoming casino represents a new aspect of the casino industry and reflects not only what consumers are demanding, but also how more established casinos are going to have to adapt in order to survive. It should come as no surprise that technology is going to play a major role in these new openings and throughout the entire industry. With all that in mind, here are some new openings, tools and technology trends to be on the lookout for in 2018.

New Casinos Opening in 2018

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Soboba Casino

While the Soboba band of Luiseno Indians have been running the Soboba Casino in the foothills of San Jacinto for the past 21 years, the tribe has already made major progress on a replacement that is location just one mile down the road. The new facility will span over 480,000 square feet and offer a hotel, events, cafes, bars and much more. Construction has been underway for some time now and on December 11th the tribe held a “topping” ceremony to celebrate a building milestone. If everything goes smoothly, the new casino will be open in the fall of 2018.

This is just one of many renovation and expansion projects among tribes in California and across the country. These groups are looking to increase profits and 2018 will see the completion of a variety of major improvement projects among Indian owned casinos.

Desert diamond West Valley Resort and casino

This project has been in the works for years and while it might not officially open in 2018, much of the project will be completed in the coming year. The Tohono O’odham Gaming Enterprise is heading up the project and building a large facility in Glendale, Arizona’s, Westgate Entertainment District, which is already home to many trendy spots. It will play host to slot machines, bingo, poker and plenty of restaurants and other amenities.

Getting the project off the ground has been challenging. Federal legislation looked like it would be able to stand in the way, but court rulings continued to favor the tribe. In the interim, the tribe opened a temporary casino, but the state of Arizona refused to approve a liquor license, which put a major damper on business. Now that they have finally been cleared for Class III gambling and were given a license to serve alcohol, the project is in full swing. Once all phases of the project have been completed, this large facility will take up over 1 million square feet and create over 3,000 jobs for tribal members and the community.

 

Resorts World Catskills

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If everything goes according to plan, the Resorts World Catskills will be opening in mid-February, about two weeks ahead of schedule. This would be a plus for the casino because the new opening date aligns with the Lunar New Year and their target audience. The casino is looking to capitalize on Asian patrons and will offer games that are popular in China along with employees who speak Mandarin. Right now, the biggest challenge is hiring enough employees to staff the facilities, which include a hotel, spa, restaurant, bar, casino retail stores and more.

While the Resorts World Catskills is one of many openings schedule for 2018, it is notable because it represents a couple key trends.

  1. Relaxed gambling laws are creating more competition away from traditional hubs like Atlantic City and Las Vegas. Casinos are spreading up and down the east coast and taking over more rural areas.
  2. Resorts World Catskills is being billed as a destination casino. They aren’t just trying to pull in people from the region, but trying to entice world travelers to visit. While they aren’t the first casino to cater to Asian customers, they do represent a unique model.

Tools and Technology Trends for 2018

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In previous posts, we have looked at important factors that may have contributed to major casino closings in 2017. One common thread was that some casinos failed to adopt technology and other management tools that allowed their competitors to operate more efficiently. In 2018, technology will continue to be an important tool, not only on the gaming floor, but also in the back office. If there is one thing casinos should pay attention to in 2018, it’s how they can use technology to run a better business because you can be sure that the competition is already using these tools to get the edge.

While consumers will be looking for updated games that are more interactive and provide a social element, casinos also need to pay attention to the complete visitor experience. This means staying organized and running a tight ship. Casino Schedule Ease is one increasingly popular tool that is being used to streamline employee scheduling and communication so that managers spend less time on administrative tasks. It also automatically optimizes employee placement on the floor so that they are able to play to their strengths. Perhaps best of all, the software allows employees to easily request time off and get shifts that best fit their personal life. Ultimately, happy employees translate in a better business and customer experience, so while scheduling might not be the most glamorous aspect of the casino industry, it plays a vital role in overall success.

For 2018, look for trends that include casino openings in less populous and popular areas of the country. While Vegas is getting some upgrades, some of the most exciting new projects are being executed by tribes across the country. These projects represent some real challenges to established markets. For those looking to stay competitive as tribes expand their reach, it will be important to utilize technology to improve efficiency and offer a better customer experience. Look for software, like Casino Schedule Ease, to be a more common staple among successful casinos who want to leverage the power of technology.

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Why Some Casinos are Shutting Their Doors While New Resorts are Being Planned

If you have been paying attention to the news lately, you may have noticed that there are some seemingly contradictory happenings in the casino industry. Since 2014, Atlantic City has closed a total of five casinos. Meanwhile, major new casino projects are underway. In fact, Virgin Group, headed by billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson, is looking to expand its hotel holdings by opening a casino in Las Vegas. With so many casinos closing, paired with promising new openings, it is important to examine why some longstanding institutions have crumbled and how new casinos can ensure success.

The Collapse of Atlantic City

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Perhaps the most notable decline in the casino industry can be seen in the downfall of Atlantic City. This New Jersey town was once the only gambling hub outside of Las Vegas, but it has been rapidly declining in recent years. At the height of its success, there were 12 fully operational casinos playing host to tourists from around the country looking to try their hand at winning big. Today, five of those casinos have closed although a few are in talks to reopen as hotels, water parks or other entertainment venues. Yet, even these deals seem to be fraught with challenges and there have been many negotiations that have fallen through and delayed re-openings so that massive hotels still sit empty on the boardwalk.

What happened?

It is impossible to trace the collapse of a city and an industry back to one particular event. A variety of factors combined to create a complicated web of challenges that ultimately drew business away from the city. For starters, new legislation in other states eased gambling restrictions, increasing competition. People who used to make the trip to Atlantic City can now stay closer to home. City leaders are quick to point to this cause, but there are also some other important factors to consider and some of the blame needs to be put on the casinos themselves.

Many casinos made the mistake of resting on their laurels and failing to recognize and adapt to emerging trends. Even if gambling has been a popular past time, consumers are a dynamic group who will always demand better games, entertainment and service. As we have discussed before in this blog, casino patrons are looking for more concerts and entertainment acts, as well as, interactive games that go beyond simply sitting at a slot machine and pushing a button repeatedly. By all accounts, Atlantic City casinos failed to recognize these trends. Instead of making meaningful changes that would attract today’s consumer and increase revenue, companies turned to financial juggling that was meant to cut costs. When the ship started to take on water and sink, casinos chose to put all their effort into bailing out the water instead of fixing the hole.

New Casino Openings

While it remains to be seen whether Atlantic City can quickly adapt to changing markets and make a full recovery, Las Vegas could be a good example to look to for guidance. While the strip has experienced some closures over the past few years, many of these casinos were renovated and reopened. Even those that were completely demolished are being reborn as more modern establishments that speak to the demands of customers who want more advanced gaming and a better overall experience.

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The announcement that Virgin Group and Branson are looking to take over an existing building and create a casino that embodies the Virgin brand is another sign that new life is being breathed into Las Vegas. Virgin has long built itself as a innovation leader and a “sexy aspirational lifestyle brand” that is “savvy enough to think like a guest.” This is the kind of attitude and approach it is going to take to ensure the continued success of casinos and the gambling industry as a whole.

How Can New Casinos Achieve Success?

First and foremost, new casinos need to learn from past mistakes, especially those made in Atlantic City. That means being able to take a step back from thinking like a casino and actually stepping into the shoes of guests and target demographics. It also means adopting new technology that will provide better games, automate operational tasks and improve the overall customer experience.

In Atlantic City, casino owners were looking to cut costs by renegotiating leases and shuffling money around, but these were only temporary fixes. Fortunately, there are other ways to reduce overhead costs while also improving the visitors experience. Technology like Casino Schedule Ease is specially designed to address the unique needs of the casino industry. This software effectively automates and organizes the scheduling process for benefits that include:

  • Less time and valuable man-hours spent managing employees
  • More ideal schedules for individual employees, which increases morale and improves employee retention rates.
  • The ability to strategically place employees where they perform best.
  • A centralized dashboard the streamlines communication.
  • The ability to get the most out the the entire staff and provide a better overall customer experience.

It is certainly no coincidence that three of the casinos that have been able to weather the downturn in Atlantic City, have all taken a proactive approach to incorporating new technology. Borrgata, Tropicana and Resorts all use Casino Schedule Ease to help create a better employee customer experience.

With the right technology there is a way to both increase revenue and reduce operational costs. The key is not to rely too heavily on one tool or another and present a united front of innovation that looks at every aspect of how employees and visitors experience the casino. Happy employees will translate into loyal customers. Combine that with advanced games, great food and entertainment and a continued commitment to progress, and you have a recipe for success.

Conclusion

The casino industry isn’t the first to fall victim to a false sense of confidence. The American automotive industry also failed to push for progress and underestimated their competition, which ultimately lead to a historic government bail-out. It is easy to become comfortable being the leader, but history has shown time and again that hubris can cause companies to be blind to important changes in the market. While Atlantic City has had to relearn this hard lesson, there are positive signs that new casinos across the country are actively avoiding the same mistakes and seeking out new ways to use technology to ensure success. With plenty of available tools on the market, the future could be looking bright for the entire industry.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Featured

How Technology is Changing the Casino Industry

Technology is revolutionizing the casino industry for employees, managers and patrons. New management and scheduling software makes it easy for casinos to manage hundreds of employees who are working around the clock to provide hotel, restaurant, entertainment and gambling services, all under one roof. Patrons are also being wooed by new games that take advantage of the popularity of TV shows and social media to create a more interactive gaming experience. Almost every area of the gaming industry is getting makeovers thanks to technological advances and the result has been a noticeable shift towards growth in the industry that is projected to continue through 2021.

How Software is Improving the Casino Experience

Casinos are a unique destination because they are designed to provide an immersive entertainment experience that goes well beyond gambling. Successful casinos provide a well-orchestrated experience that begins the moment a visitor arrives on the premise. From the building’s architecture and glitz to the employee uniforms, every detail has been carefully considered, so that each patron feels transported and wants to recapture that same sensation in a future visit. At the heart of all these efforts is a commitment to customer service.

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Managing hundreds of employees and a constant stream of customers requires a high level of organization. In the past, scheduling and human resource managers were bogged down with trying to recruit and retain experienced employees while also working to balance everyone’s scheduling preferences. This job was further complicated by requests for time off and the fact that certain employees performed better at different roles throughout the casino. Trying to balance all these different variables and ensure that patron’s are being properly served was a daunting task.

With the invention of scheduling software, such as Casino Schedule Ease, casinos can automate many of the complicated processes and administrative tasks that used to plague managers. This frees up time to work towards more meaningful goals, such as innovation and growth. It also means that employees are better utilized throughout the casino, which ultimately translates into higher morale and a better customer experience. Something as simple, yet revolutionary, as casino specific scheduling software can actually trickle down all the way to more repeat customers.

The Marriage of Video Games and Gambling

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In recent years, some of the biggest names in video game design have crossed over to creating casino games.  The same CGI and 3D imaging that goes into creating truly impressive scenery and characters in both major movies and games is now being applied to casino games. This move towards graphic-driven design speaks to what consumers are already gravitating towards and capitalizes on a trend to improve the gambling experience.

In some cases, popular games, such as Angry Birds, Candy Crush and Call of Duty are being installed on the casino floor next to more traditional games. By monetizing these games and allowing people to play against the house or one another, casinos are using skill-based games to draw in more millennials. This trend also takes gambling, which can often be a solitary endeavor, and turns it into an interactive and social experience.  The next move may be to allow betting on competitive video game tournaments in the same way that gamblers currently bet on boxing matches and other sports.

It also helps that basic screen technology has come a long way since the first television transmitted a signal in 1927. Today, Ultra HD or 4K technology provides a minimum resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels. That is four times as much as full HD television currently offer. Curved screens are also making an appearance in casinos across the world. This technology provides a wider field of view and greater feeling of depth. Combine that with thousands of pixels and cutting-edge graphic technology and you have a truly immersive experience that speaks to all the senses.

The Simpsons Slot Machine

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Perhaps the single best example of all this technology at work is The Simpsons slot machine from Scientific Games Corporation. The game features three HD displays and  tablet with a multi-touch button display. It also comes with motion sensing so that users can directly interact with the game. In one bonus feature, players try to physically catch virtual donuts and all the movements are relayed through the motion technology.

The Future of the Casino Industry

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The result of better management software that improves the customer experience and the introduction of gaming technology onto the casino floor has caused a  noticeable increase in gambling, especially among millennials. In 1990, revenue from gambling in Las Vegas accounted for 58 percent of casino’s total earnings. By 2014, only 37 percent of total revenue could be attributed to gambling. Instead of spending time at the tables, patrons were coming to enjoy the nightlife and the entertainment and world-class shows, but that is projected to change starting in 2017.

In fact, in early 2017, a study from Research and Markets predicted that the global casino market will grow at a rate of 10.16% between 2017 and 2021. While part of this projected growth is due to the increasing popularity of online gambling and apps, it is also a direct result of more social gambling. Friends can visit the casino and play familiar games that pit their skills against other people in their social circle. Instead of feeding money into a lot machine and hoping for the best, players can actually engage in a little competition and win money in the process.

Conclusion

From efficient management tools that allow casinos to effectively run the backend operations to immersive and interactive games that reflect other trends in gaming, technology is improving practically every aspect of the casino and gaming industry. This is good news for owners who want to drive up revenue, employees who are looking for ideal working conditions and visitors who want to have a fun and entertaining experience that exceeds their expectations. While the casino industry hasn’t been as healthy and robust over the past few decades, all signs point to the fact that new technology is going to allow the industry to pivot and experience significant growth in the coming years.

 

 

 

 

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Why Casinos Need to Pay More Attention to Cybersecurity

If you have learned anything from watching Hollywood heist movies, it is probably that banks and casinos are by far the best places to rob. While old school fictional criminals dug tunnels under buildings and found ways to trick security guards, today’s actual robbers are using technology as their preferred tool and stealing valuable data and personal information from the comfort of their own homes. Cybersecurity is a growing concern for businesses across every industry and that also holds true for casinos.

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Hackers aren’t interested in getting a hold of a pile of chips or breaking into the casino vault, they are targeting casinos in the hopes of securing credit card information from guests. These types of breaches not only affect the finances of customers, but it also diminishes the reputation of the hotel and casino and makes it less likely that people want to take the risk of doing business with casinos that have a record of experiencing security problems. This issue will continue to become more important as a variety of casino information is stored and processes are conducted using cloud-based software.

A popular casino with locations around the world,  serves as a cautionary tale of the consequences of poor cybersecurity. Once a year, for the past three years, the casino has experienced major problems. In 2015 and 2016, malware was found installed on the POS system, which allowed hackers to access credit card data and other sensitive guest information. In 2017, eleven of their hotels were attacked through their booking software. While this last incident was not entirely their fault, the incident it still associated with their name.

Why Casinos Face an Increased Threat

Now take into account that many casinos also offer online gambling services, and you have a potential recipe for disaster. A 2015 report by Akamai, a digital security firm, found that online gambling is now the new prime target for distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks. In fact, over 50% of all DDoS attacks have been directly aimed at the gaming industry. The goal of this type of attack is to disrupt service so that legitimate users are unable to connect to the host site and conduct normal activities. By overwhelming the site and causing chaos, the attackers hope to create or at least identify another vulnerability that will allow them to steal data. According to the study, these attacks lasted an average of 16 hours before they were able to be stopped. For casinos, that can translate into a significant loss of revenue.

Part of what makes casinos a prime target for attacks is because they handle large amounts of information and transactions. They are essentially a sophisticated banking system with multiple points of contact. Customers and guests enter their information when making hotel reservations, paying for meals, purchasing chips and even buying merchandise at gift shops.

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Another part of the problem is the emergence of cloud-based technology. Yes, new software allows casinos and other businesses streamline processes, store data and run more efficiently, but without the right protections in place, these tools can also create vulnerable points of entry for persistent cyber criminals. It isn’t enough to onboard new solutions and assume that current security safety nets will continue to be effective. Cybersecurity is extremely challenging to combat because even as new security measure are put into place, hackers are working on finding ways around these patches.

The Solution

First and foremost, casinos need to realize the extent of the threat they are facing. While many are quick to point fingers at the shortcomings of the casinos that have been effectively targeted, there are few other establishments who are adequately prepared to handle cyber threats. The security platform, UpGuard, evaluated a range of both brick and mortar and online casinos to assess their website security. The results show that even industry giants, like Caesars Palace seem to have let cybersecurity become an afterthought.

Be Proactive

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Once casinos are able to objectively evaluate their current situation and understand where there are real gaps, they need to implement solutions and change their entire approach to cybersecurity. Any business that conducts transactions or stores customer data absolutely must take a proactive approach to security. The last thing you want to do is be left trying to play catch up. In a worst case scenario, you will experience a significant revenue loss, damage your reputation and have to compensate hundreds of people who were the ultimate victims of any attack.

Partner with the Right Companies

Individual casinos need to spearhead their own cybersecurity strategies and have experts in place to immediately address any attacks. In addition, they also need to partner with the right companies and providers. As businesses continue to incorporate more software solutions into their daily operations, they need to make sure that those companies also demonstrate a commitment to security and continue to improve their own security protocols. You will want dynamic solutions rather than programs that will quickly become outdated and subject to attack.

For example, Casino Schedule Ease specializes in providing a client server based program that automates scheduling tasks that are specific to the gaming industry. Greektown Casino, Borgata and many other big names rely on this service to run more efficiently and improve employee satisfaction. However, they also turn to Casino Schedule Ease, because the company has demonstrated a progressive approach to providing secure services that are designed to complement and enhance the existing efforts of their customers. Being able to form partnerships with providers who share the mutual goal of advanced security will be an essential part of protecting against increased attacks.

Conclusion

Technology is being used to disrupt industries that were once seen as unchanging and create solutions that streamline processes and put more emphasis on the importance of creativity. While most would agree that this signals progress and the promise of more positive changes, it also create opportunities for criminals to exploit systems for their own personal gain. As part of an especially vulnerable industry, casinos need to wake up to impending threats and make sure they are doing everything possible to thwart attacks. This includes creating their own security strategies and making sure that they are partnering with other solution providers who share the same commitment to security.

 

 

 

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The Top Ten Reasons to Work at a Casino

Casinos are a luxurious destination for visitors who want to be entertained, enjoy some fine cuisine and perhaps win a little money, but casinos are also a great place to work. Dealers and other staff members are often treated like part of a larger team and given a wide variety of benefits and perks to keep their morale high. Afterall, a happy employee will help provide a better customer experience and help the casino thrive. Here are the top ten reasons why you might want to consider working at a casino:

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Pay. That’s right. Casinos provide employees with generous compensation packages because they understand how important dealers and staff are to the success of their business. A lot of companies will offer a starting wage of $25. From there, you can earn performance and seniority based bonuses, not to mention tips. If you have a friendly and outgoing personality that can keep guests happy, then your earning potential can be upwards of $100,000 per year.

 

Great benefits and perks. As part of their compensation packages, some casinos offer 401K match programs to help you save for retirement, excellent medical coverage and a range of other perks. Casinos often encourage camaraderie through health and wellness programs, company sponsored sports teams and regular events and outings. In addition, you may qualify for college tuition reimbursement.

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Easy and Flexible Scheduling. Casinos operate on a 24-hour schedule, so you can choose the right shift to fit your needs. If you want to be home during the bulk of the day to spend time with children, you can work later shifts and still enjoy a flexible schedule. A well-organized staff also means that it is easier to cover shifts if an employee experiences an emergency.

 

While it might seem complicated to have to schedule hundreds of employees across different areas of the casino throughout a 24-hour cycle, tools like Casino Schedule Ease simplify the process and make it easy for managers to accommodate employee needs. This software also allows employees to easily request time off and make adjustments to their regular schedule. Casino Schedule Ease is just another way casinos work to create a pleasant and convenient work environment.

 

Excellent Working Conditions. Casinos need to provide a clean and appealing environment to attract and retain guests and the same goes for employees. It doesn’t hurt that workers get to take advantage of eating food prepared by world-class chefs. Meals are usually free or offered at a steep discount.

Minimum Education Required. You don’t need a college degree to begin working at a casino, but you might end up with some college classes under you belt during your employment. Many casinos offer tuition reimbursement programs for any classes that will help you advance your career within the company. In addition, they will provide all the on-the-job training you need to begin earning great wages and benefits.

 

Job Security. While no business or industry is recession proof, regulations limited casinos across the country have been relaxed in recent years, opening the door for more employment opportunities. In addition, there is little chance that your job will be outsourced to machines. Guests enjoy interacting with dealers and it is a central part of the gambling experience that won’t be going away soon.

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Location, Location, Location. Just think about it: casinos are usually located in some of the nicest places in the world. You get to live and work in locations where people visit to celebrate big life events.

 

Easy to Relocate. Many casinos are part of a larger corporation that manages properties across the country. That means that you can easily transfer to another location under the parent company. Need a change of scenery or looking for new experiences? You may be able to move across the country and have a job waiting for you with a company that you are already familiar with.

 

Uniforms. This may sound like a minor selling point, but not having to invest in work clothes or worry about what you are going to wear every day can be a huge plus. In addition, many casinos will launder your uniforms for you. It doesn’t get much more convenient than that.

 

You Get to Have Fun at Work. Sure, every job involves minor annoyances and there are going to be bad days when you are tired and perhaps under the weather. However, as a casino employee, you get to play games and interact with people who are there to have a good time. If you enjoy people and are a bit of an extrovert, you will feed off the energy of the casino and its guests and actually have fun making sure other people have fun.

If you are looking for a rewarding career where you will feel like a valued member of a team and enjoy plenty of opportunities for advancement, then becoming a casino employee may be the right path for you. Today’s casinos offer highly competitive wages and benefits that are designed to improve retention rates and create a positive environment for employees and guests. While working for a casino might not be for everyone, it does offer a wide variety of benefits for the right people.

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What Atlantic City Revenue Numbers Really Mean

A recent report from the New Jersey Division Gaming Enforcement shows that the seven casinos located in Atlantic City earned a total of $244.8 million in August of 2017. While that might seem like a lot of money, it actually amounts to 0.4% less casino revenue than a year ago. Meanwhile, internet gambling, which is available at 5 out of the big seven casinos, enjoyed double digit growth across the board. So what exactly do these numbers mean for Atlantic City, casino owners and managers and the future of the gaming industry?

The Trump Taj Mahal Factor

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First, it is important to keep in mind that the numbers include earnings reports from the Trump Taj Mahal, which closed on October 9th, 2016. For those who have been following the history of this casino, the only surprise about the closing is that it was able to be avoided for so long. From the beginning, when the casino opened in 1990, it was at a financial disadvantage. The entire project was heavily financed and was involved in two separate bankruptcy filings by the parent organization, Trump Entertainment Resorts.

In the final days of the Trump Taj Mahal, owners and employee unions clashed over wages, pensions and health care benefits. After the last rejection of a possible deal by the union, the owner, Carl Icahn, decided to simply shut down the casino instead of investing $100 to $200 million to keep the casino afloat over the next year. Although the decision left approximately 3,000 employees out of work, it seemed like a reasonable decision for a business that had lost an additional $350 million over the last few years and showed no signs of becoming profitable in the near future.

What Atlantic City Casinos Actually Earned

Once you remove the doomed Trump Taj Mahal from the earnings report, the numbers start to look a lot more promising. As a whole, Atlantic City’s casino revenue went up by 5.5% although both Caesars and Harrah’s are in the red. Here is an exact breakdown of how the six casinos stacked up against one another and combined to offer an average revenue increase:

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As you can see, internet gambling has been much more of a lucrative source of revenue for some of Atlantic City’s oldest casinos.

How Does Internet Gambling Work?

As of 2017, there are only three states (Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey) that have legalized online gambling, which is heavily regulated by the state. In new Jersey, internet gambling became legal, but also comes with the following restrictions:

  • Players must be at least 21 years of age
  • The player must be located within New Jersey. This is verified through a GPS system.
  • Only Atlantic City casinos can offer internet gambling, which must be operated through a server that is located at the actual casino location.

In return, the state is able to tax online gambling revenue at a rate of 15%, which has resulted in $101.25 million in tax revenue since the practice first became legal in 2013.

How Can Brick and Mortar Locations Compete?

It is hard to compete with the convenience of being able to log onto your computer and gamble from the comfort of your own home. Yet, the physical casino locations are an important part of Atlantic City and provide services that simply can’t be found anywhere else. For owners and managers who are looking to experience growth in both categories of in-house and online revenue there are a few key factors to consider:

  1. Entertainment and dining

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Those who visit casinos are looking to gamble and hoping to win the big jackpot, but they are also looking for a total experience. They want a night out on the town. If people aren’t going to be spending as much at the tables or slot machines, then it is important to attract customers with great shows and delicious food. You may even find that food, drinks and a good show are what bring people in and the gambling is only a secondary activity. The most important part is getting people through the door.

2. Reducing costs and improving efficiency

One way to increase total revenue is to earn more money overall, but you can also improve numbers by cutting costs. Sometimes, this can be something as simple as introducing more streamlined processes that increase efficiency and require less man hours, which are both valuable and costly.

For example, new technology like Casino Schedule Ease, allows casinos to easily handle scheduling and table assignments in order to optimize productivity and place employees in positions where they are strongest. In fact, Borgata and Tropicana Resorts have adopted this software and seen marked improvements. Casino Schedule Ease makes it a lot easier for employees to request time off and ensure that all openings are covered, which can be especially challenging in a business with 24 hour shifts. Finally, this technology can free up time for managers so that they can spend more time on other tasks.

3. Customer experience

This directly relates to the two previous areas mentioned. If you are able to implement tools and practices that allow you to better manage your casino and improve employee job satisfaction, these efforts will directly translate into a better customer experience. Combine that with great food and entertainment and you have created a destination and not just a place to gamble. Pay attention to every detail of the customer experience and provide superior service and you may just be able to get some of those internet gamblers off the couch and into your location.

Conclusion

The good news is that on the whole, Atlantic City revenue is up. However, it is important to recognize that these numbers are marginal compared to the spike in internet gambling. Any revenue is good, but brick and mortar locations cannot ignore this trend if they want to continue to stay relevant. It is important to not only recognize, but anticipate industry changes and begin to implement progressive technology and solutions that will work to both boost revenue and decrease operating costs. Focus on capitalizing on the traditional hospitality principles that preach good product and services while also utilizing the latest technology to empower employees and improve efficiency.

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What You Can Learn from the Top 5 Best Casinos for Employees

With casinos becoming more prevalent, especially along the east coast, gaming industry veterans and rookies alike, have more options when it comes to choosing where they work. While a generous compensation package may be enough to bring employees through the door, overall job satisfaction is what keeps them there and translates into a customer satisfaction. With that in mind, we put together a list of the best casinos to work based on a wide range of criteria that contribute to employee satisfaction and feelings of fulfillment. By better understanding what other casinos are doing right, you may be able to change the culture at your own casino and see vast improvements in employee and customer satisfaction.

Best Casino Ranking Criteria

Here are just some of the criteria we looked at when determining this list:

  • Advanced scheduling and table assignment procedures. Employees want to be able to easily schedule time off, let managers know if their availability has changed for the week and see exactly when and where they are scheduled. Software based programs, like Casino Schedule Ease, streamline the scheduling and communication process, making the casino a more organized place to work. Locations with this type of technology ranked higher among employees.
  • Programs designed to protect and promote employee health and welfare. As we saw, these programs ranged from organizing fun activities that encouraged employees to play to wellness rewards programs that provided support for those looking to improve their health. Either way, these programs signaled that the casinos was committed to helping employees destress and enjoy happier lives both inside and outside of work.
  • Performance based bonuses. Everyone loves to be recognized for their hard work. The best casinos employ a variety of bonus programs that reward hard workers who are often nominated by their peers.
  • Demonstrates a clear sense of values and contributes to the community. Every employee wants to feel like they are a part of something larger and making positive contributions. The best casinos make sure that they define and live certain values and give back through charity, fundraising and volunteer events.
  • Opportunities to advance and earn higher salaries. Any employee wants to know that a job has the potential to turn into a career where they can take on leadership roles, learn new skills and earn more money. Employees were most satisfied when these opportunities are present.

    1. Four Winds Casino – Locations across Michigan

At Four Winds Casinos, employees appreciate the thorough training process that sets them up for success and the focus on creating a pleasant work environment. The employees truly seem to enjoy one another and look forward to interacting with both the co-workers and the guests. It doesn’t hurt that the casino provides them with food throughout the shifts along with employee appreciation days and periodic gifts to employees.

Employees also enjoy a variety of perk programs. The ACES Award Program provides a secret shop that rewards employees when they are recognized for exceptional performance. The company also encourages perfect attendance by rewarding those who haven’t missed a day in the last quarter with personal time off and a mention in the company newsletter. To help keep things light and fun, employees are encouraged to dress up on holidays, participate in the casino softball league and wear their favorite jersey on big game days.

2. Wind Creek Hospitality

– Umbrella company for the Poarch Band of Creek Indians with locations in Alabama and Florida

Wind Creek Casinos are known for their focus on guest service and satisfaction, which can always be tied back to well-trained and happy employees. The company sets out a clear set of values and provides employees with the support they need to live up to those values. Incentives include bonus and reward programs and constant recognition for a job well done. Employees also have the opportunity to focus on their own health and achieve a work-life balance through the wellness program that includes a personal trainer on-site.

3. Harrah’s Resort – Southern California

While Harrah’s is a big name in the gaming industry, this particular location has become a favorite among employees for a wide variety of reasons. With almost 1,500 employees, organization is key and Harrah seems to have mastered the art of keeping everyone perfectly schedule and placed even over a 1.2 million square-foot facility. To help keep employees informed, the casino regularly holds “buzz sessions” to discuss changes and recognize employee achievements.

As a larger establishment, the casino also offers plenty of bonuses and activities. Employee of the month winners receive up to $250 in credits and winners of the Chairman’s Award receive credits that amount to $2,500. After work, employees can participate in walking, running, softball, cycling, soccer and other wellness focused clubs.

4. FireKeepers Casino Hotel – Battle Creek, Michigan

Some might be surprised to see that another Michigan based tribal casino made the top 5 list, but these casinos have clearly realized that the formula for satisfied customers begins with happy employees. At FireKeepers, employees are rewarded not only for performance by also for loyalty. Every year anniversary means a cash bonus.

The casino also demonstrates a clear set of values by providing employees with career paths and encouraging community engagement. Employees can get to know one another and improve morale in the team member dining room and at a variety of casino sponsored charity and volunteer events. The employees have the opportunity to be a part of something bigger instead of simply putting in their time at work.

5. Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority – Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

The SIGA is a unique organization because its main focus is to enrich the lives of its First Nation employees. Perhaps more so than any other gaming organization, they are committed to helping employees achieve job satisfaction while also earning a livable wage and creating opportunities to give back to the community. While the casinos are fundamentally profit driven businesses, the entire business model is designed to put that money to good use.

Employees can participate in a long list of community based wellness activities and enjoy plenty of opportunities to earn bonuses and rewards. The list just goes on and on, which makes SIGA an outstanding part of the community that is actually helping to cultivate better citizens through employment.

As you may have noticed, a lot of the top casinos are part of the tribal gaming community. It is clear that these organizations are committed to providing a better life for their employees and serving as a positive force in the community. It may be in the best interest of larger establishment to look towards these casinos as an example of what it means to be successful. While businesses typically measure success in dollars and cents, the truest indicator may be employee satisfaction.

These casinos also offer important lessons when it comes to managing a large population of employees. Through incentive and rewards programs and scheduling technology, the casinos are able to empower individuals and make them feel recognized instead of lost in sea of people. Simple management tools can allow casinos to offer a more personalized experience to employees, which will ultimately translate to a better customer experience.

 

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The Future of the Casino Industry

 

While different industries continue to try to adapt to global markets and the recover from the Great Recession, the casino industry is benefiting from relaxed regulations and the fact that Americans have more disposable income. Casino industry experts are also projecting a bright future based on the recent election of Donald Trump, an industry insider. Despite some bright spots, data indicates that the casino industry may be undergoing some major geographical shifts and experiencing competition from online gambling, which is leading the gaming industry in both Europe and Asia. For a closer look at the future of the casino industry and what emerging trends to be on the lookout for, keep reading.

Notable Shifts in Casino Regulations

In the past, casinos have been regulated by state laws that were applied across the board. However, regulations are becoming more localized. Instead of instituting broad limitations, local governments are being given the power to make their own decision about how to handle gambling establishments and revenue. As a result, more small casino locations are popping up in the form of riverboats, tribal casinos and cruise ships. Expect this trend to continue and for gambling to become more accepted and welcomed outside of traditional gambling and casino hubs.

Geographic Changes in Casino Locations

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In the United States, casinos have been concentrated in two main locations: Las Vegas and Atlantic City. However, both these locations are undergoing major changes while casinos along the east coast continue to multiply and grow. Over the past decade, Atlantic City has lost over half its value. While the gambling and hospitality industries still make significant contributions to the local economy, it is hard to imagine the city returning to its heyday.

Las Vegas is still thriving as a tourist destination, but less and less of the city’s revenue is coming from gambling. In 2016, 34% of the Strip’s revenue came from gambling. Compare that to 1984 when a full 58% or revenue was a direct result of gambling. More people are choosing to spend their time and money on shows and other entertainment.

Those who are almost exclusively interested in gambling and view the shows and restaurants as an added perk and not the main attraction, are heading to smaller establishments. The east coast, in particular, is seeing an expansion of the casino industry. Perhaps most notably, MGM has made major investments in developments near Washington DC and Springfield, MA. The goal is to provide local consumers with the same brand experience that would have in Las Vegas. Industry leaders are betting on the fact that people will be excited to have the casino experience without having to pay for travel.

How Casinos are Winning Back Gamblers

While casinos are still making significant profits, even if less of their revenue is coming from gambling, they are still looking for ways to lure people back to the games. Those looking to introduce disruptive solutions that will lead to true market innovation are turning to skill based gambling games. For example, Konami recently introduced a Frogger slot machine that combines both skill and luck. Players can win performance based prizes. At the end of each round, you can spin the wheel and win additional prizes. It combines classic, interactive arcade games with traditional gambling for a more well-rounded user experience.

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These new types of skilled based games appeal directly to Millenials who simply aren’t showing up to engage with typical gambling games. By introducing the arcade element, casinos are able to meet players where they already are and provide a twist on gaming. Instead of sitting at home in front of computers and game consoles, avid gamers can visit the casino and put their skills to work and maybe win a little cash.

The Future of Casino Gambling Games

Arcade themed slot machines are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the future of interactive gambling. Virtual reality games are also poised to become more standard fare in casinos, as well as, team games that allow players to interact with other gamers in the same casino and around the world. Casinos will have to continue to develop innovative ways to incorporate new gaming technology into their establishment to avoid becoming an obsolete form of entertainment.

Beyond the Games: Cultivating Loyal Customers

Modern consumers have higher expectations when it comes to both the types of games they want to see on the casino floor and the level of service. More than ever, patrons expect to visit a well-organized establishment that is able to provide fast and courteous service that helps create a memorable experience. The more casinos are able to provide both cutting-edge games and superior service and hospitality, the more they will be able to build brand loyalty and earn repeat business.

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Once again, the solution to a better casino and impeccable service comes down to technology. Relying on powerful management and scheduling software, such as Casino Schedule Ease, allows large casinos with hundreds to thousands of employees to effectively fill openings and make sure that every aspect of the casino is appropriately staffed. A streamlined system with a centralized dashboard also makes it easy for employees to request time off and manage their own schedules. It is the best way to improve efficiency, drive profits and reduce the number of man-hours that are spent managing employees and scheduling.

While the casino industry is still profitable, its growth rate has slowed significantly over the past decades and more revenue is coming from entertainment than actual gambling. If casinos are able to expand into the right markets and continue to incorporate new games that address the evolving interests of customers, then they may be able to stabilize the industry. Brick and mortar casinos will also experience increased competition from online gambling, which makes the ability to provide a positive customer experience even more important. Simplifying the employee scheduling process with the right software is just one way to improve service and earn loyal customers.

What the Las Vegas Labor Battles Mean for the Future

Up until June 3rd,  about 25,000 MGM Resorts International employees were ready to go on strike and cause a major disruption to business along the Vegas strip. The company and the Culinary Workers Union Local 226 were able to reach a tentative agreement that will keep casinos open and employees off the picket line for now, but this latest dispute is indicative of a larger issue that Las Vegas and other gambling centers around the world will need to address in the coming years.  Casino workers are facing increasing job insecurity as technology and automation replaces workers and this is creating serious unrest and conflict that will only continue to build.

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Things first came to a head with the expiration of the existing contract, which was set to end on June 1st and negotiations for a new five-year contract seemed to be going nowhere. While the negotiations have covered wage increases and workload limits, they have also been used to express concerns about industry wide automation that is replacing workers with robotic technology. According to recent studies, casino workers have good reason to be concerned. In the next 15 years alone, 47% of all U.S. jobs will be at risk of being taking over by artificial intelligence and other automated technology. When researchers looked at just the Las Vegas job market, that number jumped to 65.2%, which means that over half of Vegas workers could lose their jobs despite steady industry growth.

Robots are Taking over Las Vegas

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One sign of things to come is the Tipsy Robot bar located in the Planet Hollywood Casino. While the theme of the bar was designed to create a fun customer experience, you can imagine that it is unsettling for bartenders to see robots creating perfectly poured and proportioned drinks at the rate of 120 drinks per hour. The robots even dance and entertain customers.

Robots are also taking over concierge and room service duties. Interactive robots can provide directions, information about local destinations and hotel services and wayfinding maps. Customers can also digitally place food and drink orders and their room service will be delivered by a robot. Clearly, the technology is available and hotels and casinos are beginning to embrace its capabilities and incorporate automated solutions into their business model.

How Can Casinos Protect Human Jobs?

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Of course, the big drawback of relying more heavily on robots is the human factor. People will lose their jobs. Should casinos hold on to increasingly antiquated business processes just to save jobs that will only become increasingly obsolete as technology continues to advance at such a rapid pace? It is a tough question that simply isn’t going to go away.

Casino workers unions are making the argument that technology can be incorporated without totally eliminating human interactions. According to the Culinary Union Worker’s secretary-treasurer, “We support innovations that improve jobs, but we oppose automation when it only destroys jobs.” Another spokesperson made the point that workers should be retrained instead of completely laid-off and discarded. While this would certainly be an ideal solution, it remains to be seen whether retraining is part of the casino industry’s long-term plan for phasing new technology into all aspects of their businesses.

With all this talk of job losses, automation can begin to seem like a dirty word, but it is important to remember that much of this technology actually improves lives and makes businesses more efficient. For example, Casino Schedule Ease is a popular software scheduling program that streamlines and automates certain administrative tasks and ensures that employees are able to work their ideal shifts and easily request time off. In this instance, technology eases the burden on managers and improves the workplace for employees. Ultimately, this also creates a better customer experience. In this case, automating specific tasks benefits everyone involved.

Essentially, casinos and businesses across all industries, are being faced with a digital revolution and the way they handle it will have lasting consequences. Without a transition strategy, the switch to automation will feel sudden and brutal. However, there is the option to slowly and deliberately incorporate new technology as workers are retrained and given new employment opportunities. If nothing else, hopefully, these negotiations have made it clear to both workers and casinos that the tides are turning and now is the time to prepare for a future where robots and AI will replace workers. There is simply no use in continuing to fight this reality. Instead, everyone involved needs to acknowledge what is at stake and start developing a strategy that will protect workers while also embracing technology.

Where Negotiations Currently Stand

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As it stands, MGM workers were able to reach a tentative agreement that provides an immediate raise along with yearly wage increases for the next five years. However, another approximately 25,000 workers, who belong to other unions and help keep 25 hotels running, have yet to reach a final deal and could still go on strike. There is no set day for the strike, but if it happens, it would be the first strike in the city since 1984.

For the City, a strike couldn’t come at a worse time. The Vegas Golden Knights have made the Stanley Cup play-offs in their first season in the league. The rest of the strip is also experiencing one of the most profitable periods in recent memories as more people are enjoying disposable income and taking advantage of all the city has to offer.  A strike would end up costing hundreds of millions of dollars a day, which gives workers some pretty strong negotiating leverage.

The tension between employees, businesses and technology is one that is happening in industries all over the world, but the recent contract negotiations in Las Vegas helped bring this problem further into the light. While it looks like things may be quieting down on the strip, there are still contracts being negotiated and the MGM agreement only spans five years. It is also clear that robots will become increasingly visible and workers won’t be able to fight off the changing nature of the workforce for much longer.

How Casinos are Revitalizing Upstate New York

New York City may be one of the wealthiest and most populated cities in the world, but the New York state economy has been struggling to support its more rural residents. Historically, this region has relied heavily on manufacturing jobs. Combine the steady decline of this industry along with the affects of the Great Recession and you have an area that is experiencing real economic distress. While many states have been able to bounce back from these circumstances, upstate New York has been experiencing progress at a much slower rate. Fortunately, the area is about to get a major boost with the opening of the Resorts World Catskills casino. There are high hopes that this new casino will provide the jobs and spending power necessary to revitalize the area.

Up until 2013, New York only allowed limited forms of gambling. Basically, there were a handful of Indian owned and operated casinos in rural locations and slot machines were allowed at racetracks. However, there was a ban on full-scale, Las Vegas style casinos. Previous attempts to expand gambling were met by large opposition from religious groups. Beginning in early 2012, Governor Andrew Cuomo began a campaign to amend the state’s constitution and eliminate restrictions so that more casinos could be built and provide a much needed boost to the economy.

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When Cuomo first made his plan public, the opposition wasn’t as fierce as with past attempts, but there was an influx of lobbyists pushing for a variety of different special interest groups. After all, legalizing full-scale gambling isn’t a straightforward issue. Cuomo and the state legislature would have to decide how many licenses would be allowed, where the casinos could be built and what kind of tax rate would be placed on gambling.

Some of the biggest objections to the amendment came from tribes, like the Senecas, who were already running their own casinos in the state. While they were okay with NYC based casinos, they didn’t want to have to face competition outside the city. Previous deals had promised them certain exclusivity rights that they claimed would be violated by opening up gambling to more areas.

Ultimately, the residents of New York took to the polls and approved the constitutional amendment that came with a few key requirements. While many casino companies were hoping to be able to tap into the NYC market, the law permits only four new casinos and limits them to certain areas, most of which run along the New York and Pennsylvania border where the economy has been the hardest hit.

The Road to Upstate NY’s First Full-Scale Casino

Getting a constitutional amendment passed is no small feat, but it would take another five years before the doors of the Resorts World Catskills casino actually opened. During that time, economic development departments, local governments, professional analysts and a variety of other organizations were busy putting together arguments for why their city should be the site of one of the four new casinos. Ultimately, Sullivan County was chosen for the first build because it offered the greatest potential for a positive economic impact.

The average worker wage in Sullivan County is $31,483 a year, one of the lowest in the state. The casino is expected to raise individual earnings to around $36,237. Research studies estimate that $903 of that extra income will go directly back into the local economy. That means that local businesses will see additional profits and be able to enjoy a more stable and secure financial situation.

Perhaps even more importantly, additional jobs and higher wages will translate into a healthier community. Positive outcomes include higher graduation rates, better health and less crime. Ultimately, this also puts less of a strain on local and state resources. The casino is on track to be a real boon for local residents and offer far reaching benefits.

The Challenges of Staffing a New Casino

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One of the biggest concerns about building a casino in rural New York was that there simply wouldn’t be enough people to fill over 2,000 new positions. Local businesses also feared that they would lose their employees to the casino and have trouble staffing their own businesses. However, researchers were able to determine that based on the proposed location of the new casino, there would be plenty of qualified workers to fill the positions. As a result, Resorts World Catskills was able to fully staff the new casino without negatively impacting local businesses.

The next staffing challenge was to effectively and efficiently schedule over 2,000 new employees who all have different skills and schedule preferences. From a casino’s perspective, they want to be able to provide convenient shifts for their employees in order to keep morale high and turnover low. They also want to place individuals at tables and stations where they are able to perform best. At the same time, workers want a certain level of flexibility and a schedule that can accommodate their existing family responsibilities. The logistics of balancing all these different factors on a weekly basis can be daunting.

Fortunately, just as technology has helped to advance slot machines and gaming, it has also improved scheduling capabilities. Software like Casino Schedule Ease allows casinos to streamline the scheduling process from one, easy to use dashboard. Employees can easily communicate preferences and ask for time off and scheduling managers can view a visual representation of the casino floor as they work to fill spots. As a result, casinos can operate more efficiently, provide a better customer experience and keep employ satisfaction high.

It took a lot of effort from state and local governments, national gambling organizations, voters, builders and a long list of other participants to open the Resorts World Catskills casino. Fortunately, their efforts have paid off and five years after New York voters decided to approve full-scale gambling in the state, the first of four casinos has opened its doors for business. For Sullivan County in particular, this marks the beginning of a new era of economic prosperity as residents are able to enjoy higher wages and job security.