Plan Your Summer Vacation

Planning a summer vacation that the whole family will enjoy can be quite a challenge. Everyone has different interests and it can feel nearly impossible to please the kids while also allowing the adults to have some fun. Fortunately, there are plenty of family-friendly casino resorts in beautiful locales that will provide opportunities to enjoy the outdoors, try new activities and spend some time playing your favorite games. Here is a list of the best family- friendly casino resorts that will keep the entire family busy and happy.

Atlantis Paradise Island Resort

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It doesn’t get much better than the Atlantis Paradise Island Resort in the Bahamas. This luxurious casino and hotel provides five miles of beaches, a world famous water park, a marine habitat and dolphin cay where you can swim with the dolphins and even shadow a trainer for a day. You can also enjoy a day at the golf course, charter a fishing boat, spend the day shopping on the island and much more. There is truly something for everyone.

During the day, you can sign your kids up for a themed adventure that is hosted by the staff and includes a meal. You can even hire a kid concierge to organize activities and make your life a little less stressful. While the kids are off swimming or taking a cooking lesson, you can enjoy the black jack tables or relax in your personal cabana.

While all this might sound like an expensive vacation, you might be surprised to see just how affordable this resort can be. The resort is only 30 minutes from the airport, which makes transportation easy and you can save when you combine flight and hotel deals. Also, be on the lookout for promotional offers, such as a complimentary night free when you book five nights in a row. Finally, keep in mind that the resort fees include access to a movie theater, water park, casino and other free activities that you would have to pay for at other locations.

Courtyard Isla Verde Beach Resort

Take the family to Puerto Rico to experience the local culture and enjoy miles of one of the world’s most beautiful coastlines. There is no shortage of things to do in San Juan. From rain forest excursions and snorkeling to golfing and deep sea fishing, it won’t be a problem for everyone to find an activity that fits their interests.

Black Oak Casino

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The Black Oak Casino in Tuolumne, CA, is located right outside Yosemite National Park. This resort provides the perfect way to enjoy one of the country’s most beautiful and popular destinations while also getting your fill of gaming and activities. Spend your days hiking and taking in the natural wonders of the area and indulge in a gourmet meal and world-class entertainment in the evening. Kids can take advantage of the underground arcade and spend some time at the bowling alley. If you would like to experience this stunning part of the country, but you aren’t the type of family that likes to pitch a tent and spend a week in the woods, this resort will allow you to enjoy nature without compromising comfort.

Inn of the Mountain Gods Resort and Casino

The name alone should speak to your sense of adventure. This beautiful resort is located in Mescalero, New Mexico, and sits on the shores of a beautiful lake and is surrounded by a world class golf course. It provides the perfect summer getaway for families who want to get out and enjoy the warm weather. The resort features a ZipRider, a dock for fishing, plenty of watersports and opportunities to go horseback riding and hiking and enjoy the mountainous landscape that defines this area of the state. If you want to experience a trip that allows you to enjoy the rustic outdoors and return in the evening to a gourmet meal, spa treatment and a night of gambling, the Inn can deliver.

The Pechanga Resort and Hotel

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The Pechanga Resort and Hotel has long been known as California’s largest resort, but recent expansions have made it one of the largest on the west coast. The extensive grounds offer a wide variety of activities for the whole family. Kids will love the 4.5 acre pool complex that includes two waterslides and a family lagoon. Adults can catch a live show at one of the many onsite venues and play their luck at the many tables and games throughout the casino. There is also beautiful golf courses and delicious restaurants that offer both casual and fine dining experiences. Every day can be full of new activities and you can’t beat the prices. This location is a more affordable and family-friendly alternative to options located right on the Las Vegas Strip.

Planning a family vacation doesn’t mean that everything has to be kid-centric. There are options that will allow you to enjoy the beauty of the outdoors, the comfort of a luxurious hotel and the entertainment choices of a full-scale casino while still providing plenty of family activities. You can spend your days playing with the kids or you can take advantage of concierge services and other hosted events to get some much needed alone time with your spouse. You won’t have to worry about keeping the kids entertained and they will be off having their own adventures.

The right casino and resort will allow everyone experience an enjoyable and rejuvenating vacation. Take a closer look at different destinations and choose among the beauty of the islands, the mountains and some of the country’s most celebrated national parks. To learn more about different vacation options and how Casino Schedule Ease is helping casinos around the world improve their businesses and offer families better experiences contact us today. Our experts will be happy to answer all your questions.

The Latest Gambling News

The 2019 Kentucky Derby Breaks Records

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It was just a couple weeks ago when Tiger Woods staged an amazing career comeback that cost sports books big money and left a few lucky gamblers with major wins. On Saturday, the world watched as another upset took place at the Kentucky Derby. This event broke both sports and betting records and produced some significant payouts for people who made relatively small bets.

If you missed the action, here is a recap. While the 2019 Kentucky Derby was essentially a wide-open race, there were a few favorites. Based on point standings and previous wins, Roadster, Game Winner and Improbably were slated as the top three contenders. These horses were expected to see the most betting action although their favorable odds also meant a lower payout.

As the 1.25 mile race came to a close, Maximum Security was the first to cross the finish line, but the results were immediately challenged and after 22 minutes of deliberation, the winner was disqualified. This decision marked the first time in the 145 year history of the Kentucky Derby that a horse was disqualified because of a foul. After reviewing the tape, the race stewards found that Maximum Security veered out of his lane, causing contact that then forced other horses to change their course. The argument is that this brief moment of contact ultimately affected the outcome of the race.

Small Bets Make Big Winners

When all was said and done, the $3 million purse was awarded to Country House, gamblers lost $9 million that was bet on Maximum Security and those who took a chance on the race’s longshot won big. According to the sport book TwinSpires, the largest bet made on Maximum Security was $8,000, which would have meant a $36,000 prize. The biggest bet made on Country House to win was $2,500, which ended up netting the bettor $162,500. One gambler in Las Vegas bet a total of $8 on the superfecta and ended up with a $78,000 win. These numbers also mean that Country House has the second biggest payout in the history of the race.

The extraordinary race also set overall betting records for sports books around the world. This year, $165.5 million was bet on site, which is a full 10% increase over last year. Once you add in wagers that were made through legal online sources, including TwinSpires, which is the official mobile betting platform of the Derby, a total of $250 million was bet on race day. A significant portion of this money came from Japan, where horse racing is a popular sport.

The recent longshot wins in major sporting events has more people putting down their money and hoping to win big. It is easy to imagine that sports betting will also become more popular as it is legalized in more states in the coming years. Next year’s Derby may not be quite as exciting or controversial, but it is sure to bring in new bettors.

Indiana Legalizes Sports Betting

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Indiana is the latest state to officially sign legislation into law and make sports betting legal. While the debate over the morality and impact of gambling continues, Governor Eric Holcomb is arguing that sports betting is highly regulated and will bring much needed jobs and revenue to the state. He is also making the case that it is important to be an early adopter so that money isn’t lost to competing states.

The bill was surrounded by even more controversy than usual because of close ties between the Governor and other top officials and Spectacle Entertainment, which has been lobbying for the bill. Despite several potential conflicts of interest, the bill was widely supported by legislators. The next big challenge for the state is making sure that Spectacle Entertainment isn’t allowed to build a monopoly around gambling in the state. They are already slated to control a large portion of the business and this could present problems down the line.

MGM is Cutting Jobs

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MGM Resorts International has been struggling to keep up even as gambling markets expand and many competitors continue to experience growth. Shares in the company have dropped 12% since last August and the company started making moves in January to cut labor costs. The goal is to boost operating cash flow by a full $200 million in the coming year. Unfortunately, that means making major cuts to labor costs.

While the company has been clear that jobs are on the line, that did little to ease the blow as 254 people lost their jobs. Only management positions were affected and experts estimate that the cuts will save the company $13 million per year. Ultimately, MGM is looking to cut $100 million from labor costs, so more layoffs are expected in the coming months. We will keep watching over the next year to see whether these cuts have a positive impact on profits without affecting the daily operations and quality of the customer experience.

How Casinos are Using Technology

A lot has been said lately about the changing demographics of gamblers and how casinos need to leverage technology to create more social games that attract millenials. What isn’t always at the forefront of the conversation about technology and casinos is how new tools are going to work behind the scenes. Ultimately, casinos are a part of the hospitality industry, which means their success relies on providing an excellent customer experience that creates repeat business. This requires a skilled workforce, but it also means being able to effectively manage and motivate that workforce.

Casino Schedule Ease is one software solution that is being used by casinos to improve the employee experience, which ultimately creates a better customer experience. This software streamlines the scheduling process so that managers can match employees up with the best shifts and table assignments to fit their needs and take full advantage of their skills. The dashboard makes it easy to visualize the casino floor, view time-off requests, complete complicated schedules and much more. For casinos looking to reduce labor costs and improve every aspect of performance, Casino Schedule Ease offers an effective, versatile and customizable solution.

The past couple of weeks have been full of major events in the world of gambling and casinos. Be sure to check back in with our blog to stay on top of all the latest news and learn how it might affect you and your business.

Las Vegas on a Budget

Las Vegas has a reputation for being an extravagant city that is full of luxurious attractions and accommodations. With so much glitz and glamour, it may seem like a trip to Las Vegas is beyond your budget; however, there are plenty of affordable things to see and do that will allow you to experience everything the city has to offer without emptying your wallet. Here are just a few budget-friendly destinations and tips that will help you get the most out of our Las Vegas trip.

Visit the Flamingo Wildlife Habitat

It doesn’t get much better than a free attraction. There is no charge at the Flamingo Wildlife Habitat and you can spend the afternoon walking through the beautifully landscaped grounds and get up close and personal with exotic animals. The 15-acre park is home to Chilean flamingos, pelicans, turtles, koi fish, parrots and much more. Be sure to schedule your visit around the morning and afternoon pelican feedings and get your picture taken with one of the park’s parrots. The Flamingo Wildlife Habitat provides a family friendly destination and a peaceful alternative to the typical hustle and bustle of Las Vegas.

Fall of Atlantis Show

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There is no shortage of great shows to watch in Las Vegas, but $100+ per ticket might be more than you want to spend. The Fall of Atlantis show located inside the Caesars Palace Forum Shops features all the special effects, explosions and professional production value you would expect from a Las Vegas show but without the price tag. This free show plays every hour on the hour and tells the story of Atlantis with the help of animatronic figures. While you are there, you can also do some shopping and check out the salt water aquarium.

Fremont Street

Freemont Street was specifically designed to provide a walkable downtown area where visitors can enjoy local restaurants, shopping, bars and other businesses. This area covers 6 blocks and provides the perfect place to spend an evening strolling and taking in the sites. Throughout the year, you can find free concerts and other events and take in the Famous Viva Vision Light show that plays every hour. The show is projected on a video screen that measures 1,500 long and 90 feet wide and is suspended above the street. Once the show starts, the lights totally transform the street and provide a one-of-a-kind experience.

O’Sheas Lucky Hour

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For some affordable adult fun, check out O’Sheas Lucky Hour, which runs from 10 a.m – 2 p.m. and 2 a.m. – 6 a.m. During these hours, you can get great deals on drinks, including $ 4 Guinness drafts and $5 Jameson shots. You can enjoy some drinks, listen to live music, play beer pong or try your luck at the gaming tables. This large venue also offers outdoor space and a fun atmosphere without the cover charge and pricey drinks. The casual, yet energetic atmosphere may be just the right place to blow off some steam and have some fun.

High Roller Observation Wheel

From zip lines to roller coasters, Las Vegas is full of plenty of rides for those who love a big thrill, but if you like things a little more low-key, the Higher Roller is a great option. The observation wheel will take you up 550 feet and provide great views of the city and the valley. One rotation takes 30 minutes and you can enjoy the ride in a comfortable and spacious cabin. There is even a happy hour cabin option that comes complete with a bartender. Daytime tickets start at $22 and you can save money by purchasing them online.

The Neon Museum

Over the years, the Vegas strip has been home to iconic architecture and neon signs. While some of the signs have been retired, you can still visit them at the Neon Museum where they are working to restore many signs and use them to tell the story of Las Vegas’s history. Currently, there are nine fully restored signs that are located throughout the city and can be viewed on your own walking tour. You can also choose among self-guided tours, guided tours and a multimedia experience that brings the old signs to life with photos, lights and music. Tickets start at $23 and you can get a discount if you buy them online.

The Mob Museum

The Mob Museum explores the history of the mob and law enforcement. It begins with a look at how the mob shaped Las Vegas and eventually went on to have international reach. There are plenty of interactive displays and exhibits, including the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre Wall complete with bullet holes from the assassination of seven members of the Bugs Moran gang. General admission for non-residents $26.95 although you might want to spend a little more to take advantage of the audio tour.

Golden Nugget Shark Tank

This feat of engineering is designed to make you feel like you are swimming with the sharks without all the danger. The pool cost $30 million to construct and features a 200,000 gallon shark tank. You can swim up to the glass and watch the sharks or you can take a ride on the water slide, which runs directly through the tank. It is a unique experience and a great way to escape the steamy Vegas weather. Hotel guests have free access to the pool or you can swim there for $25.

Enjoying the extravagance of Las Vegas doesn’t mean that you have to spend extravagantly. There are plenty of affordable attractions that will allow you to get to know the past and present of this truly unique city. Many of the hotels are open to visitors and local museums provide fun and affordable places to spend the day. In most cases, you can save money on admission fees by purchasing tickets online. For more information on the best Vegas attractions and how our software solutions are helping casinos across the world operate more efficiently, contact Casino Schedule Ease.

Collaboration Moves CSE Forward

At Casino Schedule Ease, we are always looking at ways to innovate, anticipate the needs of our clients and keep moving forward. Over the years, we have found that one of the best ways to avoid becoming stale or stuck in a rut is to collaborate with other like-minded companies with adjacent skill sets. Most recently, we were looking for a partner to help us streamline our company processes and take full-advantage of the suite of Atlassian tools. We were lucky enough to connect with Polontech and come up with some great solutions.

The Challenge

We were beginning to feel like some of our processes were clunky and less efficient than they could be. At the same time, we knew that we could better manage our software development projects by harnessing the power of Atlassian tools. The challenge was to bring this all together and find viable solutions to help us working faster and smarter.

That is where Polontech came in. They are a leading IT-consulting company from Poland and a preferred Atlassian Solutions Partner. Their team was able to quickly get to know our business and create a whole new software development ecosystem using Jira Software, Confluence, Bitbucket, Bamboo and other Atlassian tools. While we were aware of these tools and the potential they had to impact our business, Polontech was able to create a customized system that allows us to get the most out of all these tools.

The Solution

Now, with the help of continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD), we are able to constantly merge code changes into the main branch. This allows developers to instantly run tests in new build and quickly detect and fix bugs. We will be able to release more software faster than ever before, which means reliable and thoroughly tested solutions for our customers.

We are excited about this latest development and looking forward to using these new tools to better serve our clients. If you would like to learn more about CSE and how we can help your business, contact us today.

Casino News Roundup

It has been a busy couple weeks in the casino and gambling industries. With sports betting legalized in several states, major sporting events like the NBA finals and the Masters golf tournament are garnering more attention. There have been some big winners, especially with Tiger Woods beating 14-1 odds to win his first championship in 11 years. Meanwhile, competition is heating up in Atlantic City and Las Vegas as casinos continue to make improvements and cater to today’s audiences. Keep reading for a roundup of all the latest casino and gambling news you might have missed.

Tiger Woods Costs Sportsbooks Big Money

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While Tiger Woods is one of the most recognizable names in sports, he hadn’t won a major tournament in 11 years. Going into the Masters tournament, no one was predicting that this would be his comeback and initial odds were placed at 14-1. As the tournament wore on, more betters were putting their money on Woods even as he fell behind on the last two days. William Hill, FanDuel and DraftKings have reported that between 20%-30% of all the incoming bets were being put on woods.

Clearly, the fans were rooting for Woods and hoping for both a comeback tournament and a big win that would put some money in their pockets. As a result, sportsbooks had a rough week with payouts of well over $1 million. In fact, one customer placed a $85,000 bet with 14-1 odds, which meant a single payout of $1.19 million. It is the largest payout on a golf bet in history and will probably remain so for some time.

While sports betting companies took a major hit with Woods’ win, they won’t have trouble recovering. There is plenty of money coming in as people continue to bet on sporting events, including the NBA finals, which have just gotten under way. Most experts agree that the Warriors are on pace to win the championship again, but there is a lot of disagreement about who they will play in the finals. Fans could end up making some money if they make some lucky bets.

The Palms Casino Takes Luxury to a New Level

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The Palms Casino and Resort opened in 2001 and immediately set a new standard for luxury in a city know for extravagance. It didn’t take long for the location to become a pop culture icon and a recognizable symbol of entertainment and what Las Vegas had to offer. Eighteen years later, the Palms is undergoing a $690 million renovation that will surpass anything the city has seen before. Here are just some of the highlights:

  • A multi-million dollar art collection. What says sophistication more than priceless works of art? Contemporary artist, Damien Hirst, is responsible for much of the new art, which includes a 60-foot bronze sculpture. This impressive piece is the focal point for the 73,000 square foot day club, which is converted into a night club in the evenings.
  • The Empathy Suite will hold the record for the most expensive accommodations in the world. A weekend stay will cost $1 million and features a butler, chauffeured car and a recording studio. The 9,000 square foot villas was also designed by Hirst and features his unique art and furniture.
  • The new Palms also features “the most pools at a resort in North America” and an LED screen that is 270 feet tall and the largest in the entire city.
  • Visitors can also dine at a long list of five-star restaurants and enjoy shows from some of today’s most popular artists, including Cardi B, Alicia Keys, Hozier and Skrillex.

The new Palms Resort and Casino is a perfect example of what many are calling a second wind for Las Vegas as the city continues to work to stay relevant and maintain its reputation as an entertainment capital.

A Look at the Numbers

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Some recent studies have revealed interesting insights into who is visiting Las Vegas and why. In 2016, 27% of visitors were going to Las Vegas for the first time. Compare that to 2018 when 18% of visitors were there for the first time. Keep in mind, that the overall number of visitors hasn’t significantly decreased, which means that more and more people are returning to Vegas for repeat trips. Looking to the future, the city may want to look at ways to attract new visitors. Obviously, the people who make the trip are having a great time, but there may be some room for growth when it comes to bringing in first time visitors.

On the other side of the country, Atlantic City is feeling the impact of increased competition. Last year it saw the introduction of two new casinos and legalized gambling in surrounding states. While overall gaming revenue is up 25%, some of the oldest casinos are experiencing a decrease in profits that range from 8% to 11%. For now, the market is strong, but customers are taking their business to newer establishments or those that have undergone recent renovations. It looks like Atlantic City casinos will have to invest in upgrades if they don’t want to lose out to newcomers.

The Future Looks Bright

For those who have been anxiously awaiting the legalization of sports betting, this inaugural year has already proven both exciting and groundbreaking. Fans have won some big pots and there are plenty of big games and matches on the schedule in the coming months. Las Vegas and Atlantic City are also continuing to experience solid business as people make return visits to check out new casinos and entertainment venues.

As construction and upgrades continue in casinos across the country, we can expect to see more extravagant and sophisticated buildings that combine the latest technology with priceless art and high-end decor. With competition increasing everyday, casinos will be leveraging everything from back-end management software, like Casino Schedule Ease, to world-renowned designers and architects to pull in customers. This is great news for anyone who likes to gamble and is looking for an excuse to go on vacation.

The Psychology Behind Gambling

Humans are interesting creatures. We tend to be superstitious. We often act in ways that are contrary to our best interest and while we think of ourselves as individuals, our behavior is actually quite predictable. Gambling is an excellent example of this and provides some insight into how we think and how we are motivated. In this post, we will take a closer look at what happens in the minds of gamblers and how casinos use psychology to design games, floor layouts and other aspects of their business.

Inside the Mind of a Gambler

There have been countless studies on why gamblers make certain bets, what factors influence their confidence in their wager and other phenomena. Here are a few interesting facts about the psychology of gambling:

Placing a bet actually makes you more confident that you will win. One study surveyed horse track gamblers before and after they had placed their bet. It turns out that their confidence increased once they had put money down. Committing to the outcome of the race made them feel like they had a better chance of winning.

People who are in a good mood gamble more. In fact, studies have found that both good weather and winning local sports teams lead to people to take more risks. Essentially, a positive mood makes people feel like everything is going to turn up sunny and they are more likely to win.

The gambler’s fallacy is a well-documented process. It describes the belief that if a certain number or pattern has come up frequently, then it is inevitable that a different outcome will happen soon. This is the logic that motivates roulette players to put all their money on red after there has been a long series of black numbers. In reality, the odds don’t change based on previous events.

Despite the fact that most forms of gambling are completely random and the final outcome is unpredictable, people continue to believe that they can beat the system. For example, slot machine players will often stick with a machine that has paid off more frequently or they will find a machine that hasn’t had a big win in a while because they think it might be due. If you have frequented casinos, you have probably also noticed people with lucky charms and rituals that they perform. While these superstitions might bring some sort of comfort, there is no way to predict or influence outcomes.

Losing is just exciting as winning. Research shows that even gamblers who are losing are still experiencing an adrenalin and endorphin high. This means that even people who walk away from the casino having lost more than they won, report having an overall positive and enjoyable experience.

How Psychology Influences Casino Design

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From grocery stores to hotels, a lot of thought goes into designing public and retail spaces and the same is true with casinos. Specific casinos designs have been shown to increase visitors and make people feel more relaxed as they gamble. Bill Friedman was the first to write about casino design in the seminal work: Stripping Las Vegas: A Contextual Review of Casino Resort Architecture. He used psychological insights and an exhaustive analysis of casino performance to identify 13 design principles that became known as “gaming design.”

This approach to casino design includes:

  • Immediately placing gambling equipment in the lobby
  • Creating a maze-like floor that encourages visitors to wander and always brings them back to gambling
  • Focusing on gambling decor as opposed to opulent decorations
  • Low ceilings are preferred to high

While Friedman’s work was the standard for some time, the past few decades have seen a design shift that reflects a new understanding of psychology. The latest design trend has been dubbed the “playground design” and flies in the face of what we used to think about how visitors respond to design. In fact, playground design is almost the exact opposite of gaming design.

Instead of the maze-like design, which could make people feel trapped, confused and anxious, casinos now have a more direct layout with clear paths to certain destinations. There are clear sight lines and wayfinding tools so that people can easily navigate the entire casino. The thought is that the more relaxed people feel, the more likely they are to enjoy their time and make bigger bets.

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The low ceiling principle has also been left behind in favor of high ceilings covered in fabric. This approach adds a feeling of openness and warmth. The fabric helps to absorb sound, add softness and prevents the space from feeling too cavernous and overwhelming.

Perhaps most notably, casino lobbies and entrances have received a complete makeover. Gambling equipment has been removed and the decor has been upgraded to provide a more sophisticated and elegant look. This approach welcomes visitors to a unique experience and makes them feel transported to a different place. Today, the decor is being more expertly used to set a mood rather than simple reinforce gambling.

This shift in design principles signifies a new understanding of the psychology of consumers and gamblers. Today’s casino visitors are more interested in the overall experience. They want to try their hand at winning a big pot, but they also want to enjoy a new experience that takes them away from their daily life and allows them to relax and enjoy the natural high that comes with gaming.

In order to meet these changing needs, casinos are revamping traditional designs, incorporating more restaurants and entertainment venues and working to create a more seamless and convenient experience. This can be seen in everything from more direct floor layouts to new management tools, like Casino Schedule Ease, that improve processes and operations. While people will remain hopeful that their lucky charm will work and the next big jackpot is just around the corner, consumer behavior and preferences will continue to evolve. That is why understanding the psychology behind gambling and casino design provides valuable insights into the future.

The Latest Casino Business News

Lately, the federal government has dominated the business news with new trade agreements, the 2019 budget proposal and major tariffs on long-time partners. With so much going on, some groundbreaking deals and developments in the casino industry have managed to fly under the radar. From changes in the way employees are compensated to new deals between casinos and professional sports team, the landscape has shifted significantly in just the past few weeks. Here is a round-up of what has happened and why it matters.

Carl Icahn Takes Control of Caesars

Carl Icahn has earned a reputation as a shrewd businessman and corporate raider. Over the years, he orchestrated the hostile takeover of Trans World Airlines and has tried to buyout Marvel Comics, Lionsgate Films and several pharmaceutical companies. While not all of his pursuits have been successful, it appears that he now has firm control of Caesars and is looking to sell the company. In the past, companies have resisted his efforts to purchase and dismantle the business, but it looks like Caesars is all too happy to pass their financial problems on to someone else.

Caesar’s financial problems came to a head in 2015 when the company declared bankruptcy. By 2017, they merged with Caesars Acquisition Co., and Caesars Entertainment Operating Co. Inc. and were able to restructure the business enough to come out from bankruptcy protection. Typically, these types of deals are meant to streamline financial dealings, relieve immediate debt problems and provide money to invest in the future. In this case, the merger appears to have created more confusion and created “one of the most – if not the most – financially convoluted casino firm(s) in the world.” For that reason, even those who oppose Icahn, haven’t really been left with much of a choice but to relinquish the company.

In February, Icahn purchased a 9.78% stake in the company, which was recently upped to 15%, making his the largest stakeholder in Caesars. Icahn has also moved more of his people onto the board and he is expected to entertain purchase and merger offers that were rejected in the past. While he is sure to make a nice profit, shareholders aren’t happy about the turn of events and the company’s stock price has dropped 8% since Icahn started buying up shares. Only time will tell whether Icahn’s presence will be a boon to Caesars or only to Icahn.

Casino Employees See Pay Increases

In past posts, we have talked about all the perks that go along with working at casinos. Employees enjoy bonuses, competitive wages, free meals, on-site fitness facilities and much more. Now it looks like the package is getting even sweeter for casino workers across the world as wages continue to increase. In Macau, wages have been outpacing inflation rates, which has allowed employees more disposable income. Many of the city’s casinos have also decided to show their appreciation by providing non-senior employees with a raise. This may be part of an effort to fill an estimated 1,321 open positions that were reported during last year’s fourth quarter.

Macau’s pay raises seem to have inspired MGM China, who followed suit with their own raises. Employees who have been with the company for more than a year recently received a pay increase of 3.8% to 7.1%. This is good news for anyone looking for a career that offers continued professional development and the opportunity to earn more. Hopefully, other casinos will continue to recognize the importance of employee loyalty and offer wages that not only keep up with the cost of living, but provide for a better future.

MGM and Red Sox Form Partnership

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In the wake of legalized sports betting, casinos and teams are finding new ways to form mutually beneficial relationships. Recently, the MLB closed on a deal that makes MGM the league’s “official gaming partner.” Now, the Red Sox have taken things a step further by establishing their own exclusive partnership with the casino. As part of the deal, MGM will have prime advertising spots behind home plate and access to other marketing opportunities through team owned media outlets. The casino will also host fan experiences at Fenway and host the annual Baseball Winter Weekend where attendees can meet and chat with the players during various events. This relationship may be a signal of what is to come and the boundaries between sports and gambling continue to blur.

Churchill Downs Expands

Churchill Downs is also making decisive moves to make sure that they get their share of the future of sports gambling. The gambling company recently bought the Rivers Casino Des Planes in Illinois, a state that is expected to legalize sports gambling in the near future. They also purchased the Lady Luck Casino Nemacolin in Farmington. This deal provides Churchill with 27 gaming tables, 600 slot machines and the opportunity to open the property’s first sports book. Now that the deal has been finalized, construction of a sports betting facility is expected to follow shortly. The Churchill Downs company is one of many who are doing their best to capitalize on this new form of betting and remain proactive.

Software Plays a Larger Role

Behind the scenes, there are a lot of deals being made among casinos and software companies in order to improve operations. As casinos and betting operations become more sophisticated, running these large scale resorts also becomes more complicated. Companies like Casino Schedule Ease, are working to streamline management tasks so that casinos can continue to offer an excellent customer experience. More and more establishments are recognizing the need to update processes and turning to software solutions. This is especially true as more states approve gambling and the number of casinos expand and increase competition. Software solutions, like Casino Schedule Ease, are helping casinos to transition into the future of business.

These big business deals and wage increases signal a healthy industry that is poised for growth. As restrictions on gambling continue to loosen and sports betting becomes more established, we are sure to see more creative collaborations and takeovers. And with the introduction of new technology into the industry, the future of casinos looks bright and full of potential.

A Brief History of Gambling

There are certain things that simply seem to be a part of human nature. From the beginning of time, we have developed ways to communicate and express ourselves through language and arts. We have been compelled to travel and explore new parts of the world while also continuing to solve problems. Apparently, humans have also always been risk takers who like to have a good time and are willing to gamble in the hopes of a big pay off. In fact, the first hard evidence of gambling can be dated all the way back to 3000 BC. While previous posts have looked at the history of U.S. and international gambling hubs, this article will take a closer look at the history of gambling as a whole and why it is such an ingrained part of our collective culture and history.

The Early Days of Gambling

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It is almost certain that some form of gambling and games of chance have always been around, but the first archaeological evidence dates back to Mesopotamia around 3000 BC. Researchers discovered the first six-sided dice that was used for gambling and something called astragalomancy, which used the dice to predict the future and divine certain truths.

There is also evidence from Ancient China that highly organized gambling was being practiced around 2300 BC. Tiles were used to play basic games of chance, but the country quickly developed larger and more sophisticated forms of gambling that were used to fund state projects. In fact, it is possible that the Great Wall was made possible through gambling.

By 500 BC dice games and other forms of gambling had become all the rage in Greek, Roman and Egyptian culture. However, the government in Rome wasn’t exactly behind this trend and imposed strict fines for anyone caught gambling. Citizens were so dead set on playing that they came up with the idea for gambling chips. Authorities couldn’t penalize them for playing with fake money and players could later settle debts.

Over the decades, China continued to invent new games and gambling only increased in popularity. Gambling houses were everywhere and provided a source of entertainment that people couldn’t seem to resist. China is also credited with inventing the first set of playing cards. While it is unclear exactly how they were used or how closely they resemble our modern 52 card packs, these early cards opened the door to a whole new set of games.

Early Versions of Modern Gambling

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Around the 1400s, the first versions of games that are still played today began to appear in drawing rooms across Europe. Baccarat is the earliest recorded game that you can play in casinos across the world today. This two player game certainly evolved over the centuries as it made its way from Italy, France and Britain to Cuba and finally to the US. Today, this game is popular because it involves high stakes and makes for a great spectator sport. Guests can cheer on the player as they try to beat the bank and win huge pots.

Blackjack is another game that can be traced back to circa 1600 and remains one of the most well known and best liked casino games. The exact origin story of the game is hard to pinpoint, but it can be tied back to Europe. At the time, there were several games being played in France and Spain that resembled black jack, making it safe to assume that these different variations were eventually melded into one version as people traveled. Over the years, the game went by different names, but became known as blackjack in the 1930s when Nevada casinos offered 10 to 1 odds if players won with a black Jack and an Ace of Spades.

The First Casino

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While China had been home to gambling houses for centuries and games of chance were played in the streets and homes of people across the world, what is considered the first casino opened its doors in 1638 in Italy. In fact, the term casino has Italian origins and roughly translates to summerhouse or social club. The Ridotto was established by the Italian government to try and regulate and control gambling. Providing a legal, state sanctioned place to gamble was supposed to cut down on crime and make the Carnival season a little less wild. However, by 1774 the casino was shut down after a reform government came into power and decided that the casino was actually encouraging extreme and immoral behavior. This also marks the beginning of the age old debate about whether casinos help or hurt communities.

Gambling Gains Momentum

Over the past couple centuries, gambling has hit some major milestones. Here are just a few of the highlights:

In 1796, the first roulette wheel appeared in Paris.

Around 1829, the modern version of poker began being played in New Orleans and eventually found its way to Las Vegas. In the 1970s poker tournaments started becoming more popular and eventually morphed into the highly competitive game it is today.

The first slot machine, also known as the one armed bandit, was developed. Early versions allowed player to win gum and cigarettes, but they quickly switched to money prizes. In 1976, the first video slot machine hit the market, which gave rise to a whole new era in gambling.

Gambling was outlawed in the US in 1910, but the Depression led to the legalization of gambling in the US. Since then regulations on gambling have continued to relax. Today, 44 states have lotteries, sports betting has been legalized, online gambling is officially legal in four states and casino construction continues at a rapid pace.

The Future of Gambling

As with all other industries, technology is poised to revolutionize gambling and casinos. Already, there has been movement towards online and mobile gaming and in-house games are becoming more sophisticated and interactive than ever before. Technology is also revolutionizing the way casinos run and manage their resources . Software, like Casino Schedule Ease, allows casinos to operate more efficiently and meet the evolving demands of today’s customers. As traditional games face increasing competition from computerized alternatives, it will be interesting if roulette, black jack and other standards can survive the test of time.

Recap of the 2019 Global Gaming Awards

Awards season is here, and no, we are not talking about the Emmys and the Oscars. In case you missed it, the winners of the 2019 Global Gaming Awards were announced on February 4th, at a ceremony in Hippodrome Casino in the heart of London. This second annual event honored winners across 16 different categories that cover the full range of the gaming industry. From online operators and game designers to payment providers and chief executives, the event showcased the diverse set of skills and elements that go into a successful gaming operation. This event also marked one of the few times in history when the world’s major gaming leaders were all gathered in one place. For those who are still catching up on the latest news, here is a recap of the 2019 Global Gaming Awards highlights.

How Winners are Chosen

While the Global Gaming Awards are still relatively new, they have already become the trusted standard and even a nomination is a prestigious achievement. Submissions to each category are reviewed by a panel of 50 judges who choose a first and second choice. The awards specifically look at the past 12 months of performance and recognize those who have achieved remarkable success in their field over the past year.

Best Casino

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The Casino de Monte-Carlo took top honors this year. This beautiful casino located along the shores of Monaco has a long and storied history. While the opening date is officially listed as 1863, Princess Caroline first started developing the idea for a casino and spa as early as 1848. The royal family and the Monaco government, which still own a controlling interest, were in desperate need for a way to generate revenue. This began massive talent recruiting and construction projects that would eventually culminate to what is now regarded as one of the world’s best casinos.

From the beginning, it looked like the Casino de Monte-Carlo was doomed for failure and destined to be a financial catastrophe for the tiny country. There wasn’t an extensive infrastructure in place to accommodate an influx of people. It simply wasn’t easy to get to Monaco and the accommodations were less than impressive. However, over the years, the project continued to evolve and attract new leadership and investors. Despite a rocky start, the Casino de Monte-Carlo has managed to survive for 156 years and earn this year’s title of best casino.

Second Place: Hippodrome Casino
Third Place: Holland Casino

Corporate Responsibility Programme

The Global Gaming awards isn’t just about recognizing casinos and gaming companies that have managed to expand and increase revenue. The awards also work to identify innovators within the industry. This year’s winner of the Corporate Responsibility Programme category is working to help people enjoy responsible gambling. Kindred has created a Player-Safety Early Detection System that uses data to analyze user behavior and detect any potential problems before gamblers suffer personal, financial and psychological pitfalls.

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Clients can use the program to set deposit and loss limits, block betting websites and receive reality checks when their behavior indicates that there might be a problem. Kindred is designed to encourage responsible gaming and use technology to better understand trends in user behavior. From there, Kindred can take a human approach that treats people as individuals rather than just a part of a larger data set.

Second Place: Mr. Green Ltd. Green Gaming Predictive Tool
Third Place: Senet Group – When the Fun Stops Stop campaign

Chief Executive

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This award is meant to showcase leaders who “have made the most significant impact on any industry company.” The winner for 2019 was Kenny Alexander of GVC, a company that was founded in Luxembourg in 2004 and is currently traded on the London Stock Exchange. In 2007, Alexander took over as CEO and beginning in 2016, he embarked on a bold plan to significantly increase shareholders’ earnings over the next three years. He was able to achieve remarkable growth by taking over Bwin. Party Digital Entertainment and Ladbrokes Coral and it looks like there is no sign of slowing down. In that past ten years, the company has gone from earning millions to billions and the future looks bright for both GVC and Alexander.

Second Place Joint Winners: Pontus Lindwall and Jesper Svensson 
of Betsson Malta

Casino Product

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Casino games and products have been changing rapidly over the past few years. Consumers are looking for more interactive games and a completely different casino experience. NetEnt responded with a new take on classic slots just when it seemed like these types of machines were about to become a relic of the past.

The company capitalized on the popularity of the Jumanji movies to create a gaming experience that combines elements of a traditional slot machine with the board game that drives the plot of the movie. This crossover experience has proved a gamer favorite and earned Jumanji top honors as this year’s best casino product.

Second Place: Mr. Green – Live Beyond Live
Third Place: IGT – CrystalCurve

The Rest of the Winners

If you would like to learn more about winners from the other categories and nominees that are definitely work taking a closer look at, be sure to visit the Global Gaming homepage. You can also view results from the inaugural 2018 awards and get a better idea of how the industry has evolved just over the past couple years.

It is nice to see individuals and companies from all areas of the industry receiving recognition from their peers for all their hard work. The entire industry is changing rapidly and highlighting successes is a great way to continue to encourage innovation. With any luck, the number of categories will expand and other companies, like Casino Schedule Ease, who are working to improve operations and management procedures, will also be celebrated by the industry for their contributions.

Big News from Macau and What it Means for Casinos around the World

When it comes to gambling, the United States has Las Vegas and China has Macau. This coastal area is an international destination for high-rollers and developers looking to capitalize on the booming gaming industry in the area. Over the past few months, Macau has been  in the news as the region worked to recover from the devastating typhoon Mangkhut that struck in mid-September of 2018. Fortunately, rebuilding efforts have been propelled by wealthy business owners and a government eager to get the area back up and running and bringing in revenue. This month, Macau is once again in the headlines with two big controversial stories involving casinos and massive amounts of money.

The Ho Family Saga and a Gambling Empire

For the past ten years, the Ho family, which consists of four wives and 17 children, has been battling for control of Sociedade de Turismo e Diversoes de Macau, the parent company of the original gambling company that put Macau on the map. The family patriarch, Stanley Ho is currently 97 years old and regarded as the godfather of gambling. His empire is worth billions and includes nineteen casinos. In 2006, the casino revenue in Macau exceeded that of Las Vegas and Ho is now one of the richest men in the world. In June of 2018, Ho finally decided to go into retirement and the battle over leadership of his companies heated up. Now it appears that there is a clear winner and a new head of Macau.

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With a large family comprised of individuals each vying for their own portion of an enormous pie, you can imagine the infighting that has occurred over the years. When he first announced his retirement, his daughter Daisy Ho was tapped as the next Chairman and Executive Director. She currently serves with Timothy Fok, who is the son of Ho’s original business partner. The rest of the executive board consists of Ho’s third wife, Ina Chan, and Ambrose So. As you might imagine, this fractured power structure immediately gave rise to a family feud.

Many of Ho’s children currently serve as heads of his various companies and have become billionaires in their own right, but that hasn’t stopped them from seeking control of the entire empire. Just recently, Pansy Ho, who is credited with helping to create MGM China formed an alliance with some of her siblings and the Fok Foundation. This new partnerships now controls 53% of the company, giving them the majority vote and effectively wresting power from Ho’s fourth wife, Angela Leong.

While this latest alliance appears to have put a temporary end to the family feud, it is unlikely that the other family members will resign to the results without a fight. One can only imagine what will happen once Ho passes away. There is a good chance that the family will be bogged down with lengthy and expensive litigation, which could prove fatal for the company as they continue to face new market challenges. Too much focus on power grabbing could mean the disintegration of a legacy as more Asian countries enter the market and Macau looks to create a more diversified economy that isn’t solely reliant on gambling.

A Bankrupt Construction Company May Hinder Progress

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The Hsin Chong group has been responsible for many large casino projects across Macau, including the Parisian Macao Resort and other Sands China backed projects. Despite this prior success, the company is having trouble settling up with its creditors and is seeking help from bankruptcy proceedings to help restructure the company and continue to operate. According to a filing made on January 22nd, the company is in default for $15o million.

According to Hsin Chong, their major work on phase 3 and 4 of the Galaxy Macau Resort has been completed and any delays are not due to their financial troubles. However, there appears to be some disputes about the value of certain projects and whether the company has met their responsibilities. As it stands now, phase 3 of the Galaxy Macau Casino won’t be open before mid-2020.

Hsin Chong is hoping that corporate restructuring will allow the company to continue to bid on construction projects and return to the Hong Kong stock market. The company’s trading abilities were suspended in 2017 and have yet to be reinstated. Hopefully, legal intervention and some liquidation will help to put construction projects back on track and help restore the company’s reputation.

Lessons from Macau

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In some way, Macau has been a huge success with revenues surpassing those of Las Vegas and new casino construction constantly in the works, but it can also serve as a cautionary tale. While there is no arguing that the Ho family has achieved extraordinary success, their market share has been cut in half over the past few years from 30% to 15%. The competition is on their heels and infighting may be making them blind to potential threats as more casino licenses are approved and neighboring countries are beginning to fight for their share of an extremely profitable industry.

At the same time rapid construction may not be taking into account consumer demand or looking closely at companies providing these services. In the rush to build and earn, casinos may be partnering with less than reputable companies who may not be able to deliver on their promises and stay on budget and schedule.

Ultimately, in the race to build more and make more, casinos risk losing sight of the future and investing time and energy into the right places. At a time when technology and innovation are pushing every industry, it would be a mistake to ignore these areas and spend money on the status quo. Moving forward a successful business plan must include new games, management software like Casino Schedule Ease that improves operations and amenities that speak to a changing customer base. Despite its historic success, Macau may lose its top spot as the world’s gambling hub if business owners don’t take a longer view of where the market is going.