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.

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

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.

 

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.

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

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.

 

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.

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.