This column was born in South Africa, in the middle of nowhere between Jo’Burg and Sun City in a 5,000-turn Dacia that barely climbed a hill. I would call it a difficult birth, but I’m sure it will have a bright future. Glyn and I agreed that a structured series of articles on key casino management topics would be good for the industry and the magazine. In this first article, I would like to explain the raison d’être and usefulness of this column to most readers of Casino Life.
The industry we call ourselves, and we love and hate at the same time, brings their leaders forth through experience. While most areas of life require a mix of formal education and time spent applying the skills learned in the classroom, a short training course can get you off the ground in land-based casinos. In real life, this usually means that people have to be occupied because of their personality, skill, customer relationship or simply because a vacant position needs to be filled and management believes that promotion from within the company strengthens employees’ morale.
Most casino companies put very little emphasis on management education and the actual job opportunities to train their best and smartest ones are low. This is especially true for the EMEA region, most of Asia and Latin America. The US industry has a different approach that could be the subject of another article. So what are your options if you want to be a forward-thinking, knowledgeable casino manager these days? Most of the time, you have to be motivated yourself.
Many good articles, white papers and studies are freely available on the internet for those who make the effort. However, it is not always easy to connect the points and put these resources in a clear and easy to understand order. Relevance is another problem as technology changes methods and principles faster than I can type these words.
Second, it helps to work for a company with a training program or a willingness to spend serious dollars on training and courses such as IT or TGA. Those who are your direct managers are probably the deciding factor in what your career will look like and what kind of leader and industry professional you will become. Find your mentor or let your mentor find you. There are many brilliant minds out there. Take the topic of millennials, for example. Based on very sketchy and mostly irrelevant information about this much-discussed generation, casino managers invest heavily in products offered by vendors take up a lot of space and are used every weekend by a few hours of visitors who will never turn into regular casino customers.
Obviously there is a lot of trial and error in every business, but many of them could be avoided if the people in charge had the knowledge to make informed decisions based on facts, mathematics, logic, and common sense. The purpose of this column is to discuss ideas and issues that impact your business and lead our industry into an era of knowledge-based casinos.