Casino Communications 101


“Knowledge isn’t power until it is applied.” – Dale Carnegie

Last month, my family and I attempted to attend a Golden Knights hockey game at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, NV. When we arrived at the front of the line to present our tickets, we emptied our pockets, allowed our bags to be searched, and passed through the metal detectors. It was at this point that a security officer informed us that they could not allow us into the arena with a stroller.

I must admit, I was irritated that the security personnel allowed us to get completely through the line before informing us that we would have to utilize a stroller locker that, in the words of the security officer, was located “maybe over in the parking garage, or possibly in the New York-New York Casino.”

Not wanting to miss the game, we rushed off in the direction of the parking facility to locate the stroller lockers. We did not find the lockers in the parking garage, nor was there signage indicating that we might be near our destination or even an employee to direct us. Next we headed off to New York-New York Casino in search of the stroller lockers. Again, we could not locate any directional signage and out of the three employees that we asked about the location of the stroller lockers, two of them offered up puzzled looks, while the last employee directed us on a wild goose chase that led us to the lockers at the Big Apple Coaster and Arcade, which are NOT designed as stroller lockers! It was at this point that we called it a night and headed home without even a glimpse of the game. We were really looking forward to our first hockey game, paid for our parking, paid for our tickets, hoped to see a game, and left completely frustrated.

The above scenario, which could be mistaken as a rant, is a real-life experience of the McCurry family from the perspective of Andrea, the mom and the customer. In this article, Andrea and Kevin will discuss the importance of teamwork, with communication being the epicenter.

You have one shot to make a first impression for each of your guests, and this experience is a perfect example of how a lack of communication can turn a promising family experience into a nightmare evening.

How this applies to your property

Effective communication between departments is essential to the smooth and profitable operation of a casino resort. When one department has no idea what the others are requiring of it, the lack of communication negatively affects your bottom line. As a casino professional, you must be able to successfully communicate your needs to other departments and believe in their ability to make your vision a reality.

For the purpose of this article, let’s say that your role as a slot professional is defined by the tasks you must accomplish to enable the casino to operate profitably. While you can maximize performance on the floor by rotating games, titles and hold percentages, the most effective way to market these changes to your customers is probably beyond your comfort level or expertise.

While we understand that dealing with other departments can be trying at times, it’s important to recognize that they don’t want to fail any more than you do. If a marketing campaign fails, it wasn’t because the marketing staff didn’t wish to do the best job possible supporting your initiative; it is often because they are operating in an informational void. They don’t have the knowledge or expertise you possess, and if you haven’t adequately expressed your needs and provided the background information for them to build a campaign, the failure is as much yours as it is theirs.

Think of it this way; if you instructed a person to drive to a location, but they had no directions to get to the location, or no idea how to operate a vehicle, they have no way of completing the task you require. You can’t assume that support departments can meet your needs if you haven’t fully explained your requirements and your goals.

If you don’t like the results you are getting, change your approach!

Take the time and put forth the effort to educate other departments about your floor design.

  • Explain not only what you have done, but why you have done it and how it is important to revenue creation.
  • Express to the marketing team why you picked the games or titles you want promoted, and give them your ideas about why they are marketable.
  • Outline your expectations for the project and the overall results you expect to create.
  • Lastly, be sure to share the outline and vision with the entire team involved.

Too often we allow frustrations from our last marketing initiative to get the best of us and decide to push the marketing of a project in one direction, while refusing to consider the suggestions of the marketing professionals. I mean, if it’s coming out of my budget, we are going to do it my way, right? It is little wonder that these promotions often end disastrously. While we clearly understand what we want to achieve, many of us are simply not marketing personalities and are too close to the project to objectively assess the needs of the promotion. What we as slot personnel believe is most important to a project may have absolutely no benefit in the eyes of the customers who we are attempting to attract.

Slot personnel can often get bogged down in the details, because details are what slot professionals do best. If you need to establish an additional power and data run for a new bank on the floor, do you do it yourself? No, you almost certainly have the maintenance department or a subcontractor take care of this so that you can keep the project on track and moving forward.

How about making the determination to remove a customer from the floor for a security-related violation? Although you may be capable, you do not have the time, formal training or certifications to accomplish these tasks. Just because you possess the managerial ability to perform a task, doesn’t mean that you should.

Your department as part of the larger picture

No one person has a skill set varied enough to perform each job required in a complex casino environment. Each department is diverse and requires a unique skill and personality set to optimize its performance. Understanding your own department’s attributes and how they relate to the overall property is as important as any aspect of your job. Equally important is your ability to recognize your own limitations and locate resources that can best optimize your efforts.

Andrea McCurry