This column was born in South Africa, in the middle of nowhere between Jo’Burg and Sun City in a Dacia revving at 5,000 and barely making it up a hill. I would call it a difficult birth, but I am certain it will have a bright future. Glyn and I agreed that a structured series of articles on the most important issues of casino management would do the industry and the magazine good, so here we go.
In this first article I would like to reflect on the “raison d’etre” and the usefulness of this column to most readers of Casino Life.
The industry we call ours and we love and hate at the same time produces its leaders through experience gathering. While most walks of life require a mix of some kind of formal study and time spent applying the skills learnt in the classroom, in land-based casinos a short training course can start you on your way to industry stardom.
In real life, more often than not this means, that people get promoted based on their personality, dexterity, customer relation skills, or quite simply because an empty position needs to be filled and management believes that promoting from within the company strengthens employee morale.
Most casino companies put very little emphasis on management education and the actual professional options for training their best and brightest are few and far between. This is especially true for the EMEA region, most of Asia and Latin America. The industry in the US has a different approach, which 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?
Mostly, you need to be self-motivated. Plenty of good articles, white papers, and studies are freely available on the internet for those who bother to look. It’s not always easy to connect the dots through and put these resources into a manageable and easy to understand the order. Relevance is another issue, as technology changes methodology and principles faster than I can type these words.
Secondly, it helps to work for a company with an education program or the willingness to spend serious dollars on training and courses, like the EDP or the TGA.
Who your direct managers are is probably what makes the biggest difference in how your carrier will shape up and what kind of a leader and industry professional you will become. Find your mentor or let your mentor find you. There are a lot of brilliant minds out there.
Let’s take the issue of millennials for example. Based on very sketchy and mostly irrelevant information on this much spoken about generation, casino managers are heavily investing in product offered by manufacturers that will take up serious amounts of floor space and be used a few hours every weekend by visitors who will never turn into regular casino patrons. Obviously, there is a lot of trial and error in every business, but many of these could be avoided if the people calling the shots would have the knowledge to take sound decisions based on facts, mathematics, logics and common sense.
It is the purpose of this column to discuss ideas and issues that make a difference in how you run your businesses and help our industry towards an era of knowledge-based casinos.