All posts by Graeme

How to deal with the food and beverage force

Casino Food & Beverage

Casino food and beverage outlets are under attack. Like the gaming floor, cash transactions come hard and fast, presenting opportunities for employee theft and customer manipulation. Our data suggests the average casino is losing over $2 million per year on food and beverage (F&B), and the scary part is most casinos don’t have any idea where and how it is occurring and who is doing it! FBEYE does, and we’re very excited to see the impact our latest addition to the CHEETEYE family is having.

FBEYE was recently used to analyze 371 employees at a casino and extract the top 20 in terms of suspicious activity that was defined by a certain list of criteria. The total for these 20 employees over this period was 15250 transactions, with a total of 4718 triggers.

To put these numbers into perspective, we looked at the last 50 employees at the “good” end of this list. The total number of transactions was 18332 and the number of triggers…

Wait for it…


In fact, at the bottom end of the table (or “good” end), there were 60 employees with no triggers, followed by 25 with 1 trigger, and 21 with 2 triggers. The totals at this end of the list were, 106 employees, 31358 transactions and only 67 triggers. The triggers were analyzed and within the first month of use the customer was able to bust scams that had been costing them significant amounts of money.

As Willy Allison from World Game Protection said, “Food and beverage revenue is becoming a higher revenue stream than gaming and is a force to be reckoned with.” What are you doing to contend with the force?



The greatest game ever

In his book “Succeeding with what you have”, Charles Schwab recounts the following story at one of his mills:

“I had a mill manager who was finely educated, thoroughly capable and master of every detail of the business. But he seemed unable to inspire his men to do their best. “How is it that a man as able as you,” I asked him one day, “cannot make this mill turn out what it should?” “I don’t know,” he replied. “I have coaxed the men; I have pushed them, I have sworn at them. I have done everything in my power. Yet they will not produce.” It was near the end of the day; in a few minutes the night force would come on duty. I turned to a workman who was standing beside one of the red-mouthed furnaces and asked him for a piece of chalk. “How many heats has your shift made today?” I queried. “Six,” he replied. I chalked a big “6” on the floor, and then passed along without another word. When the night shift came in they saw the “6” and asked about it. “The big boss was in here today,” said the day men. “He asked us how many heats we had made, and we told him six. He chalked it down.” The next morning I passed through the same mill. I saw that the “6” had been rubbed out and a big “7” written instead. The night shift had announced itself. That night I went back. The “7” had been erased, and a “10” swaggered in its place. The day force recognized no superiors. Thus a fine competition was started, and it went on until this mill, formerly the poorest producer, was turning out more than any other mill in the plant.

Schwab brilliantly lead the steelworkers into a new game, with a new future. The new game was “beat six heats”, and evidenced by results, the workers found the new game inspiring.

How are you inspiring your casino employees to give of their best and continually up their game?

While you’ve been focusing on creating great casino games, at CHEETEYE, we’ve been focusing on creating great casino performance games. We use dashboards to communicate employee performance in a fun and creative way, thereby motivating and inspiring staff members to constantly improve their individual and team performance. Let the games begin!

casino performance


The future belongs to the best connectors

My friend recently sent me a photo of some big apples he had bought, but until he placed one next to a normal sized apple, it was difficult to see what he was raving about. I needed perspective.

When casinos use big data for marketing purposes they need to make sure they have perspective to ensure that the correct message goes to the correct customer. Below is an example of two people who have identical demographic profiles but are two very different people! Prince Charles and Ozzy Osbourne will definitely need individualized marketing and not a “one fits all” message.

Casinos need systems that will help them identify what’s most important to each individual customer, so that marketing can deliver the most motivating influences to them, connecting with each one on a deeper level, which in turn, will help increase revenues.

At CHEETEYE, we’re excited about our recent partnership with Mike Aponte and Peerless Analytics. Mike is the famous leader of the MIT blackjack team, featured in the bestselling book, “Bringing Down The House”, and the major motion picture, “21”. Together with him, we are currently helping casinos on three continents better connect with their customers, thereby making marketing more purposeful, effective and profitable. The future looks bright for these early adopters! For information on how to get the process going at your casino, contact Barbara Roylance at REVEYE.


Mike Aponte (left), Graeme Powell (right)

The greatest casino in the USA

I recently attended the Casino Marketing Conference in Vegas and one of my highlights was listening to Jim Rogers, the CEO of KOA (Kampgrounds of America), and former Harras executive. Jim was also featured on Undercover Boss, so I was looking forward to hearing about the insights he gained from this brave venture.

One of the valuable lessons Jim learned on Undercover Boss was that KOA’s marketing was ineffective. Many surprised viewers commented that they weren’t aware that KOA offered all the things they saw on the show. KOA was failing to let people know who they were and what they offered. He then posed the question to the audience of casino marketers, “Who has the greatest casino in the USA?” The question went unanswered and caused me to think that maybe casinos suffer from the same problem that KOA did. People just don’t know who the casinos are and what they have to offer. Needless to say, the title for greatest casino in the USA is still wide open!

Of Jim’s 6 key points to help claim this coveted title, I want to leave you with 3:

  1. Service quality still wins!
  2. Marketing to employees is as important as marketing to players
  3. Facilitate genuine engagement

We underestimate the fact that great service brings people back and that building a winning team is vital to casino health. I was excited when I heard Jim’s list as we have recently released our “Casino Care” software which is helping casinos with all the above key points.

If you’re attending G2E in Vegas this month and have a desire for your casino to be the “greatest casino in the USA”, come visit us at booth 4104, and we will show you how our software and services can make this a reality.

Small things that make a giant difference

I recently had the privilege of driving through the Avenue of the Giants in Northern California with my wife. These giant redwoods start small but don’t stay that way. They require a unique atmosphere in order to thrive. In the same way, casinos will thrive if the correct atmosphere can be created. In this blog I’m going to focus on two things that will help improve the atmosphere at a casino.

1. Personalization: Most marketing that gets done these days lacks personalized attention. The “one fits all” marketing message is outdated and boring. Brands that are using technology and people who know how to create personalized marketing are attracting loyal followers. Make sure you’re not stuck in a boring, outdated cycle.

2. Awareness: Recently, I have noticed the service and facilities at a top brand hotel declining which has lead me to start trying other brands. I was surprised and disappointed to see how my brand of choice was lagging behind. It’s the “small foxes that spoil the vine” as an ancient proverb says. Our latest marketing tool helps prevent disappointed customers by addressing the small things that sometimes go unnoticed by casinos. Great service = great marketing!

We will be at the Casino Marketing Conference next week at the Paris, Las Vegas where we will be demonstrating how REVEYE helps address these two issues (click here to download a brochure). We look forward to helping your casino become a “giant” in the industry.

Playing up a sweat

I recently joined my daughter and her creative personal trainer for an interesting gym workout called “Deck of cards workout”. I have not done it before so I felt rather stiff the next day! The experience was such a positive one and has encouraged me to be more creative in my workouts so I decided to share it with you. As Albert Einstein said, “creativity is contagious, pass it on”.

How to do the work out:
With a partner and a deck of cards, take chances at selecting a card and depending on the card, complete the following exercises:

  • Face cards = 10
  • Ace = 11
  • Hearts = push ups
  • Spades = Burpees
  • Clubs = Mountain climbs
  • Diamonds = Thrusters
  • Joker = 50 Jump squats

So for example, if you select a “king of hearts”, you need to complete 10 push ups, “6 of diamonds” will be 6 thrusters, “2 of spades” will be 2 burpees etc until you’ve completed the entire deck. (See visual examples at the end of the blog on how to do the exercises.)

An idea for your casino marketing department:

Before your next poker tournament, why not have a “Deck of cards workout challenge” and inject some new life into your casino marketing. Have teams of two compete against each other with the team completing the deck in the shortest time being the winner. To assist with your digital marketing for this event, send an email to with the title “Deck of cards workout challenge” and we will create your digital templates for email and we will help you use our TARGET software to send your marketing message via email and text to as many recipients as possible. This could be a great opportunity to get new customers into your casino. Start your summer casino marketing by “playing up a sweat”!

For more marketing ideas and to test drive some of our marketing technologies, visit us at booth 1146 at NIGA in San Diego next month or the Casino Marketing Conference at Paris, Las Vegas in July.

Exercise examples:

Push ups


Mountain climbs

Thrusters (a medicine ball can be used instead of dumbbells)

Jump squats

How warm is your big data?

For a while, one of the big buzzwords or catchphrases in the IT world has been “big data”. The reason is that we have access to so much data today and if used correctly, we can discover patterns and correlations in the data that offer us novel and invaluable insights. Author and blogger Chris Brogan prefers to use the term “warm data”. He wrote the following in his “Big Trends for 2014”, “I think what lots of us need is warm data. What warm means to me is data that matters and can help the customer.”

In order to make your casino data “warm”, you need the right tools. Casinos generate vast amounts of data on a daily basis yet most marketing departments don’t have the ability to use this data effectively. That’s why we’ve created software that allows ordinary users to collect information from their casino management systems without the need of an IT expert or programmer (see an example screen shot below). Most of our clients have the following three words to say about our software: “This is great!”

Now, more than ever is the time to gather warm data about your customers so that you can give them a truly personal experience with your casino. Now is the time to empower your staff to deliver that personal experience.

Measure like Billy Beane

Two quotes to ponder: “To measure is to know,” Lord Kelvin (British mathematical physicist and engineer); and “Knowledge is power,” – Francis Bacon (first English scientist to receive a knighthood).

Casinos that create a culture of measuring, recording and analyzing their data are the ones that will thrive in today’s information revolution. However, capturing measurable information requires the right set of tools.

We’ve spent 7 years creating these necessary tools and at ICE 2014 in London this month, we presented “MI3” to our partners and clients; a strategy to assist users of CHEETEYE to measure, manage and master the vast amount of information being generated at casinos.

Just as Billy Beane’s Oakland A’s became a winning baseball team by applying analytics and new types of metrics to the game, we’re helping casinos manage their data correctly, resulting in:

  • Cost savings of between 10% and 15%
  • Drastically reduced risk in the vulnerable parts of the operations
  • Increased customer engagement, brand loyalty and revenue

For more information on “MI3”, visit us at the World Game Protection Conference in Vegas next week or send an email to

Take a gamble with change

While we’re in that time of the year when change is at the top of most people’s mind, I’m reminded of a famous quote by George Bernard Shaw, “Progress is impossible without change”.

As I have traveled around the world over the last few years, I have noticed a significant number of surveillance professionals changing their approach to their jobs. They are becoming more aware of the need to grow casino revenues and not only protect them. As a result they are forming closer relationships with their marketing departments and assisting them with their observations and insights. Ultimately, this improves customer satisfaction and increases revenues. Surveillance are the eyes and ears of a casino and can bring a view to marketing that they might be missing. I’ve noticed how this increased collaboration is empowering casinos to engage with their customers more effectively. A true 360 degree view of the customer can be built which enables relevant, targeted marketing which leads to increased customer engagement, brand loyalty and revenue.

Just a few months of immersing yourself in the world of marketing from a surveillance vantage point will be a stimulating experience and will undoubtedly add tremendous value to your casinos marketing efforts. Your personal and department value-add will be impressive and it will definitely be an exciting year as you take a gamble with change.

A note to casino marketers: We will be attending and exhibiting at the Casino Marketing Conference in Las Vegas from the 15th – 17th July, 2014 and our range of casino marketing software will be on show.
A note to surveillance professionals: We will be attending and exhibiting at the World Game Protection Conference in Las Vegas from the 24th – 26th February, 2014 and our range of casino protection software will be on show.

We will also be at the following trade shows:
ICE, London, Feb 4-6, 2014
NIGA, San Diego, May 11-14, 2014
G2E Asia, Macao, May 20-22, 2014
G2E, Las Vegas, Sept 30 – Oct 2, 2014

Build a team you can be proud of

In the book “Good to Great” by Jim Collins, he alludes to the fact that businesses become and remain great by getting the right people on the bus; the wrong people off the bus; and the right people in the right seats. However, keeping a handle on employees at a casino becomes difficult because operational hours are not the same as traditional business. Consequently it has become a feedback-deprived place and casinos need to be especially aware of this. It’s easy to miss that employee that goes the extra mile, yet they are the ones that boost productivity, profits, and competitive advantage at no extra cost. A casino that doesn’t recognize and reward engagement and high performance will not have engaged high performers for long. Keeping people in place who aren’t performing is not good for the casino and those who need to improve should be identified, coached, and motivated.

In 2012, HRExaminer wrote that “traditional performance management software based on annual and quarterly reviews, miss the whole rhythm of the business.” They propose systems that allow instantaneous and continuous evaluation as being far more beneficial to businesses. Move on to 2013 and add the continued rise of a fascinating trend called crowdsourcing: the marriage of data from multiple sources e.g. Amazon’s “star rankings”. Today people are making decisions based on feedback from many different people. These crowdsourced conclusions are supplementing “expert” opinions.

Performance assessments need to follow this trend and be based on a continuous stream of information from multiple sources in order to provide a more accurate assessment. Single managers give subjective performance assessments. The missing players in the traditional performance review process are everyone else who comes in contact with the employee.

George Bernard Shaw rightly said that, “Progress is impossible without change”. Casinos that invest time into changing the way they assess performance will keep and attract the high performers and gain a huge competitive advantage.