Category Archives: Casino Tips

3 ways to stand out in the crowded casino marketplace

Intelligent casino marketing ideas are crucial in order to be noticed in today’s crowded casino marketplace. Here are 3 casino marketing ideas to empower your marketing department to market intelligently:

  1. Make sure you have a system in place that can query your gaming data to segment customers you want to target
  2. Send the segmented group appropriate content e.g. send last week’s high winners an email with WINNING printed loud and clear and how they can win again!
  3. Make sure you have a system in place to measure each campaign. What you can’t measure, you can’t manage.

See how we’re helping casino marketing departments become expert email campaigners by following the 3 steps above:

Take your casino marketing to new levels of engagement and become the most valuable department in your casino!

Let the Games begin with you

My family and I are in London to witness one the greatest events that happens every four years. With six days to go before the Olympics starts, I will be based in London where I will be meeting with clients and partners, sharing some of the great things CHEETEYE is doing and preparing to do.

Walking around the great city of London and catching a glimpse of Olympic athletes got me thinking about greatness. Many books have been written on this subject and I recently had two great experiences. The first was witnessing my daughter being swamped by a group of Japanese girls on a boat trip down the Thames a few days ago. They all requested an individual photo with my daughter! When I asked my daughter why they did this, she said “I just smiled at them”. Her moment of greatness was brought on by simply being friendly.

My friendly daughter

My second recent great experience was spending a week with a new client. Until that week I had only spent time with the surveillance director who is an extremely friendly person. His friendliness has rubbed off onto the rest of his team and as a result I had one of the most enjoyable weeks I’ve had in long time by being exposed to this group of friendly people. We laughed and had a lot of fun and yes, we did get all the work done. In fact, we got a lot more done than usual.

Stay friendly, it’s a great attribute to have!

Compliance Innovation

Compliance innovation is the ability to identify and change compliance processes that are not working. Compliance managers need to communicate a sense that compliance processes are in place to look out for you and not over you. When you create this kind of culture, staff morale increases and non-compliance reduces radically. In order to facilitate compliance innovation, two things need to happen:

  • Remove unnecessary processes

If your ship is becoming slower, heavier and harder to handle, it’s a good sign that processes are being added but not removed. You’re in danger of sinking! Get each department to list their compliance processes and go on a culling spree.

  • Innovate processes that need to remain

An example of process innovation is the current sentencing and prison reform taking place in some American states. Driving these reforms is cost. Over the past two decades, spending on prisons has grown faster than any segment of states’ budgets except Medicaid. However, as states like Texas have changed failing processes, crimes of many kinds have declined and the incarceration rate fell by 4.5 %, while the nationally the rate rose slightly.

Just as Richard Nixon could open relations with China without being soft on communism, so compliance managers can push for compliance reform without being considered soft on compliance. Don’t forget, the word innovation means – “to renew or change” and not that latest gadget. Leave a legacy of compliance innovation and you will become in hot demand!

What makes a great surveillance director

In their book, “Run of the Red Queen”, Dan Breznitz and Michael Murphree of the Georgia Institute of Technology, argue that it’s wrong to equate innovation solely with the invention of breakthrough products. One kind of innovation that is flourishing in China is “process innovation”: the relentless improvement of factories and distribution systems. Their world renowned efficiency negates the need for constant cutting-edge.

I’ve recently been involved with a surveillance director who I would describe as a “process innovator”. I believe it’s the difference between good and great surveillance directors. I have a friend who is a gifted administrator and I marvel at the processes he has in place to direct his organisation. You can actually feel the rhythm in his presence and as you walk around his organisation. I get the same feeling with the surveillance director I mentioned earlier. Great golfers have great golfing rhythm; great surveillance directors have a great “surveillance rhythm”. Get someone to honestly evaluate your “surveillance rhythm”.

Turning casino “maydays” into heydays

I come from a family of highly skilled administrators. My father at the age of 69 still runs a very successful accounting practice and both my brothers are financial directors with great administration skills. Administration does not come easy to me, so I’ve surrounded myself with great administrators as I’ve seen the devastating affects of bad administration.

Henri Fayol, one of the most influential contributors to modern concepts of management, describes “the 5 elements of administration” , which can definitely be applied to casino administration:

  • Planning
  • Organizing
  • Staffing
  • Directing
  • Controlling

FinCEN (Financial Crimes Enforcement Network) recently fined a casino $250 000 for violating the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) requirements for casinos. According to FinCEN (my comments in bold), “The casino failed to implement internal controls related to gathering and recording required information for BSA reporting (Controlling). In addition, the casino failed to conduct adequate independent testing and training for employees, among other BSA violations (Staffing, Directing). The casino also failed to develop and implement effective procedures for the preparation, review and filing of BSA reports, resulting in multiple failures to timely and accurately file Currency Transaction Report by casino forms (CTRCs) and Suspicious Activity Report by casino forms (SARCs) (Planning, Organizing).” The lack of casino administration is having costly affects, not to mention the many others.

I never forget my football coach shouting “basics boys!” from the sideline when things were not going well for my team. We had no real stars in our team but we focused on doing the basics well and ended up winning the league in my final year at high school. I have fond memories of that team and all the high five moments. Do the basics well by keeping Fayol’s five elements of casino administration high in your priorities and you’ll have many high five moments.

Who’s winning the casino procedures race?

The famous Jonny Walker whiskey brand has a well known slogan – “keep walking”. When the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Vegas was fined in February this year, Gaming Commissioner, Tony Alamo said the property failed its duty because upper management didn’t walk the property. The latest high profile fining has been Harrah’s Atlantic City who was fined $65,000 due to a security lapse. Is it also a walking problem?

Having worked with upper management and operational staff, my experience is that upper management need better management tools to hold staff members accountable. According to Noah Turner in iGaming Business Magazine (Dec 2008), The Bigger They Are, the Harder they Fall, “Compliance should never be overlooked. Failing to keep up can mean failing to make money. Administrative tools help an organization protect itself from the damaging effects of negligence and fraud both by external sources and an organization’s own staff, by ensuring that policies and procedures are strictly followed.” Does the surveillance executive have a tool that helps him/her manage casino procedures that are being violated (see an example of such a tool)? Procedure violations have a life cycle and must be managed by a smart work flow system that keeps track of the incident until everyone involved has been held accountable.  This list of casino procedures that need to be managed smartly is vast and requires smart casino management systems.

Gaming commissioners want upper management to walk their properties but in reality that’s not always possible. What they’re really saying is “create a culture of compliance”. As I mentioned in “creating a culture of compliance”, it starts by making small changes. That’s what the word innovation means – “to renew or change”. Make 2011 a year of innovation and increase your running speed. You’ll have more time for walking and you’ll enjoy it. If things are running well, “keep running”!

The sexy surveillance department

Stephanie Swan, a marketing student, mentions that dataveillance is having massive advantages for brands.

Hal Varian, Google’s chief economist, predicts that the job of statistician will become the “sexiest” around. Data, he explains, are widely available; what is scarce is the ability to extract wisdom from them.

Raise the profile of your surveillance department beyond a necessary cost to company; enter the world of dataveillance and become the sexiest department in your company. Be sexy this year!

What my casino would look like

I’ve read some articles by casino leaders recently that have inspired me to start dreaming about what my casino would look like. The latest article has a statement by Paragon Gaming Inc. president, Scott Menke, that I believe is simple yet compelling. I quote, “We don’t like to build casinos… we build destinations – it’s entertainment.” This man sets casinos on fire and creates casino fireworks!

According to, the word casino was originally used to refer to a social gathering place, a room or building where one could dance, listen to music, and gamble. This last pastime seems to have gained precedence over the others. Casinos were meant to be:

  • great social gathering places
  • places of interactive entertainment
  • music havens
  • gambling houses

It looks like the casino leaders that are making a difference are returning to casino roots. How does your casino rate on the four points above?

Recession highlights casino surveillance

I read a response to the recent layoffs of 115 Atlantic City casino inspectors and had to chuckle: “Holy crap. There was someone paying to have a casino inspector in each casino 24-7 just for the possibility that there might be a gaming complaint? WTF? That might have been necessary once upon a time but now there are so many god damn cameras in a casino they have video evidence of you passing gas much less anything else. If there’s a problem, it’s almost certainly been caught on video and can be reviewed at any time. There’s no reason to pay someone who’s job is basically to sit on their thumb. I can see paying for 1 guy to be on call for all the casinos but 1 for each is just a stupid waste of time and money.”

There are many more casino functions that can be fulfilled by casino surveillance, however, in many casinos it has taken the recession to highlight that fact. Redirect some of the savings to surveillance and empower them.