Resort Operations vs. Gaming

Who wins in a turf war over players interests?

Silos are created and business breaks down when the entire team doesn’t understand the holistic goal. Too often you will hear:

  • The slot team thinks they run the property.
  • Table games team have it easy. Slots does all the work.
  • The hotel team keeps trying to put rules on us when booking our players.
  • The bar is too loud and just wants to cater to the locals.
  • The hotel wants to charge me too much for a VIP player.
  • The restaurant doesn’t cater to my players and makes them wait.
  • HR makes it so difficult for me to hire new staff.
  • Marketing only wants to focus on slot promotions.

Property leadership can fix this problem with a series of educational sessions to share the business goals and how each team fits into the success or failure of the entire operation.

Also, it is important that departmental goals and its focus is on the holistic direction of the property and not traditional individual departmental goals.

This can be illustrated in a simple exercise in the hotel division where traditional goals are measured on average rate (ADR), occupancy and revenue per available room (RevPAR). Although these are good measurements of performance, it is more important that the hotel operators have an asterisk on these measurements when they sacrifice rate to accommodate players important to the gaming divisions where the impact to the overall property is much more significant than yielding room rates traditionally.

In addition, check-in and check-out times, credit, reservation lead and cancel timelines, as well as holding out the best rooms are necessary for player development of VIP players. Once hotel leadership have been released of the traditional curbs in operating the hotel, they will be more willing to work with the other divisions and start to treat the comp player who was placed in last minute to the nicest suite as important and less of a frustrating inconvenience.

This goes both ways. Filling the hotel with the highest or best yielded rated business is the primary goal of the hotel team. With competition and third party Online Travel Agents (OTAs) being so pervasive, the hotel team must work even harder to obtain and retain guests, while maximizing rate and occupancy. An asterisk or understanding that these metrics are a good tool to show performance – but may not tell the complete picture – as lower rates could be due to accommodating rated players who dramatically impact the gaming division’s profitability.

These “awareness sessions” also have a positive impact on other divisions playing nicely in the sandbox and stay focused on the greater goal, while appreciating the difficulty each division shares daily:

  • Bars only do well when they are exciting and have enough volume to overcome the labor burden. Promotions to the locals and driving new clientele are important tools, however, may not drive any additional play on the gaming floor. The promotions also may not serve the gaming message. A collaborative discussion between the gaming team, marketing and F&B will help develop promotions that may serve both. Weekly promotions to entice players to participate in the F&B outlets, where either the music, offering or other entertainment is catered to their specific demographic. This creates a win-win focus between gaming and non-gaming teams.
  • Restaurants with long lines of non-rated or non-carded guests, requiring rated players to wait in a traditional system is dangerous as well. Paging systems and a VIP line can solve this problem if implemented with a greater understanding of the shared goal. Modifying food offerings to cater to the player in a non-traditional manner is crucial. One-handed menus for slot players to eat at the machines, quick service for those wanting fuel to continue to play, and room service style food for the poker guests to enjoy while they play.
  • Support departments can benefit from these shared sessions as well by understanding and being empathetic to how difficult it is for each department to function in a casino environment. Human Resources, Finance, Marketing and Administration are all very impactful to the success of the overall property and individual divisions. Their internal customer needs are essential to serving ‘our’ external guests. Ultimately, we are all serving the membership needs and our work is very important in proving the services and amenities needed to keep a Tribe healthy.

So … how can casino departments support each other?

It starts at the top. Begin with the leadership team meetings and get buy-in by every division leader. Then, continue to have “awareness sessions” with every department head and every team member. Make them fun and make them informative. Show the line team exactly how their work impacts the success of the overall property.

Goals should be modified and ‘asterisks’ provided on evaluation of metrics to show importance of this new focus.

Essentially, I believe that with good conversation and understanding of each of the roles on property and how they impact the common goal, silos will be eliminated and a cohesive team can be created.

You will see that in doing this, teams are happier, more focused on the common goal and casino profits will increase.

Brett brings a wealth of experience operating high-quality hotels, casino resorts, spas, and food and beverage facilities. He is known for his planning and opening of new properties and is a trusted resource in the gaming industry with his reputation for hard work, innovation, teamwork, honesty, and integrity. For more information on Hotel or F&B 360 reviews – reach out to

Brett Magnan 30 Articles