No matter where we look these days, the news feeds are filled with what seems like a never-ending lack of morals and principles. And in today’s world of social media, what happens behind closed doors, doesn’t stay behind closed doors (sorry, Las Vegas!). The gaming industry has a long history of anecdotes, microscopic scrutiny and intense regulation that has constantly evolved because of those who fail to navigate in the muddy waters that occur in gaming.
Hosts live in what we call “the grey area.” We’ve all seen and heard stories about the flow of cash, gifts, comps and “favors,” but there is an increasing liability when we talk about the role of casino hosts in today’s modern casino setting. Outside the executive management team, hosts can have a great deal of discretion at your property or, as we called it back in the day, the “Power of the Pen.”
The “power of the pen” comes with challenges. Without proper policies, procedures and controls that allow for some flexibility, the casino and both its internal and external guests are left wide open to inappropriate (and sometimes illegal) handling of extremely confidential information and over-reinvestment.
The amount of personal identification information that hosts have access to can be VERY attractive to the unethical. Player development is a large focus of many internal investigations. It is easy to get confused and can either intentionally or unintentionally compromise this information. This is an extremely sticky situation that creates some very real temptations, even for the most honorable hosts.
The “grey area” is just that, grey (a.k.a. unclear, fuzzy), and hosts MUST constantly be aware of their actions, including how the actions may be perceived. It is crucial for the organization to have clearly defined ethics, guidelines, responsibilities and training on how to appropriately proceed. I don’t care how smart they think you are, with the proper policies, procedures and security settings within the myriad of systems available to the industry, they WILL be caught.
A few clear-cut “rules” to follow:
- Always understand that the casino owns the guest relationship and that relationship is not for sale to others. They are not YOUR guests.
- Only use the casino’s resources for valid business purposes. The casino’s resources are not your personal bargaining tools.
- The most “grey” of all areas … Never cross the line from business relationship to personal relationship. We develop relationships with our guests, but always remember, you are a representative of the casino.
- NEVER LIE! You will never regret being honest. Also, it is too hard to remember your lies and you WILL trip up.
Confidentiality is vital! Without confidentiality, there is no trust and without trust, there is no way to have a relationship. Confidentiality helps to build and develop trust. Relationships cannot be built without trust. Casinos have a huge amount of information; about the guests, about coworkers, the organization and ALL of the internal processes and controls that go with the gaming industry. The primary role in developing relationships with those we serve is to protect their confidentiality and privacy.
In the wrong hands, confidential information can be misused to commit illegal activity (e.g., fraud or discrimination), which can in turn result in costly lawsuits for the employer. The disclosure of sensitive team member and management information can lead to a loss of team member trust, confidence and loyalty. This will almost always result in a loss of productivity.
Who does this include?
It is important to keep your guests’ business as just that – their business. You should only discuss matters relating to your guests’ business with co-workers, and then only what needs to be discussed. You should never discuss a guests’ business with family or friends.
Respect for everyone’s confidentiality, including team member personal information, should be a high priority for everyone in the organization. It is easy to get caught up in everyone’s stories (drama), but it is not for you to disclose anyone else’s information.
Lack of confidentiality in ANY business can lead to the loss of business/clients. There are many processes (think Title 31), regulations, gaming controls and Company/Tribal business that must remain confidential. This includes new processes/procedures or rules that you may not agree with. Never air your grievances with guests. Follow the proper channels.
Discretion is key. Most discussions that take place in the workplace, should stay in the workplace and not be audible to other team members, departments or the general public. Every casino needs to have policies and procedures that provide guidelines for workers. If you are unsure of something … ASK!
- It is imperative that the player development department have clear policies, procedures and controls. These will help the team navigate those muddy, grey areas and still stay within the boundaries of their position.
- Always keep inside information, whether about the company or other team members and guests, confidential.
- Integrity is everything. When you are dishonest, unethical or “in it for yourself,” you will never be trusted, and without trust you can’t develop relationships that are crucial to your sales efforts.