Watching the Atlantic City revenue #’s continue to decline must be a harrowing site for the operations managers, regional presidents, CFO’s…  What I don’t understand is why as they watch their casino hold decrease along with their revenue from casino/hotel operations overall, why they don’t start to aggressively implement large operational cost savings, that would serve to insulate them somewhat from the economic recovery issues and regionalized gaming competition.

If a property saved 20 percent of its overall energy bill, and that energy bill, for instance was originally $8 million per year, that equals an operational cost savings of $1.6 million.  My question to all of you is how much revenue would you need to bring in so that your bottom line profit is equal to that $1.6 million?  Why is the first option usually to lay off human capital?  Don’t folks realize that using human capital is the best way to generate new ideas, and by laying off human capital, you allow competitors a shot at your potential great ideas.

Some of the agreements that I hear about energy conservation measures are:  Global warming is not real.  To this I say, why is that important to you  as you are making a decision about saving money by doing a lighting retro-fit?  This is obviously an excuse for not wanting to learn how saving on energy will allow you to realize increase profit margins even as your revenues drop(for whatever reason). I also hear from folks around the industry that energy efficiency is a bunch of malarkey. To that I say, waiting for your revenues to increase back to pre-recession/credit crunch #’s will take a long time, and we need to realize the things that got our industry close to its highs will not be the same things that get us back to those revenue/profit numbers.

This is one of the reasons why the Sustainable Gaming Standard Committee was formed, and why we have just released the standard through ANSI (the American National Standards Institute) for its public comment period. To our team, it seems like the next logical step in the progression of the land-based casino market.  If you can save 10 percent of your slot floor's energy bill by adhering to this standard, and it will improve your customers experience, why not take advantage of it? There is no reason why any establishment with electronic gaming machines shouldn’t take advantage of this.

Imagine that you have 1,000 electronic gaming machines on your floor right now, and within one year, those same or better machines will be on your floor performing the way you and the player want, and on top of that you  wind up with a savings of 10 percent off of your total slot floor's energy bill. That is a pretty powerful savings, and when you consider that the only thing you will have to do is request gaming machines that meet our standard.  As gaming floor progress toward more server based gaming, this standard will help top save even more money based on the increased energy demand of the central server, and how we can creatively meet that need without using any extra energy.

Adherence to the standard will set you apart as an industry leader in sustainability.  Do you  believe that long term operational cost saving s will allow you to earn a greater profit margin on your existing offerings even in times of declining/flat revenue.  Then the time is now to start your journey down the path to a sustainable property.  We make that decision easy, by allowing you to still use the machines that you and your players love.

In closing as a long term New Jersey resident, and someone who has loved Atlantic City for a long time, it boggles my mind that those properties allowed this marked decline on their revenues/casino hold/profit margins, and didn’t follow the “LEED” of other properties around the country that have proved with empirical data that going green puts them in the black!  I would love it if you would take some action after you are done reading this. Make a comment on the standard before the public comment period ends.  Then adopt the standard in your property.  Call on us to help you to meet the standard to save as much as possible while doing it. 

Ten or so years ago,  our industry went through a huge change when properties became these mega resorts, and now the industry has been facing some unique challenges that make continuing with this plan as it was set up all those years ago just plain fiscally irresponsible. We need to adapt to these changes or accept that we will not be here for very long. SlotManager



Eric Hansel is chairman of the Sustainable Gaming Standards Committee and founder of EGM Green. EGM Green designs and manufactures eco-friendly casino tables and furniture and also provides LEED services and green consulting for the casino industry. It also offers the only outsourced CSO (chief sustainability officer) position in the gaming industry. He may be reached at eric@egmgreen.com.