TABLE TALK: That's entertainment
November 1, 2009
I also alluded to the fact that we in the casino industry are selling fun and excitement, but we treat and interact with our staffs like cops, injecting neither fun nor happy interaction. You know what I mean, the casinos that tell their staffs to interact with the customers in a fun and exciting manner then look for ways to treat employees like criminals.
The response to the article was very positive. The general agreement was that I really hit the mark. The truth about table games and casinos in today’s environment is that they indeed are not fun anymore. I received numerous e-mails and phone calls from readers telling me how much they enjoyed the piece and how I really “told it how it is” in table games today.
Unfortunately, in some cases it is getting worse. If we are going to survive as an integral part of the casino mix, if we are not to be replaced by electronic dealers, or worse yet, downsized even more as departments, we have to rectify this situation.
How do we start?
Let’s put the fun back into the product.
Why are we so ultraconservative when it comes to table games and their operations, treating these as way too serious a part of our business? Going to a casino shouldn’t be a sedate experience. Isn’t the product we are selling supposed to be an entertainment event? Yet the atmosphere in many table games areas has about all the fun and excitement of a hospital waiting room.
I may be dating myself (as I generally do with these articles) but I remember when the pit wasn’t as serious as it is now. In most instances, when I was a dealer, I had fun, so did the customers. I had fun with the customers. I had fun with my co-workers. Most of the time, I enjoyed both. I used to look at my job as a dealer like the old Army recruiting commercial, you know, the one that said, “It’s not just a job, it’s an adventure.”
Maybe times have changed, as I am sure they have, but it seems that nobody is having fun anymore, not the players and especially not the staff. It seems that everyone I run across in table games is in a definite no-fun mode, sometimes even close to being miserable.
If we expect our staff to sell fun, we have to make it fun for the staff.
First step here … LOOSEN UP!
For all you clueless table games managers, and especially you pit supervisors, start looking more closely at what your job actually is. You are not cops or junior FBI agents so stop acting as such. I know there are game procedural and protection issues that you must deal with, but you don’t have to act like you’re protecting the president, do you? Your job, of course, has to be concerned with all the technical functions that go with the territory. Necessary processes, accounting, managing the dealers and game protection are all part of the job. But unless your pit bosses get more into the customer interactive roles they need to get into, your position may soon vanish.
Try having some fun with the customers. Even better, try having some fun with the employees. Yuk it up a little bit. You will find both your job and your dealer’s job a lot more enjoyable.
Maybe we can direct more training in this vein. How about some customer service or even some basic people skills training for this group? Enough training on technical issues. What about more training on how to entertain the customer?
Also, we put so much emphasis on training for dealers, yet we neglect the supervisors. It’s time to include them, too, because if the supervisors don’t buy into changing the atmosphere, the dealers will not be able to. How can you expect your dealers to entertain the customers when the supervisors don’t?
Let’s try to instill a thought process in which dealers and supervisors more closely resemble entertainers than factory workers.
Let’s rethink where we are going with table games. If our product is selling fun and excitement, isn’t it time we start delivering what we advertise? Start with a little loosening up.
Everyone will have more fun, maybe even you.