I just recently completed another trip to Eastern Europe to produce a training program for Olympic Casino. The training I delivered was a compilation of my casino supervisory course, Pit Boss 101, along with some surveillance training, coupled with a standard dose of my customer service training for table games staff, The Dealer as Entertainer. Olympic has me produce this training at different casino venues, this year I traveled to Warsaw, Poland and Kiev in the Ukraine. In the past, I have produced this program in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and other venues.
My involvement with Olympic has been one of the joys of my career as a trainer and consultant. I have come to relish my trips to Eastern Europe with Estonia being one of my favorites. Tallinn is one of the most charming (and undiscovered) spots in Europe! My involvement with this company is also pleasurable as the friendship I have with the chairman of this company, Armin Karu, is one of the closest I have in the industry.
Armin and I met over a decade ago, and have been good friends since. I was speaking at a gaming trade show (who would have thought!), Armin was in the audience. We met and I was asked to travel to Estonia to deliver a weeklong training program at Olympic’s first casino. I have traveled to Europe for Armin at least 10 times since and hope to continue in the future. We are speaking of next year in Slovakia or Romania.
Olympic's growth & successFrom a casino operators viewpoint, especially from a casino trainer, it is easy to see why Olympic has grown from the one casino I worked with 12 years ago to the giant casino company I have the pleasure of working with now. Olympic has created a great basic casino operational model that it simply reproduces in every venue. Consistency is the key to all modern business success stories, casinos also!
In this casino model, it has made sure that the following road map as pertaining to this consistency is followed:
Consistency in management and operations
The management and operational style of all Olympic casino managers and staff is the same whether that manager is in Estonia or the Ukraine.
Consistency in design
In all the Olympic casino venues, the design of the facility and the casino design concepts used are similar. Close your eyes in the Olympic casino in Warsaw open your eyes and you could be in the Tallinn casino.
Consistency in training
Every casino manager, surveillance operator and even dealers receive the same training. The training received, whether it is my training that comes once per year or in-house training programs produced by Olympic are professionally produced, viable and consistent. The result knows that your staff is armed with all the training needed for their job. The result is also interchangeable personnel.
Consistency in marketing
Olympic has standardized marketing efforts in their casinos to make an Olympic casino customer interchangeable in all their casinos. A truly remarkable feat as competition abounds and in this market the player truly rules! They (the players) know their value and can really work the system.
Growing your ownNo, I am not talking about that stop I made in Amsterdam. I am talking about the fact that most managers inside the Olympic groups system are home grown. This company prides itself on training their existing staff to be managers. This is not a company that makes an effort to recruit from outside the Olympic system but instead offers career path managerial growth to its existing staff. This works in most successful businesses and sports franchises. It works for Olympic.
As a trainer, I love to see my students succeed and become leaders. The students I have trained are now running Olympic casinos, this is what casino educators and college professors live for.
Career Path Opportunity: Starts with TrainingHow Olympic casinos grow their own managers is by offering career path opportunity to its entry level and mid level managerial staff. This career path is in the form of training programs, certifications, and growth opportunity from promotion. The Olympic casino employee knows that he or she will receive all the tools necessary to become a manager if that is the desire.
Besides the training that I deliver to Olympic, an in-house training program exists for all Olympic managers. Modeled after MGM’s University of Oz, (the MGM’s in-house training program that I am not sure of its status at this time,) this program offers managerial courses for applicable candidates. Take the required offerings for a managerial position, complete the course and pass any testing and the applicant becomes eligible for promotion. A clear and precise path for promotion and growth.
Casinos vs. clubsTo the American casino-goer, most European casinos would be an unfamiliar thing. Most casinos in Europe resemble gaming clubs where the player is a member of a club that allows gambling. The patron must join to get admittance and the primary purpose of the visit is gambling, pure and simple. The American does not view a casino as a club but as a venue that is more social, membership is not required and gambling is only a portion of the entertainment mix.
A club is a venue with a small audience, gamblers, mostly high rollers, and the general public is not part of the mix. If you are not a player, you will probably not be welcome. The reason casinos here in the United States have been an overwhelming success is that we have gotten away from the club scenario and morphed through the years into casinos, all are welcome, and if you don’t want to gamble, that’s OK, there is something for all. You don’t have to be in a special club or group, the public is welcome with the hope that you will become a player.
While for Europeans, this concept of casinos being acceptable to the general public has not caught on in the form that it has here in the United States, this is coming. As the middle classes in all these nations are becoming more affluent (and they are) with more disposable income, clubs will diminish, casinos will flourish.
One of the big reasons for the success of the Olympic group is the fact that Olympic casinos are casinos, not clubs! While admittance policies are mandated, you have to show ID and become a member. This is because of governmental laws concerning casinos; the operational policies are not clublike but casinolike. Entertainment and social activity are part of the Olympic casino product; gambling is not the only concept as it is in many clubs.
I’ve witnessed Olympic making tremendous strides in many areas. I could go on and on with talk of its successes and the bright spot it has in the casino future. I am one of its biggest fans, and I’m proud to be able to help provide assistance and training to this progressive company.