Albert Einstein once said that the definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. As this industry enters its 2nd year of poor performance secondary to this economic downturn, and at the same time an increase in competition in regional markets, it is more important than ever for creativity and innovation to drive the recovery.

If your revenue is down 20 percent, and you can clearly see that it is an across the board revenue drop, why would you not look to decrease your operational costs for the long-term? I ask this question a lot and I get some weird stares sometimes. In the past, I actually heard CEOs of casino companies say that an increase in competition would only result in an increase in revenue for our casino…because it will create more interest. All you need to do is look to New Jersey to see that this no longer works.

Buses that used to bring in people from Pennsylvania are now bringing those same folks to the newer, smaller, more efficient regional gaming establishments located near Philadelphia, and in Delaware. The same for the players from New York, they are more frequently taking the busses to one of New York or Connecticut’s casinos.

If you have a smaller universe to pull players from, those players need to be spending incrementally more money in order for you to stay in the black. However if you focus on making your processes more efficient, and can add dollars directly to your bottom line for the long-term, all while helping to teach your players how they can save money on a smaller scale at their homes or businesses, your value to your player increases and your competitive advantage over other casinos will increase as well.

The Sustainable Gaming Standard Committee is attacking this very issue, and starting off with the piece of gaming equipment that is most associated with the industry, the slot machine. Our committee is a multi-disciplinary one that is looking at all phases of slot machine manufacturing, sustainable supply chain management, green packaging, marketing and educational outreach on why sustainable slot machines are good for the industry, and overall energy efficiencies associated with the machines.

Engaging your players in a conversation about sustainability and how it can ultimately save them money at home or in their businesses, will make the bond between your players and your team that much stronger. Sustainability is not going to be just another passing fad, and nothing proves this more than the legislation that has passed and is in the process of being passed through Congress. In addition, some states have said that they want to be ahead of the curve when it comes to reducing carbon footprints.

This team is looking for casinos to make these same commitments to their Triple Bottom Line that these states and the country has. This may mean hiring a company such as EGM Green to help you to develop a Master Energy Plan, which maps out your energy goals for the next 10 years, and then assists you in meeting measurable milestones in order to stay on track.You may also want to consider hiring a chief sustainability officer, or contracting with a company to provide those services to you.

Staying ahead of the sustainability curve will prove to be a huge point of difference between you and your competition. As we enter this new more efficient and slimmed down version of everything, doesn’t it make sense to do the same to your business. Tighten it up, get rid of inefficiencies, and move into the next decade as the leaders in your field and also in gain that positive pr spin that so many are lacking.

According to Michael Arny, president of Leonardo Academy and our ANSI standard developer, “The Sustainable Gaming Standard Committee is making great progress on the part of the standard that addresses for making slot machines more sustainable which includes a major focus on energy efficiency. Once completed that sustainable slot machine component of the standard will make a significant contribution to the sustainability of the gaming industry.” Imagine being involved in the push that makes our industry more sustainable and efficient in these turbulent times.

The Sustainable Gaming Standards Committee needs your help. We are well on our way to completing this standard, but could use more and varied input through the process. We need people to sit on our sub-committees and on the main committee. We are also looking for people to financially support the drafting of the standard, and to act as media support for this groundbreaking sustainability standard.

Recently, Russell Chudd from IGT joined the team, and his real-world experience with machines on a day-to-day basis is helping to make some of the decisions a bit easier. All slot machine companies and casino operators should be involved in the development of this standard so that in the end it will be a standard that works well in practice and not just on paper. Our goal is to save 50 percent of the energy used by slot machines within the next five years.

When you put this article down after reading it, You should take action! Either by joining the committee, a sub-committee, donating $$, or covering the progress of the standard in your newspaper/magazine. This standard and the ones that will come after it from this committee will change the way that companies and their employees think about profit dollars vs. revenue dollars and their relation to operational costs. If you want to join a committee, or would like more information on the standard, please don’t hesitate to contact me at eric@egmgreen.com You can also take a look at www.egmgreen.com/news or take a look at the sustainable gaming wiki.