The Role of the Casino Supervisor in Gaming
by Vic Taucer

The Role of the Casino Supervisor in Gaming Today ... ... .. Is this Person an Asset or a Liability? Dec 2005
pit boss, supervisor, manager, whatever we call them&&most of this group just "doesn't get it!!!

Table games supervisor, casino pit supervisor, floor person, human resources departments in various casinos worldwide have similar names for this job position. Generally the first level of supervisory position that is responsible for the management and operation of one or more of your casinos table games. To the playing public in our casinos, this job position is generically lumped together and called "Pit Boss".

While the casino industry has changed immensely over the last 40 years, the role of this person, this "Pit Boss" if you will, has changed little. This lack of change in the role of this supervisor that should have been commensurate with the rest of the gaming industry has had adverse results for table games departments.

The pit boss that used to be an asset to any formidable table game department in days past is now a liability to the growth and performance of the table games department! That's right; I am saying that most of your casino supervisors are hurting your table games performance instead of enhancing its operation!

A great number of Pit Bosses today are in a different world than they think they are in. The industry has changed, they or their methods haven't. They just don't get it!!

Table Games Today

Table game play in our world has changed dramatically over the last 20 years. Especially in North America, but similarly worldwide, no longer is the table game department the center of the casinos activity, no longer the reason that most people come to our casinos, in most casinos, table games are just another activity a customer can partake of. We are all labeling ourselves as "entertainment venues", table games are just another part of the entertainment package.

In most of our North American casinos, the players are not high rollers or big time players but ordinary people. Different from years ago, where the table game players really "fired it up", today's players are in our pits for the social environment that table games present. With the desire of a great many casino venues worldwide to emulate this demographic, this change is coming your way.

If this is so, why are our casino floor personnel (read pit bosses) still acting like and performing their roles in a casino like a stereotypical pit boss circa 1970!!

These pit bosses that are still acting like something out of an old B movie about gambling are detrimental to your table games operation. The methods they are using or at least implying, their archaic methods, thwart play instead of growing play.

What methods am I speaking of&..

How about when a player starts winning more than the norm and this pit supervisor starts intensely observing this person (read staring at them like they are doing something wrong!!)

How about when this person calls other pit bosses over so that they can both stare him down and "sweat and bleed" over each bet as if the player just stole their lunch money!!

How about when this pit supervisor does everything possible to make the players experience as unpleasant as possible in lieu of doing what is their number one responsibility in their current role&..

" To make the players experience as pleasant as possible to insure that player plays as long as possible and returns to the tables often!!"

Unless we change the role of this table games supervisor, unless we can make this job description more conducive to the needs of the player, we will see this position diminish in need or possibly even vanish.

Elimination of this job position In some large commercial casinos here in Las Vegas we are seeing the numbers of casino table games supervisory personnel shrink. Some casinos are eliminating these job descriptions and personnel entirely, downsizing and job combining when possible. Corporate world has weighed the benefits of this position versus their costs and has overwhelmingly decided that downsizing or elimination is the better mode. They may be right and this will continue unless we re-define the role here to get some relative value. The use of new technology and our increased reliance on surveillance capabilities is making this so.

Time to Change

Years ago, the role of the floor supervisor was really two fold. One function was to make sure the games were run properly, to make sure that neither the players nor the dealers were doing something they were not supposed to do procedurally speaking. The other was to account for the games performance. How much is the game winning or losing? What is the drop? Who is winning all the money, etc.

In today's gaming world, in table games, the needs have changed. While the role of the supervisor still mandates that the pit boss account for procedural correctness and for general accountability, a third function must be both addressed and maybe even stressed:

"To insure growth in table games, your supervisors (Pit Bosses or whatever you choose to call them), must start developing a culture that stresses player enjoyment more than any other function that they perform".

Maybe its time to have your supervisors number one function to be to create a pleasant experience for all in their areas&Maybe to create an aura of "fun" to be had by all&Players and Dealers both!! Maybe its time to have your table games supervisory staff to cease acting like a cop and to begin acting like a "good will ambassador"!

Isn't that the reason most of your customers are playing table games&To have a good time!!

How about these changes:

How about instead of staring at the customer, sweating over every winning bet, sometimes in groups of two or more pit bosses, to instead interact and communicate with the player.
How about trying to build some kind of rapport with the customer to insure that these customer's are sure that they indeed "know someone" at the casino!
How about the pit boss doing all they can to create a fun atmosphere and not create instances that stifle fun!!

Let's Re-Define the role of Pit Boss!!

There is only one way for this to happen. It is time to re-define the role of this "Pit Boss", to change the job description to something more conducive to our times. Let's get rid of the old stereotypical pit boss that acts police-like, staring at the customers like they would at a suspect. Let's create some good-will ambassadors that act more like a casino host and less like a police official!

I read a recent article on this subject and to quote "maybe its time for senior management to revisit and revise operating philosophies and articulate a new vision in regards to table games"." Its time to re-train our table games pits with bosses who truly understand the numbers and how they work and truly understand the nature of people who play our games"

I agree with this statement. All have to come to the conclusion that the underlying answer to the demise of table games operations starts with more of an insight as to which our supervisory staff really is and what their job description really should be.

The first step new vision-wise is to re-define the job description of casino table games supervisor to better reflect their need, operationally and marketing wise. More customer interaction tendencies, less cop type tendencies.

The second step is to create and adopt training programs that reflect this new role. Let's train our pit bosses to understand the simple math involved in casino operations so they will stop using archaic methods in their operations and thought process. Training also with the terminal objective being communication and customer interaction.

I have presented a training program at hundreds of casinos worldwide for casino supervisors called Pit Boss 101, where the terminal objective is to create

Date Posted: 06-Dec-2005

Vic Taucer is president of Casino Creations; a Las Vegas based casino educational, training and consulting company. Casino Creations specializes in customer service, dealer training and managerial training for table games operations. A former professor of casino management for the University & Community College System of Nevada and long time casino manager at many resorts, Vic can be reached at 702-595-7800 or at www.casinocreations.com

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