by Vic Taucer
A LOOK AT TABLE GAME TRAINING & OPERATIONS IN EUROPE:
Olympic Casino’s Success Road Map: Consistency in all facets!
Thoughts on Olympic casinos from a casino consultant who has been working with this group for a decade…
an American casino educator in Estonia….
I just recently completed another trip to Eastern Europe at produce a training program for Olympic casinos. 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 & 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 un-discovered) 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 week long training program at Olympics’ 1st 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 Rumania.
Olympics’ growth & Success:
From 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 they have made sure that the following road map as pertaining to this consistency is followed:
• Consistency in Management & 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 Own!
No, 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 & 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 Training
How 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. Clubs:
To the American casino goers, most European casinos would be an unfamiliar thing. Most casinos in Europe more 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 US 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, if you don’t want to gamble, 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 US, 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 club like but casino-like. Entertainment and social activity are part of the Olympic casino product, gambling is not the only concept!
Meet me at the Bar!
A social concept in most of our casinos here in the U.S is meeting at the bar of a casino, whether it is before dinner, scoping out the scene or just using the bar as a social meeting area inside a casino. At a club this would be frowned upon as the bar is somewhere where a player would go to rest up between gaming action, not a social spot for non-gaming customers.
At the new Olympic casino in Warsaw, the casino was located inside the Warsaw Hilton, a modern convention orientated hotel in the center of the city. While I stayed at this hotel while I did my training, I noticed the bar at the casino being frequented by hotel guests in lieu of the hotel bars. A comfortable location, hotel guests could meet and have a drink. If they wanted to gamble afterwards, of course, but if not, this was OK.
Could this be the use of the bar as a social setting with the hope of creating casino customers? Just like in any Las Vegas casino, of course…Totally un-club like and totally casino-like.
I could go on with talk of Olympic casinos, their successes and the bright spot they have in the casino future as
Date Posted: 02-Nov-2008
Vic Taucer is president of Casino Creations; a Las Vegas based casino educational, training and consulting company. Casino Creations specializes in table game evaluations, customer service training for Table Games (The Dealer as Entertainer), dealer training and managerial training for table games operations (Pit Boss 101.)
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 email@example.com. Look for Vic Taucer’s new book, Table Game Management, available at www.casinocreations.com and at booksellers nationwide.