It used to be that the way to the top of casino management was by starting on the floor and rising through the pits. “You gotta learn to smell the money, to feel the pigeons,” as one old pro said.
But not any more. Today’s gaming, as the industry calls it, is as competitive as selling soap. It’s mega corporations filled with Ivy League MBA’s and a few high school geeks just for laughs.
Their business models are studied by the Harvard Business School because their algorithms are now so precise they can predict daily traffic flows, dealer table assignments and cash needs down to the nth. As they say about the PGA, these boys are good.
So much so, the industry big shot gather each year for their eagerly awaited achievement awards, the Gambies. This year they convened at the largely shuttered Moratorium Casino at the Jersey shore.
After an exquisite dinner (prepared by an outside caterer, naturally), premium booze, free entertainment by Billy Joel and Elton John, and all the warm up awards, it was time to present the Gambie of the Year. (Usually for the person who made the most money for their casino that year.)
Introducing this year’s honoree was Chin Wo Steinberg, CEO of Macao Properties.
“Tonight, we have a real success story,” Chin Wo began in a heavy Brooklyn accent. “A young man who started at the bottom. With an idea. But as his idea grew, he grew. And his casino made money.” At that, the room burst into applause.
“First, a little of his background. No Ivy Leaguer, here. Far from it. A year ago, he graduated from Miserable State U then couldn’t find a job. He even tried out as a blackjack dealer when Shyster’s Grand Casino was pre-opening. Fortunately, Seymour, Seymour Glitz, was a bit of klutz; a card flasher.
“But the bosses liked Seymour,” Chin Wo continued. “Kept him around as a gofer. And he repaid them with a wild idea which management agreed to try, and was implemented a month after Shyster’s opened. Seymour called it the ‘Communities Outreach Program.’
“Seymour visited every church, synagogue and house of worship in the market. He sat down with the religious and lay leaders and proposed that, say Tuesday, July 14 be a real Casino Night at Shyster’s.
“A 6 PM bus, a lavish buffet, no alcohol (or not) and $200 of specially marked chips for each congregant in a special section of the casino with all winning’s back to the congregation. And every guest gets a Shyster’s comp card good for a meal and $50 of house chips for a future visit.”
Chin Wo Steinberg wound up for his close.
“In the first ten months, 258 religious institution made pilgrimages to Shyster’s with a 97 percent approval or higher rating. And 143 want to return next year.
“And those comp cards? An incredible 12,237 visits so far, way exceeding expectations, with an average drop of $237. Or as a pit boss would say, a take of $2,935,719.
“Consequently, I present this year’s Gambie of the Year to Shyster’s new national consumer marketing vice president, Seymour Glitz.”
Bill Regardie was the Founder of Regardie’s Magazine