Saturday, 21 May 2011

Time’s Ripe for Casino Scams

Here is a copy of an article I wrote a short while ago, I hope it provokes some thought.

Even at the most prosperous of times you’d be advised that somewhere, somehow, someone in your casino is stealing from you. This can be hard to understand when your management and staff are well paid, well treated and have excellent career prospects. So what is the underlying motivation then? Well, it’s simply greed. But let’s now wind up the volume of the motivation. Let’s take away the hope of career prospects; let’s freeze pay; let’s lay-off people; let’s increase work load through a no hire policy; let’s clamp-down on complimentary F&B for players which effectively reduces tips. The cost-benefit equation which had previously kept all but the very greedy on the straight-and- narrow path of honesty now looks different. There’s even a new dimension added... steal what you can whilst you can, before you get laid-off! The scene is now beautifully set for the greedy opportunist that has been operating his scam during the good times. He has a plan, he has confidence and now he has many willing accomplices. He has in his hands the acid to corrode moral and the infectious germs of corruption to break down the integrity of your control structures. If you have not previously had thieves imprisoned when they’ve been caught, then your staff may be under the impression that you would rather let them go than suffer the negative publicity... Perfect conditions for the spread of the germs.

In an ideal world, you would have predicted the current economic crises down to a tee. Through your timely and persuasive communications your staff would understand that some sacrifices would be needed for the sake of the business and after a one-off redundancy exercise and they would all live happily ever-after. The fact is that no one knew how the credit crunch would affect their casino. For many, the sensible way forward was to play it day-by-day, with several rounds of redundancy taking place each year and an unknown further number in the future. Although the step-by-step process is the worst scenario for employee morale, the consequences of cutting too soon and too deep would make a fast recovery difficult and vulnerable to a take-over if caught in a sudden market recovery.

The continual rollout of technology in the casino industry is another source of threat to your employees and another source of imbalance to the cost-benefit equation. Unlike the frog that doesn’t perceive the gradual rising temperature of the cooking pot in which he eventually boils, we need to stop from time-to-time to take measurements and re-assess our businesses. Whilst the economic downturn focuses management effort on cost-reduction don’t forget the importance of maintaining staff morale and adjusting your management controls to balance the increased threat. It is of course difficult to avoid contradiction... On the one hand tightening up controls implies distrust, whilst on the other hand you’re trying to maintain trust and respect in the relationship... Consider that your management consultant will be able to broker a sincere and lasting understanding and get everyone behind the new measures that the health of the business requires.

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