Let’s Hear It For Entertainment

Experiences and Personal Growth

When people find out that I help casinos improve their customer service, I’m often asked about “the casino business.”  Their assumption is that I must have learned a few secrets after having trained thousands of casino employees.  I always laugh because I’m a customer service insider, not a casino insider.

Still, they want my views on the various states that want to allow gaming or tribes that are expanding into gaming.  The questions often lead to a discussion about whether I’m for or against gaming.  Most people are shocked when I say my views are simple and that they have nothing to do with the pros and cons of the industry.

Here is what I’m for. 

I want people to have entertainment choices.  Perhaps this view is too simple, but when you get right down to it, casinos are just one of many forms of entertainment.  They compete with bars, restaurants, movie theaters, sports teams and any other entertainment activity you or I could take part in.  All of these venues allow people to forget about their lives for a couple of hours.

If all things were equal, I would rather be knee deep in a trout stream than in a casino, but I also can have a great time with a group of friends sitting at a blackjack table for a few hours.  I would much rather go to a casino and spend $100 than to go to a bad movie and waste my money.  At least at the casino, I can leave when I feel like it.

I’m also for casino guests having a great gaming experience.  This may be my professional bias coming through, but when I spend my hard-earned money, I expect to have a good experience.  It doesn’t matter if it’s $2 for a cup of coffee or $200 for a hotel room.  I want people to treat me like a guest and let me know that I’m important to them and the success of their business.

Here’s an example of a wonderful entertainment experience.  Where I live, there’s a place that is so funny to me because they sell donuts in the morning and Thai food the rest of the day.  It took a few false starts before my wife and I actually went in to see what this place was like.  The idea of getting donuts from a Thai restaurant was a little hard for us to accept.

Well, the donuts and the Thai food are GREAT!  The prices are great, too.  They give you a very good value, but the people who run this establishment come to mind mainly because they want you to have a nice visit.  At the end of your Thai meal, they often bring donuts that you can take home.  They remember that I like my food spicy and that’s a wonderful personal touch.  I don’t have to say a thing.  They know me and my meal is just the way I like it.  Add it all up and, for my money, that is a great experience.

Making people feel special is another way to create a great experience.  It doesn’t need to be a big thing.  It could be something  as simple as smiling and saying, “Thank you.”

Finally, I’m for people growing.  One of the areas that I’m most proud of in my life is working with different kinds of people and helping them grow professionally and personally.  I know that many of the people I have worked with would never have received such a level of training or skill development unless they were employed by a casino.  I’ve trained people my age and older who say they have never before had anyone invest in them.

Casinos are like any other business.  They can’t exist without people.  People are the foundation.  It takes people to run a casino and give guests a great entertainment experience.  Casino employees want what most everybody else craves.  They want to feel good about what they do for a living and they want to provide for themselves and their families.  They want new skills that they can use at the casino, at home and in life.  This growth at such a personal level also improves their community.  It always makes me feel great to touch people and help them reach new levels.

There’s no sense in asking me if I’m for or against gaming or if I think it is some kind of solution or problem.  To me, gaming is just gaming. 

But look at what gaming gives to communities that have little or nothing.  Look at the jobs it provides and the opportunities it offers to work hard and have a better life.  Gaming also gives entertainment seekers a place to feel special and enjoy themselves.

I’m for all of that!

Martin R. Baird
Robinson & Associates, Inc.