Monday, October 09, 2006

VISIT: Grosvenor Casino

Today the group participated in its second industrial visit at the Grosvenor Casino, on Merrion Way, Leeds. After signing in, we were taken on a tour of the Casino floor by Assistant General Manager Henry Clapham who has over 30 years experience of working in the casino industry. Henry gave an extremely insightful talk about the running of the casino and answered a number of questions posed by the students. The casino itself was a hive of activity, with table surfaces being refurbished and the floor area being prepared in time for opening. The key features of the talk that Henry gave are highlighted beneath the sub-headings below.

Products

1. The casino has 25 large-payout gaming machines with a maximum prize of £3,000 – this is the most machines and maximum payout permitted by law. Gaming machines are increasing in popularity.
2. Roulette is the casino’s most popular game.
3. The most popular area of the casino is the bar, for many visitors this is a social venue to meet as is a bar or club, many visitors to do not gamble at all.
4. There is also a restaurant, which offers corporate and group bookings – these can include lessons in how to play card games.
5. Due to the popularity of internet gambling and television poker Texas Hold-Em Poker has become the fastest growing card game in the world, the casino has recently demolished a store area to create a brand new hi-tech poker playing area. Players can register to take part in competitions – the prize money being determined by how many people take part. At £20 per head, if 50 people take part the prize money is £1,000, the casino is not allowed to take a stake or percentage of the prize money so charges a separate registration fee to earn money from this activity. This is one of the most significant means by which this casino competes with other local casinos.
6. The casino has an area of Mah-jong tables, that are used almost entirely by Chinese members, these provide valuable daytime revenue (when the casino is traditionally at its quietest) as many Chinese pensioners (up to 50-60) come and play. This generates for the casino approximately £60 per day (for the afternoon games).
7. As well as gambling the Casino offers live music on some evenings, which has recently included X-Factor finalists, this is being reduced though due to increasing costs in booking acts.
8. The casino has a pool table, which once would have been unusual for a casino, due to the health and safety implications of cues and balls being used as weapons by disgruntled customers.

Marketing

1. Advertising has been difficult due to legal restrictions, however now the casino has a website and can be promoted by posters. Mail shots seem to be the most effective means by which customers are enticed to visit the casino. At present there are a series of generous promotions in place with give-aways including MP4 players, digital camcorders, and CD players.
2. The casino market has in the past been dominated by males, however the number of female members has seen steady increase, and is now only just less than the number of males.

Human Resources

1. All employees need to be aged 18 or over, they are not allowed criminal convictions, however applications from people with minor offences may be considered. The period from application to acceptance is approximately six weeks.
2. Casinos do not have to adhere to the 1974 Rehabilitation of Offenders Act.
3. CRB Checks and GB11 forms must be completed by anybody wishing to become a member of staff at the casino.
4. The casino is now taking on more experienced croupier staff from Continental Europe and Eastern Europe, this is largely due to the fact that it has become more cost effective to do so – not in terms of wages, all staff are paid the same, but due to the lesser necessity to invest time and money into training up new inexperienced staff as croupiers. It has also been noted that many Easter European staff provide a superior customer service experience.
5. Henry himself has risen through the ranks from being a Trainee Dealer to being Assistant General Manager. The structure via which promotions take place is as follows: Trainee Dealer; Dealer; Senior Dealer; Inspector; Gaming Supervisor; Pit Boss; Manager; Assistant General Manager; General Manager.
6. Staff turnover is generally low, those who do leave, generally do so to work at another casino.

Ethical Considerations

1. Grosvenor casino recognises that gambling addiction can be a problem and so trains its staff in recognising symptoms of this in visitors. Members who display the behaviour of a problem gambler are offered information about Gamcare. Those members who are deemed to have a gambling addiction are banned for life from all Grosvenor casinos.
2. Drunks are not allowed to join the casino, those who appear intoxicated are not allowed onto the premises.

Safety and Security

1. Violence and assaults are extremely rare occurrences, those who are found guilty of such behaviour are banned from the casino for life. The casino only employs door staff on a weekend, and does not even have security patrolling the casino floor, which may seem unusual for an establishment that has so much cash on the premises. This particular casino is considered reasonably secure due to the main area being on the first floor rather than ground floor making it unattractive for anybody wanting to make a quick get away. The safe and alarm systems are comparable to those found in a bank.
2. Anyone caught cheating is barred for life. Cheats are becoming more high tech, and now may employ sophisticated gadgets such as handheld computers.

Other Legislative Impacts

1. Under the Gambling Act (2005) The Grosvenor Casino is classified as a small casino.
2. Membership of the casino is free, and is now instantaneous, a person is now able to walk in off the street and become a member straight away providing that they have sufficient identification to prove that they are who they say they are and that they are aged over 18. The 1968 Gaming act meant that people joining casinos had to wait 48 hours between application and membership being granted, the Gambling Act (2005) has resulted in this rule being relaxed.
3. A large proportion of casino visitors are smokers, when the ban on smoking in indoor public places comes into effect next August, the casino is building an outside ground floor secure area for members to smoke. For staff a first floor outdoor balcony will be built – staff and casino visitors are not allowed to socialise, so separate smoking areas are necessary.
4. The relaxation of licensing laws regarding the sale of alcohol has meant that the casino bar now stays open until 5:30am. There have been no problems associated with extended bar opening hours.
5. Staff who work at the casino are themselves not allowed to gamble.

Other

1. Henry regards any other leisure or entertainment venue as being competition for the casino.
2. This casino is expected to retain 60% of money spent on gambling activities, however this does not always happen, £5,000 wins are not uncommon, the largest single payout was £234,000.

Many thanks to Henry and the staff at Grosvenor casino, for a very interesting and information rich afternoon.
The Mah-Jong Tables

Above and below, the increasingly popular gaming machines

The new Texas Hold-Em Poker area

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I simply love Online casino, I play every day and I keep coming back for more.
I am not a problem gambler because I earn enough money to be able to support
myself and continue my online gambling time. I truly enjoy the relaxation time I
get and the ease with which can use and access online casino's. I hate the
stigma that is associated with gambling online as I view it as a release, an
escape and real "me" time. If it were to become a problem then I have no doubt
that I could and would simply cut online casino from my daily vocabulary. As it
stands though, gambling is simply something I enjoy and the internet and online
play are just a good way to access casino's. Playing against the house means I
never have to worry or feel about actually taking money from someone else as it
is only the online casino that would be paying me off for my wins. Talking about
wins, I have had some great wins in my online gambling career – my biggest so
far is $5000 on roulette, on one spin. I am fit, happy, healthy and I love life
and the online casino is just part of my every day existence and escape.

Anonymous said...

The mathematics of online gambling are always against the individual. There
is no way that a professional gambler could ever say otherwise and yet how come
there are people that make money every day playing and gambling online every
day? Simply, they employ good strategies that work more in their favour than the
average person. The main goal of the professional gambler is to either target
weaknesses in online gambling or online casino's or play the other people off
and win their money. The professional gambler is not bothered by the winning or
the losing they simply focus on how they can win more and the best methods to
employ in order to get to their goal. Bet big to recoup loses is a good method,
a simple and yet effective method which can be employed on the roulette table by
betting on red or black in roulette. The method is simple, if you lose then
double up the bet and repeat until you win, then go back to the original amount
and then repeat until you are winning consistently. Another method on roulette
is taking a section of the wheel, like betting on a row of numbers next to each
other. That way if the wheel lands in a region consistently then there is
greater chance of it being on one of your numbers instead of on random text.

Anonymous said...

after reading the comments of the visitor to grosvenor casino, i have to disagree about drunks not being allowed into the casino, i have witnessed quite a few drunks at the weekend, one chap almost unable to pick up his cards to check his hand and he was trying to eat a very greasy chip buttie and only he was only just able to get his hand to his mouth.. also, the foul language used by a very large portion of the punters leaves a bad taste in the mouth... standards have fallen drastically in a bid to win customers from other casinos. i wonder if its the same in other casinos??