Casinos have been a public fascination since they began. In the early 1960’s, the Rat Pack made the first Ocean’s 11, which in turn inspired the remake in 2001 starring George Clooney with an ensemble cast, and of course, the sequels.
Casinos fascinate even people who don’t gamble. With thousands of tables and one-armed bandits, glittering lights and five-star food entertainment, they are where the wealthy gather, where the poor become rich, and where millions of dollars pass through casino doors almost daily.
According to the PBS show Frontline, people lose six billion a year at Las Vegas casinos. But how do these mega money-making machines work? In this article, we’re going to explore some of the working aspects of a major casino.
Breakdown of Casino Staff & Management
The first thing to understand about a casino is how many people it actually takes to keep it going. Labor is definitely one of the major expenditures of a casino and to understand why, you have to see the sheer number of employees that most casinos have. Here are just some of the positions at a casino.
- Waiters/Waitresses: Those who serve food in the restaurants and drinks to those in the casino
- Clerks: This includes clerks at restaurant counters, gift shops and any other job that involves ringing up a purchase
- Money-changers: Those who wheel the carts around and give change as well as those in the cage that pay out on casino chips, tickets or other forms of casino currency
- Coin Counting: Counting and sorting coins are a big part of a casinos daily operations. Casinos can go through thousands of coins in a day and coin counters can help casinos organize and count their coins efficiently
- Food Preparation: Anyone involved in the preparation of food for buffets, to be served in restaurants or even bartenders who make drinks for gamblers
- Security: Casinos require a lot of security because there is so much money floating around
- Dealers: This includes blackjack dealers, roulette, baccarat and various other casino games
- Pit Bosses: These are the “middle-management” of the casino floor personnel.
- Upper Management: These are the executives in charge of making big decisions for the casino as a business
- Support Staff: These are secretaries, lawyers, medical personnel, IT and any other support staff for the casino infrastructure
- Janitorial Staff: Casinos must be kept immaculate because people are spending a great deal of money to hang out in such a luxurious place
- Hotel Staff: If the casino is connected to a hotel, as most are, there are going to be a number of hotel staff needed like front desk clerks, concierges, housekeepers and many more
- Technicians: When the slot machines or other equipment break down, technicians go to work
- Human Resources: Managing personnel for casinos takes several HR staff
- Valets: Most casinos and hotels have a valet staff that will park and retrieve vehicles
Preventing Fraud & Illegal Activity in Casinos
The casinos take major steps to ensure that fraud and illegal activity do not happen. Fraud concerns include everything from someone counterfeiting casino chips and trying to turn them in for real money to card counting, using a stolen credit card or many other things. In addition, casinos need to always be on the lookout for counterfeit money and ensure that everyone in the casino is of legal gambling age by checking IDs.
Protecting Customers, Suppliers and Others
Casinos also need certain equipment to make sure that they are able to protect themselves, suppliers and even customers. Cameras and security monitors help security watch the building, paper shredders and protective document boxes keep customer records secure and there is quite a bit of other equipment as well.
Protecting the Casino’s Bottom Line
The main thing is that all of these things work together to protect the casino. Because of the odds associated with gambling, casinos are always going to make money as long as people are gambling. But it takes pit bosses, fraud experts, alert security personnel and many other things to come together and make sure that a casino is profitable. Money handling equipment such as money counting machines also helps casinos to manage their money and avoid losses from miscounts throughout the day.
Why Casinos “Comp” Some Customers
Another thing that people wonder about the way that casinos work is “comping” which is short for “compensating.” The simple explanation for why casinos comp customers is that they want to make sure that they feel as if they had a good experience so that they will come back. For example, someone who lost $1000 playing Blackjack might be comped a room, which might have only cost $200 in reality, but it makes them feel as if they got some of their money back.
Managing Various Casino Games
Casinos also need to manage the various games that they have. There are several different areas in most casinos and each one has their own management team. For example, there may be certain staff closely watching high-stakes card games in one section while the slots has a completely different set of managers.
When someone wins big, the manager’s job in that section is to make sure that as many people know about it as possible. That will keep them playing, hoping for a similar win. Of course, these places are also looking for fraud or other security concerns but they also have the responsibility of making sure that the customers in that part of the casino are happy. The most vital part of their job is simply to make sure that people keep playing.
Entertainment, Food & Drink
Finally, casinos also have entertainment, food and drink concerns. Since casinos run 24 hours a day, often all three of these things must be managed 24 hours a day as well. Casinos often have extremely well known acts perform there to bring people in to gamble, and they also pay smaller acts to perform throughout the day to keep people entertained.
In addition, casinos usually have restaurants and bars within them and some even provide alcoholic drinks to gamblers at no cost. A casino has all of the major challenges of a resort hotel but also has the gambling to manage as well, and it takes a lot of dedicated people to do it well.