World Game Protection

Willy Allison's View from the Catwalk

Asking Questions

"He who asks a question is a fool for five minutes; he who does not ask a question remains a fool forever" - Some Old Chinese Guy

A mate of mine emailed me a link to a thread on a website  The thread was titled  "I am an ex-Casino Surveillance Manager" with a tag line: Ask me anything about the eye in the sky - tables, slots, operations, anything. The ex-casino surveillance manager gave an interesting, no-holds-barred interview, with a candid account of his casino experiences and observations.The thread (albeit very long for a bloke with an attention span less than a knock-knock joke) has inspired me this month to create a new Catwalk segment called "Q & A". Although I like to think I have found many answers in my quest to discover the meaning of (casino) life, I have to admit I have many more questions. 

Like why is there no clocks in casinos when everyone has a watch and cell phone? Why are table games not cashless like slot machines? Why don't drop boxes have bill validators on them? Why do we keep surveillance video for 7 days - why not 5 or 10 days? Why do dealers have 20 minute breaks every 60 minutes? Why do decks of cards have jokers? Why don't roulette games run on a timer? Why is it that surveillance people receiving tips is seen as more of a collusion threat then dealers taking tips from players they deal the cards to and take cash from? Why do state governments insist on putting casinos on riverboats instead of solid ground? Why aren't players allowed to see the video? Why is there one floor supervisor for every 4 BJ tables? Why don't dealers have rating cards so we can rate their work? Why shouldn't the casino manager have access to the surveillance system? Why don't airport bars have departure information monitors? (OK I just threw that one in there out of recent travel frustrations).

In the casino business I have found on numerous occasions that for every question I ask, there are often multiple answers or explanations. Sometimes there is no right or wrong answer. What is more important is that you ask the right question.

Recently, I was asked why casinos perform a certain procedure on their table games. To be quite frank, I had never thought about it - we just did. I had a fair idea why we did it but no one had really ever told me why (or maybe they did and I'm just getting old and had forgotten).I got on the wire and started emailing respected experts to get their take. We were all in the same boat. Sometime in casino history the procedure was introduced for whatever reason, but it was so long ago that all of us had forgotten exactly why. We all had theories but what I enjoyed most about our search for the truth was the discussion. In the end we came up a number of reasons for and against the procedure. That one right question sprouted casino enlightenment.   

My hope is that the new Q & A segment answers questions we have had on our mind for a long time but have been afraid to ask. Maybe at the very least, we can create some discussion, theories and ideas that might help Catwalkers understand why things have "always been done that way" or possibly how they can be done a better way. 

Email me your questions.  

Stay classy Ameristar.


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Asking Questions
An old timer that I worked with (who was juiced in and unfortunately knew little, at least that I could make out), used to say something that stuck with me and was very useful at times for myself and for those around me that had nothing to say when a question came up. The expression was, and I quote "It is better to stay silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt." I think Mark Twain was the first to say something along those lines. A lot of the questions that you posed in your article are interesting in that, when I have had discussions about them with people I respect, sometimes the answer (maybe because some of us just have not been around long enough) was that we really did not know how a procedure started and what it's significance was. The idea of putting Casinos on Riverboats and barges is truly amazing and ridiculous. Politicians and people with a lot of influence and money can cause some interesting laws to take effect and there is usually no one strong enough to stop them. Rob
(May 27, 2011 ~ 4:05 AM)
By Rob
See these vendors at the
WGPC in February