I want to share a story that has been rolling around in my head about Casino Host ethics, integrity, and not crossing the invisible lines.
In the last article, 6 Reasons People Gamble; and Why a Host Should Care, I wrapped up with this thought: ‘Are you a friend? Of course not. Don’t get too friendly or you can easily cross a line that leads to no end of trouble for you.’
An Executive shared an old story with me regarding a Host who crossed a line and ended up in trouble. It involved a Host becoming ‘too friendly’ with some guests and going off-premise to join them for food and drinks. Because, of course, the Host could not drink on property. An F&B Manager was aware of this, and even ended up joining the group off-property! The story did not end well, and it raised all kinds of HR issues about Who Said What, and Who Knew What, and What Really Happened.
In my own professional life, I have found myself in a bad situation where it was all about ‘My Word against Their Word’ but it was a fellow employee and not a customer. If you are the employee and ‘they’ are the customer, then you are immediately less likely to be believed.
And even if you are believed, there is still the terrible PR issue of the customer’s complaint. The Casino must take responsibility for your actions, or perceived actions, and the Casino must clean up the mess. So, you are going to be in big trouble.
Let’s go back to this story.
The F&B Manager should have known better because a Manager must be even more Squeaky Clean than an individual contributor.
The F&B Manager should have told the Host to cut it out and, if the activity continued, the F&B Manager should have told the PD Manager.
As the TSA poster says, ‘If you see something, say something”.
Both the Host and the Manager should have thought a little more deeply about why they cannot drink on their own Property. It is not to be mean. It is because alcohol removes inhibitions and even if the employee can hold their drink, it doesn’t mean that the customer can. You drive defensively, watching out the other idiots who may run a light, not give a turn signal, or text and drive. As a Casino Host, you must work and live defensively, watching out for customers or fellow employees who might cross a line and drag you with them.
- How might it look if you are drinking off-property with a VIP customer?
- How might it look if you are up alone in the Penthouse with a group of guests drinking? Take someone with you!
Here’s the brutal reality. It doesn’t matter what you are doing, it matters how it could be interpreted.
Of course, on property, you have the added protection of cameras so if a customer, or employee, accuses you of impropriety then Surveillance might be able to pull the tapes. Off-property, you don’t that extra layer of protection.
And what about off-hours? Does the Casino own your entire life and so you cannot go bar-hopping or dancing? Well, for one, it probably depends where you live and how likely you are to run into your Coded Players! And what about friends? Can the Casino tell you that customers cannot become friends? Lovers? Of course not, and of course it is going to happen in some cases.
The point is that you must Host defensively. Tell your Manager as soon as there is any reason to do so. Just so they are not taken off-guard and, perhaps, they can re-code the guest. I remember being told “I cannot tell my Manager because this high value player is a married woman’. Well, don’t be having an affair with a married woman, let alone the best slot player!
And as for friends… We all have friends, and we might have friends that play in the Casino. But if your fellow Host meets a bunch of party animals in the Casino and follows them off-site to hang out with them… then those are not their friends! The motive was not friendship but a good time, and parties can go sour. If you See Something, Say Something!
It is all about perception and managing perception. Last night’s news was all about the revelation that Michel Cohen named Sean Hannity was a client. Sean Hannity says he was not a client. It is a ‘Him against Him’ story. But Sean Hannity has spent the week lambasting the FBI raid on Michael Cohen while pressuring Cohen to keep him out of the story. My point is that I don’t know the truth; I just know that Sean Hannity is now dealing with a major news story because he tried to avoid disclosing a minor news story.
Did the PD Manager know about the Host going off-property and whooping it up with guests? If so, they should have Said Something but perhaps they dismissed it as harmless or just gossip. By avoiding that minor conversation with the Host, the PD Manager was pulled into an HR nightmare.
If you See something, Say something! First to the person themselves and then, if necessary, to management. It may be embarrassing or difficult to speak to someone about their behavior, or a rumor of their behavior, but it will be MUCH worse when you get pulled into HR, or the Gaming Authority, to explain what you knew and when.
A Casino Resort has a dangerous mix of heady-entertainment, alcohol, hotel bedrooms, and Casino Hosts have the extra burden of having to be ‘nice’ to guests. So, Drive and Host Defensively!