But the manager who runs a casino’s slots operations knows quite a bit about business. They have to handle big budgets, review numbers, choose games, and negotiate partnerships.
A slots manager must also create the perfect balance between making profits while also developing an entertaining experience. Striking this balance is key to making both customers and casino owners happy.
People can truly learn a lot from a slots manager when it comes to business. That said, I’m going to discuss seven main tips that can be learned by studying slots operations.
1 – Create a Great Experience
Decades ago, most casinos could make money just by offering slot machines and other casino games. After all, gambling wasn’t as rampant as it is today.
Things have changed greatly in this regard, though, with more land-based and online casinos available than ever before. People don’t have to look far to find their next gambling opportunity.
Casinos need to keep pace with their competitors by offering more rewards, the latest games, higher payback, and a fun atmosphere.
Of course, not every gambling establishment will rank at the top of each category. But they must do more to make themselves stand out in one or more areas.
For example, a slots manager might put extra effort into making sure that they have the newest slots titles. The casino can then advertise their latest games to draw more customers.
Any business can of course benefit by standing out from the crowd. They could offer lower prices, better customer service, and/or unique items that can’t be found elsewhere.
2 – Be Willing to Adapt
Nothing stands still in the business world. Slots managers know this, which is why they’re always looking for ways to adapt to a changing climate.
Managers of land-based slots floors have their work cut out today. Slot machines are still highly popular among those aged 50 and older. However, these games aren’t catching on with younger generations – especially millennials.
Casinos are currently experimenting with new game types and pondering ideas in an effort to stay relevant. Skill-based slot machines are one of the newest efforts in this movement.
A skill-based slot machine features a bonus round that gives players some degree of control over their success.
Here’s an example:
- Centipede slot machine features a bonus round where you shoot enemy spacecrafts.
- The spacecrafts slowly work their way to the bottom of the screen.
- You need to destroy as many enemies as possible before they reach the bottom.
- Your score (number of credits) depends upon how many enemies you shoot down.
Skill-based slots haven’t proven to be the answer to attracting younger players yet. But slots managers are at least showing that they’re willing to adapt by offering these games.
Other proposals for increasing slots popularity include adding sports betting to slots terminals and offering localized climate control. Casinos seem to have no shortage of ideas when it comes to boosting slots play.
Business owners and managers need to have the same willingness to try new things. Waiting until it’s too late can render a company obsolete.
3 – Listen to What Customers & Employees Have to Say
Casino managers are often depicted as gruff, stern men who don’t put up with any nonsense. Therefore, it would seem that slots managers are unapproachable.
This description might be true of some managers – at least the unsuccessful variety. The truth, though, is that the person running a slots floor must have listening skills.
Of course, not every idea floated by a worker or gambler will be worthwhile. But even collecting two out of 10 good suggestions is enough to make a difference.
Maybe an employee has heard numerous complaints about the lack of slots rewards. A manager could listen to the employee, then try to implement a plan that’s more pleasing to players.
Businesses will of course benefit by hearing their workers and customers out. Much like a slots floor, any business needs feedback on how they can improve the experience.
4 – Know the Numbers
Slot machines are a data-driven entity. A manager must know how much revenue different games are making, where the top-performing slots are located, and how many comps players should receive.
They may know that new releases should go near the casino entrance, because these machines draw the most play. Meanwhile, they might put niche classics in the back of the floor, since they’ll draw players no matter where they’re located.
Comps are another area of slots managers’ expertise. The manager has a good idea on how many rewards they can give gamblers while still pulling in profits.
Here’s an example:
- A manager knows that the slot machine floor has $1 million in monthly expenses.
- The games are pulling in $1.1 million in monthly revenue.
- The manager wants to ensure that the casino retains around 90% of the profits.
- 1,100,000 – 1,000,000 = $100,000 monthly profits
- 100,000 x 0.9 = $90,000 in kept profits
- 100,000 – 90,000 = 10,000 in comps
- 10,000 / 1,100,000 = 0.009
- The manager will comp players at a 0.09% rate (0.1% rate if rounded up).
Having an excellent command of business numbers is crucial towards long-term success. That said, business owners and managers need to know their biggest revenue-makers, among other important stats.
5 – Show Perseverance During the Bad Times
Not everything is going to go perfect in business. Las Vegas casinos learned this better than anybody during the 2008 recession.
Up to this point, Vegas casinos had mostly relied on gambling to drive profits. But gambling action began driving up as people started spending less during the recession.
Some Vegas casinos had to close shop because they were pulling in such little revenue. Others began diversifying their revenue streams so that they weren’t so reliant on gaming.
The latter category showed perseverance when things seemed dark. Rather than closing up and selling off the business, these casinos figured out solutions to their problems.
Slots managers were a big part of this, because they had to remain positive and motivate employees during the recession. They also had to make small changes to the slot machine floor in order to maximize revenue.
One takeaway from how casinos dealt with the recession is that things won’t always go smoothly. And when you’re going through a downswing, it’s important to think about solutions.
6 – Know Product Placement
Where slot machines are placed plays a large role in how much money they bring in. Typically, entrances and the outside of rows are the best places for slot machines to make money.
These are the areas that are most visible to customers. Therefore, managers often put high-profile games in these spots.
Of course, that isn’t to say that slot machines can’t make money in other spots of the floor too. A manager might notice that the middle of rows near the bar earn lots of money.
Knowing the numbers (tip #4) can be combined with product placement knowledge to drive profits. Mixing a knowledge of numbers and product placement is a powerful combination.
7 – Never Stop Innovating
Earlier I touched on how it’s important to adapt. Innovation is a big part of this, because casinos need to ensure that they’re making changes to meet customers’ needs.
But innovation goes beyond just rolling out the latest slot machines. It also extends to how the slots floor operates and management procedures in a changing climate.
Slot machine departments are slowly shrinking in terms of personnel. Part of this is because modern slot machines no longer require as much maintenance.
This isn’t to say that restaurants, shows, clubs, and stores haven’t always played a role in casino resorts. However, each aspect is more prevalent than ever in today’s changing climate.
Slots managers are thus asked to increase revenue with smaller staffs. They must use innovative tactics to meet these demands as casinos shift more personnel to other areas of their resorts.
Not all business managers are dealing with shrinking staffs. But they can still take a cue from slots managers and make the most of their resources to bring in additional revenue.
Slots managers know far more about business than the average person realizes. They have to be skilled at reviewing numbers, dealing with employees, placing machines, and innovating.
Creating a great experience is perhaps the most-important task on a slots manager’s agenda. A casino can’t make money off slots if they don’t have something to draw players.
Adapting is another crucial part of a slot machine manager’s job. They need to look for industry changes and figure out ways to stay with the trends.
Listening is an undervalued skill of a manager in any field – not just slots. Paying attention to employees and customers is a great way to get ideas and improve.
A slots manager must also be good at getting through the lows of the gaming industry. Keeping a level head during the bad times can lead to eventual success.
Keep all seven tips discussed here in mind if you’re a business manager or owner. You can draw from the expertise of slots managers any time that you need some help running your business.