11 minute read
It's Just Plain More Fun!
Niagara Casinos became part of the Mohegan family in 2019. How has that transition been?
We were Mohegan’s first operation international property. The strong partnership with Mohegan offers us more opportunities to cross markets, grow our brand and drive business to Niagara Falls from new areas. Their team has been nothing but supportive throughout all of this and I cannot thank them enough as we continue this great partnership. We are really excited about the growth of the Mohegan enterprise across the globe, including South Korea, and their newest property in Las Vegas.
What are the biggest changes you have seen for Niagara Casinos?
FIRST, MORE RESTAURANT OPTIONS!
The launch of Bar Barista has been great! It provides two unique experiences for our guests. By day, it’s a high-end European coffeehouse featuring fine pastries and by night, transforms into a contemporary cocktail bar featuring small plates, local wines, and expertly curated beverages.
The Grand Buffet relaunched in the summer of 2022, introducing a new and improved customer service experience, which includes a faster seating service and a focus on reducing our food waste.
The Golden Lotus introduced the bespoke tea experience, which is an in-depth guided tea tasting experience that is unique to our property. This has been a great addition to the Golden Lotus, along with its authentic Cantonese dinner menu.
We are preparing to open a 7,000 square foot sports bar later this year.
Our focus is really on local food and beverage, and we partner with numerous local businesses to bring the Niagara experience to our culinary options.
SECONDLY, MORE SHOWS!
We’ve recently officially opened the OLG Stage at Fallsview Casino with none other than Billy Joel! The show was a tremendous success, and our guests are still talking about the event which took place in February of this year. Pitbull just performed to a packed audience! And we have some amazing performances coming later this year – Comedian Kevin Hart, 80s rocker Billy Idol, Grammy and Juno-Award winning Canadian superstar Sarah McLachlan, Cheap Trick, the legendary Tom Jones, Santana, John Fogerty, Kane Brown, and how can we forget Rod Stewart all coming to the OLG Stage at Fallsview Casino! We also announced our first ever production show coming to the OLG Stage -- Return to Grace!
Now those are just a few to mention as we announce new shows every week!
The OLG Stage at Fallsview Casino is a state-of-the-art venue! It’s outfitted with 5000 soft-seats throughout the theatre with no seat at a greater distance than 150 feet from the stage. It’s a fully AODA accessible venue that also offers T-Loop listening technology and 150 AODO accessible seats.
We are also continuing to operate the Avalon Theatre which is a 1500-seat state-of-the-art facility. No seat is more than 100 feet from the stage in the Avalon. In the past, this venue has hosted over 250 performances a year including Steven Tyler, Duran Duran, Harry Connick Jr., Tony Bennett and many more.
PRIVATE GAMING IS ANOTHER EXCITING OFFERING AT NIAGARA CASINOS.
Leveraging the world’s best view of Niagara Falls, Fallsview Casino Resort developed two high-end gaming suites on the 30th floor of the hotel. Each room has three gaming tables and flexible game types to meet the player’s desire. Connected to a beautiful hotel suite we offer food and beverage on demand and the private gaming rooms provide the ultimate in privacy and convenience to the triumph of players. Fallsview Casino Resort also offers three private gaming rooms for players within the Salon Privé.
WE’VE ALSO INTRODUCED THE NEW MOMENTUM PLAYERS’ PROGRAM.
The Momentum program is Mohegan’s award-winning loyalty program which gives our players more choice and flexibility. With Momentum dollars earned as they play on both slot and table games, players can use their dollars towards Fallsview dining, the hotel, entertainment, or even free play. The program maximizes excitement with amazing rewards and benefits and players can decide where to apply their momentum dollars to suit their needs. The program will continue to expand over the next year.
ONLINE GAMING LAUNCHED IN ONTARIO JUST OVER A YEAR AGO (April 4, 2022)
This is a highly competitive market with more companies and more than 70 potential operators vying for market share and the consumer wallet. We work in partnership with Mohegan Digital to offer the iGaming app – PlayFallsview. This new line of business offers an opportunity for Niagara Casinos to expand the customer experience from bricks and mortar to the experience beyond the properties and vice versa. Our next steps are to tie the online experience back to the property through our Momentum program. This will be a competitive advantage that many companies will not be able to offer.
During the pandemic we successfully launched a social gaming app (FallsviewSocial) to stay connected to our patrons.
SPORTS BETTING LAUNCHED IN NOVEMBER 2022 AT BOTH SITES.
Fallsview offers 21 kiosks and Casino Niagara has 15 kiosks. Customers at Casino Niagara can also enjoy watching all of their favourite sports at LEV2L Sports Bar – with over 50 HD plasma screens keeping everyone in the action for all the edge-of-your-seat games. The touch-screen kiosks at both properties will allow bets to be placed on all major North American sports and a variety of other major sporting events including the World Cup. Single event wagering, parlays, props, and more betting options are also available. Bets may also be placed at the Sports Betting windows. Sports Betting Ambassadors are available at both properties to answer any questions sports enthusiasts may have regarding games, betting options or to take bets. We partnered with Kambi to provide the sports betting platform and SuzoHapp for the kiosks and we are expecting to open a Sportsbook in late 2023.
What is your vision moving into the future?
The next couple of months are very exciting for the property. We are continuing to add new and amazing entertainment to both the OLG Stage at Fallsview Casino and the Avalon Theatre. We are continuing to work on the new 7,000 square foot sports bar to support our Sportsbook which is expected to open later in the year. We are in the midst of preparing for our Hot Summer Fun promotion and our Backyard BBQ, as well as many more exciting projects for the summer season.
What do you feel offers Niagara Casinos a competitive advantage?
First, we are located in the heart of Niagara Falls. Secondly, Fallsview Casino Resort and Casino Niagara are award-winning properties that offer leading entertainment and superior guest experiences. The outstanding guest experiences offered by Niagara Casinos associates will keep customers coming back to the properties. Fallsview Casino Resort and Casino Niagara house large and impressive gaming floors with more than 4,800 slot machines and 160 gaming tables. Both vibrant properties feature over 20 outstanding dining options including the Wine Spectator’s Best of Award of Excellence for our two signature restaurants, Ponte Vecchio and 21 Club Steak & Seafood. Then, there are our aforementioned, state-of-theart, entertainment theatres. The future is bright for Niagara Casinos as we continue announce new big-name
Richard Taylor Executive Biography
Richard Taylor - a recognized industry leader with a solid reputation for delivering significant results. A proven change architect, proficient at cultivating talent and building high performing teams.
Richard is President, Niagara Casinos and possesses a rare and unique professional background as he has held executive roles in all facets of gaming including Ontario Lottery & Gaming (OLG), the Alcohol & Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) and with gaming operators. This experience has provided Richard with the ability to understand the various stakeholder expectations and also the political and public landscape that affects gaming in Ontario.
Richard currently reports to the Board of Directors of Falls Management Company and has oversight of both Fallsview Casino Resort and Casino Niagara. Combined, these sites have an employee population of 4,200. Richard’s performance benchmarks include an 23% increase in revenue, a 58% increase in EBITDA and numerous cost reduction and operating efficiencies. Through his leadership, the organization has also received numerous industry excellence awards for the hotel, the spa, restaurants, and the casino and workplace environment.
Richard is a firm believer that there is no greater driver of an organization’s success than its people – those that are united around a collective set of values and behaviours. His entrepreneurial and transformational style of leadership aligns and mobilizes the organization resulting in the delivery of a consistently well-executed customer experience.
An advocate of philanthropic endeavors, Richard promotes corporate social responsibility and has built productive relationships with numerous community groups and agencies to foster organizational reputation. Richard also leads by example and has served on various not-for-profit and charitable boards.
Richard holds a CPA/CMA designation from the University of Windsor and a Bachelor of Commerce degree. Richard has also graduated from several executive programs including the University of Reno, Rotman School of Business and most recently, Queen’s University.
entertainment each and every week and look forward to the opening of a new Sportsbook in late 2023.
What is your typical day like?
I like to think of myself as a very busy multitasker. I am involved in the day-to-day operations here at the casino and I’m on top of where all our projects are heading. When I am not here, I am making trips to Toronto for in-person meetings with either the OLG, ACGO or iGO. I am also on calls with MGE Corporate and with local businesses, hoteliers, and with our tourism partners.
I like to think of myself as someone you can approach to ask questions, and with whom you can be honest. I am always listening to our associate’s ideas and suggestions about how we can build and enhance the experience at Niagara Casinos fallsviewcasinoresort.com casinoniagara.com
I make it a priority to stay connected with our guests, our employees, and the businesses and organizations we work with and I always take the time to stop and say hello and see how everyone is doing.
What do you feel you need most going forward to continue doing your job with maximum effect and efficiency?
We are always looking to gather information about our industry, our customers, and the market. Every decision that we make is data driven and strategically planned and this will continue to ensure we remain a viable business.
Are there considerations from local politics/organizations that you must balance with your overall mission as leader of the largest employer in Niagara?
We are committed to Niagara Falls. Collectively, Niagara Casinos injected $60 million into the local economy, furthering ties with more than 300 regional businesses. Niagara Casinos is one of the largest employers in the Region and we are excited and proud to have returned all of our employees back to work following the pandemic.
Together, Niagara Casinos, MGE and the OLG, have been promoting greater economic development in Niagara Falls, creating jobs while driving tourism activity to ensure continued revenues for both the Province of Ontario and the Niagara Region.
The completion of the 130-million dollar OLG Stage at Fallsview Casino was facilitated by a Public-Private Partnership led by the OLG. This is the type of state-of-theart venue customers want — and is essential in a competitive, tourism-driven centre like Niagara Falls.
Thank you so much for your time! And I’ll be calling you so we can meet up at Bar Barista for an espresso, maybe even a crafted cocktail.
You’re most welcome and it’s a date!