Casino Life Issue 148 Vol.18

Page 1

The magazine for the owners and management of international casinos

Volume 18: Issue 148


Editor’s Note

CASINO The magazine for the owners and management of international casinos

Published by Outsource Digital Media Ltd

Editorial: Editor: David McKee Associate Editor Asia: Bill Healey Associate Editor EMEA: Aydin Guney aydin.guney@outsourcedigital International Correspondent: Lyudmyla Kyrychenko lyudmyla.kyrychenko@outsource

Production: Designer: Stewart Hyde Accounts: Helen Holmes IT Director: Pasha Kuzminskiy Publisher: Peter White Tel: +44 (0) 1892 740869 Mob: +44 (0) 7973 273714 Volume 17: Issue 148

Welcome... If 2021 still saw headlines dominated by Covid-19, for gaming it was nonetheless the Year of Sports Betting. In the United States, where 2020 ended with sports wagering legalized in the District of Columbia and 26 states, by the beginning of 2022 that number had swelled to 33, with some – like Ohio yet to go live. Indeed, the Buckeye State passed sports-betting legislation in such haste that it may take another year to get it up and running with a regulatory framework in place and such. Nonetheless, wherever sports betting has debuted it has found an ardent and eager public. Arizona’s first two months saw $777 million in wagers and $70 million in revenue. New York State went ‘live’ on January 8, with 5.8 million bets being placed in the first 12 hours alone. During that first weekend, so vociferous was the wagering activity in the Empire State that Caesars Sportsbook, DraftKings and FanDuel all saw their Web sites crash under sheer betting volume at some point. As gratifying as the inrush of revenue may be, the sports betting model in the U.S. is not without serious questions. For all the prestige of being in New York, can operators be profitable when paying 51 percent of their gross earnings (not their profits, as is sometimes reported) in taxes to Albany? And can they afford to be as generous with their promotional offers when operating on such narrow margins? Are jurisdictions like New York going to be “loss leaders?” As we turn the page into 2022, we also hope for more clarity from Macao, where predictions of the future are manifold and contradictory. Concession renewals are due in June but even that is a moving target. Wall Street doesn’t worry that operators will lose their licenses but they may well have to pay more for the privilege of doing business in a protected market. Few expect the government to upset the applecart, but deteriorating relations between China and the U.S. are causing some apprehension for Occidental casino powers. There is also the vexing question of the all-important junket market following the arrest of Alvin Chau and collapse of his Suncity Group. Looking ahead, VIP play is presumed to be endangered, if not downright extinct, as some predict. Even the existence of junketeers themselves – who alone can extend credit in Macao – is not taken for granted. If they survive, the premium-mass player stands to benefit from their solicitude. Casinos got a double whammy, as Macanese courts ruled they are on the hook for junket-incurred debt. Getting into Macao was a casino operator’s dream but staying there is sometimes causing sleepless nights for the lucky few.

DMcKee David McKee Editor 3

Contents 3

Editors Note


Playing a full house

Or, how CEO Dan Lee’s company survived the pandemic and plans to thrive. By David McKee 13 Heritage Inspired

Touring California’s new Yaamava’ Resort & Casino with General Manager Peter Arceo. By Peter White





21 Agent of change

Ambassadeurs Group’s Tracy Damestani is someone to watch. By Peter White 28 Small-town girl makes it big-time

Catching up with International Game Technology’s Jennifer Bowman. By Peter White 33 Both sides now

Anthony Cabot has been a leading advocate for the gaming industry but he’s showing regulators the way to the future. By Peter White 38 Meet the new rules, same as the old rules Sighs of relief greet the proposed second generation of casino concessions in Macao. By David McKee 41 Mob Rules

The Mob Museum is the place to go for a fix of criminal history. By David McKee


Editorial Policy: The views and opinions expressed in Casino Life remain principally the views of contributors and do not necessarily reflect those of the editor or publishers. The publishers wish to avoid inaccuracies and, whilst every precaution has been taken to ensure that information contained in this publication is accurate, no liability is accepted by the editor or publishers for errors or omissions, however caused. Unless otherwise stated, articles appearing in this publication remain the copyright of the publishers and may not be reproduced in any form without the publisher’s written consent. Printed in the UK by Severn Print.



Feature: Full House

Playing a full house


Or, how CEO Dan Lee’s company survived the pandemic and plans to thrive. By David McKee

lthough it is based in Las Vegas, Full House Resorts is anything but a Sin City-centric company. Instead, it has made its name serving some of gaming’s niche markets. Its five-casino (soon to be six) reach encompasses: the Silver Slipper in Biloxi, Mississippi; Rising Star in Rising Sun on the southernmost fringe of Indiana; Bronco Billy’s in Cripple Creek, Colorado; Stockman’s Casino in Fallon, Nevada; and Grand Lodge Casino on the shores of Lake Tahoe. Full House is a boutique operation. None of its casinos has more than 1,000 slots and Bronco Billy’s only has 24 hotel rooms—a situation in Cripple Creek that is soon to change with the construction of Full House’s five-star Chamonix resort. Masterminding the company is CEO Dan Lee, who just celebrated his seven-year anniversary in that role. He made his name in the industry as Steve Wynn’s right-hand man at Mirage Resorts, someone who is able to suss out a deal when it is not immediately obvious. A Cornell University alumnus, Lee cut his 6

teeth as a securities analyst on Wall Street at Drexel Burnham Lambert and CS First Boston. He also spent seven years as CEO of Pinnacle Entertainment, during which time it crafted such industry-leading properties as L’Auberge du Lac and L’Auberge Baton Rouge. We spoke with him from Full House headquarters in Summerlin, Nevada. What kind of brand identity do you strive for at Full House Resorts? We operate five different casinos in five different places and they each have a brand that’s important to that neighborhood but we don’t operate under a uniform brand. For example, we have a casino in Mississippi and we have a casino in southern Indiana. It is rare that a customer from one ends up at the other? Where there’s pros and cons, on the pro side most of our customers live a short drive from us. So if they live in Cincinnati, they’re a half an hour drive from our

Feature: Full House

Silver Slipper Casino, Biloxi

property in Rising Sun. If they live in Colorado Springs, they’re 45 minutes from our property in Cripple Creek, Colorado, and so on. The regional casinos have that convenience factor. Many of our customers come once a week or once a month. They can get to our casino as fast as they can get to the airport, park their car, and get into the terminal and fly to Las Vegas. So if one is primarily interested in playing a slot machine, we’re a heck of a lot more convenient for the people in each of our markets than is Las Vegas. How did Full House weather the pandemic and are you operating at full scale now? The answer to the second question is yes. Weathering the pandemic was actually very interesting. First, it was an area of big concern for us, as it was for everybody. All of a sudden we were shut down: The regulators required us to close for almost 90 days. It varied a little bit from market to market as to when we could reopen and how but we were effectively completely shut down for almost 90 days. Full House is a public company. We had debt. We still have to pay interest on the debt and other costs like real estate taxes. Frankly and sadly, we had to lay off almost all of our employees. We kept the employees who would be most critical to reopening and a few security employees. But we laid off over 95 percent of our employees and didn’t really have a choice. Volume 17: Issue 148

We had just started construction on a parking garage in Colorado and had raised the money to build it, so we had roughly $20 million in the bank. We quickly stopped construction because we wanted to make sure we could survive. One could complete the parking garage but then end up filing bankruptcy because then the casinos aren’t open. That doesn’t do anybody any good. I remember at one point … I was listening to something on the radio this morning on how much politics intrudes on this whole pandemic, when it really shouldn’t. For example, some 30 percent of the country has refused to get vaccinated. Well, an awful lot of that is driven by politics. The likelihood of having been vaccinated is much higher if you’re a Democrat than if you’re a Republican. So people are playing with their health based on their politics, which is sad. But I remember in Indiana, for example, when the disease was first discovered, we were trying to take measures where we’d be allowed to continue to operate. So we were installing hand-sanitizing machines and taking people’s temperature at the door. We were disabling every other slot machine so people weren’t sitting close to each other. The state of Ohio, which is next door to Indiana, had come out with a set of rules for the casinos similar to what I just said: Keep everybody six feet apart and all that stuff. It’s actually quite possible to enforce or encourage “social 7

Feature: Full House

Full House Resorts President and CEO Dan Lee

distancing” within a casino. But they mandated that churches and schools close. In the science of it that makes sense. When one goes to church one generally sits in a pew and you’re usually not six feet apart. Then there’s singing involved. A casino, on the other hand, if you turn off every other slot machine or otherwise keep the slot machines six feet apart it’s relatively easy to maintain social distancing. It’s not really an unsafe place. And I remember there was an editorial in the newspaper in Ohio that said, “Well, why can you not allow us to worship or go to school but you’re allowing these casinos to continue to operate?” When I read that editorial, I thought, “Oh, crap.” Sure enough, the next day Ohio came out an closed all the casinos and I think the day after that Indiana closed all its casinos. To some extent, the closures and restrictions reflected politics as much as science. Then, as we were allowed to reopen, some jurisdictions allowed table games to operate while others didn’t. This didn’t make sense to me either; it’s far more difficult to operate socially distant table games than slot machines. Just think about all the chips changing hands. 8

Anyway, we took that 90-day closure period to reexamine how we operated. The timing was a little bit fortuitous because we had just installed the Konami slot-management system. We already had it in Mississippi but we put it in our properties in Indiana and Colorado. That system provides us far better data of who’s playing your slot machines and how they’re playing. It’s also a better customer experience: Their points and free play are on the screen, they don’t have to go stand in line at a desk to redeem their free play and all this stuff. We had just put it in just prior to the pandemic and, quite honestly, didn’t really understand how it worked. Since we had better data, we started to figure out which one of our customers we’re making money on and which ones we aren’t. We found out that we had a lot of customers that we were upside down on. We comped them so much in buffets and hotel rooms that we weren’t making money on them. And then we had other customers, very important customers, who we found we weren’t paying enough attention to. So we revamped our marketing policies and our players clubs to reflect all that. Then when it was time to reopen, we said, “Let’s reopen very carefully. We don’t know if customers are going to show up. Let’s be very careful about what restaurants we reopen and what the hours of operation are. Because we could lose a lot of money fast if we reopen full-bore and customers don’t show up.” Well, we found that customers did show up. The customers were smart. They realized that if you go to a casino and play a slot machine, it can be a safe experience in a pandemic because you can kind of keep away from everybody else. For example, with the Konami system, when a customer is done playing and takes his or her card out, the machine would shut down until an employee came and sanitized the machine. If you saw a machine that was on, that meant it was sanitized. In the restaurants we had to space everybody out, so we didn’t have nearly the restaurant capacity. That actually allowed us to get rid of some sacred cows that we’d had for a very long time—promotions and ways of operating that people were afraid to do anything about, including myself. We said, “What have we got to lose at this point?” So for example, $5 blackjack tables had been unprofitable for a long time. If somebody bets $5 at blackjack the house edge is typically two percent. If you bet $5 dollars we expect to win 10 cents. If you have a full table, you’re getting

Feature: Full House

Grand Lodge, Lake Tahoe

60 cents a hand on maybe 50 hands an hour. From that you have to pay the dealer and the relief dealer. Then you’ve got supervisors and pit bosses, and you’re giving customers comps and by the time you add it all up you’re not making money at $5 a hand. You’re certainly not making money at $5 a hand if you’re not limiting to three people at the table. Under the temporary Covid rule, the dealer makes the same but now you only have three people sitting at the table. So we just made the decision that when we reopened we’re not going to offer $5 tables. And we don’t. To this day we don’t. What we did do, during the period of time we were closed, is we installed more of the video-simulated blackjack tables where one can play blackjack but with a computer-simulated dealer rather than a live dealer. So if you want to play $5 blackjack, you have to do it at a simulated table. If you want the live dealer it’s a $15 table and up. Some of the outcomes of that were rather interesting. First, our customers adapted readily. They either shifted to the machine or they stepped up what they were gambling. Our revenues ended up being about the same and we did it with fewer dealers. The dealers we do have are now making a lot more in tips because somebody playing $15 a hand is likely to tip more than somebody playing $5 a hand. So we don’t have as many dealers but the dealers we have are making more money in general. We’re also making more money in general because we’re not trying to operate games that are unprofitable. We also made changes at our restaurant. For Volume 17: Issue 148

example, our property in Cripple Creek had offered a 49-cent breakfast for some 25 years. That was a real breakfast with eggs, bacon, coffee, orange juice … and it was 49 cents. Obviously it was a loss leader. When I pointed out how much lost every month by offering an essentially free breakfast the property management would counter, “That’s the secret of our success. That’s why people come to us. You can’t eliminate that.” I’d been at Cripple Creek and I’d walk into the little coffee shop that had this, and every morning I’d see the same people sitting there. They were locals. I didn’t know well enough to know whether they were people who play slot machines or not but I thought it was kind of interesting that we were serving almost a free breakfast to a lot of the same people every morning. So we didn’t offer the 49-cent breakfast. It turned out we had very few people living in Cripple Creek who were gambling enough to justify us giving them free breakfast every morning. [Laughs] So we eliminated it and it did not affect our slot play at all. In Mississippi we offered a two-for-one buffet midweek. And we said, “We’re not going to do that with our limited capacity.” It had no impact on our slot revenue. In Indiana we operated a buffet that lost $2 million a year. It was a big, expensive buffet to operate and did not have enough covers to to make it efficient. We just said, “We’re not going to reopen the buffet.” At first we weren’t allowed to reopen it, because it’s harder to control the virus at a buffet than a normal restaurant. So we weren’t allowed to reopen it and our 9

Feature: Full House

Rising Star, Indiana

casino revenues were fine. Today we could operate it and we’ve chosen not to. Because that buffet historically lost money. In essence we came out of the pandemic as smarter operators, to be honest, and our profitability has been significantly better, double what it was before the pandemic. Your next big thing is Chamonix. You’ve said it will be the biggest thing to hit Cripple Creek since the discovery of gold. What can we expect to see? That’s correct. They originally legalized gambling in Colorado with a $5 maximum bet. All of the casinos that exist today in Cripple Creek were built during that era. A casino can make money on a $5 machine but it doesn’t allow the casino to offer a nice hotel, to operate nice restaurants, where the rooms and meals are often comped. Recognize that when people gamble, they do it for a sense of risk and an opportunity to win. Well, if all you can bet is $5, that’s not very exciting to a wealthy person. So they would fly to Las Vegas instead of going to Cripple Creek. The law was changed a few years ago and the maximum went to $100 per bet. Then, last spring, betting limits were eliminated completely. So now, all of a sudden, one can offer restaurants, nice hotel rooms and all that stuff, appealing to both the historic clientele but also a new, higher-end customer. There’s a similar community called Black Hawk, which is an hour from Denver. We’re an hour from Colorado Springs. And in Black Hawk, first Ameristar 10

and now Monarch have built nice hotels and they’re doing very, very well. So we’re planning to do the same thing for Colorado Springs, where Cripple Creek can appeal to a whole different strata of people who want a nicer hotel room, who might gamble enough to be comped in that room or they’re willing to pay for it. But it’s a nice hotel. It’s got a lot of meeting-room space, a spa, heated swimming pool. It’s a true resort experience whereas in Cripple Creek today there’s nothing that offers such. It’s odd because Colorado Springs is a pretty big tourist destination on its own. The Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs is, I believe, the largest five-star hotel in the country other than the ones in Las Vegas. It has a very robust meeting and convention business, and we’re aiming to be kind of a small version of that up in the mountains. You’re also expanding Silver Slipper in Mississippi. How is that going and what are the environmental challenges involved? The way that property is situated, it didn’t set itself up well to add another hotel tower. When it was built, they didn’t envision adding hotel towers at a later date. There was only one direction to go and it’s out over the Gulf of Mexico. Building on a pier over the Gulf of Mexico is actually not that much different from building on land. That part of Mississippi is all mud—it’s essentially the delta of the Mississippi

Feature: Full House

Bronco Billy’s, Colorado

River. So whether one builds on land or over the water, one must building on pilings driven 100 feet down into the mud until you can’t pound them down any more. You have to do that whether it’s on land or out over the water. The only question is whether the pile driver is mounted on a truck or on a barge. But getting the permission to do it is complicated. That’s because the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico, near the coast, is owned by the State of Mississippi. So the first thing you have to do is negotiate a lease with the State, which we have done. Then you have to get the approval of the Corps of Engineers and of different environmental groups, because you’re affecting wetlands. We’re in the process of seeking those approvals. For example, to fill in wetlands one usually has to find more pristine wetlands, buy them and put them into trust so the ducks and other wildlife will always have a place to go. and then you’re allowed to fill in your wetlands.So we’re in the process of seeking those approvals and sometimes it can be a long process. Volume 17: Issue 148

How are your prospects in Waukegan and how do you rate the competition? We’re one of two finalists at this point. The other finalist is a private company, backed by a Canadian private equity firm. We are far more experienced at developing casinos. I believe our casino is larger and far more interesting than their design. Their design is pretty “Plain Jane.” Ours is targeting a higher-end clientele from throughout Chicagoland. Our casino would produce more tax revenues, more jobs. From the viewpoint of the Illinois Gaming Board, they can rest easy that the money is there. The actual individual making the competing proposal is a local person from Waukegan who used to be a state senator. Then he had a slot-route operation that he sold. He paired up with a management company out of Las Vegas who’s developed a couple of tribal casinos and one commercial casino in Sioux City, Iowa. So you have a Canadian private equity firm, a local former state senator and a small management firm out of Las Vegas. I’m biased but I think we are more capable on 11

Feature: Full House

every count of developing something terrific for the State of Illinois and the City of Waukegan. In fact the city had hired an independent consultant who rated all the different proposals, based on, as I recall 10 different criteria. We were the leader on nine of the 10 criteria. What are Full House’s plans, if any, vis-a-vis online gaming? Online gaming is not yet legal in any of the states in which we operate. But I think it will be and so it’s something we’re looking at, trying to figure out how to do it. Online sports betting is legal where we operate, but we chose to enter contracts with third parties to participate in that business. In that area, FanDuel, DraftKings and some others have been very aggressively marketing, trying to build a large roster of customers and I think they’re spending so much on marketing that they’re upside down on their income statement. DraftKings has had a high valuation on the stock market, for example, but loses money. But I think it might be possible to do it in a different way and operate online sports betting primarily for your own customers. That allows us to coordinate better. For example, if somebody was our customer on a sports-betting website, and they win enough points we could invite them for a stay in Indiana where they could play golf for a weekend. It’s something we’re studying but for the moment we’re not in a hurry. How is Full House adapting to the cashless revolution in gaming? I don’t know if it’s a revolution as much as evolution. I’ve been around the industry long enough that I 12

remember when MGM Grand first opened on the Strip in 1993. Originally it had a section of its casino that did not use coins in the slot machines—the first major place to attempt this. It failed. People were accustomed to the coins, carrying the bucket around and wearing gloves so your hands wouldn’t get dirty. Operationally, it was kind of a nightmare. The casino had to collect all those coins and put them back into rolls of quarters and then you had people on the floor selling rolls of quarters in exchange for $10 bills. It was a big hassle. So eventually IGT created the TITO ticket and reintroduced what had failed at MGM. But they reintroduced it in a way that became the industry norm, so nobody operates with coins anymore. I would love to get rid of chips at the tables. Chips are a hassle, too, and why have them? The slot machine companies are just coming out with systems now that we’re looking pretty carefully at where the dealer can give a TITO ticket to the customer when he or she cashes out. The customer can then redeem that TITO ticket at any one of the redemption machines on the floor. Or put it in a slot machine. A lot of this has been encouraged by the pandemic because when one thinks of reopening table games in a pandemic, there’s a real issue of how to keep the chips clean. It was never resolved. Some states required you to shut the table once in a while just to disinfect all the chips and so on. If anybody at that table has Covid, even if everyone is wearing masks, people’s hands are all over the chips going back and forth. That’s an issue. Cruise ships have had cashless gaming for quite some time. It’s not a matter of technology. The technology’s there. It’s getting the regulators comfortable. They have been hesitant to allow somebody to just download money from their bank account into a slot machine because they’re afraid somebody could more easily lose more than they can afford to lose. On the other hand, if you don’t allow that to happen then somehow you have a swapping of credit cards and cash and so on, which is not pandemic-friendly. So you have to offset one with the other. Maybe you find other ways to make sure that people do not lose more than they can afford to lose but allow the casino to become more of a cashless experience...because that’s healthier for all involved. You’ve been very generous with your time. Thank you. Take care. Thank you, too.

Feature: Yamaava’ Resort

Heritage Inspired Touring California’s new Yaamava’ Resort & Casino with General Manager Peter Arceo. By Peter White

Yaamava’ Resort & Casino, General Manager, Peter Arceo Volume 17: Issue 148


Feature: Yamaava’ Resort


e are grateful for your generosity to answer our questions. First, I would like to ask you to shortly introduce yourself and tell us when and why you started working in this industry. Thank you for the opportunity. I started my career in the casino industry in the mid 90’s as a blackjack dealer while I was attending the University of NevadaLas Vegas. I graduated in ’96 with a degree in Hotel Administration. I spent 18 years in Las Vegas before heading to Scottsdale, Arizona, to work at Talking Stick Resort & Casino for the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community. In 2015, I moved to California to join the management team at Yaamava’ Resort & Casino at San Manuel (formerly San Manuel Casino). What is the story behind the name change of the resort and what is the meaning of the name Yaamava? Because the opening of their first resort is a historic milestone for the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, the tribe decided to refresh the property’s name to represent the beginning of a new chapter and boundless potential. Yaamava’ is a native Serrano word that means “spring – a time of growth, rebirth, renewal and transformation.” The tribe will continue to serve as the owners of this new luxury resort and


casino, while the name change allows the tribe to pursue additional growth opportunities and serve the community under the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians enterprise. Additionally, the rebrand to Yaamava’ Resort & Casino at San Manuel includes a new visual identity and logo, inspired by the ancestral lands of the Serrano people. For example, the Yaamava’ logo is inspired by yucca plant fronds and basket weaving, which are critical parts of the tribe’s history in the region – all paying homage to the culture and heritage of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians. Can you explain a bit about the difficulties created by COVID-19 and what action you’ve taken to overcome them? Over the last two years, the pandemic made a major impact to the hospitality and gaming industries in many ways. Initially, the issues were focused on how do we reopen our businesses in a safe manner for our team members and guests. Our casino closed for 87 days in 2020 and we spent every day researching products, technologies, and new processes that would allow us to reopen safely. We sought the advice and counsel of medical experts as part of our process. Once we were able to resume operations, the focus then shifted to hiring and retaining team members. The labour landscape changed and there is now a shortage of workers in the hospitality industry. This happened during a time period where we wanted to hire an additional 3,000 team members to re-open our casino and open our resort expansion. In order to do that, we came up with some creative ideas. Early in 2021, we created an online virtual career fair by leveraging technology that is normally used for online conferences. We took a different approach to online career fairs by giving direct access to department managers and executives as part of the career fair. Candidates were able to virtually meet with department leaders and we hosted discussion panels where we covered a wide variety of topics such as workplace culture and career development. This allowed potential candidates to engage and interact with people whom they would work with on a daily basis and gave a more in-depth view into our organization than what a traditional online recruiting event would offer. It was extremely successful and we were able to make hundreds of offers to people over three different online events. Additionally, we opened

Feature: Yamaava’ Resort

up an offsite recruiting center at the Ontario Mills Mall, which is one of the busiest malls in the U.S. We set up the recruiting center as a one-stop shop for potential team members to learn about our organization, apply for a job, get an immediate interview, receive a job offer and drug test onsite. We wanted to make it as convenient as possible and didn’t require candidates to come in formal attire. People were able to obtain a job offer within a couple of hours. We would also host special events at the recruitment center, focusing on specific departments and job opportunities. The events were festive and represented a brief snapshot of what it’s like to work in our organization. These were extremely successful. For a truly luxurious weekend, how would you describe the top-tier suites of the property, and what makes the luxurious suites so special? Our most luxurious suites are the 5 Cloud Villa suites Volume 17: Issue 148

located on our top two floors. They feature a spacious living area adorned with the most luxurious linens and amenities. Guests staying in a Cloud Villa will have 1,000-thread-count linens on the beds, luxurious robes and slippers, and beautiful furniture and décor inspired by the native landscape. Spectacular views of the valley and mountains are visible from that vantage point. In terms of dining, what kinds of restaurants do you have on site, and what are some the signature dishes and cocktails you would recommend? The Pines Modern Steakhouse, a fine dining steakhouse that was recently awarded the Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator based on their unique wine list and a collection of the world’s rarest spirits. You can also find unique menu presentation, such as table side smoked burrata cheese with house made Sicilian trapanese. 15

Feature: Yamaava’ Resort

The ambiance represents the tribe’s heritage and reflects the local landscape. The menu features rare and highly coveted Japanese wagyu beef finished on olive leaves cooked table side on a hot lava stone. Then there is Serrano Vista Café, a 24-hour café where the design is inspired by the local orange groves of Southern California. The menu features a range of comforting classics with unique twists such as our Pho’rench dip that interprets the flavors of Vietnamese pho with a French dip sandwich. The beverage menu has refreshing options such 16

as the whiskey berry smash, which is a refreshing bourbon cocktail that utilizes fresh berries that change with the seasons. In total our property has six dine-in restaurants, seven fast casual options and more than 10 lounges and bars. Tell us about the grand opening night. How many guests were present, what was the entertainment and who were amongst the lucky winners? We hosted over 800 people for our grand opening event on December 13th. After a beautiful ceremony featuring songs from the San Manuel Band of Mission

Feature: Yamaava’ Resort

Indian Bird Singers and speeches from the San Manuel Business Committee, we capped off the night with a spectacular projection map show and a special performance by Grammy-winning artist Miguel. The casino also has 120 tables in addition to blackjack and roulette. What are amongst the other card games popular at the resort? Our property now features over 150 table games. EZ Baccarat is one of the most popular games among our guests. Additionally, we have progressive jackpots across our gaming floor and a special progressive available only on games in our high-limit rooms. Volume 17: Issue 148

How does the resort cater to its VIPs? We work hard to provide a unique experience for our VIP players. We have five high-limit rooms, offering 532 slots and 42 table games. Slot players have six exclusive gaming salons where we can configure the room with the games they would like to play given three days’ notice. We also have a spectacular beverage program, which we call “Collection 86,” featuring rare spirits and wines from around the world. The Collection 86 menu is available throughout the property including the Y Lounge, which is located at the top of the resort tower for our VIP guests to enjoy light food fare and spectacular views of the valley. Our 17

Feature: Yamaava’ Resort

new spa features treatment “journeys” that are custom tailored for each guest to choose from and is centered around a crystal that connects the energy to the spa experience. The resort also recently launched the Yaamava’ Resort & Casino App. We spent a considerable amount of time designing the user interface and experience of our mobile app. Ease of use and perceived value were two critical components of our requirements. Every feature and 18

function are well thought out and we release features once it’s passed a battery of tests to ensure that our guests will respond favourably. Download the app and I think you’ll immediately feel and experience the difference between other apps that are out in the market. So far, our daily active users and engagement stats have shown that this is working well for us. Can you tell us about this sponsorship deal with the National Women’s Soccer League expansion team Angel City FC?

Feature: Yamaava’ Resort We are partners with a variety of organizations throughout Southern California and Nevada. The partnership with Angel City FC was attractive to us because their mission and values to support the local community matched the community-focused mission of the tribe. It is exciting to be a partner with an organization that works hard to make the community a better place. What sort of involvement does the Yammava’ Resort and Casino have with the surrounding communities? The tribe is incredibly committed to strengthening the local community and they do it in a variety of ways. They employ more than 6,000 team members, most of whom live right here in the Inland Empire. Since 2003, the tribe has given more than $290 million to non-profits, schools, medical facilities and other organizations not just here in the community, but in Nevada and other states. Just a few examples of the tribe’s philanthropy can be found on its website • The City of San Bernardino, the LA Kings, LA Galaxy, and San Manuel Band of Mission Indians collaborated with KABOOM!, a national nonprofit dedicated to playspace equity, to open an accessible playground at Lionel E. Hudson Park. • San Manuel Band of Mission Indians donated $4 million to create more jobs through Goodwill Southern California • San Bernardino Animal Shelter received a $1.5 Million Grant from San Manuel Band of Mission Indians • A $9 million gift from San Manuel Band of Mission Indians galvanized tribal-gaming and -law programs at UNLV • Tribe donated $25 Million to build San Manuel Maternity Pavilion at Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital bringing expanded care to the region’s most vulnerable mothers and babies through state-of-the-art technology, private patient rooms, specially designed delivery rooms and more. Volume 17: Issue 148

For those planning a weekend getaway to Yaamava’ Resort & Casino, how would you carve out their perfect itinerary? The perfect itinerary would be: A two-night stay in a one-bedroom suite. A Friday evening dining reservation at the Serrano Buffet. Leave time for gaming after dinner. Saturday morning, take a Aquamarine (calming and balance) journey at the spa, with a 50-minute facial followed by an 80-minute massage. Saturday lunch at the Serrano Vista Café, with time for gambling after lunch. That evening, make a dinner reservation at the Pines Modern Steakhouse. Always leave time for gaming afterward, followed by a nightcap at the Y Lounge on the 17th floor. Sunday, finish up with brunch at Pines Steakhouse. What is Yaamava’ Resort & Casino’s Live Entertainment Calendar 2021 for 2022? The Yaamava’ Theater calendar to be announced in early 2022. Stay tuned, you won’t want to miss it! 19

12-14 April 2022 ExCel London, UK


Together never felt so good

Feature: Les Ambassadeurs

Agent of change Ambassadeurs Group’s Tracy Damestani is someone to watch. By Peter White


racy Damestani is a woman on the move. Scarcely had she stepped down from the board of the European Casino As-sociation than she was named an industry ambassador for ICE London. Chief Corporate Affairs Officer for Ambassadeurs Group, Damestani has also long been an advocate for responsible gaming. She’s been attending ICE since back in its Earls Court days, in 2003, so her new posting returns her to familiar territory. She’s seen a lot of changes in those years, including the passage of the landmark Gambling Act of 2005, as well as the transition of ICE to London’s mammoth, purpose-built ExCeL center, “with an international attendance that’s unrivalled by any other gambling industry event held anywhere in the world,” Damestani says. She counts on her resumé the CEO position at the National Casino Forum, vice chairmanship of the European Casino Association, as well as advocacy for diversity in the gaming industry. In conversation with Casino Life, she discusses her myriad accomplishments, her commitment to player protection and her new role with Les Ambassadors. It promises to be an exciting new voyage. Please could you begin by telling us a little about yourself? I have been working in the industry for the last 20 years. Up until 2020 I was CEO of the National Casino Forum and brought all land-based casino operators under one umbrella, giving the sector a strong, single, unified voice. Promoting safer gambling has always been a crucial element of my activities. I was privileged to work alongside Sir David Durie, the chair for RIGT at the very outset of establishing the industry’s charity and commissioning body, which is now known as GambleAware. I was vice-chair of the ECA and gained great insight into other countries’ ways of managing regulation and player protection. Volume 17: Issue 148

I’m passionate and dedicated to raising standards across business. During my time at the National Casino Forum we formulated and delivered trailblazing programmes such as: • SENSE, the industry’s first Web-based, national VSE scheme • Playing Safe, a gambling framework, which introduced the term ‘safer gambling’ • ACE, a nationally recognized C&SR accreditation for land-based casinos • IPCA, the industry’s first national, free-to-use, customer-dispute-resolution service 21

Feature: Les Ambassadeurs • DICE, the industry’s first equality, diversity and inclusion framework • Alert Bettor, an integrated player-protection monitoring system I represented the British gambling industry and provided guidance to the EU Commission, assisting with standardising transferable skills for ESCO, the multilingual classification of European Skills, Competences, Qualifications and Occupations.

Tracy Damestani, Chief Corporate Affairs Officer, Les Ambassadeurs

Can you describe Ambassadeurs Group? Ambassadeurs Group has expedited its plans to diversify its offering that will be a catalyst for raising standards in social justice and create positive change across the industry. Our corporate approach is socially responsible, embraces equality, diversity and inclusion. It builds on the well-established Les Ambassadeurs work-family ethos. Our key aim is to raise standards across businesses, and improve our corporate environmental and economic footprint. We believe that together we can inspire others to embrace achievable and sustainable change. How would you describe your role at Ambassadeurs Group and your position within the organisation? My role as chief of corporate affairs primarily involves liaising with stakeholders such as members of Parliament, the regulator and media; helping to develop and guide policy and comms, and offer insights in relation to safer gambling and charitable aims. With ICE London on the horizon, can you provide readers details on your role with this major international event and what it encompasses? We will be participating at several events during ICE. Our work-family have been asked to present their ground-breaking initiatives at ICE master classes. I have been asked to be an ICE Ambassador, and as a critical friend will be working with Clarion Events throughout the year. Watch this space... How do you see the future with regards to cryptocurrencies? Crypto currency is already here and is a growing payment mechanism for gambling worldwide. The UK has the highest standards for source-of-funds


Feature: Les Ambassadeurs checks in the world. Despite this fact our regulator has moved at a glacial pace in its acceptance of crypto as a source of payment. This must change if the UK is to compete internationally and with other very progressive, crypto-friendly jurisdictions such as the Isle of Mann. Cryptocurrencies are not to be feared nor ignored, governments across the globe are investing in establishing crypto, mostly seeking to peg them to fiat. The UK government has been very open about its intention to create Britcoin. What is Ambassadeur Group’s view on corporate social responsibility? We are proactive on social responsibility and engage with a myriad of charities and good causes. We recently announced a ten-fold increase in our voluntary donation to RET, starting January 2022, and have committed to providing this funding to GambleAware. We will be making further announcements soon in regard to safer gambling. We are proud to be leading the way and encourage likeminded peers to get on board. Can you tell us more about the projectdevelopment phases of Ambassadeurs Group, what they include and what are your plans for future development? We are moving swiftly into the digital world, several pilots are underway in the e-commerce space, including NFTs and we are working with Yield, a crypto currency. We’re gearing up to launch a sportsbook product in the second half of 2022, and recently launched Les A Online, with an emphasis on player protection that we believe does not exist anywhere in the world. Our work-family are embarking on this journey with us and are being upskilled to be ready for the great post-Covid re-set. Every step we take is underpinned with giving back, in line with our levellingup policy. It is a difficult time for the hospitality industry. What do you think will be the hospitality sector’s biggest challenge, post-Covid? My hope is that the biggest challenge will be due to high customer demand. Our staff have largely remained in place so we know we can meet our customers’ needs. However, we understand that Covid has shaken consumer confidence, and certain behaviours have changed, meaning it may take time Volume 17: Issue 148


Feature: Les Ambassadeurs for pre-Covid behaviours to return. Our clientele is predominantly international, so rules around international travel are a major factor for our business. That said, having the necessary products and freedoms to attract and retain our ultra-high-net-worth customers, such as appropriate stakes and prizes on fully tracked electronic gaming machines, and to be allowed to transact with our clientele just as our peers can in Europe and beyond are crucial. It will be totally illogical if our Mayfair business continues to be stifled by antiquated legislation that serves no logical purpose. We are calling for Section 81 of the Gambling Act to be brought in line with payment practices commonly used around the world. Can you provide an insight into the various changes patrons will find when the walk back into Les Ambassadeurs? Our patrons will be welcomed by the friendliest and most professional people in the industry. They will feel like they have ‘come home.’ We miss seeing our guests. We have increased our offering of electronic table games and slots to accommodate customers. Our patrons will experience even more opportunities for interaction with our gaming staff as we welcome returning members. Every day at Les Ambassadeurs is Safer Gambling Day! During your career to date you have walked through the doors of many high-profile organisations. However, what is it like walk into work at one of the most famous and exclusive casinos in the world, Les Ambassadeurs? I am immensely privileged and proud to be at Les Ambassadeurs, I get a thrill every time I cross the threshold. It feels that I have climbed the work mountain to get here, the view from here is wonderful, the work-family are inspiring, they care about each other and their guests. Our CEO is a cut above the rest, he has a moral compass combined with brilliant business acumen and energy that is truly unique. Have you anything else you would like to add? Diversity, inclusivity and equality are proactively promoted throughout the Ambassadeurs Group. The compliance and management teams here are truly second to none and given my previous role I can say that with utmost confidence!


In a World of instant news Casino Life provides unrivalled insight into the land-based Casino Industry World-Wide. Also available on App

Outsource Digital Media We design and deliver effective digital marketing solutions to the Gaming Industry

Contact or call +44 (0) 1892 740869

Feature: IGT Jennifer Bowman, Senior Director Marketing, IGT

Small-town girl makes it big-time Catching up with International Game Technology’s Jennifer Bowman. By Peter White


Feature: IGT


e are grateful to your for your generosity in answering our questions. First, I would like to ask you to introduce yourself, and tell us when and why you started working in this industry. Thank you for the opportunity, I love the chance to share my enthusiasm for the industry and my role as a marketing leader across diverse markets. I have over 20 years’ experience in the gaming industry, beginning my career in the compliance department of Anchor Games in Las Vegas. I immediately loved the sense that a corporate job could lead toward the betterment of the communities in which we serve. Combined with the thrill of working in an entertainment industry and being given free rein to learn new technology, and as opportunities presented themselves, I felt that I had found the perfect industry! IGT’s acquisition of Anchor Gaming allowed me the opportunity to relocate to IGT’s then-corporate headquarters in Reno where I worked extensively with cross-functional groups implementing a range of software solutions. Seizing an opportunity to join the International division, I moved to Amsterdam in 2006 as the product manager for international casino products, overseeing and crafting go-tomarket activities for all markets outside of the U.S. and Canada, and have since held various global marketing roles for well over a decade. Currently I reside in London. and am responsible for the global marketing operations, marketing-automation and sales-enablement technology platforms. Additionally, I continue to lead marketing teams across Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and Latin America and the Caribbean, and thrive on the complexity of leading multi-national, multi-cultural teams across geographies. What is involved in your role as senior director of marketing? I have held many roles at IGT. Over the past decade my role has evolved to ensure that we are adapting to the latest market and business needs. In my current remit I oversee all marketing activities for EMEA and LAC, and at a global level, all our marketing operations. What I love most about marketing is that there are so many facets and skills to master. With a market-specific role, my team members have the opportunity to wear many hats, and enjoy a diverse set of duties on a daily basis. My regional teams are Volume 17: Issue 148

responsible for regionally focused product marketing, field marketing, event management, branding and digital marketing, including social media. They craft the go-to-market positioning of our products intended for EMEA and LAC markets, provide creative direction for related marketing collateral, design integrated campaigns, provide launch activations in the field, and plan our presence at trade shows. All of these varied activities are done in concert with ensuring that customer communication and social media content are engaging, targeted, and within our brand standards. From a marketing-operations perspective, I oversee the strategic procurement and program management of the technology stack that the global marketing team leverages to support all of IGT’s business verticals. Part of this tech stack includes integrated sales-enablement platforms for ease of accessing content needed during a sales cycle versus marketingonly usage. Thus, marketing-operations roles vary greatly. One day it could be the distribution of a global customer communication in Marketing Cloud, another it could be securely providing training or marketing assets to our sales team. Importantly, our marketing technologies produce valuable analytics that enable us to determine the usage of our tools and the impact our campaigns. I love the diversity of my daily duties whether it be working with live customer events and product launches, providing campaign strategies or leveraging integrated technology. The diversity of my work keeps my day fresh and varied, and there is always someone interesting to talk through a current campaign, which keeps the focus on fun and entertainment. What have been your personal highlights of the past year? I was absolutely, over-the-moon thrilled to be back hosting IGT customers at an industry exhibition after over a year of hosting virtual events. I believe that the best way to capture the love and energy that people have for an industry is at a live event such as a trade show. You could see the relief and joy on everyone’s faces as they would greet old friends, colleagues, customers and competitors, and feel a collective sigh of relief as the world of gaming looked to each other, and collectively toward a sense of recovery. I love that 2021 was a great lesson in adaptability and flexibility as the market opening status and 29

Feature: IGT Given your global presence across Latin America, Africa and Europe, to what extent do you look to personalize for each region? It is paramount in marketing that we are curating content that is relevant to the market. We create campaigns that are impactful and resonate with the target audience. Speaking our customers’ or players’ language, not only literally with language translation— although that is an element of complexity that we

restrictions were continually shifting around the globe. The ever-changing market conditions forced us to make the plans as needed, sometimes shelving them for later use, and to be ready to react immediately, upon markets reopening, to assist our customers with launch activities. Most of all, it was incredible to be able to see so many people whom I hold dear in person to know that they were safe, to hear what great ideas they had hatched, and to see innovation continue with new products and technology brought to market. For me, it all started with Ukraine this year and it was so wonderful to see the Ukrainian market reopen, the industry gather and people closing 2021 with their sights set toward the future. 30

navigate—but in the beautiful, smaller nuances that help to define doing business in a new culture is critical. My favorite part of my role is that I work across a diverse multi-national, multi-cultural employee, customer and player base. Understanding the nuances that are unique to a culture is critical for a marketing campaign to be successful. Examples can range from how a business meeting is conducted, to the level of formality of address in our marketing communications; the shifting player demographic and their behavioral differences are all part of what we do every day. My team strives to create engaging content that provides insightful information to our customers. We create content that will help our partners speak to their players in an educational and entertaining way that is within our customer’s brand whilst representing the IGT brand. IGT localizes its products to meet the unique player needs and preferences in individual markets and marketing has the privilege of telling this story. Our stories must shift to resonate with our audience which can range from players in Romania who love fruit machines, to a casino player in Mexico who may experience a holiday-promotion weekend, to a player who first visited Monte Carlo and stumbled upon a casino. IGT has this great opportunity in the Ukrainian market, where we had a very strong brand presence prior to market closure, and now we can bring back the love for IGT games to players in a fun and interesting way. Understanding the local markets, and how to help our partners build affinity for IGT products, will only happen if we personalize the content created for each experience. If you could choose anyone, who would pick as your mentor? If the time-space continuum was not an issue, then without hesitation it would be Amelia Earhart. The story of her adventures, and her love for exploration and aviation I find thrilling! Her pioneering and

Feature: IGT

indomitable spirit forging new frontiers for women has always commanded my attention. I love finding fierce, brave, unconventional people in the world and spending as much time with them as possible. It keeps my perspective broad and my mind open to new scenarios, facilitating new approaches to problem solving. I work with several mentors currently, both inside and outside gaming, and they are brilliant, inspiring humans each in their own unique way. Most of all, my mentors lend such a wonderful, unique lens to how they see the exact same scenario I present myself in, and I find this perspective refreshing. When my ideas are challenged, it forces me to examine my perception. As a result, I stay creative, resourceful, and the work remains interesting. When mentors share their wisdom with me it is great to see how they have navigated strife, not only their public successes. I find it so enriching to have a community that can lend me their wisdom and experience and encourage everyone to have more than one mentor to benefit from this diversity of thought. Ultimately, after years of coaching and experience, I hope that when I am faced with complexities in life or work, I can learn the lesson that the challenge provides me and take that lesson as a gift forward. Volume 17: Issue 148

Coming from the Midwest, how do you like London? Was it a big culture shock? I was incredibly fortunate in my childhood to spend time living in my parents’ separate households. I was raised primarily during the school year in a very small town of only 74 people in Idaho, on the Montana border along the Continental Divide. Location and population constraints alone taught me many lessons including the meaning of community, survival skills (it was the mountains, after all) and how to be a selfreliant, resourceful problem-solver, as there usually was no one within 120 miles when you needed to ‘call a professional.’ I spent my summers traveling to be with my father, who was working as an engineer in the power industry and constantly in a new location. These summers of adventure provided me balance to offset living in such a small, rural community. He also instilled this wonderful sense of wanderlust, which still fuels me today, and I hear its constant beckoning and yearn for continuous exploration. I remember having almost paralytic anxiety about how to function in a larger city and crafting a step-down plan of how to integrate and survive. Although I was well travelled as a child, I had no idea how to take public transport, had zero street 31

Feature: IGT That morning reminded me that I am still very much the person that has zero stranger-danger and will talk to everyone! However, I do know that such a quality is one of my favorite things about the people in the gaming industry—we all assume that if you don’t know me, you know someone I know, and I might find out your hobbies and your entire work history when I bump into you at a trade show.

smarts, and no idea how to navigate a world when you didn’t walk past every person greeting them with a smile and saying hello! I made a series of moves that helped prepare me for living in a large metropolitan city and, luckily, I moved to Amsterdam as my first European home, a city with such a diverse community of expats. I was welcomed and helped by so many as I suffered massive culture shock settling into a European lifestyle. I was thrilled when the opportunity to work and live in London presented itself. It is such a beautiful city, not only incredibly diverse, but steeped in iconic historic monuments, museums, the theatre district—oh, how I could go on extolling London’s virtues! I remember one scenario when I first moved to London, nine years ago, that sums up my experience of a small-town girl finally moving to London. It was a cold winter day and as I climbed out of the tube and walked through our large business complex, I said hello and smiled, greeting everyone only to have looks of incredulity returned. Promptly I retold my commute to my colleagues and asked why everyone is so incredibly grumpy in London. My tale was only met with laughter and a stern lecture that I was to stop speaking to every stranger I pass on the street. Apparently, much to my disbelief, we aren’t all colleagues if we only share an office building skyrise. 32

What are your views on what the industry needs to do to help attract and retain more women? Over the past month I kept seeing the same quote across multiple social media channels and it always made me stop and pause: “Surround yourself with women who would mention your name in a room full of opportunities.” It is such a simple idea, not only for women but for everyone in gaming to approach each of our workdays with intentional inclusivity. If you know of a woman that is talented and it would offer an opportunity for growth or a new experience, are you helping to make the introductions and recommendations? At least once a week I am approached regarding someone in my network all looking for various things ranging from assistance finding a mentor, looking to fill a vacancy or for an introduction. Without hesitation, I provide several options if I can think of anyone that might be a good connection or introduce them to a professional in my network that might be able to assist. The gaming industry is building more diverse and inclusive work environments not simply because it is the right thing to do, but it’s what must be done by companies in order to thrive. It should become ubiquitous to have conversations of opportunities naturally turn to those we know in our network, and it is the responsibility of those who have history in the industry to continue introducing new talent so that they have the opportunity to learn. Additionally, we all benefit from a fresh perspective. I think that mentorship plays a huge role in retaining talented women in gaming, and it brings me such joy to be a mentor as well as to work with many of my mentors. The most wonderful thing about gaming is that there is so much opportunity for anyone that wants to learn. That spirit pervades markets and organizations with such an energy that we need to show women in gaming the opportunities that do lie ahead and prepare them to take advantage when they are present.

Feature: UNLV

Both sides now Anthony Cabot has been a leading advocate for the gaming industry but he’s showing regulators the way to the future. By Peter White


hen Anthony Cabot speaks, people listen. They’ve been listening to him for decades as a frequent presence before Nevada regulators, advocating for the interests of the industry. But he’s got a new cause and a new bully pulpit at the University of Nevada Las Vegas. Cabot is taking up the cudgels on behalf of the problem gambler and on how he or she is treated in the Silver State (poorly, in Cabot’s opinion). That was the jumping-off point for a wide-ranging conversation about Cabot’s beginnings in gaming law, his role at the William S. Boyd School of Law at UNLV, the innovative programming being done at the latter and, finally, the future of post-pandemic Las Vegas. Today we’re privileged to have Anthony Cabot, Distinguished Fellow of Gaming Law at the William S. Boyd School of Law, University of Nevada-Las Vegas. Welcome, Tony. Thank you for having me. What led you to a life specializing in gaming law? Forty years ago, I’d just gotten out of law school, and didn’t have a direction at that point. I happened to be interviewed by a firm from Las Vegas. I liked the firm, came up to Las Vegas, and had the privilege of working for the former governor, the founder of gaming law in Nevada—Grant Sawyer. I did what Grant did at first, and Grant did gaming law, along with Bob Faiss, and they became my mentors 40 years ago. I naturally evolved into the practice from there. Tell us about the William S. Boyd School of Law? So it’s at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas. It’s a public university. It’s one of the higher-ranked law schools in the United States. It started about 25 or so years ago, and even from its initial beginning, it had a gaming-law class. This makes sense because you ought to be teaching gaming law if you’re in Las Vegas and have a law school. I started as an adjunct Volume 17: Issue 148

Anthony Cabot, Distinguished Fellow of Gaming Law at the William S. Boyd School of Law, University of Nevada-Las Vegas

professor, almost 20 years ago, and we gradually built the program. The gaming-law program at the Boyd School of Law began with one class and now we have nearly a dozen classes. We have a dedicated gaminglaw journal. We have a Master of Law program. Now we’re starting the executive-law program. With regards to the pandemic, how have the past 12 months been and what would you are the high points of the last 12 to 18 months? Well, the high points are fewer. It’s tough to get through a pandemic when you’re a teacher. One 33

Feature: UNLV

of the things I really valued when I went to teach full-time was the daily interaction with the students. That becomes more difficult when virtually all of your classes go online. That’s what happened. But there were bright spots. One of them was because we went online last year. With the LLM program, many students who could not take time away from their jobs joined the program because it was all online. That’s an example. We had two really prominent lawyers from Macao who went through the LLM program last year, and they were up at one o’clock in the morning attending class via Zoom. [laughs] But nevertheless, they were there. We had an outstanding diversity of people who have had experience in many different jurisdictions, coming together for the LLM program last year. And it really gave a special flair to the program last year. So we were fortunate in that, but, again, I am dying to get back into the classroom because that’s where I love to be. What are your primary recommendations regarding the regulation in place concerning responsible gaming in Nevada? I’ve been involved with the responsible-gambling/ problem-gambling area for probably about 15 years. I served as a vice president with the Nevada Council on Problem Gambling and the National Center for Responsible Gambling. Nevada always bothered me because they give minimal effort toward responsible gambling from a regulatory perspective. In fact, they spend about $1.5 million a year on responsible or problem gambling, which is insufficient given that you have a $12 billion-a-year gaming industry. Yet, the regulations give it very little attention. So I say to myself, ‘What can we do as an industry that will bring innovation to responsible gambling?’ And there’s been a few companies out there, like MGM and others, 34

who have taken it upon themselves to implement responsible-gambling programs and I don’t have any doubt that they do work. But it’s not an industry-wide thing We’ve got 300 large casinos in Nevada. We’ve got thousands of smaller locations. We can’t rely on a few companies implementing these responsiblegambling programs and expect to see outstanding results. What I propose is a different approach to responsible gambling. You know, rather than traditional regulation, which says ‘You do this or you’re going to get punished.’ It applies to everybody and it’s pretty minimal standards. We have to innovate and adopt responsible gambling programs. Perhaps the state can offer some type of certification for the exemplary programs based on science and that are well-implemented. Casinos should be able to get a platinum-level Responsible Gambling badge. It wouldn’t be any different than how you certify buildings for energy efficiency. Let’s give carrots instead of penalties or punishments and see what the industry can do to implement responsible gambling from a creative standpoint. We can then have a reallife laboratory to see what’s working and what’s not, and hopefully bring those methodologies working to the broader industry. I look at it as a no-lose situation. There would be other things we would do, too. The regulators could assign a person with oversight over responsible gambling who help casinos with the programs. The state could also provide some initial funding for the state programs. But try and take a different approach to responsible gambling to see if we can bring some innovation to the field. Because what we’re doing now just isn’t working. The American Gaming Associations has a few initiatives with regard to that. So it’s not like there’s nothing happening. There’s a bit of a push, especially with regard to sports betting-area of the industry. Yes, obviously, I’m looking at the Nevada casino industry specifically. But the rapid proliferation across the United States raises much, much broader issues. Responsible gambling is clearly one of the significant issues. Still, there are many other issues involved: game integrity, insider wagering, whether or not all the different regulatory agencies regulating in all the different states have the competency to do what they

Feature: UNLV need to do. So there’s a whole bunch of issues in that space. With regard to the Master of Law in gaming regulation, what’s involved with this course and how can people apply? The Masters of Law in gaming law is for people who already have a law degree. This is a postgraduate degree. We started the program about seven or eight years ago. We invited people who had their J.D.s to come to Las Vegas, enter this program, and obtain this Masters of Law degree. We initially had a group of about eight the first year and we’ve gone as high as 14 or 15 per year. These students come from all over the world. We’ve had people from Africa, South America, Asia and Europe. Our classes are usually diverse, with about a half or more coming from foreign countries. They study in Nevada for an entire year. Because of the international flavor of the program, it is not Nevada-centric. It’s not U.S.-centric. It’s an international approach to gaming law. Students effectively take 10 courses. We offer 12 in gaming law, so they can take all the gaming-law classes they want and take some other things that might be helpful to them—intellectual property or something to fill in their repertoire. But at the end of the period, we hope that they have a complete understanding of gaming law and policy in all sectors: land-based, online, sports wagering. How does the faculty keep up with all the enormous changes in laws, state and nationally? We have the leading experts in each area we’re teaching. So those people will naturally have their finger on the pulse of gaming and gaming law. I teach two different classes. In my comparative gaming law we study the gaming laws in various countries. Let’s say I have 13 or 14 LLM students—each is assigned a jurisdiction. They become the resident scholar on that particular jurisdiction for the purposes of our class. We go through various gaming law topics such as licensing and anti-money laundering. The students study and contribute the latest updates within their assigned jurisdiction in all these areas. Sometimes, like my last class where I had two of the leading lawyers in Macao, I’m getting insights I could not have gained anyplace else. My students became part of my resources for keeping up on everything. It’s great. In fact, those two Macao lawyers and I are Volume 17: Issue 148

writing an article contrasting the approach Macao is taking toward regulation to how the U.S. and Europe approach it. What are the pros and cons? It’s very collaborative but I learn so much from my students. When major events happen anywhere in the world, they become topic matter for classes. Is there a particular age group of students or are they right from their twenties to fifties? They’re diverse. For example, this year I had a student in the program who was a former judge and did quite well as a lawyer, decided to retire young and move to Las Vegas. But he wanted to remain active. So he took part in the LLM program. We have some people that are older. I’m old. [laughs] They’re not quite as old as me. They’re some people that are well into their careers and want a change of pace. We have several students who come directly after getting their J.D. and move to Las Vegas to get their LLM. We had one student this year from the United Kingdom who did that. He’s in his twenties. So our range went anywhere from 25 to 50 or so. 35

Feature: UNLV

Sometimes people get into their careers and find they’ve done everything they can within the career they’ve chosen. Sometimes it’s just good for your mental health to take a different path. We see that in many of our students, but again, a lot of our students are younger. They do get an excellent education. After they’ve left our program, quite a few of them have gotten some fairly impressive jobs in the gaming industry, particularly in regulation. We’ve had students who went through our program and later became the Nevada Gaming Control Board members. One of our alumni went back to Greece and became part of the Greek Gaming Commission. So there are more than a few people that have gotten an advanced education in gaming law, gone back to their jurisdictions, and put that to great use. What are the key advantages of choosing the University of Nevada and William S. Boyd School of Law? Obviously, it’s in Las Vegas. Yes, being in one of the gaming capitals of the world is a huge advantage because you have access to resources. For example, I will bring in guest speakers in my classes—anybody from Gaming Control Board members to practicing lawyers to casino executives to the heads of compliance committees in major corporations. They’re all here in Las Vegas. Then during Global Gaming Expo, I find out who’s going to be here from all over the world, the top regulators, and I invite them to my class. That’s a great advantage. But the university itself has, over the years, put together a huge amount of resources in this area. The law school has 12 classes and an alum program. We have six different professors. This semester we have visiting professors who are experts on Native American gaming, who are doing a residency here and teaching classes. Keith Miller from Drake University comes here on occasion and teaches classes. So we have all these people going to the law school to offer 36

their expertise to our students. But it doesn’t really stop there. We have the International Gaming Institute here, which has its own building and it’s devoted to the gaming industry. The law school did a joint program with the IGI, called the International Center for Gaming Regulation. This is where the regulators from all over the world come to get educated. Japan sends its staff to Las Vegas to be educated. They’re one of the dozens that do that. We also have, by far, the greatest special collection on gaming and gaming law anywhere in the world that’s part of our main library. So we have more resources put together at UNLV than at anyplace else. So we start to look at all these different components and how they work together, and it’s a unique circumstance for people who want to study gaming law. This is the Mecca for that. Could you explain to us about the executive program that UNLV is running? Yeah, this is the latest addition to the law school’s program. Fundamentally, it’s a program for nonlawyers. Many people out in the industry working with casinos or regulators don’t have a law degree but want to have advanced education in gaming law. They don’t have the time to go back to law school and get a law degree but they want to learn about gaming law. So we’ve developed this program, which we hope to grow out to about eight classes. We have four currently. We give the non-lawyer everything they need to know about gaming law in their position. Internal audit or compliance or casino manager or a new regulator in a different jurisdiction who just wants to better understand their job. In the four classes that we started out with, I will teach an intro to gaming law. We talk about policy and comparative law, things of that nature. Just to give people an idea of the expansiveness of gaming law. But then we’re going to have classes in Native American law, gaming operations and the law, and a class on responsible and problem gambling. We hope to follow that up very soon with classes on sports wagering and anti-money laundering. About 80 percent of it is going to be online. We’ve taped lessons and exercises and tests, things of that nature. And about 20 percent of it is going to be online but live. We get together with the students and talk about the covered topics. It’s going to give anybody virtually anywhere the ability to take classes effectively at their

Feature: UNLV

leisure, which will add significantly to their educational background and help support whatever job they might have in the gaming industry. What are the biggest challenges that you see for Las Vegas and the entertainment community in the years ahead, post-pandemic? There are great opportunities, which is impressive to me because we’re still at the height of a pandemic, and our revenue numbers are higher than they’ve ever been in the casino portion of the integrated resorts. The harder part, though, is everything else. The hotels, restaurants and conventions, all took a big hit during the pandemic. So gaming revenues are doing quite well. There’s pent-up demand. The other areas, we’re going to have to spend some time to get those back to where they were. But people just like to gamble. The pandemic has kept a lot of people home, kept a lot of conventions home, made huge challenges to the food and beverage industry here...and retail. Retail’s taken a hit as well. It’s been everything but gaming. Frankly, Las Vegas survives and prospers not because of its gaming. It survives and prospers because of the integrated nature of its offering to people. I have no doubt we’re going to get it back: We see all these great projects Volume 17: Issue 148

on the Strip and all these different things that are happening, like the Madison Square Garden arena and the infrastructure with the Tesla tunnels. It’s all going to come back. It’s going to be a bit of a challenge to get everything working properly again. Hopefully, the pandemic ends after this last wave, and we can get back to servicing the customers in everything other than gaming. Finally, what would you say is the best piece of business advice you’ve ever had? When I was a young lawyer, I was over-aggressive. I probably watched too many lawyer shows on TV. It was actually Grant Sawyer who took me aside and said, “You know, it’s not what you say. It’s how you say it.” You can be as critical of regulators but you have to say it in the right way. I really took that to heart. You have to be able to get along well with people, but you also have to be effective and I think that the ability to get along with people and make your point without being offensive is a huge thing for a lawyer. 37

Feature: Macau Legislation

Meet the new rules, same as the old rules


Sighs of relief greet the proposed second generation of casino concessions in Macao. By David McKee

fter much dropping of hints by City Hall and considerable fretful speculation on Wall Street, Macao’s government laid out its new regime for casino concessions in the enclave. They strongly resemble the status quo, leading to a palpable sense of relief across the financial world. Although the length of concessions will be halved—from 20 years to 10, with optional three-year renewals under exigent circumstances—six licenses will be maintained, with the sub-concession tier scrapped and all six operators given parity. Deutsche Bank analyst Carlo Santarelli called it “a decidedly favorable event, even if logically expected.” Added analysts for Jefferies Global Gaming, “There 38

were few surprises in the bill, which we consider benign, therefore removing a major overhang and providing incremental support for valuations.” “While there is little change to the current structure other than the shortened term, we noted the market sentiment was highly negative initially and was expecting drastic change. This development … should be a positive for valuations,” wrote Jefferies analysts. The current licensees aren’t completely out of the woods, as the June retendering process still awaits, meaning that one or more could get kicked out of town, although most financial analysts think this highly unlikely. As though aware of their precarious status, all six operators quickly lined up to serenade

Feature: Macau Legislation

the government with praise for its sagacity. Warbled Galaxy Entertainment Chairman Lui Che Woo, “We believe that having optimized laws and regulations in place will lay a solid foundation for the city’s steady development and propel the synergetic development of the gaming industry, leading to Macao’s overall economic resilience and diversity.” Wall Street reacted positively. Shares of Las Vegas Sands, MGM Resorts International, Melco Resorts & Entertainment, and Wynn Resorts all rose as soon as the news broke. The Macanese government resisted the temptation to raise taxes, which will continue to be imposed at 39 percent. It also reneged on a threat to appoint government overseers for every casino. And it backed down from the notion of requiring official approval of dividend payments, an idea that polled poorly with the Macao citizenry. Even the junket industry, under a cloud since the arrest of Suncity Group boss Alvin Chau, saw a glimmer of light. Junketeers can continue to operate but they will have to pledge their fealty to one operator apiece. Not everyone rejoiced. Some speculated that the 10-year terms would inhibit significant investment—a priority for the Macanese regime. And given chilly relations between the United States and China, Volume 17: Issue 148

others feared retaliation. A Steve Vickers Associates analysis fretted, “The primary factor which the Chinese and Macau authorities consider when evaluating concession renewals and new regulations is clearly the national security criteria and whether, for example, capital flight can be contained, especially when linked to US operators seeking to repatriate dividends.” “Too soon to celebrate,” declared gaming-law expert (and University of Macau faculty member) I. Nelson Rose, although he ceded that it would be legally difficult for Macao to throw out any of the current concessionaires. (In the extreme instance of nationalization, casino companies would be kicked out sans any form of compensation.) Also, how much will casino operators have to pay for the formality of having their concessions renewed? The flip side of that coin is that when Stanley Ho’s concession expired in 2001, it only cost him $9.5 million to get it back. A more nebulous financial burden is a new requirement to lavish money on projects of an “educational, scientific and technological nature, environmental protection, culture, and sports.” Writes Rose, “My guess is this means giving hundreds of millions of dollars to the University of Macau and 39

Feature: Macau Legislation

other schools, spending massive amounts on mass transit and building arenas and soccer stadiums.” There were some modest tweaks to the present arrangement in the bill, which now proceeds to the Macanese legislature for its rubber-stamp. For one, a local managing director, who must be a resident of Macao, can have no less than a 15 percent ownership stake, up from 10 percent. Also, according to Santarelli, “The Council is proposing approval be required for major financial decisions, thereby leaving the language somewhat ambiguous.” The fine print that does appear worrisome for operators is a clause requiring minimum amounts of gross gaming revenue per gaming position. If these thresholds are not met, casinos will have to pay the difference out of their own pockets in Year One. If the shortfalls continue for a second year, the city’s chief executive can unilaterally reduce the number of slots and tables at the casino in question. The exact formula remains sketchy. But “This will be a real potential deal breaker for concessionaires, depending upon what that mandated minimum GGR number is,” former governmental advisor David Green told Inside Asian Gaming. For the time, casino operators in Macao have plenty about which to worry. Aside from having 40

to reinvent the junket business around premium mass-market players instead of nearly extinct VIP customers, they have to continue to play a waiting game with Peking regarding the resumption of wide-open visitation. China’s zero-tolerance policy toward Covid-19 should inhibit Macanese visitation for months to come and Chinese New Year is already a write-off. While concessionaires may have to pay more this time for their casino licenses, they’re arguably not worth what they used to be.


CASINO CASINO The magazine for the owners and management of international casinos

Журнал для власників та менеджменту міжнародних казино

Volume 17: Issue 144

Випуск 04


Image: Courtesy of Ethan Kaminsky



Bingo The longest-running European and International bingo trade magazine





Spring 2021 - Issue 32


New Bingo





Storm International 3апорука стабільності та якості


Banging Bingo Times Ahead

Subscribe to... • Sports Betting Operator • Casino Life • Casino Life Ukraine • Bingo Life By registering your email at by clicking the Subscribe tab


Sports Betting Operator provides new product and technology features and the latest Sports Betting News, keeping Online gambling companies up to date with the fastest growing Gambling Sector in the world. Volume 17: Issue 148


Feature: Mob Museum

Mob Rules

The Mob Museum is the place to go for a fix of criminal history. By David McKee


n February 14, 2012, the National Museum of Organized Crime & Law Enforcement opened in downtown Las Vegas. The date was not chosen by happenstance. It was the 83rd anniversary of the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre and the wall against which the melée took place is one of the central—and most popular—exhibits of what quickly and formally became known as the Mob Museum. Last year, on November 15, it welcomed its three millionth visitor. The occasion was Kefauver Day, the 51st anniversary of one of Sen. Estes Kefauver’s notorious hearings on organized crime, held in the very courthouse that now cossets the Mob Museum. It is also a day on which local residents are admitted for free, although the Museum’s vast and comprehensive collection makes it one of the best bargains in Sin City. Indeed, the accolades have poured in. USA Today named it a “Top 5 Best History Museum in the U.S. and Best Museum in Nevada.” The New York Times recognized it as “A Must for Travelers” and Fox News 42

went farther still, calling it one of “20 Places Every American Must See.” In 2017 it received accreditation from the American Alliance of Museums, the most laudatory recognition possible. Quickie imitators have tried to cash in on the Mob Museum’s cachet— invariably with failure. One, The Mob Experience at the Tropicana, was so reverential that Las Vegas Advisor derided it as “the Meyer Lansky Presidential Library.” It’s not ‘dry’ history that the Mob Museum dispenses, either, by any means. The basement hosts the popular Speakeasy, one which dispensed home-distilled moonshine from an authentic brass still located downstairs. It’s a chance to relive the days of Prohibition. The man charged with overseeing all historical facets of the Museum is Senior Director of Content Geoff Schumacher, named “Best Keeper of History” by Las Vegas Weekly. A former publisher himself, Schumacher took some time out of a busy schedule to recapitulate the history of the Mob Museum.

Feature: Mob Museum What was the genesis of the Mob Museum? First of all, it’s important to know that the first act was for the City of Las Vegas to acquire this. It had been the first federal post office and courthouse in Las Vegas. The federal government decided around the turn of the century that they did not want to keep the building. They were looking to get rid of it and the City of Las Vegas identified at the time this building as something that could be a great addition for downtown redevelopment. Oscar Goodman was the mayor at the time and he strongly supported the city acquiring the building. So once they acquired the building for a dollar, there were two conditions on that acquisition. One was that it needed to maintain the historic integrity of the building. They couldn’t just turn it into a Seven-Eleven. The other thing they needed to do was employ it for some kind of cultural use. It could not be a commercial enterprise. It needed to be an art gallery or a performing arts center or a museum. Once the city acquired the building, ideas started bubbling up about “What do we want to do?” Oscar Goodman said, “It should be a museum dedicated to the subject of organized crime.” At first some people loved this idea, some did not. [chuckles] They were concerned that this museum would either be some kind of museum to Oscar or that it would glorify crime in some way. How important was it to enlist federal law enforcement as participants in the Museum? What kind of materials did that open up? When Oscar had the challenge of people that were concerned that this museum would glorify the Mob, he very cleverly thought that what he needed was a partner in crime, so to speak. He needed someone who could represent the law-enforcement side of the equation to help balance this story. So he asked Ellen Knowlton, who was the recently departed special agent in charge of the FBI office in Las Vegas to come on as the committee chairperson of what ultimately became the board of the Museum. And she agreed to do that. The working premise at that point was that this would be a museum about organized crime but it would equally be a museum about how law enforcement responded to organized crime. So it helps to fill out the story in a really helpful way and Ellen certainly insisted on that and became the champion for that. In terms of opening up resources, that has always Volume 17: Issue 147

Geoff Schumacher Vice President of Exhibits & Programs at The Mob Museum, the National Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement

been a priority at the museum that we develop good relationships with the FBI, the DEA, the Secret Service, the IRS criminal division, the Marshals service. All of these agencies have been incredibly helpful to us over the years not only in providing artifacts but contacts, people who know a lot. Really the FBI has been incredibly helpful in that area. How else did the Museum source memorabilia for its collection? That’s an ongoing task but artifacts come our way in a variety of forms. Sometimes people will just call and want to donate something to us: a family heirloom or some kind of item that they’ve found in a closet. So we have donations. We also acquire objects through purchase. We participate in auctions, we scan eBay and other auction sites, and we’re connected with collectors around the country to acquire objects. Then the third area is loans. There’s a number of people who have agreed to loan objects for long-term display in the Museum. We’re not buying them, they’re not donating them, they’re loaning them free of charge to help tell the stories we have at the Museum. That’s an ongoing process that started before the Museum opened and as recently as today I’ve been working on artifact acquisitions. 43

Feature: Mob Museum

What would you like to add in the future? We know that there are collectors across the country and the world who have artifacts that would be wonderful for us to be able to display in the Museum. These would be family heirlooms linked to infamous organized-crime figures, whether they’re guns or more personal – objects that are related to a particular event. We also know that there are evidence vaults all over the United States that law-enforcement agencies maintain, that have potential objects for display. Some of those are impossible to get or nearly impossible because they’re in evidence and police departments are not likely to just hand them out. However, we’ve been working on this for some time and we’ve opportunities to acquire some of these kinds of objects from law enforcement on loan or what have you. So that’s another area of interest. What we’re always looking are artifacts that help us to tell the story. We’re not looking to just warehouse objects and have this scatterbrained kind of approach, a little bit of everything. Rather, we are interested in objects that help us to tell us the stories that we want to tell. One of our prized artifacts is the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre wall. Having those bricks from the wall on display in the Museum enhances our ability to tell that story about what happened on that fateful day in 44

1929. By the same token, we have artifacts related to the prosecution of Al Capone on tax-evasion charges that help us to illustrate that story. Anytime we can find an object that helps our guests to appreciate what really happened we’re definitely going for it. What determines which narratives you choose to reconstruct? I spend a lot of time thinking about what’s in the Museum and what’s missing, and what we’d like to add. Now there’s a finite amount of space. A lot of times what we’re talking about is prioritizing story. Which are the most important stories we want our guests to be exposed to as they go through the Museum? That’s not easy. That’s a judgment call. A lot of times we may choose a particular story because we have really great artifacts associated with it. Another story that we like we have no artifacts to support it and so we choose not to include that. What I can tell you is what we want to do is give our guests as complete as possible narrative of the origins of organized crime in America up to the current day. We sometimes will touch on things in great depth, sometimes very lightly. But we want to be as inclusive of as many perspectives on this story as possible. There’s no way we can tell the whole organized crime

Feature: Mob Museum story in this museum space. There’s just not enough room. It’s a very rich history that we’re learning new things about every day. But we just try to get the most important and most interesting points for guests to experience over the hour and a half or two hours that they’re in the Museum. I can vouch for the comprehensiveness. I spent three hours there and only got as far as the JFK assassination. [Laughs] Well there you go. You’re an in-depth museum-goer and that’s great. What are the most popular exhibits and why? Certainly two of the most popular exhibits are related to the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. So first of all you have the bricks from the wall against which the seven men were shot. That is a visual that most guests leave the Museum talking about. On a related note, we have evidence from the crime scene, including bullets that were removed from the bodies of the victims by the coroner. That exhibit as well is among the most popular that we have. On the second floor, the Las Vegas exhibits featuring the period from the 1940s to the 1980s are among the most popular. We have a vast array of artifacts connected to the Flamingo hotel and its origins. That’s a newer exhibit, opened in August. They’re one-of-a-kind artifacts that help us tell the story of Billy Wilkerson conceiving the idea for the Flamingo and then Bugsy Siegel ultimately executing the project—before being executed himself. Down in the Underground, which is where we have our Speakeasy and Distillery exhibits, we have an array of exhibits that help us tell the story of what happened in Prohibition, in Las Vegas and beyond. We’re really proud of that and I think guests appreciate the fact that our Speakeasy is not a bar that happens to have a particular decor. It’s an exhibit that actually has a bar in there. You can learn a lot in there if you choose to do so on a Friday night. What was the inspiration for the speakeasy and its Museum-branded moonshine? First of all, we knew—going back to 2016 when we first started developing ideas—that the basement, which at that time we were using as office space, had the potential to allow us to grow our exhibitions. Our guests were coming in larger numbers every year. We were looking for ways to take our existing Volume 17: Issue 148

historic building an expand the offerings there. So the basement was the logical place to do that. Second, when you think about a basement and you think about the Prohibition era, it immediately comes to mind that’s a place where you might hide a speakeasy. It also might hide a distillery. We thought our guests were getting a heavy dose of the Prohibition era on the third floor because that was such a pivotal period of time for the Mob’s growth. Why not give them an experience in the basement where it has the look and feel and vibe of a Prohibition-era speakeasy? Initially, we always envisioned a working bar there but the way it has developed over time, the uses of that space have grown so greatly from our original vision. It’s no longer a place to go as part of the exhibition and you order one drink and leave. Now, on a Friday and Saturday night, we have live music: Prohibition-era jazz music that’s played in the space. We also have our monthly whiskey-club events where we have brand ambassadors come in and talk about different kinds of whiskey. The Speakeasy is a big place to be on Halloween, New Year’s, St. Patrick’s Day. It’s now become a destination for people. 45

Feature: Mob Museum What manner of events does the Museum present and how well are they attended? A big part of what we do is public programming. We bring in an array of speakers. We set up panel discussions and we set up other events related to the history of organized crime—and also contemporary crime and law enforcement issues. We have a very robust programming schedule: 15 to 175 programs per year. The most fundamental would be if an author publishes a new book about organized crime history and we invite that author to come and speak about it. On a more ambitious level, we often have panel discussions on historical issues. So we’re very busy with public programming. It’s a way for our local guests to have new reasons to come to the Museum. It also, in many cases, when we have a really big event, will bring in people from all over the country. Attendance can range from a modest 40 or 50 people for an author talk in midweek to upwards of 120, 130 people—which would be capacity in the courtroom— for a panel discussion or some other big event. We also do private events. In the courtroom and other spaces we have weddings, we have proms, we have company parties and just a range of things that kind of fit with the theme of the Museum.

The distillery followed on the idea of a speakeasy. The notion of making moonshine in the basement was what we saw as a logical extension of the Speakeasy. So if we’re going to show you what a speakeasy looked like and we’re going to provide liquor, we ought to also be able to show people what moonshining looked like. How did these mobsters make moonshine back in the 1920s? So we decided, Why don’t we make our own? Kind of like the time Oscar Goodman came up with the original idea for the Mob Museum and there was pushback on that. The original idea for the distillery was, Boy, who’s ever going to allow us to do that? Isn’t that a crazy idea? But before long we made the argument with the city that this is a very logical thing for us to do here. We can do it safely and it’s a perfect connection to the Museum. We obtained all the proper permits and we obtained the best equipment that we could, and we trained our staff and started making moonshine. To this day we make it every day and demand exceeds supply. 46

Do visitors come away with a changed perception of Las Vegas’ history? When visitors spend time in the museum, whether it’s an hour to three hours, I think they leave with a few thoughts in mind. One is that we’re a very seriousminded museum. A lot of people will come in from out of town or what have you. They don’t really know much about it. They buy a ticket on a lark or maybe because somebody recommended it to them and they’re not sure what to expect. But when they end up experiencing the exhibits in the Museum, they come away impressed with the seriousness of it, the fact that we do not glorify the Mob, that we tell a balanced story. And they learn a lot about what really happened, versus what you see in the movies sometimes. As far as Las Vegas history is concerned, they will walk away with a better appreciation for the history of Las Vegas, going back to its origins, and you learn about all of that in our museum, even though we’re focused on organized crime, we want our guests to understand the history of Las Vegas as well, so we work hard to make sure you not only learn the Mob story but you also learn the city’s story equally.


Reach into Europe’s Biggest New Business Market with Casino Life Ukraine No other Gambling industry publication can compare with the Reach and Influence of Casino Life in Europe’s hottest jurisdiction.

CASINO Журнал для власників та менеджменту міжнародних казино


Випуск 04

Storm International 3апорука стабільності та якості

CASINO Media for owners and management of international casinos

Issue 04


Masters of consistency and quality Storm International

Outsource Digital Media Powering connections

Contact or call +44 (0) 1892 740869

Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.