The Life & Perspective of
Casino Employees
Presented by:
Robert Jacobson
Former Casino Employee &
Executive Director of
The California Council on Problem Gambling
WHO AM I?
• Robert Jacobson, Executive Director of CCPG
• Raised in Las Vegas
• Family in gaming since 1982
• Fifteen (15) Years’ Casino Experience:
• Varied positions/levels in:
• F&B
• Table Games/Poker
• HR/Training
• Original Project Director of ADP #10-00213 (TA
Contract)
WHO ARE CCPG AND OPG?
• California Council on Problem Gambling (CCPG) is a
non-profit agency founded in 1986.
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Helps problem gamblers and their loved ones
Operates the 1-800-GAMBLER Helpline
Website: www.calproblemgambling.org
Emphasis on Awareness, Education & Outreach
• OPG is California State Office of Problem Gambling
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Created 2003; funded by Special Distribution Fund
Funds research, treatment, prevention & more
Website in 7 languages - information in 21 languages
Website: www.problemgambling.ca.gov
CCPG and OPG are neither for nor against legalized gambling
WHAT IS “GAMBLING?”
The legal definition of gambling :
Gambling “includes any activity when a person pays
something of value (consideration) to participate in an
event that presents the possibility of winning something of
value (prize)whose outcome is determined at least in part
by chance (Rose, 1986). “
HISTORY OF GAMBLING
• Bone Dice & Cave Paintings
• Lotteries
• California, Gold Rush & Poker
• Nelson Rose’s “Waves”
• 21st Century
AVAILABILITY OF GAMBLING IN 1975
1975
Casino (1)
Lottery (13)
GAMBLING AVAILABILITY IN 2010
2010
Casino only (incl.
tribal)(5)
Lottery only (12)
Lottery & casino (15)
Lottery & tribal
casino(14)
Racetrack only
(1)
THE CAPITOL OF CASINOS
• Sweating the money: the “post-mob days”
• Protection from cheaters or superstition?
• 1990s: A Family Town?
• A booming industry
• Teenage gambling & first experiences
• A big win? Turning $0.25 into $100!
• Casino marketing (free food and cigarettes for
everyone!)
• 2000s: The Information Age
• Big Corporate, Mergers & Science
• Diluted talent
CALIFORNIA:
THE UNEXPECTED COMPETITOR
• Prop 5 and the Media
• FBI raids? No way –instead vote yes on 1A!
• Barns and trailers and tents, oh my? Now it’s high
rises touching the sky!
POP QUIZ!!!
Q: Which state has the highest annual gambling revenues?
A: California, with over $7B/year – even more than Nevada!
Q: Which state has the most tribal casinos?
A: Gotcha – it’s Oklahoma! Does anyone know why???
Note(1): Retrieved from 500 Nations website 10/8/12
Note(2): Native American casinos only; California, Nevada, etc. have more
total gambling
GAMBLING IN CALIFORNIA
• Lottery, Horse
Tracks/OTB
• Tribal Gaming vs. Card
Rooms
• Unprecedented
growth, 1999-2007
PROBLEM GAMBLING CAN HAVE
DEVASTATING CONSEQUENCES
RISK GROUPS.
• Some populations are more likely to have or develop a
problem:
 Young people, especially males, age 29 or older
 Alcoholics, drug addicts, or people with other addictions
 Some cultures, including African American, Hispanic and
Native American
 Inmates
 Casino workers, Law Enforcement, Day Traders, etc.
• Problem Gambling can be even more harmful to some
groups of people, including:
 Elderly
 Low income
IMPACT ON
THE FAMILY AND SOCIETY
Q: Does anyone know why there are no balconies in most Las
Vegas hotels?
A: Gambling addiction results in higher suicide rates than any other
addiction.
Problem Gambling leads to family devastation through the loss of
homes, college education funds, retirement savings, and more
IMPACT ON
THE FAMILY AND SOCIETY
Problem and Pathological Gamblers are:
• About 50% more likely to have filed bankruptcy1;
• 2.5 times as likely to smoke cigarettes2
• 2 to 7 times more likely to use illegal drugs (rates
vary by drug)2
• Twice as likely to binge drink alcohol (taking 8 or
more drinks in a 24 hour period)2
Sources Available Upon Request
IMPACT ON
THE FAMILY AND SOCIETY
Problem and Pathological Gamblers are:
• About 50% more likely to have filed bankruptcy1;
• 2.5 times as likely to smoke cigarettes2
• 2 to 7 times more likely to use illegal drugs (rates
vary by drug)2
• Twice as likely to binge drink alcohol (taking 8 or
more drinks in a 24 hour period)2
Sources Available Upon Request
IMPACT ON
THE FAMILY AND SOCIETY
Problem gamblers are arrested almost 3 times more than regular
citizens: 35.1% to 13.5%1
… and incarcerated more than 3 times as often: 20.5% to 6.3%! 1
… and account for as much as $8 billion dollars in annual social
costs2
Studies suggest that roughly one third of inmates are problem or
pathological gamblers – the highest prevalence of any
population! 3
Sources available upon request
EMPLOYEE FLOW CHART
Hierarchy
• Leadership (BoD/Tribal/Owner, GM/CEO)
• Executive (VP/Director)
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Upper (MOD/CSM/Shift Mg/Asst. Shift Mg)
Middle (Shift Sup/Asst Shift Sup)
Entry Level (Sup/Leads)
Line Level
• Position
• Front of the house (dealer vs. hotel vs. golf)
• Back of the house (hr vs. marketing vs. chef)
WHAT IT’S LIKE
TO WORK IN A CASINO
• Atmosphere / Environment
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Drugs/alcohol (sometimes in their cars)
Entertainment vs. Hostility
Sweating the money?
Comp systems
• Culture
• Short-term vs. Long-term
• Employee Pride
THE ALTERED PERCEPTIONS OF
THE CASINO EMPLOYEE
• Closing Time!
• Mental compartmentalization
• Disassociation from cause-and-effect
• Value of Money
• Dispassion vs. Compassion
• Only see them in the casino (not @ home)
• Don’t know families, friends, etc.
• Perceived professionalism
EMPATHIZE OR EMULATE?
Casino workers often form close relationships
with the players. But does this create a
stronger bond of empathy… or emulation?
Consider these examples:
• The Cowboy
• The Inheritance Guy
• The Restaurant Owner
• New Years’ Eve Guy
• Rags to Riches to Rags
• The Worst Story
EMPLOYEE GAMBLING
(WITH EDUCATED ESTIMATES)
• 7 times more likely to develop a problem*
• Desensitization
• Only see/hear the jackpots
• Tipped employees “gamble for a living”
• “Win together” / Splits & Doubles / Etc.
• Poker dealers “go on play”
• Gambling partners get tipped better
• Employees may return 30% of payroll**
* Estimates range 5 to 15 times; no definitive studies
** Unverified estimate from some casino executives
IMPACT ON LIFESTYLE
• Smoking
• Sidebar: impact of smoking on gaming
revenue
• Shift Work
• Negativity / Pain
• Drugs?
• Strict policies
• “Pain, pain go away, please come test me
some other day”
A “BRAVE” NEW WORLD FOR
CASINO EMPLOYEES?
They want to help, but many casino employees can
be confused, afraid or uncertain as to what they are
allowed to do, and how best to do it. Still, many of
today’s casino executives are working to breed new
cultures which have a better understanding of how
gambling addiction impacts business.
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Addiction Cycle; Hitting “Rock Bottom”
Public Relations/Word of Mouth
Hostility, Other Personality Changes
Employee morale
The “iPhone Example”
THANK YOU FOR ATTENDING!
1-800-GAMBLER
California Council on Problem Gambling: 714-765-5804
www.calproblemgambling.org
Office of Problem Gambling: 916-327-8611
www.problemgambling.ca.gov
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Problem & Pathological Gambling: Signs, Symptoms and Solutions