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How to run a Casino: a lesson from Robert De Niro

casino pic

The 1995 movie 'Casino' paints an exhilarating picture of greed, deception, money, power and even murder in the midst of a gambling empire.

Martin Scorsese's film is based on the career of casino boss Frank 'Lefty' Rosenthal as portrayed by Robert De Niro’s character Sam 'Ace' Rothstein, as he runs the mob-owned Tangiers casino.

In the movie, Rothstein runs the fictional Tangiers, but in real life, Rosenthal ran four Las Vegas casinos at once including the Stardust, Hacienda, Fremont and Marina. The story is actually based on the history of the Stardust casino. Listen closely to the movie’s soundtrack, and you’ll hear the song 'Stardust' three different times. 

Whilst owning a casino today may not be as dramatic as the portryal in this movie, there’s an important lesson prospective casino owners can learn from watching Casino: 

Know what games bring in the money, and give them good placement.

In the movie, Ace argues with his manager over the placement of the slot machines in his casino. As they walk the floor, Ace asks where the progressive and high jackpot machines are. When he learns they are in the back, he attributes a recent drop in income to the location, and tells the manager to move these particular slots to the front where they will be more visible to players. Ace also delivers the classic De Niro line:

'Listen to me very carefully. There are three ways of doing things around here: the right way, the wrong way and the way that I do it.'

Ace’s way was actually the right way in terms of today’s standards for a casino layout. A floor plan really does matter and is essential to optimizing a casino’s revenue. The July 2014 issue of Indian Gaming lists current casino layout goals as:

•    Achieving an overall gaming machine mix that is 'right-sized'
•    Effective placement and sizing of major aisles and pathways
•    Appropriate spacing of slot banks relative to one another
•    Effective placement and sizing of secondary pathways and arteries

A thoughtful floor plan has many benefits:

'Gaming product placement plays an extremely important part in creating a top performing layout and slot floor. Players appreciate the convenience of being able to easily find games by type or denomination, and respond well to games that are sensibly placed and arranged in this regard,' wrote Robert Allen, a partner of I-10 Business Solutions, in Indian Gaming.

In addition to organization of the room, it’s important to keep your players’ comfort in mind. Customers don’t want to be bumped or brushed against by other people walking down an aisle as they play. Remember, the more comfortable players are in your casino, they longer they will stay and play.

Do you think you have what it takes to run a successful casino? Take a look at our listings here.

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