Don’t mess with the Ohio Casino Control Act, the Ohio Administrative Code, or the Casino Internal Controls in the “Birthplace of Aviation” state; they’re watching you, and watching you closely. So the swank Horseshoe Casino in Cleveland is finding out, after being hit for a second time this year with fines for not doing things the kosher way.
The first fine followed a slot machine being released into the casino with unapproved software; that was only a $15,000 hit, which to a casino, would be like a cop giving you a ticket for a penny. But now, the price is going up, after multiple additional and random violations were reported, and now the slap has moved to a spank with a total of $180,000.
Among the odd melange of wrongdoings were using dice from unapproved vendors in Fortune Pai Gow poker; encouraging cocktail waitresses to come into restricted game pit areas; removing, storing and shipping three slot machines with their software (no indication of to whom or why this is wrong); and…drum roll, please…the worst sin a casino can perpetrate: failing to include the hotline phone number on their “When the Fun Stops” problem gambling ads. Whoops.
Senior V.P. Not Overly Concerned
The Horseshoe’s Senior V.P. and general manager, Marcus Glover, wasn’t extremely apologetic about any of it, simply saying that “[we] have taken steps to address the issues and embarked on significant training for personnel.” With a 6.7% rise in the casino’s gross revenues between January and February (to $22 million), Glover’s probably not too worried about his job, regardless.
Meanwhile, over at the battered Revel in Atlantic City, new CEO Jeffrey Hartmann, who was brought in to clean up the financial mess (and not a moment too soon, it would appear), has wasted no time doing what the President can’t: cutting costs. He’s gone through his payroll, and determined that at least 83 of 3,300 employees are doing the same essential job as someone else, and need to go. That’s only going to save him 2.5% of his payroll, though, and Hartmann says that’s it for now, as he faces the other side of the coin and figures out how to ramp up revenues at AC’s newest and least lucrative casino.
Barely Saved from Bankruptcy
According to papers filed at bankruptcy court in March, Revel was days away from literally running out of money, if you can believe that could happen to a casino. Apparently a judge’s approval of a temporary funding plan for $250 million saved the day, and kept it from shutting down and going on the auction block. Word is, it wouldn’t have fetched much, by casino standards anyway; somewhere between $246 and $331 million is all that was projected for a possible purchase price.
Now Hartmann is adding a new fancy nightclub as a lure to younger customers, presumably, and closing down some non-performing “celebrity chef” restaurants in favor of lower class, but higher revenue-producing, eateries. And while a portion of the casino has already reverted to smoker-friendly, they now may be looking at lifting the ban entirely; apparently, gamblers who smoke have more money or something like that. We’ll have to puff on that one for a little while to understand it.