March 2018
As much as we feature sports betting, iGaming and legislative/legal gaming news at CDC Gaming Reports, we haven't forgotten that the casino floor is where it all happens for even the most cutting-edge property. Welcome to Frank Floor Talk, our new monthly newsletter, featuring coverage by two of the best casino floor journalists in the world, Buddy Frank and Frank Legato. We hope you gain insights from this issue, and look forward to subsequent monthly issues of Frank Floor Talk.
- Jeffrey Compton, Publisher

by Buddy Frank

How do you keep in touch with slot trends, marketing ideas, table game technology and best practices?  It's a tough task.   The trade shows (G2E, NIGA, ICE) are excellent stops, but it's worth keeping in mind that most folks there are trying to sell you something.  Likewise, vendors can be terrific sources of info, but it takes more than a few years to learn who speaks the truth and values relationships as much as commissions.  The new user groups and customer advisory boards are excellent, but who has time to make it to all of these?

Frank and I are both journalists.  And we both started back when that was still a respectably solid and remunerative profession (this was long before the memo went around that facts, apparently, no longer exist.)  I spent a decade as a TV reporter before beginning a 30-year career in casinos.  Now that I have changed careers once again, retiring from Pechanga at the end of 2015 and going from operator to full-time grandfather, I have more time to attend shows, conferences and user groups. 

Suppliers and operators navigate the new sea of game styles in creating the slot floor of the future
by Frank Legato

For decades, Nevada regulations on the nature and mathematics of slot machines were unchanged. Slot reel results had to meet a standard of randomness, and a game's top prize was required to be at least theoretically available on each of a slot machine's spins.

Essentially, aside from games that mimicked table games like video poker and blackjack, luck had to be the prevailing requirement to win. And everything worked fine for pretty much the entire age that slot machines dominated the industry revenue picture.

Then, of course, the Great Recession happened. Slot revenues, like all other industry revenues, dipped. Operators responded in a very traditional manner: They extended the life cycles of games on the floor. They removed non-earning games from the floor, which had a side benefit of giving a new, spacious look to slot floors that traditionally had a cramped, almost factory-like appearance.

Upcoming Events of Interest
Las Vegas Convention Center - 04/17/2018 - 04/20/2018
Entering its 33rd year, the Indian Gaming Tradeshow & Convention has established itself not only as the premier event for the Indian Gaming industry but as the figurative heartbeat of Native American success.The largest gathering of tribal leaders and casino executives in the country, the Indian Gaming Tradeshow & Convention is the place where the community gathers to learn, network and exchange ideas, and also a cultural celebration.
Tivoli Moffarej, Brazil - 04/22/2018 - 04/24/2018
BgC provides the knowledge and opportunity to meet the right people, allowing you to make the right decisions for your business and prosper in the growing Latin American gaming market. Visit our website to register now and be the first to hear about BgC 2018.
Grand Hyatt Tokyo, Japan - 05/10/2018 - 05/11/2018
As Japan enters into a new era having legalised gaming, Clarion Events is delighted to be hosting the second edition of JgC in Tokyo on May 10-11 2018 at the Grand Hyatt Tokyo. With an estimated $40bn market at stake the potential to be one of the major players has all the global gaming groups vying for a position in the lucrative market. The Japan Gaming Congress is a two-day educational forum that will offer a clear, practical insight and understanding into the casino legislation in Japan. With a relatively short time to go before the first licences are issued now is the time to fully understand the potential complex nature of IR Casinos in one of the potential superpowers in Asia.
The Venetian Macao - 05/15/2018 - 05/17/2018
The marketplace for the Asian gaming industry, Global Gaming Expo Asia (G2E Asia) is renowned as a key gaming and entertainment business hub across the continent. It is the must attend marketplace for the Asian gaming industry, offering a one-stop platform to the industry professionals to network, forge fresh connections, source new products and solutions, and gain a deeper insight into the latest global industry trends. Every year, over 95% of Asian casino operators attend G2E Asia to look for cutting-edge products and solutions and gather upcoming industry trends.

During my final five years in the casino, I worked with a great team that handled many of the critical aspects of slot operations such as scheduling, guest relations and team training.  They freed me to concentrate more of my time on budgeting and analytics.  Today, I'm consulting and working with vendors who are specializing in analytical software. These experiences have taught me that some product decisions are far from obvious.  The most important concept I've discovered is to look at the middle of your database; not just the extremes.  Most of us concentrate on the best and the worst. There's nothing wrong with that, and it remains a fundamental keystone.  "Buy more of the good ones, and get rid of the dogs."  But looking in the middle can also return substantial gains in profitability, and often for a lower capital outlay.  

BOOK REVIEW: King of Slots
by Buddy Frank
If you're under retirement age and were asked, "who is the King of Slots?"; the answer may not come easily.  Your top-of-mind response might be the strongest player in your database, or maybe a contemporary operator such as Steve Wynn or an infamous advantage player like Bob Dancer.   But if you were any operator from the 1960's to the mid-80's the answer is unequivocal: William Silas "Si" Redd.

Harpster's account, written eight years after Redd's passing in 2002, is wonderfully annotated and benefited greatly by Redd's own documents and oral histories preserved at both the University of Nevada, Reno and the University of Southern Mississippi (the state where Redd was raised as a sharecropper's son).  

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