7 Things You Never Knew About Casinos

Americans love gambling. We spend billions of dollars every year at land-based casinos, from the high desert of Las Vegas to the riverboat casinos of the Mississippi Delta. Forty US states are home to at least one casino. Even conservative Texas has a casino within its borders.

The casino business has been booming for nearly 100 years. From its early days as a frontier distraction to the multi-billion dollar mega-businesses of today, casino gambling has enthralled Americans as long as it’s been available. But I bet you didn’t know all these cool facts about the casino business.

Read on for a fascinating look at how the betting industry really works.

1. Casinos lose money all the time
Sure, most players end up losing money. But you have to figure high cost of the property, staff, and complimentary items keep casinos from beating everyone. Of course those patrons who play very little or are accompanying real players make up a large portion of this group, but there are many players that are actually able to win over a long period of time. This group includes blackjack card counters, but the largest percentage is comprised of players who gamble just enough to qualify for freebies and complimentary giveaways like free rooms and meals.

2. They love winners
You might assume that the casino isn’t happy when someone cashes in a big jackpot. But that’s far from the truth. Think about it – do you want to play at a casino that never pays out big winnings or a casino that regularly advertises big prizes? Big wins are good for business, so don’t be surprised to see a bunch of smiles and glad-handing when the supervisor hands you a big progressive prize.

3. Card-counters are welcome … in Atlantic City
If you’re an advantage gambler of any type, you run the risk of getting kicked out of a casino in Las Vegas or most other parts of the country. Most casinos reserve the right to kick out anyone they suspect is counting cards or using other advantage techniques. But if you’re a card-counter and you want to use your skill freely, there is one place you’re welcome. Atlantic City is explicitly open to blackjack card-counters and other advantage bettors. How do they do it? They’ve adapted. For example, the rules for blackjack are altered to account for the impact of card counting tactics.

4. Think you’ve been ripped off? There’s an agency for that
Every legal casino in America is run by a regulatory agency. If you think you’ve been cheated, you can contact Gaming Control (or whatever agency runs the show where you were playing) and lodge a formal complaint. Just don’t use this service to whine about cold food or a broken elevator. Those particular complaints should be made to the casino’s manager, not to a government body meant to curtail casino cheating.

5. If you win big, you can ask for a check instead of cash or chips
This one surprised me – I’ve never seen it done before, and I’ve been in casinos plenty of times. Apparently, it’s perfectly acceptable to ask for a check if you have a decent-sized win. Basically, any hand-pay you get in Vegas or AC can be turned into a check, so long as you ask nicely and do it before you get your cash or chip pay-out. You can even get a combination pay-out, part in a check, part in cash, and part in chips. Remember – your casino is basically a service economy with you as its target. If you play a lot and talk sweetly to the employees, you can get pretty much whatever you want, within reason.

6. You need a current and valid photo ID on you pretty much at all times
Though some US casinos allow players in at age 18 (particularly in Alaska), the gambling age in pretty much every other US state is 21. To enforce that, the casino demands that all players have a valid photo ID on them at all time while on the floor. Don’t even try the old “Oops, I left my ID up in my room” trick. The casino can (and will) ask you to leave if you don’t have your ID on you.

7. Casinos have strict etiquette rules – including language restrictions
Contrary to the stereotype of the casino as a den of iniquity, gambling halls actually have pretty lengthy lists of rules and proper etiquette that you must follow. The quickest way to get a nasty look from your dealer or even a warning from the pit is to open your mouth and let one of those famous “four-letter words” slip out. My advice – act like you’re playing craps with your grandmother. You’ll be better off, and the other bettors around you will appreciate your kindness.

How Will the Smoking Ban Affect New Orleans Casinos?

The city of New Orleans implemented a full ban on smoking in bars, restaurants, casinos, and other public spaces in April of 2014.

The purpose of the law was to extend existing statewide smoking bans within the city limits. The new law means it is illegal to smoke within five feet of everything from public parks to colleges and even the city’s jails and prisons.

The use of e-cigarettes and vaporizers is also considered smoking. So that’s banned too.

How do the operators of gambling venues in New Orleans feel about it?

They’re upset.

The Louisiana State Police, which oversees gambling in Louisiana, predicted that the state could lose $104 million in tax revenue and fees from the implementation of this ban. That number came from the Gaming Enforcement Commission’s notes on a study done on smoking bans in Atlantic City and Delaware gaming properties.

That study, which you can read as a PDF file here, accurately predicted a 12% decrease in revenue for the state of Delaware after a smoking ban in gambling halls in that state. Another arm of that study predicted a huge decrease of 20% in Atlantic City’s profits across a two-year period after a smoking ban in South Jersey, though that prediction hasn’t been tested yet.

Their argument is simple enough. As the New Orleans advocate puts it, “[Casinos, restaurants, and bars] argue that tourists come to New Orleans because they like to gamble and drink. The city is one of the last to allow smoking in some public places.” To take that away will change people’s attitude about New Orleans.

How many will simply decide not to come back?

What have they done about it?

Opponents of the ban have been active.

First, Harrah’s tried to delay the ban, claiming they needed more time to help their employees and customers adjust to the new rules. New Orleans City Council saw through that smokescreen (pun totally intended), shaming Harrah’s for trying to amend city law to benefit their own interests. For their part, Harrah’s is currently involving New Orleans in a difficult and costly lease renegotiation which has to be seen as an attempt at revenge on the part of the casino.

What Harrah’s did next was brilliant. Before the ban went into effect, the property made a huge show of becoming “the first smoke-free casino in Louisiana.” At midnight two days before the ban went into effect, they ceremonially removed ashtrays, handed out lollipops for frustrated smokers, and made a big to-do of their early adoption.

It was a brilliant move because they were planning a counter-attack the entire time.

Next, Harrah’s joined forces with many other local businesses affected by the ban and filed a lawsuit in civil court to strike it down. This action was more effective. It included several large local businesses (including Pat O Brien’s, Broussard’s, and several other New Orleans landmarks) and focused on the potential loss of revenue facing the city.

The hearing was scheduled for May 21. That lease negotiation Harrah’s is forcing on the city? It could cost New Orleans anywhere from $4 – $30 million dollars, which Harrah’s says is the cost of forcing the smoking ban on their successful gaming enterprise.

Who benefits from the New Orleans smoking ban?

I’m cynical, but not too cynical. This might smarmy, too.

I’m okay with that.

Here’s who benefits from the New Orleans smoking ban:

The people who visit bars, hotels, restaurants, casinos, and other public spaces all benefit.

We know secondhand smoke is dangerous. The American Cancer Society says secondhand smoke kills 42,000 people a year. It’s bad and you probably agree that it should be banned, unless you’re a libertarian or anarchist or something.

But beyond that – people these days don’t like to go places where smoking takes place. Times have changed – gone are the days when going home from your waitressing job smelling like a cigarette was no big deal because everybody smoked. These days, fewer people smoke, and the ones who don’t simply don’t want to be around it.

City Council Member Latoya Cantrell, who sponsored the law and has been vocal about her support for it, points out that secondhand smoke exposure costs the state millions of dollars a year in healthcare costs. That’s another angle to consider. It might be fiscally irresponsible to continue to allow smoking in public, at least according to the ban’s proponents.

So what’s going to happen?

Harrah’s is trying to put its money where its mouth is, threatening to shrink its state-mandated work force from 2,400 to 1,500. They’ve got legislation under consideration which would allow them to do just that.

With pressure on the city council from judges more than ready to rule in favor of existing liberties, it’s not totally clear that the city will be able to maintain the ban as it exists now.

Bartenders and business owners continue to make the same point – you’ll read it in this article from VICE and in this from the Guardian. What is going to happen when neighboring businesses get sick of the smokers pouring out of bars, casinos, and restaurants every few minutes? That seems to be the real threat to shop owners concerned about their customers getting up and leaving to satisfy their nicotine habit.

If I had to make a prediction, I’d say that the ban is here to stay. I can’t find a single example of a city getting rid of a smoking ban once it’s been put in place. It just doesn’t happen. As for how the city will be affected, I’d predict that Harrah’s is going to continue making a stink until they earn an exemption from the New Orleans City Council.

That means the city will rule in favor of the civil rights of customers at a single business. That will be a weird day, indeed.

10 Strategic Business Advantages of Outsourcing to India

As technology began to evolve, it has made the smaller, more approachable and closer adding to the advantages brought about by the process of globalization. In such development, India has, and will continue to, played a crucial role transforming itself as a strategic market to outsource various IT and ITeS services from across the world. While many large and impressionable corporate entities from across the world has been milking the advantages of India as a strategic outsource partner, there are still a large chunk unconvinced.
If you are one of the companies who are not-so convinced to hire an outsource company from India for your project, the following reasons will sure win you over.

India makes more with less literally possible

As customers are given more choices and competitors continue to up their games, businesses are in a tough spot to improve their efficient and productivity. This can be achieved through outsourcing your requirements to India where you can manage all the outsourced activities and projects with the help of your existing staff, thus effectively improving the output of each of your staff.

India has exceptionally trained professionals with desired skillsets

When you outsource your projects to India, you will mostly be working professional holding technical degrees from eminent universities in India an across the world. As higher education is persistently considered a symbol welfare and social stature, the younger generation strives to become excellent a range of technical niche, which makes is a favourable market for global firms looking for dynamic and enterprising youngsters.

When outsourcing, you can concentrate on your business’s core offerings and competencies

Most of the times, you outsource mundane, repetitive and low-key services to your offshore outsourcing partner. This will ultimately help you get more free time to concentrate on your core service offerings and competencies. You will be made free from tending to your customers’ ordinary queries that any outsourcing company can take care of. This leaves you with the opportunity to improve your service offerings, devise better expansion and growth strategy, work on establishing newer business relationships etc.

India will help you become more scalable than ever

No business experiences the same sort of customer queries and sales all through the year. As the case is, if you have an in-house team attending to the calls, chances are half of the time there will be no sufficient work. During the peak season they might not be able to attend all the queries they get. The former will cost you money the latter will cost you customers and goodwill. However, by outsourcing to India, you can be extremely flexible with your contract. You can reduce the number of employees working as required.

Indian talent pool is well-versed in English

One of the major issues faced by companies outsourcing to foreign countries is the barrier of language, especially when it comes to customer service where interactions between customers and call center executives take over the phone. However, while language and cultural barriers do exist, Indian graduates are more efficient in handling English better than most other non-English speaking counties such as the Philippines, Korea and Egypt.

India offer cheap labour

By the very nature of the country, Indian labour is really cheap when compared to that in the US and other Western countries. It makes sense as the living expense in the US is extremely high in comparison with that of India. As the case is, companies looking to get excellent talent in India will easily find it for cheaper than many companies would offer.

Save on infrastructure costs

Whatever be the sort of industry you operate in, there is a need to update and upgrade your infrastructure from time to time as technology evolves and to meet the challenges of the competition. By the very nature of it, infrastructure investments can cost you dearly for sure. However, when you hire an outsourcing company, they will already have the best and advanced infrastructure need to carry out the operations. If any upgrade is needed, they will do so and you need not worry about the same at all.

You can save on your operation costs with the help of India

When you are hiring the support of an outsourcing company in India, you are paying the fee for the service rendered to you alone. All other operating costs pertaining to the facility, the infrastructure, the labour and all other statutory requirements are borne by the outsourcing company. This will not only help you save a lot of money but also the efforts and time you need to otherwise invest on the same if you were to do it in-house.

Government policies

Indian government sees the IT and ITeS industry as one of the most important and lucrative branches of its economy. As such, it has envisaged several strategies and policies to help the companies improve the value deliverance to their clients. With newer initiatives to meet with prospective clients and investors and for infrastructure development, the government is actively involved with the growth of the IT and ITeS industry of India.

Advantage of time-zone

India is in a strategic position geographically. It helps the outsourcing companies to cater to the requirements of the businesses from the US, UK and Australia without any significant loss of time.