I want to build a casino, so now what?

I want to build a casino, so now what?

Your aim is to build the best casino on the planet. You have the capital, you’re motivated and can’t wait to taste success, so what next?

Published by Casino Life Magazine Ukraine Issue 03 / volume 2 – 2021

Anyone who has set up a casino from scratch knows that it’s takes a vast amount of discipline, organization, teamwork and planning. They will also know that there are a million and one things that can go wrong so it’s essential to get it right and keep doing it right from the moment you seize the opportunity to long after the casino has opened. The question that many fail to seriously ask is, “how do we go from a simple concept to the successful opening of a fully functional casino that has met the targets for scope, time and budget, that has triumphantly navigated through the sea of its inevitable challenges and has been masterfully marketed as a new brand that your customers are already talking about and your competitors will admire you for?

 What business idea do you want to create? I’m sure we can all agree this is quite an important question and most ‘best casino on the planet’ ideas start with a project mandate that evolves into a business case which is defined as the justification for the project against which the continuing viability is tested. Although formats may differ, the main features of the business case are as follows and help maintain focus throughout the lifetime of the project:

  • Executive summary – highlights the key points of the business case including benefits and return on investment.
  • Reasons for the project – how the project aligns with company objectives
  • Business options – the analysis of ‘doing nothing’, ‘doing the minimum’ and ‘doing something.’
  • Expected benefits – the measurable outcomes (benefits) of the outputs of the project
  • Expected dis-benefits – the perceived negative impact of the project outcomes
  • Quality Criteria – a summary of the ‘must have features’ of the project
  • Timescale – the period over which the project will run
  • Costs – A summary of the project costs
  • Investment appraisal – compares the aggregated benefits and dis-benefits with the costs
  • Major risks – summary of the risks and their possible impact.

What do you need to create in order to bring your idea to life? Now you have a viable business idea, but before you can start the physical work on your ‘best casino on the planet’ concept, you need to establish solid foundations for the project which will enable all stakeholders involved to understand the work that needs to be done to deliver the finished product before any major financial commitment. The business case is an essential part of these foundations as is having an experience project manager who can either be hired externally on a temporary basis or, for larger companies, can be trained and certified from within the company ranks. Following is what your essential foundations should look like:

  • Business case
  • Experienced project management team.
  • Defined roles and responsibilities.
  • Management approaches for risk, change, quality and communications.
  • Progress reporting mechanisms.
  • Project Plan.
  • Project product breakdown structure.
  • Product descriptions.

How do you get the work done on time and on budget? When you have solid foundations in place the odds of your project succeeding increase dramatically before you even touch a sledgehammer a screwdriver or even a forklift truck. However, the critical work that needs to be done to bring your ‘best casino on the planet’ idea to life also needs to be effectively managed on a day-to-day basis which can be achieved by:

  • Maintaining focus through continued business justification.
  • Establishing clear project roles and responsibilities.
  • Learning from past experiences
  • Managing by exception.
  • Managing the project by stages.
  • Focusing on product
  • Dealing efficiently with ongoing project issues and risks.
  • Managing the execution and delivery of work packages.

Why do you need project management methodology to deliver my business idea? Many organizations have their own planning and implementation processes, yet consistently fail to meet two of the main organizational challenges which are maintaining business as usual, while aiming to transform their operations in order to survive and remain relevant in the future. Ignoring these two issues is not a good option and can often have catastrophic consequences. Project management will help you maintain day-to-day operations and help transform your ideas into a new successful reality by:

  • Efficiently planning, delegating, monitoring and controlling all aspects of your project.
  • Delivering the project objectives within the expected performance targets for time, cost, quality, scope, quality, benefits and risk.
  • Using best practices for introducing change.
  • Being tailored to meet your unique business requirements.

What’s the price of doing nothing should I choose to ignore all this good advice? Building a casino, running the network cables, buying a casino management system, configuring slots and setting up the cash desk are not a part of project management, but do you really want to install the slots machines before the roof is put on the building, before the electrical installation has been completed and before the bases have been placed on the floor? The purpose of project management is to keep control over the specialized work required to create all the products that will make your casino a success. Project management controls six aspects of project performance that need to be managed which are cost, timescales, quality, scope, risks and benefits. If you’re still not convinced here are just a few scary examples of what can happen if you fail to consider the benefits of project managements:

  • Slots locks were ordered as keyed alike resulting in the same key opening all the locks. This caused a four week delay in opening
  • Slots installation team arrived before the slots and ended up with a free weeks paid vacation in a 5 star hotel in the Caribbean (they hated it…. not!)
  • Somebody forgot to mention that the cage area plans had been changed, and only realized after it was almost finished resulting in a 1 week delay.
  • Someone neglected to order the player tracking brackets resulting in another 4 week delay.
  • Lack of adequate pre-opening training resulted in poor customer service and poor job performance levels
  • Lack of sufficient marketing planning resulted in initial negative campaign results

Conclusion: Success can remain an illusion without effective project management and if you choose to ignore this or dismiss it as some sort of unnecessary expense, your budget could go through the roof, key milestones could be missed, essential equipment may not arrive and your ‘best casino on the planet’ idea could end up as a bus station and possibly as your favorite reoccurring nightmare.

A strong casino opening is a measure of your future success and not something you want to gamble with. The project managers job is simply to plan, delegate, monitor and control your project towards success so what are you waiting for? Your competitors are betting on your failure and effective project management is a chance to turn the odds in your favor, so act now, start right and transform the way you bring your projects to life.

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