Be a Grudge Buster! | Helpful Ideas about Casino Player Development

Statement of Ethics for PD!

“As long as you stay on message, and remain honest, polite, and as accommodating as possible, you’ll have nothing to fear from someone with a grudge”

Let me know if you recognize it but I think this came from Gary Vee in the “Thank You Economy.”

If so, Gary was talking about retail and dealing with unhappy customers in a wine store. But this quote applies so well to Player Development. As a Casino Host, you are called on by everyone else whenever there is an unhappy customer. Does this quote suggest some tactics?

Stay on Message

With the Presidential election process underway, we hear a lot about politicians needing to ‘stay on message’ and not meander. If you are the Manager, do you regularly hold role-play sessions with your team, and talk about what The Message is? If not, then your team members are going to each give their own ‘message’ and the players will learn to play them off against each other.

In team meetings, talk about The Message for each of these situations:

I don’t like my offers. Why did my coupons change?
Why can’t I have a free buffet when you gave one to Mary?
I am one of your best players. What do you mean I don’t get tickets?
You have run out of gifts and I drove 2 hours just for that luggage set so I need freeplay.
The casino across the street sent me $75. You need to match that in freeplay or I am out of here!

Remain Honest

Some guests can be brutal, and even loud if they think that making a scene will cause the Host to fold under. It is tempting to use one of these tactics:

“Let me go and see what I can do…” Well, you can’t do much of anything so be honest.

“I’d love to but my hands are tied…” No, your hands are not tied. It is the policy and you need to own the policy and the message.

The challenge in ‘remaining honest’ is that you must support the Property and not throw it under bus. So being honest doesn’t mean sharing your feelings (or insight!) into the wrinkles in the decision making about comps, tickets, upgrades etc. Remaining Honest means being clear about the situation.

Remain Polite

Polite is an interesting word. We tend to use it as short-hand for not swearing, not being offensive, and not walking away in disgust from this greedy, demanding, impossible, guest!!!!

But one definition of polite is “having or showing behavior that is respectful and considerate of other people.”

Being polite is a proactive approach. We focus on Empathy (not Sympathy) and listen hard to the guest, to try to find an angle that will enable us to show respect and consideration. Often the important point is to listen well, repeat back to the guest what you are hearing them say, and let them express their frustration and anger. Once you move them past the outburst, or the hurt, then you have shown your respect and consideration.

Which leads to…

Be as Accommodating as possible

An experienced Host has built out a toolbox of tricks to use, that don’t go against policy, and don’t give away the store, but make the guest ‘feel better’. It could be to say “Hey, let’s go grab a cup of coffee and talk about this…’ (Which gets them off the floor and out of the middle of a scene!).

If you are new to Hosting, or on a new Property, then talk to your more experienced team members about tactics that work and are within Policy. Talk to the Manager. Find out what leeway you really do have.

“As long as you stay on message, and remain honest, polite, and as accommodating as possible, you’ll have nothing to fear from someone with a grudge”

A grudge!

This is what you are trying to avoid the most. Player Development means developing the relationship between the guest and the Host, and between the guest and the Property. There is nothing like a grudge to ruin a relationship! Guests will get unhappy and you cannot avoid that. But you need to avoid the unhappiness festering into a grudge.


Make a note to circle back later and find them on the Casino Floor and touch base. Take them a cookie as a peace offering?

Call them that evening or the next morning. Let them know that you care?

Next time you see them, be sure to proactively go over and greet them?


So, take a pen and write this sticky note above your desk… No Grudges! Not on my Watch!


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Author: Matthew Evans