Wednesday, July 14, 2004 ______________________________________________________________________________


As per my last post, I was to attend Orientation for my new job as a Dealer today. It was just a general overview of the company (Great Canadian Casino) and company policies, the mandatory filling out of forms etc. The only thing that I took away from today's experience is a sense of reverent wonder at how socially responsible Canadians are as compared to their neighbours.

For one thing large percentages of the Casino games are donated to charity. In fact gaming in this province was illegal up until about 20 some odd years ago and at that point in time games were only allowed for to raise money for charity. I'm pretty sure that running games for pure profit is allowed now but since this company started as a company that organized charity fundraising events, as an homage to their roots as well as a sense of responsibility to the community they continue to make significant contributions to local charities. I guess there's no better place for you to lose your money, although you cannot ask for a tax receipt to cover your losses.

Another thing that really stood out throughout today's orientation are the policies in place for the protection of guests and employees at the Casino. There are so many services in place for an employee's personal protection (and I have a feeling that there are more of these that she wasn't able to cover today) as well as measures that are taken to ensure that guests at the Casino are protected both from anything that might occur on the premises as well as themselves. From movies about gambling, casinos look like huge faceless corporations that are really eager to have you spend all your money there, no matter the cost to you. In fact, in Vegas, they serve you free alcoholic drinks. Now, if you would confiscate car keys from someone who looks like they have had too much to drink, how do you justify continuing to allow that same person to gamble (something that requires judgement skills) inebriated? Service of alcohol on the gaming floor is just another topic that we covered quite thoroughly today. It's nothing like Vegas, I assure you. Quite the opposite really.

So opposite that ALL employees of GCC have to take the Serving it Right course that is administered by the provincial government. Frankly, I think this course is bunk. You can read the manual online (I only need the "Server" not the "Licensee"), take the test online, and receive your certification online. Who's to know that it's not you taking the test? I think it's just the government's way of taking more money from you ($28 CAN). I digress. I will have to have this certification (I suppose this is the best benchmark that they currently have) despite the fact that my position has nothing to do with the service of alcohol. The resoning behind this is that the "course" covers topics (full list of topics can be found here) that are pertinent to the responsible service of alcohol as well as the laws governing the service of alcohol in the province. Due to the fact that alcoholic beverages will be served on the gaming floor these are things that I need to know. What impresses me is that a person in my position is not required by law to have this ceritification (it's more for bartenders and waitpeople) but as a responsible company GCC requires all of its staff to have received the certification.

As one can imagine, security at a casino is paramount. One "cage" employee (that's the people who change your cash for chips) handles up to a quarter of a million dollars in an eight hour shift. That number was taken from the Coquitlam location. The location that I am assigned to is the newest one. Not only is it bigger, it's also in a much more central location than the Coquitlam one. With that much money moving about the gaming floor and through the casino via untrackable transactions all measures must be taken to ensure accountability and transparency. Every inch of the casino is in constant surveilance. Security is never more than a yell away. Emergency services are on speed dial. Employees are not allowed to be on the premises when they are off duty except for half an hour before their shift begins. Should an employee wish to vist the facility with friends and family, they are not allowed to game and must report to front desk prior to their entry. Want to know how they keep to keep track of employees?

Most companies use punch cards to make sure that their employees arrive on time, don't leave early and refrain from taking overly long breaks. Payroll relies on this information. It is also a way for you to prove that you were on the premises. GCC doesn't use punch cards. They don't even use those high-tech scan cards that you get when you work in one of those new high-security office buildings. No, it's much more Ocean's 11 than that. In order to punch in for my shift as well as access staff-only areas I have to do a palm scan. The scanner reads 38 different points on my hand to make sure that it's me and only me. I am to scan in no more than half an hour before my shift and immediately after. Cue the Chinese guy that can fit into one of those safety-deposit box carts, this is no joke.

Training officially begins on Monday. No doubt there I would learn all sorts of practices that will teach my how to guard my chips, methods of dealing that will ensure that the cameras can see everything and countless "appropriate responses" to every situation known to man. I'm so psyched!

posted by Joie! at 5:50 p.m.


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