Scandals in the casino space often put regulators in the spotlight. And, depending how big and salacious the crisis, the resulting media circus can have harsh consequences for the regulator and their credibility with the public.
How much did they know? When did they know it? Is the regulation effective? Has it kept up with changing social and criminal trends? Has the regulator been asleep at the wheel?
These are all questions that the media, staff, customers and the broader community may ask when a scandal breaks.
Dr Larry Barton, Distinguished University Professor of Crisis Management and Public Safety at the University of Central Florida, knows full well that regulators can be blindsided when ‘it’ hits the fan in the casino game.
Dr Barton has spent 31 years working with casinos and regulators in crisis management worldwide, and we’re privileged to have him as one of our keynote presenters for IAGR2019 later this month in Montego Bay, Jamaica.
Larry’s presentation, titled The dynamic realities of crisis management and casinos: prevention and oversight in the midst of chaos, explores what regulators can learn from those who have already navigated through troubled waters.
‘Gaming regulators often find themselves under scrutiny faster than they may expect, such as Twitter and news feeds, with public expectations for answers, after a crisis impacts a casino,’ said Dr Barton. ‘There is increasingly little time to get to the office and collaborate with staff in person. Much like a casino itself, the regulator must adapt because whether the issue is alleged fraud and embezzlement, insider trading of a publicly traded casino, drug dealing by employees or human trafficking being funded by execs at a property, the range of issues can be dazzling.
‘Even the most seasoned and informed regulatory bodies are often unprepared when legislators, the news and social media and the public begins to demand answers after a crisis.’
Dr Barton will use his extensive experience – he’s on call 24/7 to many regulators and properties globally – to explore strategies that work and those that haven’t during crisis situations.
His session will explore the lessons learnt when casinos and their licensing authorities have faced issues of workplace violence, radicalization, organized crime, allegations of unsafe working conditions and numerous other critical incidents.
As demonstrated by the licence conditions Massachusetts Gaming Commission recently placed on Wynn Resorts, impacts on people – staff, suppliers, customers and the community – are an important part of the mix.
‘This session will focus not on the legislation that governs casino operations, but on the people side – the topics we rarely discuss – so regulators will be more informed and prepared to effectively address questions in a world of often immediate scrutiny,’ says Dr Barton. ‘For example, we are now in the first stage of a massive global discussion regarding mental health and the proper screening of employees. Background checks and weapons ownership, if an employee makes or poses a threat, is in focus.
‘The medical use of marijuana at work is here in many markets and soon to come in others; casinos and regulators may have policies prohibiting such, but legislation and regulation may need to reflect what various courts have ruled.
‘This is a critical time for regulators to look at the landscape of potential controversies and crises and ask: how can we be more effective in the public interest?’
Dr Barton has recorded a short video message about this keynote session, below.
Attendees can catch Dr Barton’s session on Day 1 of our program at IAGR2019. View his full bio.
Limited spaces are still available. Book now.