Grand Lake Casino created a new strategy for the gaming experience to offer One Casino Three Ways to Play. Nick Birdsong, General Manager of Grand Lake Casino, stated, “When we reopened in May 2020, we had some of the most stringent safety measures of most casinos in our area.  As an organization, we have been learning more and more about how to operate in this ‘new normal’.  This has allowed us to make strategic adjustments which we then monitor and adjust further if needed.  This cautious and methodical approach has allowed us to keep safety at the forefront of our strategy, but also compete in an extremely competitive market.” 

Implementing Three Ways to Play was a big project that involved preparing Venue 655 for gaming, moving slot machines, and preparing the accompanying marketing materials. 

Learn more about this project from the following interview with Birdsong.

How is the casino operating now?

Grand Lake Casino is currently operating under the business strategy of One Casino Three Ways to Play.  With this strategy, we have divided our gaming floor into three distinct zones.  First, we have our Traditional Gaming zone located on the south side of the casino.  The Traditional Gaming zone is a mask recommended area where smoking is allowed.  Next, we have the Safer Gaming zone located in the middle of the casino floor as guests enter the casino.  The Safer Gaming zone has a mask requirement and smoking is not allowed.  Finally, we have the Venue 655 Gaming zone located on the north side of the casino.  The Venue 655 Gaming zone, like the traditional gaming zone, is a mask recommended area where smoking is allowed.  This area also has the option for bar service and live entertainment.   

What was your intent for the change to One Casino Three Ways to Play?

The intention behind One Casino Three Ways to Play was to give our players the option to game their way.    

How has the new strategy worked so far?

The strategy has worked well.  Both the volume of play and headcount has increased over the last month and a half, so we have had a good response to the change.  We are also better utilizing valuable floor space that was not being used previously.   

How have these changes impacted the casino and its employees?

The change has energized and motivated the casino staff from what I’ve seen.  Many employees put hard work and dedication to making the necessary changes to prepare the gaming floor for the new business strategy.  It’s always nice to see hard work pay off and make an impact.  

What feedback have you received?

A lot of guests stated that they appreciated being given the option to choose how they wanted to play and spend their time at the casino.  We also received many comments thanking us for keeping our Safer Gaming zone so they did not have to sit and play in smoke.  There were comments of concern with the changes, but we explained to them what safety measures were in place and that they had a whole section of the gaming floor dedicated to them.  

Dez Edmund, the Slot Operations Manager at Grand Lake Casino who planned and executed the project, discussed how much work went into making this project happen and in a short amount of time. “This project was a lot of work. It took several late nights to plan the best mix of products to move into the venue, the floor plan, and the process for the actual move. There were a lot of departments involved including IT, maintenance, food and beverage, surveillance, and security, along with outside vendors. There was a lot to coordinate! Getting everyone together can be a challenge, but it all came together.” 

Edmund went on to say “I am very happy with how all the departments came together to make it happen. It took everyone putting in extra work to meet the deadline, and we could have not done it without all of them.”