Reducing guest wait time for jackpot payouts: A riddle the industry has struggled with for years

Lines at the players club. Lines for the buffet. Players waiting for jackpot payouts … all things guests endure, but don’t particularly appreciate.

In terms of the first two, most casinos have figured out clever ways to keep players occupied on machines while they are waiting or, better yet, not having a guest wait at all. But these dang jackpot payouts are still a nuisance.

In our last article, we discussed how casino and hospitality executives address inefficiencies at their properties, as well as easing the impacts of labor shortages, through a business optimization methodology called Lean Operations Management. Lean Operations Management studies the entire casino/hospitality operations process to assess and eliminate operational issues. Organizations sometimes struggle to meet guest needs, guest needs drive casino/hospitality demand (and revenue), which is where Lean Operations Management can be utilized. Using this methodology will help you improve your operations to meet guest needs, and watch team member morale and revenue soar.

Waiting to Win

When it comes to a guest waiting to receive their $10,000 jackpot payout, you can bet that they are chomping at the bit, they need that payment as soon as possible. Your guest has arrived at your wonderful property, they have had a fun experience with their party thus far, and once they hit the jackpot, their minds are racing with excitement. It is up to us, the casino operator and our supporting forces, to keep the guest happy through the full transaction process of a payout. The morale in the air and smile on the jackpot recipient’s face can inspire onlookers, just as fast as a discontent scowl from waiting for 20-30 minutes can discourage passersby … so where do we begin? With the guest, of course. Amid the regulations, policies and laws, we still must prioritize the guest and embed ease of access into each process they interact with. If learning an intuitive, new way to positively impact your bottom line and improve guest satisfaction sounds appealing, read on.

The Pebble in Everyone’s Shoe: Delayed Jackpot Payouts

One of the Lean Operations Management projects we executed with a client was this exact thing. Our client had a goal to halve the amount of time it took for a guest to receive their jackpot. The issue was that when people won a $1,250 or more jackpot on a slot machine, they were having to wait 20 to 30 minutes to receive their payout. Throughout this project, one of the suggestions that we made to management and their team was to understand the jackpot process flow by mapping it out and then re-engineering the flow to the guest’s ideal state. This mapping-out process helped them visualize new opportunities to keep guests satisfied while handling all the timely legal tasks of fulfilling a jackpot, and how to streamline those legal duties. Approval steps, walking around, and information passage were some of the areas of opportunity that we all identified. If we could get those optimized, then we could get jackpots out faster and keep guests happier. And that we did.

By understanding process flow/casino layout, prioritizing guest wants/needs, and streamlining legal/approval steps, we were able to get that time down to about 10 to 15 minutes. That’s an incredible improvement for guests so that they aren’t just sitting at a slot machine waiting for their money. They are now able to get that money faster, have some more fun at your property, and ultimately reinvest (spend more) on their trip’s overall experience.

A key factor of this project is the team member resources it takes to facilitate jackpots. You remarkably cut your labor cost in half by doubling the speed of your jackpot payout process. Those saved labor costs and minutes can now be resourced in other areas, and when running a full-scale casino/hospitality operation, every penny and minute counts. To put it in perspective, you’re reducing the demand of roughly three to five team members. The security team member(s), cage operator(s) and management who’s signing all the paperwork. Giving them some time back into their already busy day is priceless. Now, with each of them having 10-15 minutes more X amount of jackpot payouts per year X those hours of labor costs reclaimed per year, you have a winning formula.

What else can you improve? Where else can you boost team member and guest morale? What other areas of your operation need Lean Operations Management attention? Remember, Lean is a way of doing business that can identify challenges, no matter the size of the gaming or hospitality organization. In the past, the “blame” would fall more on the team member or management, rather than looking at the process obstacles facing daily operations. Hard-working team members sometimes feel like, “I’m working so hard, but nothing ever seems to change.” It is time to get to the root cause and improve the processes that we and our guests are supposed to trust.

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