Yes, Virginia, it’s really Christmas

Jan 8, 2007 3:47 AM

During the Mega-Star, Do-Gooder period in musical history, American civilization was subjected to numerous repetitive and eventually annoying charity or cause songs: "Hands Across America" and "We are the World"”¦ what was Bob Dylan moaning? The British, not wishing to be left behind, had Bob Geldoff organize a British super group, Band Aid, to query, "Don’t They Know It’s Christmas Time?"

In response to the last question, evidently some casinos do not.

To quote a Rio executive critiquing the Scintas (family) a little too God-heavy preview performance for Las Vegas industry members, "The only time I want to hear a mention of God in this casino is in the context of ”¦ God let me get this double down or come on God, let’s see that third cherry."

This institutional lack of religious fervor is why, I guess, casinos remain open on Christmas day.

It would go against my liberal leanings to feel that just because every other consumer outlet is closed (save a few essential service providers like pharmacies and Chinese restaurants), casinos should be closed too. If Denny’s, grocery stores, and dry cleaners can survive without being open for business one day, one would think the decent profit margined casino business could afford to shut down.

As a casino operator, the chance to be one of the alternative entertainment options (i.e., the other being movies) providing relief from family on Christmas day must seem attractive. Further, a realistic gaming entity realizes that many individuals, despite the massive expenditures on Christmas shopping, are flush with green backs due to cash gifts and Christmas bonuses.

This is merely one opinion, but casinos appear a little greedy by being open on the day of the actual holiday. There is something nearly tragically dismal about the patrons’ desire to be at a property and the forcing of employees to be away from their respective families on such a family focused day.

Let’s be realistic. A specialized surgeon will be on call 24/7/365 because his or her services are needed urgently and cannot be substituted. As much as gamblers appreciate the job done by a blackjack dealer, slot mechanic, or cocktail waitress, in no logical universe can their jobs be described as "necessary" to the survival of mankind. Casinos are entertainment venues, plain and simple.

Some casinos in Colorado and elsewhere do close up for the day, partially as a sign of respect to their worker’s having a personal and/or family life. These places should be lauded. The majority of properties keep the lights on as if Christmas is any other day, possibly not wanting to miss out on the bounty of, as stated above, being one of the only games in town when customer’s pockets are full and their personal schedules less burdened. The "getting" is viewed as too good not to seize the opportunity.

Not to be all sappy and sentimental, but beyond the crass commercialization of a holiday, I cannot help but recognize the implicit sanctity of a day that possibly should not be marred by avarice of player or house. Every so often, casinos operators, although they are not legally or even ethically obligated, might recognize the old maxim of "people not profits."

(Founded in 1996, Yarborough Planning, LLC partners with select clientele to better understand and address business process issues. Core competencies include training, providing reliable and valid research, strategic / analytic marketing, and accountable Customer Relationship Management (CRM) development and implementation. David Paster is accepting new clients and may be reached at (702) 813-5062 or [email protected])