Northern Arizona University

School of Hotel and Restaurant Management

Gaming and Casino Management HA 477

Abridged Syllabus for

Dr. Gary Vallen’s HA 477 Course


Lab Fee:

A minimal lab fee ($10) is required from all HA 477 students.  This fee will be used for a number of costs including; expenses related to the acquisition of gaming props for classroom use, as well as costs arising from the casino night lab activity.  In no case will the fee be used to help finance transportation costs related to the optional field trip.


Course Description:

This is a basic casino gaming course designed as an advanced introduction to the casino environment.  The student will learn rules and security procedures related to each major casino game; understand and be able to calculate house odds, win, and hold; and be made aware and able to analyze standard accounting and back-office cash procedures.  In addition to these business-specific areas of concentration, the class will also look at social science areas of the discipline.  For example, the student will become familiar with the overall history of gaming in America; will develop an awareness of societal costs and benefits associated with casino gaming; and gain a working understanding of compulsive gaming addictions and under-age gaming behaviors.


Class Objectives:

After satisfactorily completing this course, the student will have a strong working knowledge of casino operations and the interrelationship of the casino with other major departments (lodging, food, beverage, entertainment, etc.).  The student will understand the history of gaming in America and be able to discuss recent trends which impact growth and acceptance rates of legalized gaming.  He (she) will be able to understand, play, and even deal/manage (to some extent) each of the major games found in today's casino environment.  The student will be able to calculate and assess simple games probabilities, including table hold, win, and slots handle.  The student will be able to discuss some of the societal costs and benefits associated with casino gaming.  And the student will be able to identify and develop simple solutions to compulsive gaming addictions and under-age gaming behaviors.


Instructional Methodology:

Students are required to be prepared and professional in their academic demeanor.  The majority of instruction will be accomplished through lectures, readings, video presentations, discussions, and lab practicums.  The structure of the class is flexible, and students are encouraged to take an active part in all areas. The attached outline is designed as a rough guide to each day's activities.  Changes, additions, and deletions to this outline are customary.  Such changes will be announced as early as possible and are at the discretion of the instructor.


Field Trip:

An optional field trip to either Las Vegas or Laughlin (or both) is scheduled for this course.  If you are interested in this option, plan now the following dates.  Dates are listed on the attached calendar page.  We will depart from NAU at 3pm and return at around 5pm.  Rooms will be based upon double (triple or quad) occupancy, so identify a friend(s) with whom you would like to room.  You will need money for room (roughly $35 per person per night), meals ($25 per person per day), a show (about $45 on a voluntary basis), etc...  Generally, we expect transportation to be provided on an individual automobile basis.


Class Project:

A team project is required for this class.  Each team will be assigned early in the semester, and each team will have unique responsibilities for which they will be graded.  Teams are required to perform a series of functions, most of which will impact the success of HRM Casino Nite.  Team grades will be determined by the professor based upon the criteria and expectations established for each unique team.  Each member of the team will have a chance to give the professor written commentary regarding their personal and peer-related grades of the group. Teams include (but are not limited to):

-            Primary prize generation team.  Responsible for working with secretarial staff tracking major database, mailing several thousand letters (secretarial staff will handle most of these logistics) identifying new leads, following-up on prize donations, etc.  Coordinating with other team(s) to identify exactly which donations were received for thank-you letters after event.  Estimate 5 persons.

-            Silent auction and prize-tracking database team.  Responsible for tracking prizes received on a weekly basis.  Developing a database of received items and keeping this list up to date, establishing “values” for received items, selecting top 100-150 items for placement in silent auction, developing silent auction info sheets for each item, setting-up and managing silent auction during event.  Estimate 4 persons.

-            Raffle team.  Responsible for selling approximately $2,000 of raffle tickets pre-event.  This is to be accomplished in two ways—student sales by class-mates, and individual team sales at bookstore, student union, and HRM building, etc. Coordinate with other team(s) to get lists of prizes for use in promoting raffle sales, gain permission from union and bookstore to sell raffle tickets at booth during key dates, staff booth, etc.  Estimate 4 persons.

-            Casino Nite promotions team.  All on- and off-campus promotions. This includes radio station community events announcements, television community events announcements, live interviews on local stations (tv and radio), lumberjack advertising and interviews, on-campus television interviews, NPR local announcements.  Develop (with Marilyn McDonald) flyers and posters, distribute them all over campus.  Work with ASNAU and Parents Weekend committee(S) for maximum publicity.  Coordinate with Wally Rande and secretarial staff for a one-page write-up to be included with HRM faqmily mail-out, etc.  Estimate 4 persons.

-            Casino Nite logistics team.  This is primarily carpentry, inventory, planning, and set-up work.  New tables need to be built (this requires some carpentry skills as well as personal equipment--circular saw…).  Money, tables, and other equipment needs to be inventoried and new items acquired or produced as necessary.  The Casino Nite set-up needs to be managed and adjusted regularly until the plan is well-formulated.  On the day of Casino Nite, this team needs to arrive at school by 8am, set-up all rooms (around existing class-room schedules), count money and arrange it throughout rooms, manage Casino Nite, tear-down and put away.  Responsible for ordering tables from NAU grounds, soda machines, managing entry stations, etc.  Purchasing walkey-talkeys, etc.  Estimate 4 persons.

-            Training and staffing team.  Responsible for identifying all persons (about 100 employees) needed in all areas of Casino Nite ranging from dealers to cashiers to entry-station workers, etc.  Responsible for up-dating list regularly, calling all volunteers a number of times, and training all staff positions the few nights before Casino Nite (probably Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday).  Responsible for identifying who showed up to work, handing out nametags and bowties, returning nametags and bowties after event, etc.  Giving credit to class-mates based upon number of volunteers they identified, getting raffle tickets to all volunteers, and coordinating food meals with IFSEA or some other organization.  Estimate 4 persons.

-            Las Vegas field trip team.  Responsible for class field trip.  Includes tracking all permission slips, identifying room and automobile “leaders,” collecting moneys as necessary, coordinating field trip logistics with casinos, meals, travel, maps, making room reservations, etc.  Managing credit card list for rooms, sending thank-you’s to all Las Vegas executives who assisted…  Estimate 3 persons.


HRM Casino Nite:

HRM Casino Nite is a mandatory evening activity.  The dates are listed on the attached calendar.  Failure to work HRM Casino Nite (or to receive an approved excuse from working) will lower your final class grade by one full letter grade.  Holding an evening job is not an acceptable excuse--you have ten weeks now to ask for the evening off!


Grading Criteria:

Final Exam 10%
Class Project 25%
Quizzes 20%
Satisfactory work during Casino Nite event 10%
Reaction Papers (4 papers at 5 pages each) 20%
(Or Casino Nite Trade-outs) 20%
Discussion, Participation, and Attendance 15%


                   Session Outline:

Week Of: Topic Text:
Week  1. Introduction Chapter 1
Week  2. Historical Perspective Chp 1 & reading
Week  3. Organizational Structure Chapter 4
Week  4. Introduction to Blackjack  Chp 8 & reading
Week  5.

Gaming Control, Taxes, and Currency Reporting

Chps 2, 3, & 5
Week  6. Casino Cage and Credit  Chapter 6
Week  7. Casino Nite Week!!!     No readings
Week  8.

Table Game operations and Casino Accounting

Chapter 9 & 10
Week  9. Introduction to Roulette  Chp 8 & reading
Week 10. Slots and Info Systems  Chapter 7
Week 11.

Player Tracking, Table Hold, Marketing, Comps and Credit

Chapters 12-14
Week 12. Introduction to Craps Chp 8 & reading
Week 13. Craps continued Chp 8 & reading
Week 14. Surveillance and Societal Cost Just Readings
Week 15. Wrap-Up All Chapters
Week 16. Final Exam (Comprehensive) All Chapters