Magazine article Risk Management

Increasing the Odds

Magazine article Risk Management

Increasing the Odds

Article excerpt

Visitors to any one of Boyd Gaming Corp.'s 11 casinos generally aren't looking for a sure thing; deep down they know that the odds of taking home more money than they arrived with are pretty slim. Of course, they're looking for more than monetary gain; they're out to enjoy themselves. And they do.

Stan Smith works for Boyd Gaming, and has for almost 14 years, having started out as a security officer and worked his way up to director of risk management. His job, strangely enough, is to enhance visitors' odds--and employees', for that matter. He's the risk manager, and he's taken to heart the idea that safety comes first.

"We handle all claims in-house," says Mr. Smith, "so any claims--whether workers' comp or guest liability--must be kept to a minimum."

A Timely Visit

When the company was visited by a cardiologist and a paramedic from the local fire department, Mr. Smith immediately saw an opportunity to implement a program that would do far more than reduce claims.

"They told us that statistics from Las Vegas show that customers who experience sudden cardiac arrest have a survival rate of somewhere between 12 percent and 15 percent," says Mr. Smith. "Then they showed us a new device called an automated external defibrillator (AED)." An AED administers a life-giving shock to the heart of a victim; the faster it is administered, the more likely they are to survive. Every second counts. "For each minute that passes, you can take about 10 percent off the survival, odds," says Mr. Smith. "We decided that it was in the best interests of our customers, our employees and our company to purchase the equipment and install it in all of our casinos and hotels."

Of course, it was not as simple as that. The AED doesn't jump off the wall and resuscitate fallen customers. The plan was to train all security personnel and, in the corporate headquarters, office personnel. "We even trained pilots on our corporate jets," adds Mr. Smith.

Once the comprehensive training classes were complete, the staff were put through extensive drills. "We looked at statistics concerning where heart attacks had occurred at our locations. We had had one in a hotel room, in bed, in the commode, in the pool. …

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