Archive for Monday, January 23, 2012

Unified Government officials get a peek at casino’s inner workings

January 23, 2012

Officials with the Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kan., Thursday got a sneak peek at the bright lights and glamour of the newest boon to the economy.

But first, they had to go in through the basement.

The Unified Government’s Board of Commissioners and other officials toured not only the casino floor and four restaurants at the Hollywood Casino at Kansas Speedway — set to open Feb. 3 — they also got to see a few areas the public won’t see, lead by Bob Sheldon, general manager.

The officials entered through the casino’s “back door,” the employee entrance in the basement containing much of the casino’s inner workings, coming in as many of the employees were leaving from their orientation training. The bulk of employees — about 600 of the 1,050 positions — started their jobs last week, Sheldon said.

“As you can see, the building sort of came to life last week with people,” Sheldon said.

Sheldon said 750 employees have started their jobs at the casino, others have been hired and are awaiting their start dates, and the casino has about 100 positions left to fill.

Some of the first areas officials viewed were the efficient cleaning system set up for 700 employee uniforms, the locker rooms and the employee cafeteria.

The basement also contains an employee fitness center, administrative offices, offices for state officials with the Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission, and surveillance center for the casino’s 970 cameras.

Sheldon said the basement also had a separate room for audio-visual support of the numerous TVs and other light and visual displays in the casino.

On the main floor, officials got to view the cavernous kitchen for the Epic Buffet, where Sheldon explained there was enough storage for a full day’s worth of food service. He said the layout of the casino was designed to shorten the distance between attractions for visitors, with the restaurants accessible directly from the casino floor.

“We have a very efficient footprint,” Sheldon said.

Of course, officials also took in the lights and colors of the casino floor itself, where trailers for current movies played alongside images of classic Hollywood actors like Humphrey Bogart, Jimmy Stewart and Audrey Hepburn. They met the head chefs for each of the restaurants and watched the dealers brush up on their training at the gambling tables.

One question posed to Sheldon concerned a future hotel planned for the casino. Sheldon confirmed that Penn National Gaming was still committed to having a hotel within two years of the casino’s opening, but the company is still working to find hotel to partner with. The hotel would be built on the casino’s west side, he said.


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