Aspers Casino Westfield Stratford City. Richard Smith Interview
Aspers Casino Westfield Stratford City
Has been open for business since December 2011 and some of you may have read about the staggering attendance figures so far (30,000 in the first 3 days). A lot has been quoted in the press about Richard Noble and Damien Aspinall but what about the man who has the day to day job of running the largest Casino in the UK.
The C4D team managed to get a quick snap interview with Richard Smith the only GM in the UK to Operate a 2005 Gaming Act Licence \”The Man in the know of how it is to run the busiest Casino in the UK\”
C4D: Time in The casino Industry
RS Aspers Casino: 27 years
C4D: Time with Aspers
RS Aspers Casino: 3 years
C4D: Biggest influence on your career
RS Aspers Casino: I worked for one particular manager who showed me exactly how not to be a manager, I won’t name him
C4D: Do you ever have time to relax, and if so what is it you do to get away from it all
RS Aspers Casino: Trying to keep fit, going for a run is the best way to get rid of stress after a hard day, also playing table tennis with the hope that I may be able to give you a game one day.
C4D: Could you sum up the opening of the casino until now in ONE word
RS Aspers Casino: Rewarding
C4D: What was your biggest fear on the opening night
RS Aspers Casino: No Customers
C4D: What would you say to the rumours that professional gangs of cheats will be targeting your casino due to the inexperienced staff and how will you combat this
RS Aspers Casino: We have a great security and surveillance team and Dave Livermore is on red alert
C4D: There have been reports of several dissatisfied customers, how do you plan to rectify this and ultimately do you think you have been a victim of your own success
RS Aspers Casino: It has certainly been a challenge and we have failed to deliver great service in a number of areas. However the commitment of everyone to getting it right will ensure that we very quickly get the business running smoothly. Also we have had a lot of very positive comments from customers in the casino. But we also recognise that we still have a long way to go to get things right.
C4D:If you had the time to do it over again what changes would you make and what would you do differently
RS Aspers Casino:We have completed this project in double quick time and we had virtually no time to train the staff in the building. In a perfect world I would ensure that we had the building for a minimum of 2 weeks before opening and use this time to conduct staff inductions and training and test all IT systems robustly
C4D: Do you think you will be ever prepared for the Olympics and the influx of people it will bring (not that you are short of customers anyway)
RS Aspers Casino: We will be as prepared as we can be for such an event, on both our first and third nights we reached full capacity so by next summer I’m confident that we will be able to operate at this level comfortably.
C4D:What are the future plans for Aspers
RS Aspers Casino: Establish Stratford as the best casino in the UK both in terms of offer and profitability and use this as a springboard to expand the group.
C4D:Finally as you are now the manger of the largest casino in the UK, where do you see yourself going to progress your career or is this the pinnacle
RS Aspers Casino: I am always looking for a bigger challenge although it’s hard to imagine what that is at present, I also want to work overseas at some point as well.