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Controls at bellagio Essay

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Focus on three key roles at mainly three levels of authority in the casino. How would you characterize the “control strategy” (e.g., tight vs. loose) used over each of these roles?

A. Blackjack dealers (tight controls)

Dealers are highly visible which does not allow for fraudulent activity. This in itself is a tight control but other tight controls in place include: table assignments, closed circuit television (CCT) observation, 2 dealers at the table, and other employees on the floor keeping watch.

Standardization is also part of the tight controls for blackjack dealers. They must wear uniforms and perform certain duties, such as accepting tips and doing cash and chip exchanges, exactly as procedure states. All dealers must be licensed and the Bellagio does background checks before hiring. Financial and accounting analyses ensure there are no statistical anomalies associated with any one dealer or shift.

CCT is one of the best controls the Bellagio has. Employees do not always follow controls put in place but when they know they are being watched they have no other option and the temptation to steal lessens.

CCT cameras can zoom in on the tables close enough to monitor all cards being played and bets being made. (Mills & Yamamura, 1996)

B. Pit bosses (tight controls)

Pit boss controls aren’t as tight as dealers but they are always on the floor watching dealers and handling customers so they are still visible. Part of their job is to promote and market the casino on the floor. Some of the tight controls for bosses are the same as dealers and include: CCT observation, licensure, background checks, thorough documentation whenever they interact with finances such as customer perks or chip counts, and bonuses based on profitability.

Documentation is not only important for comparison and accountability; it is an audit trail to ensure nothing fraudulent is occurring. “The objective behind documentation testing is to prove that cash coming in or cash going out does not result in a currency
transaction reporting violation.” (Mills & Yamamura, 1996, p. 54) C. Vice president of table games (loose controls)

The Vice President of table games (VPTG) oversees the operations of the games. They assure the organization mission, products, and services are presented in a positive image and are consistent with casino business strategies. VPTG have little to do with the actual physical chips and cash therefore require little supervision. Complimentary service (comps) abuse may become a problem; VPTGs “taking care” of their friends. (Rudloff, 1999)

This will be an issue for auditors to monitor very closely. VPTG must also be licensed and have background checks run. Their bonuses are based on profitability as well. There are action controls, personnel controls, and results controls. Action controls include observation and documentation.

Personnel controls include training, licensing, background checks. Result controls include documentation and financial and accounting analyses. All of these controls play a part in protecting the casino from theft, fraud, and skimming. Are the managers interviewed for the case justified in being proud of their company’s control system? Why or why not? The managers should be proud of the control system in place because it meets the goals of the company and it is working. As long as they keep evaluating the controls and evolve when necessary the system should continue to work.

Bellagio Casino Resort’s control systems for firms in other industries Much of this system is already being used in many industries where there are high value inventories. Such industries include banking, jewelry, pharmaceuticals, and many precious metal industries. Any industry plagued by theft and fraud could benefit from aspects of the casino control system. As more things become regulated and the accounting world converges towards international standards tighter controls will need to be in place.

Merchant, K. & Van der Stede, W. (3rd Ed.). (2007). Management control systems: performance measurement, evaluation and incentives. Prentice Hall. Upper Saddle River, NJ. Mills, J.R., & Yamamura, J.H. (1996). Casinos and controls. Internal Auditor, 5(3):54-58. Retrieved October 18, 2013 from ebscohost.com. Rudloff, R.W., (1999). Casino fraud. Internal Auditor,
56(3): 44-49. Retrieved October 18, 2013 from ebscohost.com.

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