This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.

Ron shows the way G

Casino manager Ron Patel was recently voted Citizen of the Year by his peers – and is an example to everyone in the industry for good reason

aming often gets a bad name, particularly in the press, so it’s up to the members of that industry to prove doubters and critics wrong by example. Ron Patel, General Manager of the Black

Oak Casino in Tuolumne County, in Northern California’s foothills, was voted by his peers their Citizen of the Year – and it’s not just good corporate responsibility practices, Ron goes a step further within his community to really engage with people and make a difference. The casino Ron manages comprises three floors, with the 70,000 square-foot gaming floor in the middle. It boasts 1200 slots, 24 table games, an entertainment lounge, 24-hour specialty coffee bar, and 3 restaurants. Unusually in a casino, the lower floor is the ‘family’

floor. In Native American culture, the family is a very important element, so the offering includes a 24-lane

Right: Citizen of the Year Ron Patel

bowling centre, a sports bar and grill, a 70-machine amusement arcade and a fast food outlet. The top floor is taken up with administration

offices, surveillance, and a fine dining experience called “Seven Sisters”.

Casino International: Ron, how did you end up as General Manager of such an operation, and becoming the area’s Citizen of the Year? Ron Patel: We all make plans, goals and objectives in our lives and what I’ve learned over the years is that’s although this is good to have. you also need to allow for the unplanned routes that we find ourselves on. I started out in this business in 1973 when I first joined the Rank Organization with Top Rank Clubs, and thought at that time this would be my career; I’m destined to work with one company (as you did at that time) for the rest of my working days. However, after 15 years with Rank in the U.K., I decided that this was a little too narrow for me, and that I wanted to branch out. By the end of the eighties I had reached a senior executive position and Rank were looking to move overseas. They sent me to look at various countries, including Ireland, Denmark and North America. At that time we thought Canada was a place where casinos were about to start. It seemed a good idea to get a foothold in Canada ready for when casinos would take off there. So in 1989 I transferred with Rank to Canada to take up the position of President of their subsidiary company based in Toronto, together with my wife and two young children, who were five and nine at that time. We thought Canada was going to be our new home and we had no thoughts of moving to the U.S. at that time. It turned out after a couple of years in Canada

casinos weren’t going to happen there so Rank asked me to transfer back to the UK. As we had already made a big move and commitment to North America I wanted to look at other options before doing that. So looking over the border into the U.S., Native American Gaming was just about starting. I thought, this looked like a good opportunity and certainly very different to anything I’d done previously. It was a different environment. The U.S. was not in Rank’s plans at all, so I left them and joined a management company that was working with several Indian Tribes. For the first few years I worked with the Oneida

52 MARCH 2012

Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68