Jim Firth is the representation of a work journey through the casino. He is considered a rare type of casino executive, because he worked his way up from the gaming floor into the ranks of the elite. Jim Firth started his casino career as a dealer behind a roulette wheel. From there, he was promoted to pit boss and then he ended up into middle management. After learning to deal with management, Jim wanted to go so high that we see him now at the top.
Jim Firth also met his wife during his ascension. His wife, Jackie was a deputy manager who proved to be an understanding helpmate. Jim Firth has become an integral part of Genting, the biggest movers and shakers in the world’s casino industry.
Jim’s first day was at the table games dealing with roulette. He still remembers his guests names and faces. He went through a training school for 6 weeks where they would learn to deal with the American Roulette and Blackjack. The inspectors and Pit bosses were helping the trainees until they got better.
Jim remembers his interview with one of the White licence directors from Gaming Board of Great Britain. There, Jim had to repeat an interview panel to have his knowledge of the 1968 Gaming Act checked. Here he also received his Manager Licences. The experience was described as “character building” for him.
He did pretty much every job in the Casino, starting from the casino floor as a waiter and then dealer. From the casino floor, Jim went all the way up through the ranks of inspector, Pit Boss, Manager, etc. His wife, Jackie, has always been there to support him. She was a Casino Deputy General Manager so she understands the business and how to move through it.
Back in the 90’s, in order to gain experience, people had to move. Jim and his wife, packed up and moved where the opportunities appeared, from Midlands to Scotland, from London to the North. Jim has met some amazing mentors, like Chris Maskill who was the General Manager of the Stakis Regency Casino in Nottingham. Chris helped Jim to starts his journey into Casino Management.
Jim was blessed to see and have good examples, like when Fernando Garea has looked after him when he was appointed to his 1st London Casino in 2011. John Kelly, the founder and CEO of Gala Ltd and Neil Goulden, the MD were a huge influence on Jim’s early career. He has learned a lot by working with Patrick Noakes and the Gala Exec Team.
Recently, the Senior Team at Genting Casinos, including Paul Wilcock, Mark Seargent and Tony Pearce have created and maintained a fantastic workplace culture. The workplace energy was driven by a phenomenal passion for business and a genuine care for the people who work within it. Jim considers these people, his heroes because along all these years, they did an amazing job every time.
Like many people in the industry, Jim didn’t plan to be there. He was happy to have the opportunity to be able to prove himself in the world of work. He is interested in people and what makes them tick. So having a job that allowed him to interact with people and deal a game didn’t feel like work to him. Jim is grateful because the casino business afforded him the opportunity to experience different cultures, customs, languages and food.
Asked about his wish list for the next five years, Jim wants to continue the great work that has already been carried and wants to add measurable value to it. He thinks there are always opportunities to seek out in order to keep the business current, vibrant and growing. That is the challenge in a business of this size, type and complexity.
What advice would he give to the newest entrants? Jim believes that sustainable, responsible and ethical operations are the key to driving a good business. Employees need to be treated well, engage and empower them. With such a good amount of respect towards them, they will help deliver a good business. Same with the guests, they need to be treated with respect and they need to be looked after.
Jim loves his job so much that he wouldn’t switch it with somebody else at all. He believes himself to be quite a content person now. He feels at home when he hears the comforting rattle of chips moving across the layout. He likes the variety, the people and the complexity of the casino business.
The key to keep the the B&M business relevant and exciting for players is to add ongoing innovation. In the last 12 months Genting has carried extensive renovations to several casinos, like Palm Beach Mayfair, Luton, Cromwell Mint, The Colony Club and Westcliff.
Online gaming will continue to grow and Jim with his team have been heavily focused on their online platform in gaming offerings. They have already seen a positive response from their players towards the new launches and their unique dual play system.
The online gaming has been available in the UK since 2005 and the internet gaming has claimed a significant portion of total gaming components, as well as a big fraction of unique online players. However, B&M casinos have adapted by becoming much more experiential and service driven.
In addition, there will always be a place for the player who enjoys face to face conversations and participation, and that same player may also enjoy gaming online. Jim understands that the world of gaming is changing and as a result he and his team will innovate their contribution to players who have online accounts. Everything so the player will have an online connection with the land-based casino.