When coherent vision and unyielding resolve come together, great things are just around the corner. So is the case for PURE Canadian Gaming, an Alberta based gaming company. As the province’s largest and longest operating casino organization, Pure Canadian Gaming has been serving customers with rich and unique gaming experiences for over 30 years. The story begins with the inception of Alberta Bingo Supplies founded by Heinz Oldach in 1973. Later renaming to Casino ABS, Heinz Oldach helped to grow the organization into one of Alberta’s best gaming companies operating in Edmonton, Calgary, and Lethbridge.
Casino ABS was purchased by ONCAP in 2011 and rebranded in 2013, to become Pure Canadian Gaming carrying their old vision into a new era.
“I can put Persian rugs, crystal chandeliers, and gold doorknobs in the casinos, but if people come in and our employees don’t make a connection with the players, then all of that investment is for naught. Building that connection begins with recruiting and training the right people. Our main area of focus for the company over the last few years has been creating an internal culture that encourages employee engagement and rewards those who go out of their way to enhance the guest experience,” said George Goldhoff, CEO of PURE Canadian Gaming.
Alberta has been a prime tourist destination since the beginning of the twentieth century and hosts an average of over four million tourists in just two of its cities– Calgary and Edmonton–every year. Its gaming and entertainment culture is an integral part of its tourism industry and Pure Canadian Gaming has become an indispensable part of that system.
From the outset, Pure Canadian Gaming has been committed to bring the best possible experience to its customers in its properties. These four casinos are spread across three cities, Edmonton, Calgary and Lethbridge. In Edmonton they operate Casino Edmonton and Casino Yellowhead, offering state-of-the-art slot machines, video lottery terminals, live action tables and limit and no-limit poker. Casino Yellowhead also houses Retro Bar and Kitchen, a retro-style resto-bar which is their take on lifelong favorites with a contemporary, decadently grown-up spin. Casino Calgary is the only casino located in the north-eastern sector of the city, and Casino Lethbridge is the only full-service casino in the city, also within close proximity to the US, servicing traffic from border states.
A part of Pure Canadian Gaming’s work culture is effective communication. According to Goldhoff, “Communicating effectively and being excellent at listening and responding to our teams is very important to us and we focus on these things daily.” In a casino, the employees are the face of the company, it may be a slot key personnel or the manager themselves, they are the company’s biggest assets and PURE makes it a point to keep them up to date and in top form.
The gaming and entertainment industry is built on the basis of trust. A casino cannot operate unless it is trusted by its own customers and PURE inculcates that culture in its workforce. The entertainment business relies on an organizations ability to connect with its customer and PURE’s vast experience comes in the form of expertise in the gaming and hospitality industry. Its executives and teams are trained to the highest level of efficiency with the in-depth knowledge it has accumulated over a span of 30 years.
Listening to employees comes easily to PURE and it is because of this trait that the company has continued to excel. It is the employees that are on the floor interacting with customers, and their input on any matter is considered valuable. The teams that run the show hold the key to the success of such an organization. It becomes imperative for an organization like Pure Canadian Gaming to know its workforce well. They do this through annual employee surveys, bi-monthly General Manager focus groups for teams, and annual All Employee Meetings, amongst many other initiatives.
PURE believes that its workforce is the key to success and is committed to listen to them.
In such instances two-way communication becomes an important factor and the organization has numerous ways to engage in 2-way communication with its teams through brainstorming sessions, where Goldhoff himself meets each department at each casino to listen to their suggestions and ideas.
Riding on the belief that the teams’ growth is the growth of the company itself, PURE provides training to employees of all levels from the ground up to help them reach their potential and provide opportunities for advancement. In addition to this, they have highly engaged leadership teams and an entrepreneurial approach to its business, constantly looking for ways to improve. PURE’s trust in its employees is truly remarkable and this, according to Goldhoff, is what brings the best out of them.
“We believe that our employees want to do a great job and that they can. Our teams know we are here to provide excellent customer experiences and service to our guests. Without allowing our teams to take responsibility for their roles and without trusting them to make good decisions and use good judgment, we will not have engaged teams,” added Goldhoff.
About the key executive
PURE Canadian Gaming based in Edmonton, Alberta. As one of the few recruited to assist the opening of Steve Wynn’s, Bellagio, the first Five Diamond casino resort in Las Vegas, Goldhoff brings to the casino and hospitality industry a wide range of experience and expertise. He continued to work for the MGM Corporation at its Mississippi property and later became General Manager of Goldstrike Hotel and Casino in Tunica, Mississippi. George is a graduate from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and holds an MBA from Columbia University in New York.
“Our history is strong and our future is bright”