My first steps in the betting industry were as a Saturday settler in a small independent chain of betting shops in Lincolnshire. This inspired me to continue to learn more about the field, even writing my university dissertation about the betting industry and parallels between gamblers and managers. During my university days, and during five years in total, I continued to work in the industry, largely as a shop manager.

After leaving Southampton University with a degree in Business Economics and Accounting, I became a dealer in the busy Stanleys casino in Southampton. I believe it’s always useful to have a view from the very bottom of any trade, and after about 9 months I secured a place on Grosvenor Casinos’ graduate scheme. I continued in this role for three years, concluding with a spell as a casino shift manager. I worked most of the available jobs within casinos during this time, and the 18 months I spent as a manager at the end of the process gave me a very good insight into what really makes UK casinos tick.

After this I successfully applied for a job at the Head Office of Grosvenor’s parent company, Rank Group. Here I took on the role firstly of Project Accountant, which entailed financial appraisal of potential new projects, including new build casinos and bingo clubs and refurbishments. I was also involved in the routine accountancy process, and this proved very useful in getting an inside look at how business in general – and this business in particular – was run.

From here I progresses to a role as Operations Project Manager. This was a dual role, the first part being to take care of all the buying of gaming and gaming related equipment for Grosvenor Casinos. I was also responsible for the operational phase of all new projects, from opening new casinos to rolling out the automated roulette offer across the nation, as well as organising and implementing the first Wide Area Progressive Casino Stud Poker offer.

After this role I moved to the North East of the country to take over as Divisional Controller for the Noble Organisation’s bingo division, comprising 6 clubs and a couple of ancillary businesses. Filling this role for three years represented a challenging time in a fairly unique organisation, which I feel helped me develop as a person and as a manager.

My last employed role was as GM of Aspers casino Newcastle. Once again, within a fairly idiosyncratic organisation, in a brand new site, there were plenty of challenges to overcome and I feel that being a part of the transition from a deeply flawed initial concept to, eventually, a successful one was a good lesson in change management.

After this, in January 2008, I struck out on my own as an independent consultant to the casino industry. The initial plan was to assist the various councils involved in awarding the 2005 Gambling Act casino licences, and to date this has been successful, securing work for 7 of the councils in their initial assessment phases, with the bulk of the work on the appraisal panel still to come. I was a part of the Technical Panel in the recent Newham licence competition, assisting the council members and offices in their selection process.

I have also worked for a number of other institutions using my experience as detailed above. The largest organisations I have worked for have been the Rank Group and London Clubs International, owned by Caesar’s Entertainment, as well as other operators at home and abroad. The work I have undertaken for these operators has varied from mystery shopping trips, to security audits as well as advice on planning new operations and staffing levels.

While working as a self-employed consultant I have also added another string to my bow as a freelance writer to the gaming industry. What started as a favour to a friend has become a significant sideline, as I have had pieces printed regularly in the consumer press (Gambling magazine, GX, Bluff) as well as the trade press (International Casino Review, Gambling Insider, Casino Life). The ability to combine a wealth of experience with significant press contacts has proven useful on a number of occasions. I am continuing towards having my work printed in the national press.

I have also moved into the casino sales sector. I currently act as the UK agent for Hess (Cash management systems), Signs4U (Internal and external casino signage) and ICS-Europe (new table games).

As well as my experience working in the industry, I have an abiding interest in the nuts and bolts of exactly how the psychology of the player works, and how to find an edge over the market. A highly successful period of taking advantage of the very generous bonuses offered by online casino operators at the start of the last decade has given me an insight into the dangers of marketing with too much enthusiasm and not enough knowledge, while an interest in poker has led to more modest rewards. A fascination with the mechanics of betting markets has also led to a constant minor sideline in trading on Betfair, with a lifetime account well in profit. Finally, I have dabbled in the traditional enemy of the bookie, arbitrage, which once again has taught me useful lessons about how customers behave.

Overall I believe the combination of hard won experience at all levels and in most sectors of the betting and gaming industry combined with a healthy personal interest in the workings of the market makes me well equipped to take on most challenges in the industry. My writing career is flourishing and presents another handy opportunity for potential clients to maximise value added by employing me, and the synergies generated from my main consultancy business combined with my press affiliations generate useful sales opportunities.