It doesn’t take a genius to see our convention is going in the wrong direction. Dealer tables are down, attendance could be better. It appears to me the “bean counter” mentality that has helped destroy my city, Las Vegas, is slowly spreading within our organization and convention. I suggest ten ways to help improve our club and convention. I hope the new board reads them and maybe even considers implementing them. Please just don’t dismiss what I am going to write because you don’t like one of the ten suggestions or because you may not like me. Thursday evening my wife and I took the elevator down to the casino floor. We happened to ride with two club members. One of the members in the past was quite active within our organization and on the chip board. I inquired where she had gone. Her reply was very simple and to the point...”I don’t need the BS”. This attitude displayed by her has been reiterated to me on numerous occasions by other club members. Who knows, there may be merit in what she said. Let’s take a look at the suggestions.
1 1) Get rid of the banquet. Let’s go back to wine & cheese (and fruit). Charge a fair price say $20.00 or $25.00 to get into the event so we meet our catering responsibilities Turn it into a real trade session like it use to be. (No sales allowed). After all the dealers use to bear the majority of the cost for this event. It was FUN! Have South Point establish a cash bar for all drinks (no free drinks) but DO NOT run out of cheese and fruit. Let people sit where they want, first come first serve. No themes, no speakers. Have the various award presentations after the first half hour. Let’s make the event one that everyone will want to attend. More importantly everyone will want to come back the following year because they will have has FUN!.
2 2) Dealer tables were off by at least ten to twelve dealers. I would be curious to know why. I wonder whether the new “smoking policy” had anything to do with it. I don’t really care if it did. Our governor here in Nevada has signed legislation restoring the privilege of smoking back in the bars and restaurants where food is served. I imagine there will be smoking and non smoking sections coming back. Let’s renegotiate with South Point and allow those who wish to smoke in the hall outside the convention entrance to do so. Who knows we might get a few dealers back.
3 3) Open the convention for all days to everyone and anyone for free or if we have to have a small entrance fee set it at 50 cents. Let’s do away with the current pre registration fees and only charge club members whatever it costs to print up and put together their individual dealer packages and non dealer pre registration packages. Why does a nonprofit organization have to show a profit? What are we currently saving for?...a defunct organization. If we break exactly even for a few years but show increased membership we will have been successful.
4 4) Let’s take care of our volunteers. I do not believe it is smart to not only charge our club photographer the $45.00 banquet fee but then put him in the back of the room so he eats last and from anything that is left over after everyone else eats. Who knows, if we continue with this type of policy we may be looking for a new club photographer. Not very smart to do people! Especially when we as an organization provide complementary tickets for others and put them at a table up front.
5 5) If we can, let’s try to have South Point put a cash bar inside the convention area. This idea is not mine but belongs to Chuck Smorse. If there is some restriction I am not aware of and South Point cannot sell alcohol within the convention area then let the cash bar sell water and pop at a fair price. Put some small tables and chairs near the cash bar where older members and customers can sit for a few minutes while enjoying a drink. We certainly had the space to do this.
6 6) Look, I have played poker in this town for many years. I have played in many different types of tournaments. The “hold” for our club tournament is too much and is not in keeping with other tournaments around the city. In my opinion, this is why attendance was down. The amount returned to the players should be higher. Maybe someone should speak with management and see if we can renegotiate for a better return. I know if the return was better, the attendance would be better. You can not fool old time poker players. They know what a fair return should be.
7 7) I don’t know what goes into computing the fee charged per dealer table. However, our club should not currently make one cent in profit per dealer table. We should break exactly even. Lower the dealer table cost and we will increase the number of dealers. It’s just common sense. We can make a profit in the future as individuals compete for a table. Right now, there is no competition and consequently the higher table fees discourage individuals from obtaining a table.
8 8) Look at the average age of our dealers and collectors. If we do not bring “young blood” into our convention as well as our organization we will wither and disappear. I realize chip collecting is basically a wealthy person’s hobby. However, there are aspects of our hobby that can appeal to the younger person. Let’s start a junior membership as Dennis Shoop suggested. Junior members become senior members in a hurry. If we have to change our constitution to do it than let’s do it.
9) In the past our organization pushed for donations for the museum fund. I am not against the museum fund BUT how about pushing for tax deductible donations for our general fund to be used exclusively for advertising? In my opinion, we do not promote our 501 (1) (C) (3) status enough nor do we quality advertise sufficiently. It takes money to advertise lets raise money strictly for advertising. The museum fund will not “run” away. Advertising in quality publications like Private Clubs, Playboy, et al is expensive but the results could be very lucrative by way of new members. Word of mouth alone has not been very successful. Why not try quality advertising?
10) Finally, back in the 1920’s presidents Harding and Coolidge brought prosperity back to the United State by both decreasing federal taxes and decreasing federal spending at the same time. The result has become known as the “roaring twenties”. We as an organization need to intelligently decrease our revenue by charging less for dealer tables, less for pre registration, less for banquets, Less for membership fees and cut where ever else we can. Correspondingly, we will cut our spending since we will not have the revenue to spend. We need to raise the revenue for quality advertising through individual effort of running auctions, fund raisers, etc. specifically and ONLY FOR QUALITY ADVERTISING geared to increase membership. If done properly, I honestly believe we will increase club membership thereby increasing club revenue. Dealers who left will come back to our convention. Members who left will come back to our organization. Our organization would grow. However, the most important item we can do...is be kind to all of our fellow members when they suggest new ideas for improving the status quo. If we do nothing eventually we will have no club and correspondingly no convention. That would truly be sad! Let’s set the “bean counter” mentality aside and implement “new” ideas. I would rather go defunct trying something new than let the status quo slowly destroy us.