Member Spotlight: Hollywood Casino Columbus

Columbus Chamber
The Columbus Chamber provides connections, resources and solutions that help small businesses and Fortune 500 enterprises grow Central Ohio's economy.

columbus_primary_black_rgmessage-01Operated by Penn National Gaming, Inc., Hollywood Casino Columbus is conveniently located off I-270 West and is open 24 hours a day; seven days a week. The 160,000 square foot gaming facility features: slot machines, table games and the largest poker room in Ohio. Dining options include: Final Cut Steak & Seafood, o.h. restaurant, H Lounge, Epic Buffet, Zen Noodle, and Take 2 Grill. Hollywood Casino Columbus also offers a more than 16,000 square feet of multi-purpose banquet and event space. For more information, go to www.hollywoodcolumbus.com.

Player Development Director Robert Polk answers our member spotlight questions below.

Tell us about your company’s mission and values.

At Hollywood Casino Columbus, we have six core values that guide everything, from business decisions, to the overall guest experience; they even support our belief in the revitalization of the Westside. This is something that Penn National Gaming takes very seriously and each property gets to establish their own core values based on the teams in place. This allows each set of Core Values to be tailored to those team members and city they work in.

hc1What are the services you use the most (or are looking forward to using) from the Columbus Chamber?

As a proud business partner on the Westside of Columbus, we just want to play a role in local growth. We are hoping to help revitalize this area for Chamber members and residents alike. Our upcoming Hollywood Hustle 5K benefits the Hilltop YMCA is a great example of how we plan to leverage our relationship with the Chamber to get people involved on the Westside. Not only is it a wonderful event that helps an awesome cause, but those who participate get a reminder of how accessible the Westside is as well as the many offerings that can be found over here.

How do you stay engaged with trends that you see in your industry?

The gaming industry is ever changing and to understand it, you must fully engulf yourself in it. We are fortunate at Hollywood Casino Columbus to have leaders from diverse backgrounds who are all passionate about their craft and our company. We promote open communication, and from our GM to each of our front line employees, everyone has a voice. This gives us an opportunity to talk through best practices from previous work and personal experiences. It truly seems like those of us who have been in the industry for multiple years, have a thirst for studying and observing trends in our unique industry.

hc4What do you think differentiates you from your competitors?

Our Marquee Service program and our Marquee Rewards card. No gaming company in the state has as large a portfolio as Penn National Gaming and our Marquee Rewards card gives you access to that entire portfolio; out of almost 25 properties, 5 properties are located inside of a 3 hour drive from downtown Columbus. We are still excited about our recent acquisition of the Tropicana Las Vegas. It’s located right on the strip, and with Tropicnana LV in our family of properties, Columbus guests earn stays there while playing here! This gives our guests name and Marquee Card recognition all across the United States. Our commitment to service through our company wide Marquee Service program allows guests to feel at home at any of the properties they chose to visit.

What is your company culture like?

One of our core values and frankly, something each of us tries hard to live; we “actively participate and continuously learn”. We fully understand that if we can’t create a fun environment for our guests, it’s less likely that they will have a good time. Working at Hollywood Casino Columbus, you get to throw the best parties in town and know that you are supported by a great team to help you clean up after.

hc3What advice would you have appreciated hearing when first starting your career?

Set your goals high. Most people who have worked in the gaming industry will boast about is the upward mobility. Having worked for several companies in gaming, I can absolutely tell you, it is true! With Penn National’s focus on talent acquisition and retention we are always looking to develop and promote the next generation of leaders and if I understood the growth potential with Penn National, I would have joined much earlier in my career. We are the fastest growing company in the gaming industry for a reason.

How do you achieve work/life balance?

First and foremost, I’m blessed to have an amazing wife. Though she understands my ambition and commitment to the company, she is always honest with me about the commitment I made to her and our three children and nothing brings me more joy than spending time with them. You tie that in with our executives here; they want the best for everyone on their team and they strongly encourage us to find that balance.

What business leader do you admire the most and why?

Tom Gores. Being from Michigan, I often have difficulty talking sports down here in Ohio so bear with me. Tom is most known for his recent purchase of the Detroit Pistons, but Tom, whom I spent a good amount of time with is one of the brightest minds in mergers and acquisitions. The Michigan State alum is a family man who is unashamed of his faith and has created a small fortune for himself while holding true to his values and beliefs. He does believe in having fun and along with his wife Holly, he finds plenty of ways to enjoy his success. Through my family and my faith, I could argue that I am the richest man in the world; but Tom has been identified by Forbes Magazine as the 495th richest man in the word and the 179th richest in the United States. Not bad Tom…

Where is your favorite place to have a meeting outside of the office?

I love to bridge my work family with my passions. I have always been a sports fan and with our love for and commitment to the Westside of Columbus, I am a member of the Hilltop YMCA. I have hosted meetings with my casino teams at YMCA’s as well as other places that I volunteer, but to be honest, I enjoy the gym the most.

Why do you think Columbus is a great place to do business?

I have to say diversity. Columbus, more so than any of the other states I have lived in, is such a melting pot of people, with different passions and pleasures. At Hollywood Casino Columbus, we are challenged with finding a way to reach this eclectic audience every week in hopes that they become as loyal to us as we are to them. I must add that Columbus has been great for my family as well. We are members at the Columbus Zoo and Cosi. I left Columbus in 2014 and was given an opportunity to come back in 2015 and we couldn’t wait, even a kid from Michigan found it very easy to fall in love with this city.

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