Georgia’s most stylish and top-service casino, Shanrgi La, is continuing to develop on the Georgian market with the opening of a new branch in the country’s Black Sea resort city of Batumi.
“The Shangri La brand is currently expanding in Georgia with plans to open a new location in Batumi. This will give our staff the chance for career development and offer a fantastic new location for both our regular and new guests,” Helen Keane, newly appointed General Manager of Shangri La Tbilisi, told Golden Brand.
Currently there is only one Shangri La casino operating in Tbilisi. Located in one of the most historic and picturesque areas, near Bridge of Peace, Shangri La has been offering the best casino experience with classic table games and a variety of modern slot machines in a luxurious, comfortable and secure atmosphere since 2012.
Shangri La Tbilisi is part of the Shangri La casinos family, managed by Storm International, a world-famous gaming business operator with around 30 years of history and reputation.
The company upholds all the established international gaming standards along with excellent service and security. This year Shangri La has been awarded the most prestigious and influential business award in Georgia, Golden Brand, for the sixth time.
Q. You are the new General Manager of the Shangri La casino in Tbilisi. Please introduce yourself to us and tell us about your best managerial experience.
A. I started my career in the UK as a trainee dealer when I was 18 years old. At that time the casino industry was developing world-wide which gave me the opportunities to travel and work overseas. While it is difficult to pinpoint the best managerial experience, one thing I do get a lot of satisfaction from is seeing our employees rising through the ranks. To see someone start as a trainee dealer, like myself, and eventually reach a managerial position is very rewarding.
Q. What will your impact on Shangri La Tbilisi be, in your opinion? What are your plans, what will you try to accomplish or improve in the casino?
A. Storm International rotates its top managers, this allows us to look at our operations with a fresh set of eyes and identify areas that can be improved.
As our staff are our greatest asset, we are constantly looking at how to improve staff conditions and the work environment. I am constantly striving to maintain and improve the standards which Shangri La is renowned for, assure policies and procedures are adhered to, and assist staff with their career growth.
Q. What was the first thing you did when you got to work at the casino?
A. When I first took over in Tbilisi I had many meetings with Heads of Departments and employees in order to get to know them and understand their concerns and visions for the future.
Q. How do you feel about living in Georgia? What are your impressions about this country and about its gambling sector?
A. I love living in Tbilisi. The people are very warm, the food is excellent and it’s a very vibrant culture with a unique atmosphere.
The gaming sector in Georgia is well-developed and very competitive. In my opinion, competition is good for the casino industry. It helps raise standards which attracts more foreign clients who, in turn, contribute more to the Georgian economy.
Q. What would you do if you won the jackpot?
A. I think I would throw a big party then treat my family to a world-wide cruise!
Q. Do you play sometimes and what is your favorite game?
A. I don’t usually have much time to play but on the occasions when I do, I play blackjack or poker.
Q. Why did you become interested in working in Tbilisi’s Shangri La?
A. Casino work at all levels can be a transient job, that’s one of its benefits. Its always interesting to experience a new culture and country. The experience of working in different countries teaches you different management approaches.
Q. You have experience working in Minsk, Kiev casinos… Can you compare these markets to Georgia’s — what are the differences, similarities, how well-developed is Georgia in comparison? What are the challenges here?
A. The main differences are legislative and tax related but, in general, the business itself is very similar in most countries. Game preference varies in different regions but at the end of the day all players expect top level service and professional staff. One of the main challenges is attracting new visitors to the casino when advertising laws are extremely restrictive in Georgia.
Q. Please tell us what Shangri La casino currently offers guests — games, atmosphere, gastronomy, and anything else.
A. Shangri La provides an internationally recognized level of service, confidentiality, and a comfortable atmosphere. We have the most popular games, high limits and state-of the art slot machines. We offer Russian, Caribbean, Texas Hold’em, Ultimate Texas Hold’em, and Three card poker.
Our restaurant is also renowned for both its Georgian and international cuisine.
Q. Shangri La has won the Golden Brand again this year. In your opinion, why have the experts chosen Shangri La as their favorite casino in Georgia all these years?
A. It is an honor to win this prestigious award for the sixth year running. For the Shangri La brand it is a testament to our approach to business and how we keep adapting to meet and exceed market demands.