Who’s in that Santa Suit?

By Chris Faria, Raving VP of Marketing
Hey Ravers! It’s been awhile -- I’ve missed writing to you about all those things that inspire and challenge us outside of work.

See, it’s been a little crazy around here …

Just a little over a year ago, our team was having our annual holiday dinner here in Reno. It was snowing and the roads were very icy. We had just started on our appetizers when Santa and an elf came walking through the door.

Backstory – for many years, Dennis dressed as Santa and played our zany host until he got too hot and had to take the get-up off. But not this year.

This “new” Santa was Deana Scott and the elf, Brady Scott. They made it through a blizzard (without the aid of Rudolph) from their home in Oregon. This is how the team found out that Deana was our new CEO and Raving’s future owner. Dennis thought it would be a great surprise. Well, he was right. We had heard conversations, but we didn’t know it was a done deal.

There was a new Santa in town.

Now, twelve months later, Raving is a Native-owned company. Brady, a Coquille Tribal member, brings not only his culture to us, but together with Deana, they add a wealth of experience in Tribal economic development. During these last several months we have expanded our services to not only commercial casinos, but we’re working on more ways to assist Tribes in ways that Raving hasn’t done before. This old dog is learning a lot of new things.

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I Think We’re Onto Something Here … NB3FIT Week Expands in 2017

In November of 2016, a movement took place. More than 10,000 young people from 110 tribes and Native American communities participated in a group exercise for one hour on one day. This “appeal” was created by NB3F, an organization founded by golf broadcaster and the first Native American four-time winner of the PGA Tour, Notah Begay III. NB3F’s focus is to reverse the epidemic of type 2 diabetes facing children in Indian country and that 50% of Native youth are facing a life of obesity and unfulfilled years fighting health problems. Creating NB3FIT Week during Native American Heritage Month is one of many steps in changing these statistics.

This year, NB3F expanded option to have the event any day during the week of November 5 – 11,  allowing participating organizations scheduling flexibility. According to the organizers, they had several locations that hosted events each day of the week!

According to Justin Kii Huenemann, President and CEO of the Notah Begay III Foundation (NB3 Foundation) early data shows that:

  • 91 Native American communities participated in NB3FIT Week
  • 20 states across the country were represented
  • Over 100 events were scheduled

The stats above don’t include the Kid’s Quest locations that participated. According to Ann Zenor, Senior Creative and New Business Development Strategist, “NB3 Fit Week was celebrated at all Kids Quest locations from Connecticut to California! To support the NB3 initiatives, we asked all center Play Pros to come up with fun games that would keep the children moving! During that week, we kept the kids busy with physical challenges. Activities ranged from pick-up basketball games and obstacle courses in the gym to timed races through our Quest play pieces and sessions of some serious climbing on our rock walls! To incentivize our Native families, children received their play time at Kids Quest for 50% off the hourly rate at all Tribal properties.”

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Press Release – Northern Nevada’s Involvement in NB3FIT Week 2017

PRESS RELEASE – November 2017


Battling an Epidemic: Northern Nevada’s Involvement in NB3Fit Week, a National Health Initiative


Reno, NV – Native American Indian communities are facing an epidemic.  One out of two Native children born since 2000 will develop type 2 diabetes and 81% of Native adults are overweight or obese and 45% of 2-5 year olds are overweight. NB3Fit Week, November 5-11, 2017, is a national movement which moves this issue to the forefront, bringing together thousands of Native American youth across the country in physical activity as well as promoting drinking clean water and eating healthy foods.

A “movement” created

In November of 2016, the inaugural event, more than 10,000 young people from 110 tribes and Native American communities participated in a group exercise for one hour on one day. The “movement” was created by NB3F, an organization founded by golf broadcaster and the first Native American four-time winner of the PGA Tour, Notah Begay III.  Local Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe had over 50 kids show up for their 90-minute cross-training event. Tribal organizations across the county held walks and hikes to Native field games and obstacle courses. This year, NB3F changed the event from a day to a week, allowing participating organizations scheduling flexibility. Several tribes across the country have already registered their event for 2017, including, for the first time, the University of Nevada Reno, Native American Alumni Chapter.

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Tell your story and inspire others – Submit Your Tribal Spirit Entry Today!

We’re asking you to share your story …
it’s more important than ever

For a number of reasons, Tribal gaming organizations are seldom recognized for their history of uncommon generosity and support that they provide to non-Native and Native organizations and communities. 

This November, we ask you to share a story about how your tribal organization has come together to raise awareness, raise funds, or offer assistance to people and to causes in the past year.

Free to enter - Share your story today!

We listened to your feedback and the entry process is now easier than ever. No categories, no fees, just your story. 

Deadline to submit is November 30, 2017. 

Each property can submit up to three entries. Here are the questions you will be asked:

  1. In a nutshell, tell us your story ...
  2. Who was impacted?
  3. How much did the event raise (if applicable)?
  4. How does this event bring value to your community and why do you do it?

People's Choice Award - Cast your vote December 15!

We've decided to put the decision-making in your hands this year with the People's Choice Award; voting will open December 15, 2017. The five entries with the most votes will be entered into a drawing for the chance to win up to $500 donated to the charity of their choice!

Celebrate with us!

We will draw prizes for the five winners of the People's Choice Awards during the Tribal Spirit of Giving Celebration Luncheon on Wednesday, January 31, 2018 at Choctaw Casino Resort - Durant during Raving's 20th National Indian Gaming Analytics & Marketing Conference. We'd love for you to join us at the luncheon and celebrate the Tribal Spirit of Giving with us! Sam McCracken, Nike N7 Visionary, will present the keynote luncheon.

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Never Losing Sight of the Role of Indian Gaming

From battle of the bras to growing food for local schools
Indian gaming organizations are recognized for their commitment to their communities and employees

By Christine Faria

It’s no secret.

From L to R, Kelley Bailey, Adrienne Horton, Michelle Richens, Stacie Razkowic, Pennie Ruchman and Stephen Wherry. All are FireKeepers Team Members

Anti-Indian gaming sentiment and prejudice still exist.  For a number of reasons, Tribal gaming organizations are seldom recognized for their history of uncommon generosity and support they provide to non-Native and Native organizations and communities.

And in today’s political climate, being reminded of acts of inclusiveness and altruism, can’t be a bad thing, right?

In an effort to share the untold stories of positive relationships between tribal entities and the regions in which they operate, Raving Consulting created a recognition program in 2015 to raise awareness and recognize programs that highlight the hundreds of acts of giving by Tribal communities.

On February 1, fifteen organizations were honored at the Tribal Spirit of Giving Awards: Recognizing Organizations That Give Back to Their Communities, Employees and Customers during Raving’s 19th Indian Gaming National Marketing Conference, at Choctaw Casino Resort, Durant, OK. The event reached an historic attendance of over 300 gaming executives and suppliers. Continue reading

Gaming organizations that give back to veterans

Doing more than just a discount off the buffet
How three gaming organizations give back to veterans

vetetrans day imageEarlier in the year, I wrote a special newsletter around Memorial Day, and asked our readers to tell me about their connections with a soldier. I was surprised by the several emails that I received from veterans currently working in the gaming field. Folks who I’ve had conversations with for almost 14 years, but never knew of their proud and sometimes painful service; some from Vietnam, to Afghanistan and Iraq. They asked that I didn’t share what they had written to me.

I’m not surprised though; most veterans I know don’t talk much about their service.

What I’m sharing today are the responses I received from three organizations that have made a dedicated effort to support veterans in their communities.

Riverside Casino & Golf Resort: Golf for Injured Veterans Everywhere
Can you make a difference at your golf resort?

riversidepictureDan Franz, General Manager, was one of the first to respond to the newsletter, and shared the extraordinary program that Riverside Casino & Golf Resort created back in 2007. Go to this link and watch the video – it really says it all.

Through this program, many veterans who had not been active because of injuries or feelings of isolation, are now a part of something greater that is helping them improve their quality of life. Click here to read the full article

A Magic Dauber at Just the Right Time

Sometimes us gaming folks get caught up …
About the money we take, about the industry we’re in.  Here’s a reminder about what really matters.

By Christine Motta Faria, VP of Marketing, Raving Consulting Company

Casino customer relationships

This isn’t really a story about money. Or jackpots. Or magic daubers. It’s about relationships.

Let me explain.

Earlier this year, Raving Partner Nicole Barker, was onsite working with a longtime client, Jenynne DeNoble of BJ’s Bingo in Washington. During that visit, Jenynne told her about a devoted couple who met playing bingo. They were longtime bingo players of hers, and had been coming in at least twice a week for the last 15 years. They were a part of the BJ’s family, so when the husband died from a prolonged illness, a young man in his early fifties, fellow guests and employees mourned with her.

To make the story even more tragic, the wife, Gail, would soon have to make some very hard decisions, due to the financial situation she was facing since her husband’s passing.

A quiet person, Gail came back to BJ’s, without her husband.

That could have been the end of the story, knowing that the BJ’s family provided Gail with some sense of continuance: a place full of friendly faces that she’s known for the last 15 years, like Tess and Jenynne, who’ve been there for over two decades. And that would have been a good story, and you would have all nodded your heads, thinking, “We have supported a lot of guests the same way at our place too. We’ve celebrated the joyous moments, and helped them get through the bad times.”

However, a few months later, in May of this year, the highest in-house jackpot in 35 years at BJ’s was won on a $2 piece of paper for $334,774.

And you know who won it? Yup, Gail. Click here to read the full article

Remembering Our Fallen

guzman_randyI’ll never forget your smile
Honor for the fallen and compassion for our returning veterans

By Christine Motta Faria, VP of Marketing, Raving Consulting Company

Dear Ravers,

It’s 1983, and a group of us teenagers are piled into the back of a small pickup truck. It’s night and we’re keyed up after teepeeing a few homes. I’m scared about getting caught and feeling guilty; this will be my first and last acts of “vandalism.”

Sure enough, about two miles from the scene of the crime, red flashing lights appear.

Our classmate, Randy Guzman, is our getaway driver, and I bet he was coerced into doing it. He’s tall and really skinny; probably from running cross country every hour outside of class. He’s always worn really big glasses … almost as big as his toothy smile. If anyone’s going to get us off, it’s this innocent looking kid.

I can’t hear what the cop says to Randy. As they talk, we shove the remaining toilet paper under our legs. After a couple minutes, the cop drives away, telling us to “call it a night.” Later, Randy said the cop wanted to make sure that we weren’t drinking (which we weren’t). The band of straight-laced hooligans is spared from juvey!

The next distinct memory I have of Randy, must be the summer of 1991. A small group of us gathered in our hometown at the parents’ of another friend, Jordan Chroman. Both ROTC, Jordan took the Army route and Randy the Marines, and they’re back from the first Persian Gulf War. Jordan’s parents have thrown a BBQ for the “old gang,” and my future husband, Jim, and I are sitting with Randy on the step on the deck outside. I think this is the first time that Jim has met Randy — and he’s struck by his warmth, by his thoughtful demeanor.

Randy looks the same, with the exception that his once feathered hair is now a buzz cut. He’s not the same goofy kid though. He takes off his big glasses and presses his fists to his eyes. What he experienced over 7,000 miles away, catches in his throat. He commanded a rifle platoon in Kuwait.

I don’t see Randy’s face again, until his picture appears on TV and in the newspaper, in his Marine uniform. Click here to read the full article

Raving Consulting Hosts Native Strong Comedy Slam on Behalf of NB3F Charity

comediansatboothArticle written by Paul Doocey, originally published in Casino Journal, May 2015 issue

They say that laughter is often the best medicine. Ends up it also doesn’t hurt when it comes to raising money for a good cause.

At last month’s National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA) show in San Diego, Calif., Raving Consulting, a Reno, Nev.-based firm that assists casinos and gaming companies worldwide in strategically improving their marketing, service and operations, with the help of Houston Productions, a casino entertainment buying and consulting business, held the first ever Native Strong Comedy Slam for the benefit of the Notah Begay III Foundation (NB3F), which is dedicated to fighting obesity and type 2 diabetes in Native American children. Click here to read the full article

Touching the Lady Santa Missed

Steve Browne

Steve Browne

Happy Holidays to you and yours and …
perhaps even someone else!

By Steve Browne, President, Raving Service

Hey Ravers!

The little old lady sat patiently playing the quarter slot machine, the one third from the end on the second row. Coin after coin, spin after spin, minute after minute, she played, until the minutes became hours, the hours became days, the days became months, and the months became years.

And in all those hours and months and years, nobody came to say hi. Nobody came to wish her luck. Nobody came to congratulate her when she won. Nobody offered her a lucky roll of quarters. Nobody noticed at all.

Every day she inserted her card. Every day she played her small bankroll of fun money. Every day she fed the in-meters. And still nobody came. Nobody asked if she might like something. Nobody came to see if she was alright. Through the cold winter months and the days of spring and the promise of new life, from the hot, dog-days of summer to the chill winds of fall, and right back into the dark of winter … nobody came.

One day she never came back. Just disappeared. Some say she passed on. Some say she ran out of money. Or quit gambling. Others say she found another place, a place where people came to talk, to notice, cheer, and comfort. But we will never know for sure. Because nobody ever came.

What you just read is from an old article of mine (really, really old if you noticed the “lucky roll of quarters”). Chris (you all know Chris) came across the article a while back and wanted to use it in a Raving Flash! Report. Which led me to go back and revisit it. Which led me to think long and hard about it, well, about the beginning really, the part I just shared with you. And it dawned on me that I couldn’t think of a better way to begin my holiday message to you all. Click here to read the full article