We’re not sure what day-jobs the fearsome horsemen had, but today they would have been: Accountant, Lawyer, Bureaucrat and Politician.

All managers, in particular those in the gaming business, who are burdened with the responsibility of looking for new opportunities, or extending existing businesses, will have witnessed the awesome power of these modern apocalyptic warriors.

The weapons may be different but the outcome is the same. The Accountant may not use a sword but his savage cuts may well prove fatal. Or the plan may be ripped apart by a Lawyer’s clause. Even if your project has survived these early dangers, now the historical enemies of all businesses, lurch on to the battlefield.

The Bureaucrat’s sole purpose as defined by ‘Parkinson’s Law’ is to expand the work to fill the time available. And while he or she’s expanding their work they’re inflating your costs. Your project is therefore likely to die of suffocating pedantry or regulatory overkill.

But by far the biggest danger comes from the Politician. Here is a breed that can fight for your rights one day and curtail them the following. They can masquerade under the guise of peacemaker one year and be authorising the bombing of civilians the next.

Would you buy a second-hand Gaming Law from such people and expect it to work for you? At the first sign that it’s no longer in their interest to squeeze you for the taxes, they will kill off your business faster than they can change their mind.

No, no, no! I really must stop this!

I’m sure you were thinking earlier that my description of the Accountant was not the happy bean counter you know. Not those touchy-feely fun loving people who colour-code the paper clips to monitor their usage in each department.

But their life is not all fun and creativity. In some countries they are being thrust into the top positions of power and the weight of responsibility is tempering the natural frivolity inherent in people who choose this profession.

Many casinos are part of large corporate structures and dispassionate shareholders, logically, look only to the short-term goals of share price and dividend. If revenues are not reaching expectations, managers cannot market their way out of trouble as they might do in other industries; because the promotion of casino gambling is still restricted in many countries.

It’s not suprising with this level of power and the exposure to periodic bloodletting they become pre-disposed to savagery.

Sorry! It’s happening again. I’m slipping in to negative visions of my fellow man. I must try to concentrate on more positive images.

Lawyers for instance.

It has become the fashion to denigrate the profession just because a few hundred thousand of them make work for themselves and then overcharge for their services. This is unfair and quite possibly slanderous. Most of us are fortunate to live in law-based societies and as such, we pay lawyers to interpret what other lawyers have written. And, its here we see their natural generosity; we don’t get one paltry interpretation, we get to choose from several.

This profligacy with opinions can also be seen if you ask them to look for any legal impediments to your plan to buy a certain operation, open a new casino, form a strategic partnership or install a soft drink machine in the staff canteen. The company lawyer will provide you with an exhaustive list of potential problems and still be haunted by the fact he/she may have overlooked one.

What do you expect? This is a person who has been taught to suspect the positioning of a comma. They specialize in professional paranoia.

Giving them your plan to pick holes in, is the equivalent of offering your neck for inspection to Hannibal Lecter.

Am I doing it again? I’ll move on, just in case I’m becoming disrespectful.

Bureaucrats: Many find it easy to attack this category of people but its not quite so simple. Any criticism should be made in triplicate, consist of no more than a hundred words made on A4 paper, be dated and signed on the right hand side in black ink.

The document should be counter-signed by your doctor and sent by recorded delivery to arrive between 10.00 hrs and 15.00 hrs Monday to Friday except on Wednesdays after 12.00 and bank holidays. Only, persons who are domiciled, resident but not domiciled, domiciled but not resident, ordinarily resident but not domiciled, domiciled but only occasionally resident, probably domiciled but hardly ever resident, unsure if they are resident and absolutely baffled as to whether or not they are domiciled, and others, may register their opinions.

When you submit your application, for a permit to build a new facility, increase the number of tables, or put new technology on the market, it will most likely be scrutinised and processed by bureaucrats.

Unkind commentators will say that Bureaucrats are not creative; they produce nothing. This is untrue. They produce bureaucracy, and are far from being unimaginative. One has only to read circulars from the local administration to know they are capable of flights of fantasy. Only a person whose mind is uncluttered by the mundane and demeaning acts of profit making can produce a licence application, or tax declaration form, of such dazzling complexity. Of course other professionals assist them in this work, and they might be, (in fact the bureaucrats themselves may be) – yes, you’ve guessed it –accountants and lawyers.

Oh no, I feel those negative vibes again! I must try to look at the alternative viewpoint.

Actually this world would be a poorer place without accountants. This is a world of finite resources and we must monitor the use of them to minimise waste. For this we need responsible professionals who will take over the stewardship of those resources. Likewise if we are not to descend into anarchy we must base our societies on sound legal principles and the legal professionals are the appointed guardians of those principles. Similarly the administration of public services and assets can only really be done by the selfless dedication of a diverse corps of professionals who are often categorised under the one banner; that of bureaucrat.

Hey, doesn’t that sound good? I really do think I’m getting the hang of this. And that’s without the help of a ‘spin-doctor’. I might even stand for you at the next election on a programme which includes cast-iron promises to reduce taxation on casinos and ease up restrictions.

You can trust me. I’m not going to go back on my word or change my viewpoint; not if I’m a ‘Politician’!

Jim Wrethman.

wrethman@netcomuk.co.uk

Chairman of Solna Leisure AB – A gaming management and consulting company.

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