How Blackjack Nights Started

As the founder of Blackjack Nights I never imagined where this journey would take me. Having spent almost 9 years on cruise ships and travelling to some of the most amazing countries on this planet I met my beautiful wife on board a ship and settled in Melbourne.

Having worked in casinos for all this time I wanted to use some of these skills but really didn’t want to work in a casino again. I did some research into Fun Casinos and found that there were only two companies in Melbourne running this type of service. Both of them used poor quality equipment and were charging quite a premium for what looked to me to be pretty sub-standard events. I knew that if I was going to set up a business offering a casino hire then I would do it to the highest standard or not at all.

Working for Royal Caribbean International taught me a really good lesson in customer service. Each guest filled out a comment card at the end of the cruise and if they had good or bad service would name that individual. This ensured that everyone was treated with respect and given excellent customer service. It’s a philosophy that Blackjack Nights have carried on to this day.

How we grew

From humble begi of just two blackjack tables we had a hard time initially attracting customers and gaining any market share of the events industry. As we had purchased real casino tables and equipment, however, we soon began to get noticed by some event managers and savvy people within the events industry. With some hard work and perseverance we started to get more bookings. Instead of just sitting back and resting on our laurels we decided that investing all our revenue back into the business would ensure that we could meet the increase in demand for our services.

It seemed like we were actually creating the market for our service as the profile was so low at this point in time. Pretty soon we were finding that some of our peak dates in November/December were booking out completely. It was a great feeling to not only receive bookings but also to be able to delivery on our promises and ensure that all our events were fulfilled.

Even during our first few years we picked up work from competitors who failed to show up or cancelled with just a few days’ notice when they were unable to staff their tables. We never advertised for staff as many of the initial croupiers told their friends and pretty soon we had a strong pool of excellent dealers who had the same customer service ethos that we adhered to.

Once we felt that we had a great brand and strong processes in place we decided to expand. Adelaide was the first location as we had a few links to staff in the area (plus we had done a few events there – though the 16-hour round trip was pretty tough on body and van!).
After Adelaide we moved onto Perth and then Brisbane. Despite these other states already having some similar business already operating we knew with our superior equipment and our unique tournament style format that we would gain market share.

Where are we now

It’s been a wonderful journey over the past 10 years. To reflect on the facts that we have run 3,000 events and over 7,000 tables is staggering. That we have received everything from hand-written notes, many personal thank you’s, tips (like I used to get on cruise ships) and repeat customers who still rave about the event we held 5 years before is one of the main reasons we got into this business.

We look forward to another 10 years!

Ronan Leonard