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Undercover loss
Tuesday, January 21, 2014 - by Tim Bojarski

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There is a fairly popular reality show currently on CBS called Undercover Boss. For those of you who have never seen it, the premise is for a senior member of management to don a false identity and place themselves in the daily workforce of their company to see first-hand how things really are. They then try to find situations within their operation that can be addressed to make their process better and along the way, consider some personal stories and circumstances involving their employees. 


Last week’s episode featured Bruce Bozsum, who is the chairman of the board of Mohegan Sun.  According to script, he was given a completely different look and placed in training at their casino as a drink server, greeter, valet runner, slot machine attendant and an arena chair set-up person.  The majority of the show was taped at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, with only a short departure to their Connecticut property and the Mohegan Sun arena.


Besides realizing how tough the jobs he had to do actually were based on the shortcomings of their design, Bozsum also heard the individual trials of the people training him. After his reveal at the end of the show, he vowed to fix the items on the job that were causing angst for his employees and also helped out financially in some of their lives.


All in all, the show was really good, except for one point: they did not include their entire operation. If you watched the show and didn’t follow harness racing, you would never have a clue that there was a racetrack just a stone’s throw away from where the camera crews were set up. The fact that this show would completely overlook a part of their business that accounts for a large sum of money changing hands eight months a year, which is broadcast to a worldwide audience and employs a large number of people itself, was a slight to our industry and a loss for their production.


This episode was filmed in September so live racing was well in progress. Pocono Downs has a great track, an outstanding paddock and puts out an excellent and exciting product. One can only assume it was the producers of the show that made the decision as to what jobs and areas would be included, so why was the racing completely ignored?


Perhaps in a future episode they could do “Undercover Boss-Racetrack” and put decision makers from the gaming industry in the shoes of their racing operations managers, promotions managers, race secretaries, track maintenance personnel, ticket sellers, restaurant managers and all their horsemen as well, to get a real feel for what they have to deal with, what goes on every day on their side of the property and how it could be improved for the betterment of the whole.


After all, they are part of the business model and unlike the last episode of that TV show, should not be overlooked.

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