Today’s #MediaMonday is a sure bet!
Chris Hoft is Publisher of The Arizona Gaming Guide, a free monthly magazine for people who enjoy visiting casinos and playing casino games. It is packed with in-depth features, advice, hints, tips, secrets, and so much more!
Chris has quite an unusual background for a journalist, as you will find out.
So Chris, time to share!
What do you want to tell the blogosphere about yourself today?
Twelve and a half years ago, fresh out of graduate school with a Master's Degree in mathematics, I promptly answered an ad in the Mesa Tribune that quite simply stated, "Wanted: German-Speaking Mathematician." I remember being intrigued by the simple job description that read, “Looking for a highly motivated individual to design slot machine math models for the fast paced casino gaming industry” as it couldn’t have matched my education and background more perfectly. Both my parents immigrated to the U.S. in the late 1960s before I was born and they taught me to speak German even before I learned how to speak English.
When I called to inquire about the position, the secretary informed me that Atronic International (now known as Spielo International) needed someone to design math models for slot machines locally in Scottsdale while communicating with the game designers and developers at corporate headquarters in Germany and Austria. My initial reaction was, "Wow that sounds really cool!" Thoughts of a trip I took to Las Vegas with my college buddies rushed through my mind and at that moment I knew I wanted to be part of this exciting business.
My job as mathematician for Atronic was a wonderful opportunity and the stepping stone I needed to begin my professional career in the casino gaming industry. During my years in game design, people were always so fascinated by my occupation and couldn't wait to fire off a string of questions on a wide range of topics within casino gaming including how slots actually work, which slots they should play, what is the difference between playing at casinos in Arizona (tribal gaming) and casinos in Las Vegas (commercial gaming), how they can increase their chances of winning, and on and on. This got me to thinking ... how could I turn these conversations into something real? And, that’s how the Arizona Gaming Guide magazine got started five years ago!
Together with my amazing managing director, Elizabeth Torma, who also has casino gaming industry experience designing, developing and testing slot machines, we knew there was a genuine need and wide-spread public interest in our experience and insight into slots, casino games, and the industry in general. We felt we could share our knowledge through a niche publication and be successful doing so. Looking back, we have overcome many obstacles, evolved so much and continue to enjoy an incredible amount of sustained growth all because of the persistent hard work and round-the-clock effort both of us, and each of my extraordinary team members, commit to our publication. To this day, I consider myself fortunate that I get to work in one of the most fascinating, intriguing, mysterious, and heavily regulated industries in the entire world!