Understanding the Basics about Casino Management Systems ...
Intelligent Casino Management System Market 2020 : Global
Management and structure - Liquor & Gaming NSW
A Typical Organizational Structure of a Casino Bizfluent
Intro to Casino Management : Course Syllabus: Introduction ...
Culture managériale - Groupe Casino
Monarch Casino Resort, INC Management Team
Casino Management and Operations - Gambling Info
Company Management Hierarchy Structure Hierarchy Structure
"I think I've lived long enough to see competitive Counter-Strike as we know it, kill itself." Summary of Richard Lewis' stream (Long)
I want to preface that the contents of this post is for informational purposes. I do not condone or approve of any harassments or witch-hunting or the attacking of anybody.
Richard Lewis recently did a stream talking about the terrible state of CS esports and I thought it was an important stream anyone who cares about the CS community should listen to. Vod Link here: https://www.twitch.tv/videos/830415547 I realize it is 3 hours long so I took it upon myself to create a list of interesting points from the stream so you don't have to listen to the whole thing, although I still encourage you to do so if you can. I know this post is still long but probably easier to digest, especially in parts. Here is a link to my raw notes if you for some reason want to read through this which includes some omitted stuff. It's in chronological order of things said in the stream and has some time stamps. https://pastebin.com/6QWTLr8T
"The last month has convinced me, that we are going to be heading into a dark place for Counter-Strike esports in 2021."
"I think I've seen the scene essentially kill itself."
"For the past 5 to 6 years, we've basically been in a holding pattern of people coming into our game wanting to run it, wanting to run all of the esports and wanting to profiteer and its been sort of a concerted effort to drive them off and push them away."
"We're spread way too thin."
"If Riot don't get involved and stop the scumbags that have moved over to Valorant from getting their feet under the table, Valorant is going to have real problems."
RL thinks too much has happened all at once for us to do anything except watch it play out, like:
Recent CSPPA strike against BLAST
ESIC failures and them not being supported enough
Teams cheating i.e. coaches/bugs
Widespread match fixing
"People who try to hold bubble events are so incompetent and fuck up and people get the 'rona and its their fault."
"People who say Flashpoint is a bubble is full of shit and is a lie and people are now suffering for that lie."
"To save money they let people go home and break the bubble for a week."
"Not just Flashpoint peoples decision, they have a partner that handles the production." (hinting FACEIT)
"People are trapped in hotels essentially under house arrest because of COVID restrictions and has fucked peoples lives up."
"It's all too much, all of this incompetence, all of this greed, maybe we ride it out."
RL says he has talked to the Riot devs (the ones working on Valorant) and says, "They are so cognizant of all the fuck ups and all the problems we have in Counter-Strike."
He continues to say that this is factored into their business plan and that we never had a competitor, but just so happens to have one coincide, when we are at our worst.
CSPPA - Counter-Strike Professional Players' Association
"Who does this union really fucking serve?"
RL believes that the CSPPA is a mockery.
He points out the hypocrisy that they wouldn't strike for the pros who were kicked out of ESL Pro League, or for Jamppi or dream3r.
He also says ESL paid CSPPA and are racketeering and many other TOs have to pay them to get their "seal of approval"
He says they would strong-arm TOs saying "well if you don't give us the money, these guys are so we'll just have to commit to playing their event."
Also points out that they will strike against a competitor they are not in agreement with (Flashpoint)
RL: "It's what it says about every other time you haven't done it and it's about every time you don't do it now moving forward." "The issues they've chosen to ignore this year alone are embarrassing."
Then he points out that there was no strike for Valve qualifiers even if we have no major but Jamppi and dream3r can't play in them.
"and Valve have said 'Oh yeah we know actually their stories are accurate, Jamppi didn't cheat, now in a legally binding document. Yep dream3r did have his account hacked in a LAN café', but they still can't play. Where is the fucking solidarity? Gone. Doesn't exist. It's not important [because] it doesn't affect you." "That's what the union does right now, it looks after all the tier 1 people."
He says the CSPPA doesn't represent all players all the time and has driven a divide where you have the haves and have-nots
"We have a tier of players that operate with impunity and do not help their tier 2 or tier 3 players out at all." "If you are not a tier 1 player you do not matter, they don't event ask your opinion."
He tells chrisJ to admit and own the fact that the reason he didn't speak up during the ESL Pro League debacle is because it didn't affect him
"They are looking after some players at the expense of other players. How the fuck is that a union?"
He says the BLAST situation is a reasonable dispute and supports the players but is not the right time for a strike and have not even identified the correct enemy
He thinks players are lashing out now due to previous incidents and are upset that BLAST are working with ESIC
He stated that CSPPA shouldn't beefing with ESIC and they should be working in harmony
He says what they need to do is talk with the teams/organizations that have sold that right to BLAST
RL: "Your employers, the people who pay you that massive exorbitant salaries, when you don't stream and you don't do interviews and you offer no value beyond your ability to click heads and you get 25k dollars a month." "Why don't you talk to them about it? Oh right. You're happy to take away BLAST's paper, but you don't want to risk your own."
"I am seeing such unbelievable cowardice from the players here with the battles you choose."
"Where was the strike action when in the qualifiers for the world championship, there were teams and players engaged in huge conflicts of interest?" "Where was the strike action when your image rights were taken and sold to every league you've ever been in every union type organization you've ever been associated with like, WESA, to your org every time you sign a contract, to the leagues you play in."
"Your image rights are essentially worthless now, there's about 10 fucking separate parties that have them, and how many of them are giving you anything for it? Not much pretty much your org by the way."
"That's a big issue. Your image is you, your image is your brand. What are you doing about that? Nothing."
He is also angry at SirScoots who is "popping off" at people on Twitter who all want the same thing, which is 'A unified Counter-Strike scene for everybody, that works for everybody, that has a sustained ecosystem that nourishes everybody.' "We don't have that now."
He also says their rankings are a joke
"Just so happened, oh look TACO, that very important prominent member of the board, we pushed his team artificially up when they weren't even in the fucking top 20, not by a long shot."
He also says the ineptitude of the CSPPA cost Flashpoint a monitor sponsor
"Is it really a player association or is it like a fucking agency at this point"
ESIC - Esports Integrity Commission
"They have been put in an impossible position."
RL says that Ian Smith, the founder of ESIC and who was done work in mainstream sports, is a good and honorable man who has dedicated his life to integrity and sports. He takes on both sides, ensuring match fixers are punished, but also doing appeals and ensuring those punishments were fair.
"ESIC is a tiny organization" and are in need of money, "They didn't run a grift like the CSPPA did."
"Saying 'you want our support and you want the players to turn up you better pay us.' They don't do that."
"Had startup seed money from MTG and since then they've been pecking shit with the hens."
Ian Smith made sure that the money given by MTG (Modern Times Group, parent company of ESL, ESEA, DreamHack) was nothing more than startup money and wouldn't be in debt to them
Ian Smith sat down with other TO's not part of MTG and wanted to partner with them. They declined and called ESIC "ESL spies and we will never align ourselves with you"
"They only were just able to afford, hiring a PR guy on a full time salary to deal with the press and send out those releases you've seen, this year."
"They have a tiny group of staff investigating these things and they have taken on the biggest problems in our scene: the cheating, the match fixing."
ESIC have had "unprecedented levels of cheating to deal with, because there's something wrong with our scene ever since we went online. There's something wrong with it, everyone's lost their fucking pride and self-respect and they got no passion for it anymore, so they think fuck it, what's in it for me?"
He calls out coaches who are talking about players rights when they would rob and steal from them.
Also says more coaches being banned are coming
He also points out flaws in community's reaction to the punishments to coaches bans: "Half of the cunts still have jobs and some of the cunts got new jobs. We didn't even shun the cheating coaches."
ESIC have "found I think another 2 or 3 exploits like that one and they are investigating them all right now, it's going on right now."
"I know that there are going to be more names getting banned, again."
"So they're doing that on a skeleton crew while, investigating 3 continents worth of match fixing in MDL and semi-pro level CS." "They're doing this with half a dozen people." "They don't have any money or any help. People barely even fucking cooperate with them, they are treated like pariahs. It's ridiculous."
"Why are the CSPPA popping off at ESIC on my Twitter timeline, when you should be working together." "because its all about what's in it in for me." "2020, the online era of CS: 'What is in it for me?' How can I cheat, how can I get my paper, how can I bleed this scene one last time before I fuck off and play shooty shooty bang bang Riot Games babys first fps."
RL says that in the CIS region, teams have gone to tournaments and have been eliminated multiple times by the same team. We found out they were cheating and those players who lost, have been cut from their roster, careers ended because of cheaters.
"They're all at it in the online era, they're all at it, they're all cheating, they're all using exploits, probably that see through smoke bug got used a bunch of times"
RL talks about how there is no integrity from dead (the player), always denying when caught doing something
On the topic of 'BLAST never said we couldn't stream snipe': "Lies, BLAST never said you could do that, they had to sort of retcon it." "because what happened after that they fucking started snitching and squealing"
"Suddenly you had like, 10 of the top 15 teams in the world, staring into the abyss of being banned for 6-12 months in line with ESIC recommendations."
He says that ESIC was put in a tough situation and couldn't enforce the bans because it would have resulted in killing CS. What resulted was, BLAST, ESIC, and teams came together and gave them a warning and told them, in RL's words "don't do this again or you're gonna get got."
He then says the top teams brushed this off and didn't give a fuck
The new MiBR team playing Flashpoint, that wasn't involved in the previous incidents are doing it again (stream sniping). He gave credit to Flashpoint for the quick resolution and punishment and respect for cogu's response to the situation.
"ESIC came out and said, once more, 'Guys, zero tolerance from now on.'" RL then got upset at community's reaction calling ESIC "pussies" for their non enforcement and said if we want competitive CS we cant ban the top 10 teams.
He points out how players have no integrity and will do anything for an edge as long as they won't get detected or banned or it's within a grey area.
"All of this shit was mad avoidable, even in the pandemic era."
He talks about why aren't we filming them. Why aren't there representatives for leagues and tournaments making sure players aren't cheating?
"How many years have we let our scene be fucking pillaged by these greedy cunts?" "We just let it happen."
RL says that gambling and skins betting which existed in moderation was "accelerated and blown up by the Call of Duty greedy fucks."
"Never forget TmarTn was on the board of EnVyUs." "His website, CSGOLotto, they had a bunch of off-the-books sponsorships." "NBK promoted them. People forget."
"Those people who had access to the skins, go to the players" "Even people like s1mple, best player in the world, even he scammed knives and skins off fucking fans."
Owners of skin casino sites would approach pros and lend them skins to use in tournaments and possibly keep them after reaching a deal
Players would tip off inside info about matches and teams in exchange for skins. Info such as: roster changes, how they played in scrims
They would use this info to bet and subvert the odds on their sites. "That happened religiously, I can't even tell you how many times it happened."
"I had access to the biggest database of information, from an inside betting circle in NA, and it would take information and screenshots from other pro players, who were feeding them info in exchange for money or skins."
"Some of these players are still playing." "Incredibly, there are players still in the CSPPA today, complaining about the BLAST recordings, that were embroiled in this murky shit back then."
RL also says that there were tournaments where teams contrived with each other, who should throw, who should win.
"There's a handful of people that are trying to fucking clean it up, and you think you get something over the line and you see something like the CSPPA and it's run by corrupt fucking chuckle heads, and now you've got another corrupt body you have to fight on a fucking daily basis, it's demoralizing."
"It's too far gone. Our entire semi-professional scene is compromised."
"It's rife guys, I'm not going to lie any more. It's not just China, it's not just Russia, it's here, it's NA, it's Europe, it's Australia, so much more than you think, so much more than we can prove."
"I get sent chat logs all the time […] and they're morons, these players, short-sighted, amateur, morons and they're doing it on WhatsApp." People would get cut from the bets because they want to make more money, then they leak the logs. He says, from the chat logs, they spread "little" bets across every site they can (400 to 1k dollars) to prevent shifting odds
He says the scumbags who've fucked off to Valorant will do the same there if Riot doesn't do something and says Valorant "is an esports scene heading for a very early fall based on the sheer volume of scumbags that are already there."
"That's tier 2 CS in a nutshell these days. They know they're never going to play in a major, so what's the punishment?"
"All of these tier 2 fucks that are fixing games now they are like the fucking mafia compared to iBuyPower" "These guys are working with organized criminals to fix entire seasons worth of games. That's what's going on in your tier 2 CS."
"I'm literally being told that there are players fixing games at all levels of Chinese esports and motherfuckers with guns are turning up to team houses and stuff."
"Everyone in NA has left we've lost a continents worth of support during this pandemic and Valve haven't said a fucking word."
RL says the Call of Duty "goblins" that destroyed CS for years are the same people who are now trying to leave CS. "The nerve to treat a game where the fans, and the community, and the TO's were nothing but good to you." "To just kick the players out now and go and leave and say 'It just doesn't make financial sense.' Oh you'll slither back when we have a major though for them stickers won't you."
There's a cascading effect in NA where people don't bother with CS anymore and people like Chaos suffer.
He says NA team owners are incompetent for always wanting it easy and always wanting a guarantee on their investment without skill or nuance.
RL says he would be able to market a team correctly and would have a good ROI and also points out how TSM wouldn't even be bothered to tweet that their team, which was one of the best in the world, was playing at the Major.
He also says not all NA owners are like that, compliments and respects Jason Lake who nearly lost everything to keep Complexity going.
He then calls out the incompetence in Infinite Esports when they acquired OpTic Gaming and bought an Indian CS team.
He says HECZ is not to blame here and that they couldn't tell forsaken was cheating when it was so obvious.
They measured his reaction time to the likes of dev1ce and s1mple
When an enemy showed up on his screen he won that duel something like 44% of the time
"was like the number 1 player in the world statistically"
He brought a laptop to their bootcamp and refused to use the high end PCs that hey provided
He respects Andy Miller (NRG CEO) and HECZ but says that the attitude of not being able to easily monetize their teams is "piss weak" and there needs to be a risk.
He says Chaos EC shouldn't be cutting their roster and should be competent enough to be able to figure out how to make money off their team.
He says there are still opportunities in NA and people are panicking and pulling out, and says Valorant will be the same if not worse.
He also says "bums" who couldn't even get out of groups in NA competitions, are making crazy money in Valorant and says it will continue to inflate.
He also said that he heard rumors that EG (Evil Geniuses) are done.
He also thinks that the rumors of a Valve franchised league from before was sparked up from "these lazy fabled weak NA fucking team owners basically trying to see if Valve would bite at the hook if it was dangled and they didn't"
Slasher says NA team owners are really in favor of franchised leagues because they want to make more money. "Most of the powerful team owners right now are on board with ditching this third party organization structure, or they are trying to play this power politics with all the TOs, and that is contributing to a lot of the problems there"
RL says that Riot has proved they can run a franchised league (LCS) and will be profitable in 2021 which is what a lot of team owners care about and says the competition will only serve to snatch people away from CS.
RL continues to say, "I am so sick and tired of what we have done to this scene, I am just exhausted with it." "I think we have legitimately fucked it, I really think we have. I think we're staring into almost like a CGS (Championship Gaming Series) wasteland in NA." "Counter-Strike esports is a fucking joke."
"TO's have treated CS talent like absolute human garbage for years now."
RL says that people like Sean Gares and ddk switching over to Valorant isn't for financial reasons because they are making less over there.
He points out that TO's can't even give talent a 3 month in advance calendar.
Because of the pandemic TO's won't hire certain people and some people are working more hours for the same money.
He says we as a community don't respect journalists enough which is why we don't have good journalists.
He also says DeKay is leaving the scene soon and that Thorin is close to leaving also
He says he had to talk a caster down from quitting and was struggling to find reasons.
He says that DreamHack told Vince they would hire him but not if he wants to stick with dusT and says that this is the norm in esports. "Constant leveraging of people against each other." and says this is why we don't have a talent union.
New gen casters are getting put into shit situations and the community's reaction to them is adding fuel to the fire
He says the reason Moses left was because of the terrible conditions
He says that Anders had to constantly leave his family and kid because someone fucked up or broke promises and had to constantly tell his kid to their face that "daddy can't be home this weekend."
He says that esports has always been a lie to sell you this dream, "Meanwhile there's about 2% of the cunts getting all the checks."
"Anything that Riot does, is better than Valve's inaction"
Slasher says that the larger aspect of esports as a whole compared to other entertainment mediums and Valve's lack of inattention are the bigger problems. He continues saying that the fact that Valve let their game be ran as an esport, they need to take on the responsibilities of it.
Both Slasher and RL wants Valve to take control but not on the level of Riot Games, there needs to be a balance.
In case it was ever a question: Gabe Newell has been to 0 CSGO Majors.
RL calls Valve out saying they could have done something during the gambling era.
He says Valve used to come to the majors, but doesn't think they do anymore.
RL had met with Valve at the Cluj-Napoca Major and had tried to appeal iBP's indefinite punishment and had also gave Brax's life story:
A recent family member passed away, they had lost a lot of income, they had to live in trailer, iBuyPower did not pay any salaries, and was pressured by family to make money who didn't support his career.
RL said that Valve told him, "How dare you try and make us feel guilty." "We shouldn't feel bad about enforcing the only thing that matters that we need to make players afraid of: cheating and match fixing"
RL also tried to share other info about match fixing and nothing came of it
RL points out that Source 2 or a new engine is not something you will want based on the experience of transitioning from CS 1.6 to CS:S. "Valve's track record with brand new engines being launched, not fucking great from what I remember."
Slasher says "If there is anything the community should do, is pressure Valve to hire a community manager."
They say that we need a commissioner, a community manager (not the person who runs the Twitter who posts memes all day), then we need to have a circuit
RL reiterates that Valve doesn't care about CS esports and says they need to change the culture at Valve to make them care about CS esports
Slasher says a systemic problem is making it so working on CSGO would be a bad decision for you as an employee for Valve
He also hasn't talked to Valve in ages and have sent over bugs and cheats and doesn't get emails back anymore
Slasher says we should be directing attention at the developer leads, pointing out Ido Magal, if he even is still the project lead
RL thinks that Ido and Brian are the only people that "vaguely even give a fuck about CS" and were the only people that RL recalled that actually read Reddit and paid attention from time to time
"It is really fucking precarious. Somebody has got to step the fuck up and start giving a shit"
Slasher suggests org owners, with CSPPA, with ESIC, with TOs have a concerted effort against Valve
"Riot Games are doing better things than Valve in the esports space" which is something RL didn't think he'd say.
"People who used to be talent, working with unions, arguing with other talent, when the unions fucked them over, can't understand their perspective, TOs fucking over broadcast talent, broadcast talent wanting to leave and go and work for orgs, orgs having no money, Valve might take coaches away because all the coaches are cheating, ESIC has about 4 people in a fucking call doing the investigations, everyone thinks they're spies for ESL, ESL are just the evil fucking overlords wanting to rule the scene and will just somehow, like cockroaches outliving a nuclear bomb, and Valve are in a fucking holiday in Hawaii thinking about the next Dota character because they don't give a fuck about us."
"We've peaked. If we want to sustain and exist, now is the time to figure it out. No esports lasts as long as this, we've already done 8 years. We've already broke the records. We have got to figure out a way to coexist and drive the negative forces out and we need to do it as a collective and we're not doing that."
RL compared the Counter-Strike scene to the people on the Titanic who ran around with guns robbing people while the boat was sinking.
"We have given up on being a respectable esports scene." "We are now a conduit to make money for those who want to just milk it, just have one last ride, one last roll of the dice. It's done." "What a fucking mess. What have we done to our fucking scene?"
"There's just too much self-interest driving all of this." "I don't see a way we stop the dominoes." "When it's that bad, when there's that many dishonest people that ESIC have to come out and say that if we punish them all there's no one left. What does that tell you?"
"How many opportunities have we had to clean house? How many times have we said, 'this must never happen again', and another scandal." "The entire skins betting operations was the biggest criminal conspiracy in esports ever executed and no one has been punished for it." "The people who could be driving that don't want to."
"Right now people are fans of those organizations because the scene has value. It is worth being a fan of Astralis because they are excellent at Counter-Strike. It is worth being a fan of s1mple because he is the best player in Counter-Strike, maybe the exception of ZywOo. If the scene is devalued, if the scene loses its meaning, those things lose its meaning too, and people will leave, people will stop tuning into the games. I have seen it happen in multiple esports, this is not my first time at the rodeo. I am getting big Brood War vibes right now and I don't like it."
"The role you play in all of this as fans, as viewers, as listeners, as consumers of esports content, it's absolutely imperative that you know who the good guys are. It's absolutely imperative that you use your voice. It's absolutely imperative that when things are bad, you know who, at least, is trying to make them good, and you have to apply your criticism to the right targets."
He continues saying it's no good in continuing to attack ESIC and saying how they are bad, ESIC have it hard
He says CSPPA are on the right side of the argument on BLAST but have been on the wrong side of many arguments many times.
"If you are not willing to stand along side the weakest member of the union, with the least amount of influence, and the least amount of power, then it is not a union at all and you shouldn't pose as one." "You wanna serve a bunch of special interest do it, everyone else in esports fucking does, but do not pose as something you are not." "We love the players. I've been fighting for players rights for as long as I've been able to, but the CSPPA is not what we needed."
"They are not applying the pressure to the right people, they are not fighting the right battles, they are not helping their weaker members."
He says what orgs have done by keeping or hiring coaches is bad. "When you give up on holding an appreciable standard, you've lost the scene" "Competition matters, rules matter, punishments matter, achievements matter, excellence matters" "If you start stripping that away, you have nothing" "You guys need to take that knowledge and apply it sensibly."
"Valve has sold you all down the river, they sold everyone in the esports scene down the river, tournament organizers are selling their talent down the river. Don't hate on them for sounding tired after a 16 hour day. Don't hate on them because the hype for a matchup they've seen for the 20th time in the past 3 months, they can't be as excited or it sounds contrived. Support your guys, they're there for you, these are your people."
"This community has got to start acting like one for the first fucking time. Just put the petty shit away, let's try and fix this fucking scene while we still have one to save."
"You can't rely on Valve, you can't rely on ESL, you can't rely on the CSPPA, you can't rely on anyone." "Once again, it's gonna be the likes of us, the amateurs, the people who give a fuck, rolling up our sleeves and grafting." "I'm old and tired and I don't want to have to do it again. People need to pick up the torch and do it."
"Like Michal did, like Dudenhoeffer did. You see something wrong, fix it. You see somebody doing something wrong, call it out. If you think something could be better, let people know."
"Vote with your wallets if you're not happy with the direction Valve goes in. If when we do get to the Major, they serve up another subpar, same old bullshit stickers and signatures package again, do not buy it."
"You're a powerful block and if you use it correctly we can fucking avert this disaster."
"I'm not doing another year in this broken, bust-up fucking scene, where everyone is miserable, everyone is broke, everyone is tired, and everyone is trying to fucking rob everyone else, blind, while the fucking people who are meant to be protecting you, are just fucking enhancing it and lining their own pockets."
"I'm not doing it anymore and you shouldn't want to do it either."
"I stand by every fucking thing I said. I mean it, because this game fucking matters to me, this scene fucking matters to me. I put my life into this, my adult life, and to see it in this state is fucking sad."
Albeit a week late, I want to share my 2021 portfolio for documentation purposes and for whoever is interested. I aimed to balance risk in this portfolio with some growth names and legacy plays. Down to brass tacks, I am putting my money in the highest quality companies (in my view) across a diverse set of industries I find attractive. Some of these names are overvalued in the short term. However, I have realized I am not in the business of beating Wall Street’s pricing, but would rather hold high-quality companies that I believe will grow faster that the market in the long term. In other words, I am totally fine paying a short-term premium for growth and quality. Below is a summary of the portfolio and big picture reasoning behind each investment. I'm definitely open to any feedback.
ARK Genomic Revolution ETF
Evolution Gaming Group
ARK Genomic Revolution ETF (BATS: ARKG) - Invests in companies advancing genomics. The companies held in ARKG may develop, produce or enable: CRISPR, Targeted Therapeutics, Bioinformatics, Molecular Diagnostics, Stem Cells, Agricultural Biology.
Innovative industry. Since 2003 the cost to sequence a human genome has dropped from nearly $3bn to less than $1,000. ARK believes that as costs continue to drop, genomic sequencing will become a standard of care in oncology. It will introduce more science into healthcare decision making, enable personalized medicine, and accelerate drug discovery. ARK estimates that genomic sequencing revenues will grow 43% at an annual rate, from $3.5bn last year to $21bn in 2024.
Cathie Wood. She’s a beast stock picker. Out of all the ETFs she runs, her closest competitor trailed by 60%. Her worst ETF still doubled investors' money. Her strategy is to make investments into companies that she considers incredibly transformational and she has seen success doing it.
CrowdStrike (NASDAQ: CRWD) - Cybersecurity technology company that provides endpoint security, threat intelligence, and cyber attack response services.
Best in class technology. Remember about a week ago a bunch of Russian hackers breached SolarWinds? The same hackers also tried to hack CrowdSrike at the same time but were unsuccessful. I’ve wandered on to a bunch of cybersecurity forums, and the general consensus is CrowdStrike has developed the best cybersecurity solution by miles. CRWD is the undisputed leader in cybersecurity.
“Pick-and-shovel” investment into the world’s increasing digitization. Even in the absence of COVID, cybersecurity remains a key component of the world’s increasing digitization as cyberthreats have been an ongoing issue from the onset of the internet. In the last decade we have seen a bunch of hacks where companies have exposed sensitive customer information. It seems companies are just starting to realize the importance of cybersecurity.
Disney (NYSE: DIS) - Worldwide entertainment company that you all are probably familiar with.
Reopening trade. In 2019, parks generated 45% of total operating income for DIS. Full reopening and attendance in parks will be slow, but certainly benefit DIS when it happens. The company has been executing on several other segments in the meantime (i.e. streaming). It has proved competitive, increasing the margin of safety if parks take longer to reopen.
Fast-growing streaming division. DIS has proved agile as it successfully launched a streaming service, Disney+, that has already gained 86mn+ subscribers which was the company’s original 5 year target. This is promising as it shows management can adapt to rapidly changing technology trends.
Enphase Energy (NASDAQ: ENPH) - Designs and manufactures software-driven home energy solutions that span solar generation, home energy storage and web-based monitoring and control.
Shift to clean energy; ENPH emerging as market leader. Going into 2021, sentiments towards solar have been at an all time high. This trend is expected to continue, especially after the Georgia run-off results. Solar firms are expected to benefit from extended tax incentives on both the consumer and producer ends.
Technological advantage. ENPH has developed the industry leading solution and is rapidly taking market share from its primary competitor, SolarEdge. Pricing reflects this, but it's expected to continue. Among key competitors, Enphase has been one of the lowest cost producers. Its low-cost structure is a major contributing factor to its improving margins.
Evolution Gaming Group (OTC: EVVTY) - Swedish company that develops, produces, markets and licenses integrated B2B live casino solutions for gaming operators.
Early mover advantage. Evolution’s lack of competition enables it to rapidly grow in new markets and create a loyal customer base, with high switching costs. The company has effectively grown EBITA margins from 41.6% in 1Q18 to 64.8% in 3Q20. Margin expansion is expected to continue.
Massive untapped markets. Europe is estimated to be around $2.5bn (EVVTY has 50% market share), Asian market is ~15x the size of Europe (150% YoY growth for EVVTY in Asia). North America’s market is ~$210mn, a 42% increase YoY, with NJ and PA the only states currently operating (NY looks promising). Management thinks the US will be the largest in the long-term.
Undetected from Wall Street. Evolution has almost no analyst coverage in the US and very minimal coverage in Europe, presenting opportunity for additional growth as institutional money managers recognize this opportunity and draw attention to the stock. Additionally, Evolution has a founder-led management team that is highly aligned with shareholders (mgmt owns over 30% of the stock).
Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) - Enables people to connect through devices. It’s products include Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, WhatsApp and Oculus.
Zuck. It’s not a question of who is the next Jobs/Bezos/Gates/Zuck, because Zuck is super young. He has a history of being able to execute: IG acquisition / transition from desktop to mobile / denying multiple acquisition opportunities in his twenties.
Undervalued. FB is the cheapest among the FAANG stocks, yet has some of the highest growth rates. This is mainly because of its continuous political scandals. With Trump out of office, I think FB has a chance to stay out of trouble and start to realize higher multiples. The antitrust lawsuit is not a threat imo, it is actually an opportunity. If the govt forces FB to break up, we would get shares in the spin-offs, which would be valued at a higher multiple than FB. For example, if Instagram spun off from FB and traded at the same multiple as SNAP, Instagram’s market cap would be larger than FB’s.
Digitization of Real Estate (i.e. “iBuying”). Technology in RE is moving from being informational to transactional. Redfin’s iBuying service is dubbed “RedfinNow.” The service basically buys homes from sellers looking for a quick and convenient sale (close deals within 10-30 days). This segment isn’t profitable yet as it is just getting started, but promising as the management adapts to technology trends.
Inter-US Migration and housing outlook. People are moving out of the cities because of COVID / trying to avoid taxes / etc. which increases demand for Redfin’s services. With interest rates extremely low (and no expectation for them to increase), homebuying demand should continue to grow.
RDFN most attractively valued compared to Z and OPEN, with the most upside potential given its market cap ~$7bn. Some are predicting RDFN might start offering rental services as well. RDFN has the best LT margin potential.
Teladoc Health (NYSE: TDOC) - Provides virtual healthcare services on a B2B basis to its clients and provides services to consumers directly and through channel partners.
Competitive positioning in industry ripe for disruption. Healthcare is a huge market yet to be significantly disrupted. COVID has accelerated this disruption. Providers who were once opposed to telemedicine now realize its benefits and several regulatory changes are promising for telemedicines growth potential. Medicare and other government-sponsored coverage is expected to include telemedicine benefits, increasing TDOC’s TAM.
Livongo acquisition. From the consumer POV, this will increase access to healthcare at a lower cost. Teladoc will have access to a larger amount of data it can interpret to refine its services and monetization strategies.
Sea Ltd (NYSE: SE) - Digital entertainment, electronic commerce, and digital financial services. The Company operates three business segments: Garena, Shopee, and SeaMonkey. The Company’s digital entertainment business, Garena, is a global game developer and publisher with a presence in Southeast Asia, Taiwan, and Latin America. Garena provides access to mobile and personal computer online games. Shopee provides users with a shopping environment that is supported by integrated payment, logistics, fulfillment, and other value-added services. SeaMonkey business is a digital financial services provider. SeaMonkey offers e-wallet services, payment processing, credit related digital financial offerings, and other financial products.
Diversified consumer internet company with market-leading position. Sea caters to Southeast Asia and Taiwan, providing its online gaming, e-commerce, and payment platforms. Shopee has overtaken competitors, it is widening its market share lead. ESports is a rapidly growing market (15.7% YoY to $1.1bn in 2020) and Sea is outpacing market growth.
Pay for quality. The best companies keep going up for years in a row, and I think Sea is in the early stages of being classified as such a company. It’s worth $100bn but has effectively proved its ability to identify opportunities and expand business lines.
Still early stages of developing its consumer banking business, so we get the security of a bigger, established company with upside for an additional, lucrative business line such as fintech.
Waste Connections Inc. (NYSE: WCN) - Waste services company that provides non-hazardous waste collection, transfer, disposal and recycling services.
Recession resilient; re-opening trade. The waste management industry is recession resilient, it will always be around.
Non-hazardous waste collection. With a progressive government likely to push climate initiatives, recycling and non-hazardous waste collection are likely to benefit on the back end.
WCN has a large moat; there isn’t much of a competitive threat the way the industry operates. Management’s strategy is to generally only spend what FCF is available. This enables the company to make acquisitions while handling its debt load. Great for stable growth.
P.S. I have two other accounts - one with about 40 growth stocks and another with about 10 big names / ETFs. However, this portfolio has the largest allocation for 2021. My first time trying a more concentrated approach.
I live in a small mining town in the mountains of Colorado. Someone is building a massive casino nearby, Pictures Included
I grew up in a small mountain town named Eureka. It was founded in the late 1800s during the gold rush, but after the mines dried up the town began its slow descent into decay. Half the houses are empty or abandoned now. You can see a picture of the kind of houses here in Eureka: First house Second house When a massive construction project began nearby, it was the talk of the town for weeks. Why would they build something in a sleepy dying town like Eureka? It wasn’t until my sister Selene talked to a few construction workers that we discovered they were building a casino. A casino up in the mountains, over two hours away from Denver. None of us could understand why they’d chosen here of all places. After a few months of work, the casino was done. I took a picture of the town with the completed casino in the background to the right. The ten-story-structure sticks out like a sore thumb off in the distance. Town+Casino After the casino opened, they hired a few dozen members of the town, offering high paying jobs to work as dealers or cleaning staff. I was already employed as a firefighter, but my sister Selene got a job as a blackjack dealer. She’s a widow with two young kids, so the paycheck was a real lifesaver. Still, something about the situation seemed too good to be true. The jobs over there paid far too well, and the management was far too accommodating. The fire station where I work is located high on a hill overlooking the town, so I began watching the casino from a distance each day. I had initially thought that the casino was located in a terrible location, but I was apparently wrong. True, Eureka was hours from any major city, but despite that, a bus full of people arrived every morning and left every evening. One night I was over at my parent’s house and had dinner with Selene and her kids. I asked her about her experience as a dealer. “It’s Ok,” she said. “Just a little boring I guess.” “Boring?” I asked. “I’m surprised you don’t have your hands full.” “Why’s that?” she asked. “It’s like you said, Eureka’s too small. I never have people playing cards. The casino is almost always completely empty.” I wasn’t sure what to make of that. If the place was always empty, what happened to the people who I’d seen arriving on buses? “I’ve been keeping an eye on the building,” I said. “A bus full of people typically arrives around 9 AM every day.” “Really?” she asked, looking confused. “If that’s true, I’ve never seen them. “I can see it from the fire station,” I said. “If you head out for a smoke break at 9 AM, you’ll probably see them arriving.” “Interesting,” she said. “I’ll do that. If they’re being processed for their organs or something, I’ll let you know.” She laughed. “Har har,” I said sarcastically. The next night she sent me a text calling me over. When I arrived, she was nearly breathless with excitement. “Orin, You were right,” she said. “A big group of people did arrive, but they didn’t walk into my part of the casino. Instead, they all walked into an elevator at the back of the building. I’m not sure where that goes.” She looked thoughtful. “It was weird. They looked… How can I say it? Desperate? Something about the whole situation was very off. I’m gonna check out the elevator tomorrow.” I told her to be careful, though, to be honest, I was excited to hear about what she discovered. When I visited my parent’s house the next night, I found her two kids there alone. They told me that Selene had never returned from work. I called all her friends, then all our neighbors, but no one had seen her since she left for work that morning. Our conversations regarding the casino flooded my mind, then a plan began to form. Early the next morning I walked across town in my nicest pair of jeans and a button-up shirt. I pushed through the door to the casino and saw that Selene wasn’t lying. The place was all but deserted. Three dozen slot machines crowded the walls surrounding a few tables interspersed throughout the floor of the casino. The only players in the whole building were Bob and Donald, two locals. I walked up to a nearby table where Bridget, a girl I’d gone to high school with, was shuffling cards. She broke into a grin when she saw me. “Hey Orin, you here for a few rounds of blackjack?” “I wish,” I said. “No, I’m here to ask about Selene. She never made it home last night.” Bridget’s expression darkened. “Really? Have you asked around?” “I already called around. Have you seen her?” She shook her head. “No, our schedules rarely line up. I’ll be sure to let you know if I--” Her eyes focused on something behind me, and she cut herself off. I turned around to see the casino’s pit boss watching us both. He was a tall thin man in an impeccably clean black suit. When I turned back towards Bridget, she was looking down at the table and shuffling cards absent-mindedly. “Well, if you hear anything, let me know,” I said. She nodded, so I turned around and headed for the pit boss. I stuck out my hand. The temperature of his hand was so hot that I had to pull my hand away after a few seconds. “Have… have you seen my sister Selene?” I asked. “She hasn’t been seen since her shift here yesterday.” He smiled. “Sir, this floor is for players. You’re more than welcome to head to the tellers for chips, but barring that I’m afraid I’ll have to ask you to leave.” I stared at him for a long second before stalking towards the door. When I looked back, he was talking with Bridget. I checked my watch. 8:55 AM, just as I’d planned. I walked around the back of the building and waited as the morning bus pulled around the building. I waited for the telltale hiss of the opening doors and the sound of people descending before I rounded the corner and joined the crowd. None of them paid any particular attention to me as I walked with them into the casino. The crowd walked through a side door down a hallway to an elevator. Small groups of people entered the elevator as the rest of us waited for our turn. I shot a glance at the casino patrons, surprised at their diversity. There seemed to be people from all different countries and ethnicities. I heard one speaking Japanese and another speaking what sounded like an African language. My turn came along with a few other patrons in the elevator. A sickly woman hobbled into the elevator beside me carrying an IV that was still connected to one of her veins. We piled in and rode up to the top. The elevator rose for a few long seconds. I wasn’t sure what I would find, but I steeled myself for something horrible. The elevator’s speaker let out a TING, then the doors opened. We all walked out onto what looked like a standard casino. Another few dozen slot machines ringed the walls, but on this floor, they were almost all occupied by customers. I took in the scene, confused at why they’d have a ground floor that was almost completely empty when this place was almost-- Selene was dealing cards at a nearby table. I jogged over and sat down at an open seat. None of the players around me paid me much attention. “Selene!” I said. “Are you OK? Did you spend the night here last night?” Her eyes were glassy and confused. She looked up at me with a dumb expression and didn’t respond to my question. “Selene?” I asked. “What’s your bet?” she asked me. “This table is for blackjack players only.” “I…” I trailed off, looking at the players around me. None of them were betting with chips of any kind. “What’s the minimum bet?” I asked. “Three years,” she responded. “Three years then,” I said, not knowing what that referred to. Selene nodded, then began dealing cards. I shot a look down at my hand. King and a 9. Selene dealt out cards for herself, showing a 9. I stood, then leaned forward again. “Should I call the police? Are you--” “Congratulations,” she said tonelessly. An almost impossibly warm hand grabbed my shoulder. I spun to see the pit boss I’d spoken to earlier. He gave an impressed smile. “Orin, was it? I’m impressed, truly. Would you mind if I had a word with you?” I shot a look back at Selene who was dealing the next round of cards. Then I got to my feet, balling my hands into fists. “What did you do to her?” The pit boss clasped his hands behind his back. “Nothing more, and nothing less than what I’m going to do to you. That is, offer you the chance to play.” “What the hell is that supposed to mean?” The pit boss nodded his head towards a nearby slot machine. A woman in a wheelchair pulled a lever and watched the flashing numbers spin. They exploded in a cacophony of sirens and flashing lights. “WINNER WINNER WINNER!” The machine screeched. The woman in the wheelchair put her feet on the ground and stood up on a pair of wobbly legs that had clearly never been used before. “As in any other casino,” the pit boss said, “you must wager for the chance to win.” “She... won the use of her legs?” I asked, feeling light-headed. “Wait,” I said. “I played blackjack just now. ‘Three years,’ Selene told me. What does ‘three years’ mean?” I asked. “Three years of life, of course. Did you win?” My mouth felt dry. “I-- Yes, I won.” He smiled warmly. “Congratulations. I hope you enjoy them. I can tell you from personal experience that watching the decades pass is a bore. Give it some time and you’ll be back to spend them.” I watched the pit boss’s face. He couldn’t have been more than a few years older than me, and I was in my early thirties. I looked around at the casino. No one was playing with chips of any kind. “So what?” I asked. “I won years of life. That woman won the use of her legs. What else can a person win here?” “Oh, almost anything. They can win almost anything you can imagine.” A cold feeling settled in my stomach. “And what do they wager?” His eyes flashed with greed. “Almost anything. They can wager almost anything you can possibly imagine. Anything equal in value to the item they want in return.” He nodded towards a nearby roulette table. A man stood by the table, cradling his hands. “Another finger,” he called out. He only had three fingers remaining on his left hand. As I watched, the ball came to a stop, and another finger disappeared from his left hand. The pit boss extended his hands. “Feel free to try any of our games. Bet and win whatever you’d like.” He reached out and snatched my hand. A feeling of intense warmth passed up my arm to my chest. “There,” he said. “I’ve even given you some house money to get you started. An extra decade of life, on me.” I ripped my hand away, staring at him in horror. Then I looked back at Selene. Something clicked in my mind. “You offered her the chance to play. What did she want?” I asked. “Her husband,” the pit boss said. “Quite the sad story. He died two years ago. She wanted him brought back to her.” “What did she wager?” I asked. “She wanted the chance to win a soul, the most valuable object in existence. I’m sure you can imagine what she needed to wager for the chance to win it. What she wagered is unimportant. The important question is: What do you want, Orin?” I stared at Selene with a flat expression. “I’m sure you can imagine.” His eyes flashed with greed again. “How wonderful. The casino could always make use of another dealer. Feel free to make your wager at any one of our games; I’ll be eagerly awaiting the results of your night. Oh, and do take advantage of our waitresses. We always supply food and drink for ‘high rollers’.” He walked away. I spent the next few hours trying to decide which game to play. I was going to be wagering my soul, so I wanted the highest chance possible. Slots and roulette were out. I’d done some reading online about counting cards, so I figured that blackjack gave me the best odds. I walked up to Selene’s table and sat down. “Bet?” she asked with that same toneless voice. “Three years,” I said. I spent the next hour or so doing my best to remember how to count cards. I knew that low cards added one to my count and high cards decreased it by one, but the casino used three decks. I had read something about how that was supposed to change my calculation, but I couldn’t quite remember how. Every time I won a hand, I cursed myself for not putting everything on the line. Every time I lost, I breathed a prayer of thanks that I’d waited. And all the while, I kept track of the count. I had lost fifteen years of life when the count finally reached +5. “Bet?” Selene asked. “I wager my soul so you can be free,” I said. The table around me fell silent. Selene’s eyes flickered, but she showed no other emotion as she dealt the cards. I watched my first card, punching the air in excitement when I saw a Jack. My excitement turned to ash when my second card was a four. Fourteen. I looked at her hand. One card was facedown, but the faceup card was a King. I swore loudly, staring down at my hands. “Hit?” she asked. The entire table was silently watching me. “Hit,” I said, not looking down. The table erupted in cheers. I looked down to see a 7 atop my two other cards. 21. Blackjack. I looked at Selene who flipped over her facedown card to reveal a 9. 19. I won. The glassy look left her eyes immediately. She looked around in surprise, then her eyes locked on mine. “Orin?” she asked, then almost immediately began to cry. The entire casino broke out in cheers. I grabbed her hand and headed for the elevator. The doors had begun to close when the pit boss reached out with a hand to stop them. “Congratulations,” he said, beaming. He seemed to be honestly excited. “Shouldn’t you be upset?” I asked. “Not at all. Casinos love it when we have big winners. It inspires the other players to make larger bets. I imagine I’ll gain two or three dealers before the night is through from your performance.” “Great,” I said flatly. “Now let us go.” “Not yet,” he said. “You didn’t just win, Orin. You got a blackjack. And blackjack pays out 1.5 times your bet. You won your sister’s soul and more.” I stared, not sure what to say. “What are you saying? I won half a soul extra?” The pit boss grinned wildly. “Just remember what I said. You’ll find living for decades and decades to be a boring experience. After a few centuries, you’ll be back to gamble that half a soul away. Congratulations!” He removed his hand, and the elevator doors slammed shut. I helped Selene back to her house. Her children were relieved. I watched them cry, then moved into the kitchen to start making dinner. It’s been a few days since that experience. The casino is still out there, and buses full of people still arrive. I… I cut my hand pretty bad a few days later. When I checked it an hour later, it had already healed, no scar or anything. I’m not sure exactly what I won at that casino, but there’s no way I’m ever going back. X
Overnight News Heading into Tuesday December 15th 2020
(News Yet to be Traded 8:00 PM - 4:00 AM EST) It is up to you to judge the accuracy and veracity of the below before trading. I take no responsibility for the accuracy of the information in this thread.
TSLA Tesla To See $1.1B In 'Deferred Software Revenue' In 2021, Munster Estimates
TSLA Elon Musk's SpaceX Seeks To Double Valuation At $92B In New Funding Round: Report
TSEM Tower Semiconductor and OPIX Announce the Successful Development of a World Class iToF Technology Platform for 3D Imaging and Face Recognition Applications
AAPL Apple Supplier's iPhone Factory Suffers $7M In Damages During Violent Worker Protests
EAF GrafTech Announces Upsizing and Pricing of Secondary Offering of Common Stock by Existing Stockholders
ATA.U Americas Technology Acquisition CORP. Announces Pricing of $100 M IPO
UBER Uber Fined $59M In California Over Refusal To Share Information On Sexual Assaults
BNR Burning Rock Announces an Exclusive in-Licensing of a Risk Stratification Test for Early Stage Lung-Cancer Patients from Oncocyte in China
BCDA ($4.48) BioCardia, Inc. Announces $8.5 Million Registered Direct Offering Priced At-The-Market Under Nasdaq Rules [Revised]
UBER DASH LYFT GRUB Uber and DoorDash are hiking food delivery and rideshare prices for Californians to pay for new driver benefits
----------------------------------------------- Subscribe to This Brief and the daily 4:00 AM Pre Market Brief on The Twitter Link Here . Alerts in the tweets will direct you to the daily brief in this sub Other Useful Resources:Stock Market Tools, Resources, Advice, & Tutorials WARNING: It is up to you to judge the accuracy and veracity of the above before trading. I take no responsibility for the accuracy of the information in this thread.
The Vow of Silver Dawn Chapter 2 - English Translation
Finally had a chance to get around to the second chapter of the Chinese-exclusive High Republic novel The Vow of Silver Dawn! Since the book has ballooned to over 30 chapters now, finishing it will be a long time coming. I appreciate everyone's interest in this project and your patience during the wait. Significant portions of this translation are derived from the work of u/Art3mis4266 and u/woodledoodledoodle through our shared Google Doc of the first 10 chapters. They have done a fantastic job, and I recommend reading u/woodledoodledoodle's own individual translation of the novel as well (he's both an excellent writer and likely to be more reliable than I am at consistently posting). Consider our projects complementary takes on the same source material. Chapter 1: https://www.reddit.com/starwarscanon/comments/kg2r8v/the_vow_of_silver_dawn_chapter_1_english/ Chapter 2 Simple Solution Were it not for the tone of absolute sincerity in the boy’s voice, without even a trace of sarcasm, the Quarren would have smacked the desk with his suction-tipped hands. “You’ve met the Mythrol, then?” Mostema asked the hologram. “I have.” The Quarren couldn’t help but ask, “The Mythrol? The same Mythrol who calls himself the pastry chef of the mansion, but constantly hangs around at bars and casinos in the Lower City?” Sean laughed, “Yup, thanks to your investigative report, which made the workload much easier, I was able to pinpoint the target directly.” “That Mythrol is very cunning, and very dangerous. You must be cautious around him!” An expression of wry agreement crossed Sean’s face in response to the Quarren’s words. “Yes, very cunning indeed. It took all of two hours to find and get some answers out of him.” The Quarren wanted to say that even his best agents couldn’t get close to the Mythrol with two weeks of work, but the words died in his throat. But then, of course, the young lad was also a Jedi; all it would have taken was a mind trick, and the Mythrol would have spilled everything… However, Mostema asked, “No using the Force?” “Of course not, Master. I kept your teachings in mind.” A puzzled look came over the Quarren, as if to say Wait, what in the galaxy are you two going on about? Why wouldn’t you use the Force? Spotting the Quarren’s confusion, Mostema explained, “Sean isn’t particularly gifted in the Force. His sensitivity is below average when compared to other Padawans his age. So while he needs to work harder to strengthen his connection, he also should not form the habit of being overly dependent upon it. The Force is more than just a tool for the Jedi to wield.” Sean seemed ashamed of himself as he said, “The three pillars of being a Jedi: the Force, knowledge, and self-discipline. I’ve been lacking in the first since birth, so if I tried to rely on it to do whatever I want, I’d just be even more of a disgrace...” Okay, the Quarren thought, whatever you guys say, but without the Force, how did the Padawan make the chef talk? As if reading his mind, Sean said, “I went around to all of his favorite bars and casinos until I found him, got him drunk, and won all of his possessions by gambling. It was easy to get him to tell me everything after that.” The Quarren looked down to his own report, at the section about the Mythrol. It noted that he was “An experienced career criminal, a highly-practiced gambler, and a heavy drinker.” But, as a Republic agent, the Quarren quickly regained his composure and asked “He gave you the location of the manor?” “He told me how to make a Seven-Layered Kashyyykian Cake. I’m confident I could make one better than he does, now!” replied Sean. The Quarren frowned. What has a dessert recipe got to do with all this?! “He only worked his way into the manor with the secret recipes of his desserts. Now that I can bake them even better than he can, I can replace the Mythrol as the pastry chef in the manor at Green Dawn Hill…” Sean explained. The Quarren couldn’t help but interrupt: “Wait a moment, the president’s mansion is at Green Dawn Hill?!” “Yup, on the northeastern side. Hard to miss.” “Did the Mythrol tell you?” “I just followed him there.” “...‘Followed’ him there?!” the Quarren asked incredulously, while looking at the report files on the datapad in his hand, which, in meticulous bloody detail, described the countless elite agents who had attempted to tail the manor’s staff, and had suffered brutal deaths. “I spent a couple of days tracking the Mythrol’s whereabouts before I formally made contact with him, and found that he took a different route to the mansion every time, before suddenly disappearing. If I had tracked him any further beyond that each time, he might have noticed me.” The Quarren nodded his head; finally something that matched his kriffing report! “But these seemingly hidden pathways revealed the truth, because careful observation showed that no matter where he disappeared, the locations were always near sewers or similar underground facilities. It wasn’t hard to deduce from there that the manor has special entry routes leading directly to it via the sewage system.” Come on lad, did you really have to add “Wasn’t hard to deduce!” and rub salt in the wound? “It’s actually not an uncommon method; the ‘New Agent Handbook’ published on Corellia documented 27 similar cases in which other hidden mansions utilized similar methods to move personnel. I found the local construction company responsible for building the sewer, retrieved and analyzed all of the architectural drawings from their database, determined the structure of all the hidden passageways, and traced them to the location of the manor. All in all, these Outer Rim despots are pretty simple thinkers.” The Quarren silently deleted all the research files stored on his datapad, swearing to himself to never mention his past few years’ work to another living soul. Sean was still enthusiastically going on, “Also, according to my investigation, in five days the president will be entertaining a number of mob bosses over at the manor. I think that’d be a great opportunity to make a move!” Mostema knocked a fist on the desk, and said: “In five days? This could be our chance.” The Quarren was shaken, “Master, are you planning to execute Jamie’s entire criminal syndicate?” Both of the Jedi simultaneously gave him a bewildered look. His voice serious, Sean elaborated, “How could we? Jedi don’t seek to start fights, and I can’t even imagine assassinating a legitimate head of state. The reason we’ve worked so hard to gather clues and evidence is so that Jamie can receive a fair trial according to the law, to show the public his criminal activities, and to encourage the ideals of peace and justice to root deeply in the hearts of Bergamore’s people. Using violence to end violence will only give birth to another dictator who violates law and discipline.” The Quarren felt ashamed. Understanding the spirit behind the rule of law had not yet taken root deeply in his own heart, either. He quickly gave voice to another question, however. “If not an execution, then what kind of opportunity does this banquet in five days present? Why do we need to wait until then to sneak in? Couldn’t we simply get in, get the evidence, and get out?” “A man this careful wouldn’t leave behind anything concrete lying around, even in his own mansion,” Sean replied. The Quarren couldn’t help but continue his questioning, “Even the existence of the mansion itself constitutes a crime! With his President’s salary, he wouldn’t have been able to acquire such an estate in a thousand years, not to mention that he always claimed back on Coruscant to never spend more than five thousand credits a year! What’s more, rumors abound of his manor’s extravagance, of it being filled with all kinds of rare treasures…” “He could easily say that the manor is owned by someone else, and that he is only living there temporarily. Actually, according to my research, the owner of the manor is a shareholder of the Bergamore Heavy Industries Corp, not the President himself.” It’s only been a few days – has he checked out everyone in the manor by now? The Quarren kept up his line of questioning. “But he’s lived in the mansion for so long, there has to be some evidence of crime, no? Skeletons in the closet, so to say…” “There is the possibility, but I believe a criminal this conniving would never let down his vigilance, even in his own home. For example, he might use code words while issuing illegal orders, which couldn’t be used as direct evidence even if the orders were recorded.” The Quarren finally grew quiet. “Also, according to some witnesses from the manor, I have reason to believe that a sufficiently cautious crime lord will carefully manage the risk involved in all the positions of his organization, so that no one person has full knowledge of the extent of illegal activity taking place, or even that he or she is complicit in a crime. This further adds to the difficulty of collecting strong evidence. At the same time, multiple layers of task management and one-way communication makes it harder to trace back to the President himself, even if we were able to penetrate a certain line of contact.” Hearing all this, the Quarren almost felt faint. “Jamie Brasen is hardly a lunatic! Who would set up such elaborate safeguards in their own mansion? Is he not afraid he’ll die from overwork?” “Jamie Brasen is a very dangerous tyrant, and they all tend to be more than a little paranoid, sometimes downright mad, which makes it safe to assume we can’t predict his actions using conventional logic. Nor can we afford to underestimate him; after all, he had elite intelligence agents of the Republic running in circles for years,” Sean pointed out. The Quarren’s eyes filled with sadness. “You make it sound as though it’s impossible to get to him! If the risk is as high as you describe, then how do you even plan to carry out the mission at all?” “Our way in is through the banquet, five days from now,” Sean replied. “He can train his underlings in the mansion to communicate using code, but with other gang leaders they will most likely have to speak in Basic or some other common language-” Mostema interrupted before Sean could finish speaking. “We can’t rule out the possibility that they make use of some form of specialized comlinks, encrypting and decrypting transmissions on the fly, and self-destructing afterward to avoid leaving evidence behind.” “Yes, Master, I had considered this as well. Which is why I will be there personally five days from now, while Jamie Brasen is stressing over his inability to rely on his codes.” Mostema nodded, “Very well, I leave it up to you.” “It’s not ‘very well’ at all!” the Quarren interjected. “Master Jedi, you mean to have Sean infiltrate the estate? It’s too risky!” Mostema replied sternly, “I know. Having a Jedi Knight perform this sort of infiltration, with the target still being a legitimate political leader, will naturally cast doubt on the outcome of the investigation. Further, it will prove especially controversial if we use the Force to coerce the thoughts of anyone involved in the investigation. Such actions would easily come under attack following scrutiny by a team of skilled lawyers. The risks in this matter still bear consideration, and you are right to remind of us them. So Sean, you must be mindful that you are not to use the Force during this operation.” “I understand, Master.” The Quarren cried out dejectedly, “I’m sorry, Master Jedi, but I don’t understand! Are we really having a conversation in Basic right now? Why do I feel like you two, master and apprentice, are always speaking a language of your own! Have you understood anything I’ve said? Jamie Brasen’s manor is an ice tiger’s den that has been kept strictly secret for so many years. The tyrannical maniac has been operating out of it for decades; who knows how heavily that place is rigged with traps, and you’re letting a 17 year-old Padawan infiltrate it, Master, without using the Force, on the day when every underworld kingpin on-planet will be there having a banquet?!” Mostema looked to the Quarren again. “So, do you have any suggestions for Sean?” Sean looked at the alien expectantly. The Quarren’s facial tentacles spread so wide in shock, he thought they might split apart. Don’t look at me like that! He thought. I really don’t understand the world of you Jedi. Priming the explosive and then asking me for advice on how to defuse it? Yes, I’ve got advice for you: go take a long walk out a short airlock! You Jedi even treat the Force like some kind of basic appliance you can unplug, and you’ve willfully blocked yourself off from it! What more was there to say? “Be careful, and stay safe,” the Quarren said dryly. Sean thanked him in earnest. “Understood! The more complex and difficult a mission is, the more one needs to focus on the fundamentals. It’s no wonder you’re an elite agent of the Republic; with so few words, you manage to say so much.” The Quarren barely managed to muster a “Yeah, sure.” “Do you have a preliminary plan for the operation, five days from now?” Mostema asked Sean. “Yes.” Sean replied, “Though I may need to improvise some of the specifics, using the resources at hand I’ve developed a rough framework. I’ll share it with you, so I’m hoping you could lend me some constructive criticism.” Following this, Sean brought up his bracelet communicator and pressed a number of keys in short succession. A stream of data began to quickly transmit as an indicator light blinked continuously. The transmission continued for quite some time. The Quarren couldn’t help but tap his screen, thinking his datapad had malfunctioned. “Has the transmission been interrupted? My end shows that the file has not been received yet.” “Rest assured, operation plan files are usually fairly large, so the transmission may take some time,” Mostema answered. The Quarren was dumbfounded. Quite large? This comm channel could transmit a full galactic encyclopedia in less than ten seconds, and five minutes had already passed. Were these two sharing a hologram of Coruscant’s global blueprint, with over five thousand levels filled with some one trillion inhabitants? As the Quarren was starting to get impatient, a green confirmation light lit up on his datapad, indicating that the transmission had completed. Fingers beginning to tremble, the Quarren opened the file. Wave upon wave of files came into view, video clips scattered about like stars in the sky, all connected together with an array of complex lines of many varying colors, forming a visually dazzling and complicated network. Inwardly, the Quarren wanted to say “You actually did send Coruscant’s global blueprint, huh? A ‘rough framework?’ Your definition of ‘rough’ is an insult to Galactic Basic as understood anywhere in the Republic!” But he bit his tongue. Of course, Mostema pondered for a moment before saying to Sean, “It is rather simple, but it’s acceptable at this stage to get its point across. I will help you tidy up the prose, so let us proceed with what you have.” “Gladly!” Mostema then looked towards the Quarren. “Mr. Squak, do you have anything more to add?” The Quarren could only give a dry, sad chuckle.
Summary of Findings I am recommending that you take a close look at NamSys Inc. NamSys Inc is a simple predictable free cash flow generative business with a durable competitive advantage and a long runway ahead of it. It has a strong market position in the cash management industry and a growing SaaS business model. As of January 5th, 2020, NamSys Inc, which trades under the ticker symbol “CTZ”, closed at a share price of $0.90 or a market cap of $24.5m. It has about $5.5m in net cash on the balance sheet and the stock currently trades at a 9.3x pre-tax cash flow multiple, which translates to a 10.8% pre-tax free cash flow yield. At this price, I think it is worth a close look. Business Overview NamSys Inc is a small company based in Toronto, Ontario that specializes in providing SaaS software solutions to the cash management industry for financial institutions, retailers, casino operators, transit services, and to many different government entities. It sells 4 cloud based software solutions: Smart Safe Monitoring, Cash-In-Transit (CIT) logistics, Currency Controller (cash vault management), and Deposit Tracking (Banking). NamSys’s cloud based solutions are labelled under the brand name, “Cirreon ''. Cirreon Smart Safe - The Cirreon Smart Safe product segment represents over 70% of NamSys’s total revenues and it has been growing at approximately 20% compounded annually over the past 10 years. The software solution is being sold in 24 countries but most of it is in North America. There are 16,000 NamSys smart safes out of a total of 80,000 smart safes in North America, which translates to 20% market share in the smart safe segment. Cirreon CIT Logistic Software - The CIT logistic software assists cash-in-transit operators, who are responsible for safely transporting a business’s physical cash to the bank, to manage day-to-day operations. The Cirreon CIT software solution is an app that allows CIT providers to manage their fleet, track pickups and deliveries, strategically map routes, provide GPS navigation services, and also allows the CIT driver to communicate with the other drivers or customers. The CIT logistic software represents 4-5% of total revenues. CIT sales have been growing by 300% over the past two or three years, according to management, so it is a stream of revenue that will grow at huge rates over time. NamSys Inc has a long-term partnership with CIT providers across North America. The biggest CIT customer is Brinks, similar to the smart safe product. Brinks control 25% of the CIT service market in the cash management industry, which obviously exposes NamSys to 1/4 of the total market. Currency Controller - The Currency Controller is a cash vault system used to process cash, count cash, and fill cash orders. The Currency Controller can be found within ATM and bank machines and assists banks and CIT services with accounting, billing, management and fulfillment that they need to perform for customers. The Currency Controller segment represents about 20-30% of sales and it has grown at 50% compounded over the past 3 years. It is available with a license and a subscription-based pricing model although the subscription model is becoming more popular. Cirreon Banking - The Cirreon Banking app is a new product segment that has been introduced a few years ago and represents about 8% of total revenues. The Cirreon Banking app helps customers create and track deposits, place change orders, and request support, all from the customer’s phone. The Cirreon Banking app is sold as a subscription just like the rest of the Cirreon software solutions. Durable Competitive Advantage High Switching Costs - Once a retailer is hooked up onto the Cirreon platform, the idea of switching to another software platform is very unlikely and rather costly. Since Cirreon holds all of the retailer’s financial data related to invoices, cash inflows and outflows, and other important information, transferring this data on to a whole different platform will not only take up a lot of time and money, but sometimes might not be technologically possible. The Cirreon platform uses Java based programming, which makes it almost impossible to transfer data. In addition the learning curve for business owners and retailers when joining a new platform is very steep, which makes it uneconomical for NamSys customers to switch and spend hours, if not days, getting used to a whole new set up. The high switching cost nature of the software solution is evident with the high customer retention rates of the Cirreon platform, which management has reported to be very high. In the CIT logistics segment, NamSys provides navigation services and GPS software which interacts with the Cirreon platform to help retailers track where their cash is heading while also allowing CIT providers to communicate with local financial institutions. NamSys also has the benefit of high switching costs because CIT providers almost always stick with their logistic software providers and rarely switch. This is mainly because NamSys’s logistic software is already embedded in the CIT network system and the cost of reprogramming all the computers inside the CIT trucks and stopping business is so high, that it remains uneconomical for a NamSys customer in the CIT logistics space to switch over to another software provider. Product Differentiation - Cirreon integrates many different parts of the cash management cycle onto one platform. There are very few services like this in the cash management industry that offer an all-in-one, easy to use service. In fact, the closest product offering could be from Safeology, which is a new tech startup, prominent in Europe. However, even Safeology fails to offer the quantity and quality of services NamSys provides to customers, as they do not have an established smart safe software service or an online banking app. In the most recent annual shareholder meeting, management has asserted their ability to increase prices to improve profitability. However, from a strategic perspective, they prefer to continue to add value to customers by keeping prices stable and remaining much more competitive in the marketplace. If you can add enormous value by providing a better quality service at great prices, then it is almost inevitable that the business will succeed over the long term. Holding this philosophy over the past 5 years contributed to the stellar growth in the business and I expect this to continue. Brinks Long Term Partnership - NamSys and Brinks have strong business relationships with each other that should last over the long term. They both have a 3 year contract with an option to renew the contract at the end of each term. Since NamSys has already penetrated Brink’s ecosystem, it is expected that their customer relationship continues over the long term. With Brinks focusing on the hardware side and NamSys providing the software, both Brinks and NamSys have worked together to launch extremely successful cash management products and have been rapidly expanding to over 24 countries. NamSys is able to piggyback on Brink’s acquisition driven approach for expansion and its 23% share of the global cash management market, which provides countless opportunities for NamSys to grow and gain more market share in the software industry. For example when Brinks acquired Dunbar or G4S (both are cash management companies), they converted Dunbar and G4S’s old cash management software and integrated NamSys’s software in all the smart safes, CIT logistic networks, and currency controllers. As a result, NamSys inherits a strong market position and bigger network when Brinks acquires its competitors. Most of NamSys’s competitors lack valuable customer relationships with big players like Brinks and it is part of the reason why NamSys has been able to keep high returns on invested capital and operating margins for a decade. Revenue Breakdown and Capital Efficiency The SaaS revenue stream consists of hosted service fees and technical/maintenance support. It is clear that from 2015 to 2019, the recurring revenue stream has grown to 83% of total sales revenue. The licenses segment as a % of revenue has been decreasing as it represents an old fashioned method of selling software (customer provides a payment at the time the software is provided). This is more or less caused by customers abandoning licenses and getting onto the SaaS platform, which is a much cheaper option. The professional services segments represent the small customized projects NamSys does for specific customers but we will exclude this out of our analysis as it is negligible and very volatile. The business requires very little incremental capital to maintain and grow its line of business. ROIC has gone from 135.6% in 2015 to 463.8% in 2019, which illustrates the capital light nature of NamSys’s business. With very little tangible capital employed, NamSys was able to grow revenues at a 20% CAGR over the past five years and increase cash flow generation significantly. Revenue growth exceeded 20% in 4 out of the 5 past years, besides 2018. Revenue growth in 2018 fell down to 12% primarily due to NamSys’s decision to fully convert its currency controller segment, which makes up about 20% of revenues, into a SaaS model. Before, customers had to pay a big upfront cash payment (software licenses), but this all changed during 2018 when customers had to pay a fraction of the big upfront cash payment, due to the shift in payment terms. Thus, the lack of revenue growth in 2018 can be seen as an anomaly. Furthermore, gross margins have averaged about 71% over the past five years, declining 2-4% in 2018 and 2019 due to an increase in staffing costs. Operating and EBITDA margins are very healthy, averaging about 43% over the past 5 years, which illustrates stellar operating performance. FCF margin has averaged about 38% over the past 5 years, moving up and down due to aberrations in changes of working capital. Finally, the company has averaged about 29% FCF growth over the past 5 years, however the volatility in the changes in working capital create stark differences in the yearly figures. Moreover, based on analyzing NamSys’s historical growth and margins, one can conclude that NamSys is a predictable business that will grow over the long term. Opportunities to Grow The smart safe software revenue segment, which consists of 60% of total revenues, has grown at 28%+ per year over the past 5 years. With Brink’s, a $3B private security and protection company, being the largest customer, NamSys can piggyback on Brink’s international growth plans. NamSys has a strong customer relationship with Brink’s, as Brink’s builds the hardware for the smart safe and NamSys installs its proprietary software into the smart safe. At the moment, over 16,000 smart safes with NamSys software are being used in North America. However, in places like South America, the smart safe market is growing at 100% per year while in places like the Middle East or Africa, there is no smart safe market. NamSys has significant international opportunities to grow and expand its software service, which should be a prime driver of growth moving forward. If you do the math, Brinks projects that there will be 1.2 million potential new locations for smart safes to be installed worldwide. If the partnership between Brinks and NamSys gets hold of 10% to 20% of this market, this could mean about 60,000 to 120,000 smart safes installed within the next decade. Right now, NamSys Inc has around 16,000 to 18,000 smart safes installed. Over the next decade, I conservatively project that NamSys Inc can 3x to 7x their sales today, as long as they keep good customer relationships with Brink’s. Obviously, this is not accounting for the fact that Brink's is gaining a ton of market share through acquiring a lot of its competitors, which should yield more market share for NamSys in the software development space. In addition, NamSys is currently experiencing huge tailwinds in their CIT logistics and currency controller software lines of business as well. I think there is a great runway with Next Gen ATM and the whole trend behind CIT companies acquiring ATM networks. With Next Gen ATM, NamSys can be positioned to sell not only their CIT logistics application but also their cash vault (currency controller) product as well. Furthermore, NamSys is also participating in a pilot project with the US Federal Reserve, with testing new software products and solving issues relating to the transportation of cash. The revenues from this pilot project should materialize within the next 3-4 years, as it is a long term project. Management The CEO of NamSys Inc is Barry Sparks, who has been the CEO for over 15 years. Mr. Sparks is the President of Torvan Capital and owns 40% of NamSys common stock through this investment vehicle. The President and COO Jason Siemens has been with the company for about 23 years and owns about 0.8% of the common stock. Mr. Siemens is a very competent manager, who thoroughly understands the cash management business. Through analyzing all the past earnings transcripts and shareholder meetings, it is evident that Mr. Siemens has a clear strategy on building NamSys’s moat and growing the business. One of the best and worst capital allocation decisions management has ever made was entering the hardware market (a lower ROIC business) in 2006 and leaving it in 2011, which led to NamSys’s stellar financial performance from 2012 and onwards. In addition, there has been no shareholder dilution (through stock based compensation) over the past 10 years, which is beneficial for long term shareholders of this business. Along with the Board and Mr. Sparks and Mr. Siemens, I think NamSys is a well managed and shareholder friendly business and I do not foresee any managerial issues arising from the individuals who run this company. COVID-19 Impact NamSys Inc has not really been negatively impacted by COVID-19 when compared to most other companies. A lot of their customers are grocery chains and gas stations that were running even when most businesses were closed. Revenues for Q2 2020, period ending April 30th, increased by 14.5% when compared to Q2 2019. Revenue for the first six months of fiscal 2020 increased by 19.2% when compared to revenue in the same period in fiscal 2019. NamSys generated a significant amount of free cash flow and the cash balance grew to $5.5m, up from $4.3m from Q1 2020. COVID-19 had an immaterial impact on NamSys Inc from a financial standpoint, which further emphasizes the durable business model of NamSys Inc, which can grow even during a pandemic and recession. So, while most businesses are struggling amid today’s unstable business environment, NamSys is growing its market share and throwing off more cash. Valuation I think NamSys’s intrinsic value will grow and compound over time, given its sticky business model and long growth runway. Please see for the supporting financial model of the base case valuation. For the base case valuation, I think a reasonable case would be projecting out a revenue CAGR growth of 13.7% over the next 5 years until 2024 (compared to 24.6% between 2015 and 2019). Given the company has a history of growing revenues at 20%+ CAGR over the past five years and the future growth potential in its smart safe and Cirreon banking application segment, I expect operating margins and its cost structure to remain stable over time. Keeping the 15x FCF multiple constant, the value of the business will grow to about $2.00+ per share by 2024, which represents an IRR of 23% per year. I think this is a compelling investment opportunity with significant upside. First DD, so thanks for reading :) I have 2,500 shares at 0.88
I live in a small mining town in the mountains of Colorado. Someone is building a massive casino nearby, Pictures Included
I grew up in a small mountain town named Eureka. It was founded in the late 1800s during the gold rush, but after the mines dried up the town began its slow descent into decay. Half the houses are empty or abandoned now. You can see a picture of the kind of houses here in Eureka: Abandoned House Non-abandoned House When a massive construction project began nearby, it was the talk of the town for weeks. Why would they build something in a sleepy dying town like Eureka? It wasn’t until my sister Selene talked to a few construction workers that we discovered they were building a casino. A casino up in the mountains, over two hours away from Denver. None of us could understand why they’d chosen here of all places. After a few months of work, the casino was done. I took a picture of the town with the completed casino in the background to the right. The ten-story-structure sticks out like a sore thumb off in the distance. Town+Casino After the casino opened, they hired a few dozen members of the town, offering high paying jobs to work as dealers or cleaning staff. I was already employed as a firefighter, but my sister Selene got a job as a blackjack dealer. She’s a widow with two young kids, so the paycheck was a real lifesaver. Still, something about the situation seemed too good to be true. The jobs over there paid far too well, and the management was far too accommodating. The fire station where I work is located high on a hill overlooking the town, so I began watching the casino from a distance each day. I had initially thought that the casino was located in a terrible location, but I was apparently wrong. True, Eureka was hours from any major city, but despite that, a bus full of people arrived every morning and left every evening. One night I was over at my parent’s house and had dinner with Selene and her kids. I asked her about her experience as a dealer. “It’s Ok,” she said. “Just a little boring I guess.” “Boring?” I asked. “I’m surprised you don’t have your hands full.” “Why’s that?” she asked. “It’s like you said, Eureka’s too small. I never have people playing cards. The casino is almost always completely empty.” I wasn’t sure what to make of that. If the place was always empty, what happened to the people who I’d seen arriving on buses? “I’ve been keeping an eye on the building,” I said. “A bus full of people typically arrives around 9 AM every day.” “Really?” she asked, looking confused. “If that’s true, I’ve never seen them. “I can see it from the fire station,” I said. “If you head out for a smoke break at 9 AM, you’ll probably see them arriving.” “Interesting,” she said. “I’ll do that. If they’re being processed for their organs or something, I’ll let you know.” She laughed. “Har har,” I said sarcastically. The next night she sent me a text calling me over. When I arrived, she was nearly breathless with excitement. “Orin, You were right,” she said. “A big group of people did arrive, but they didn’t walk into my part of the casino. Instead, they all walked into an elevator at the back of the building. I’m not sure where that goes.” She looked thoughtful. “It was weird. They looked… How can I say it? Desperate? Something about the whole situation was very off. I’m gonna check out the elevator tomorrow.” I told her to be careful, though, to be honest, I was excited to hear about what she discovered. When I visited my parent’s house the next night, I found her two kids there alone. They told me that Selene had never returned from work. I called all her friends, then all our neighbors, but no one had seen her since she left for work that morning. Our conversations regarding the casino flooded my mind, then a plan began to form. Early the next morning I walked across town in my nicest pair of jeans and a button-up shirt. I pushed through the door to the casino and saw that Selene wasn’t lying. The place was all but deserted. Three dozen slot machines crowded the walls surrounding a few tables interspersed throughout the floor of the casino. The only players in the whole building were Bob and Donald, two locals. I walked up to a nearby table where Bridget, a girl I’d gone to high school with, was shuffling cards. She broke into a grin when she saw me. “Hey Orin, you here for a few rounds of blackjack?” “I wish,” I said. “No, I’m here to ask about Selene. She never made it home last night.” Bridget’s expression darkened. “Really? Have you asked around?” “I already called around. Have you seen her?” She shook her head. “No, our schedules rarely line up. I’ll be sure to let you know if I--” Her eyes focused on something behind me, and she cut herself off. I turned around to see the casino’s pit boss watching us both. He was a tall thin man in an impeccably clean black suit. When I turned back towards Bridget, she was looking down at the table and shuffling cards absent-mindedly. “Well, if you hear anything, let me know,” I said. She nodded, so I turned around and headed for the pit boss. I stuck out my hand. The temperature of his hand was so hot that I had to pull my hand away after a few seconds. “Have… have you seen my sister Selene?” I asked. “She hasn’t been seen since her shift here yesterday.” He smiled. “Sir, this floor is for players. You’re more than welcome to head to the tellers for chips, but barring that I’m afraid I’ll have to ask you to leave.” I stared at him for a long second before stalking towards the door. When I looked back, he was talking with Bridget. I checked my watch. 8:55 AM, just as I’d planned. I walked around the back of the building and waited as the morning bus pulled around the building. I waited for the telltale hiss of the opening doors and the sound of people descending before I rounded the corner and joined the crowd. None of them paid any particular attention to me as I walked with them into the casino. The crowd walked through a side door down a hallway to an elevator. Small groups of people entered the elevator as the rest of us waited for our turn. I shot a glance at the casino patrons, surprised at their diversity. There seemed to be people from all different countries and ethnicities. I heard one speaking Japanese and another speaking what sounded like an African language. My turn came along with a few other patrons in the elevator. A sickly woman hobbled into the elevator beside me carrying an IV that was still connected to one of her veins. We piled in and rode up to the top. The elevator rose for a few long seconds. I wasn’t sure what I would find, but I steeled myself for something horrible. The elevator’s speaker let out a TING, then the doors opened. We all walked out onto what looked like a standard casino. Another few dozen slot machines ringed the walls, but on this floor, they were almost all occupied by customers. I took in the scene, confused at why they’d have a ground floor that was almost completely empty when this place was almost-- Selene was dealing cards at a nearby table. I jogged over and sat down at an open seat. None of the players around me paid me much attention. “Selene!” I said. “Are you OK? Did you spend the night here last night?” Her eyes were glassy and confused. She looked up at me with a dumb expression and didn’t respond to my question. “Selene?” I asked. “What’s your bet?” she asked me. “This table is for blackjack players only.” “I…” I trailed off, looking at the players around me. None of them were betting with chips of any kind. “What’s the minimum bet?” I asked. “Three years,” she responded. “Three years then,” I said, not knowing what that referred to. Selene nodded, then began dealing cards. I shot a look down at my hand. King and a 9. Selene dealt out cards for herself, showing a 9. I stood, then leaned forward again. “Should I call the police? Are you--” “Congratulations,” she said tonelessly. An almost impossibly warm hand grabbed my shoulder. I spun to see the pit boss I’d spoken to earlier. He gave an impressed smile. “Orin, was it? I’m impressed, truly. Would you mind if I had a word with you?” I shot a look back at Selene who was dealing the next round of cards. Then I got to my feet, balling my hands into fists. “What did you do to her?” The pit boss clasped his hands behind his back. “Nothing more, and nothing less than what I’m going to do to you. That is, offer you the chance to play.” “What the hell is that supposed to mean?” The pit boss nodded his head towards a nearby slot machine. A woman in a wheelchair pulled a lever and watched the flashing numbers spin. They exploded in a cacophony of sirens and flashing lights. “WINNER WINNER WINNER!” The machine screeched. The woman in the wheelchair put her feet on the ground and stood up on a pair of wobbly legs that had clearly never been used before. “As in any other casino,” the pit boss said, “you must wager for the chance to win.” “She... won the use of her legs?” I asked, feeling light-headed. “Wait,” I said. “I played blackjack just now. ‘Three years,’ Selene told me. What does ‘three years’ mean?” I asked. “Three years of life, of course. Did you win?” My mouth felt dry. “I-- Yes, I won.” He smiled warmly. “Congratulations. I hope you enjoy them. I can tell you from personal experience that watching the decades pass is a bore. Give it some time and you’ll be back to spend them.” I watched the pit boss’s face. He couldn’t have been more than a few years older than me, and I was in my early thirties. I looked around at the casino. No one was playing with chips of any kind. “So what?” I asked. “I won years of life. That woman won the use of her legs. What else can a person win here?” “Oh, almost anything. They can win almost anything you can imagine.” A cold feeling settled in my stomach. “And what do they wager?” His eyes flashed with greed. “Almost anything. They can wager almost anything you can possibly imagine. Anything equal in value to the item they want in return.” He nodded towards a nearby roulette table. A man stood by the table, cradling his hands. “Another finger,” he called out. He only had three fingers remaining on his left hand. As I watched, the ball came to a stop, and another finger disappeared from his left hand. The pit boss extended his hands. “Feel free to try any of our games. Bet and win whatever you’d like.” He reached out and snatched my hand. A feeling of intense warmth passed up my arm to my chest. “There,” he said. “I’ve even given you some house money to get you started. An extra decade of life, on me.” I ripped my hand away, staring at him in horror. Then I looked back at Selene. Something clicked in my mind. “You offered her the chance to play. What did she want?” I asked. “Her husband,” the pit boss said. “Quite the sad story. He died two years ago. She wanted him brought back to her.” “What did she wager?” I asked. “She wanted the chance to win a soul, the most valuable object in existence. I’m sure you can imagine what she needed to wager for the chance to win it. What she wagered is unimportant. The important question is: What do you want, Orin?” I stared at Selene with a flat expression. “I’m sure you can imagine.” His eyes flashed with greed again. “How wonderful. The casino could always make use of another dealer. Feel free to make your wager at any one of our games; I’ll be eagerly awaiting the results of your night. Oh, and do take advantage of our waitresses. We always supply food and drink for ‘high rollers’.” He walked away. I spent the next few hours trying to decide which game to play. I was going to be wagering my soul, so I wanted the highest chance possible. Slots and roulette were out. I’d done some reading online about counting cards, so I figured that blackjack gave me the best odds. I walked up to Selene’s table and sat down. “Bet?” she asked with that same toneless voice. “Three years,” I said. I spent the next hour or so doing my best to remember how to count cards. I knew that low cards added one to my count and high cards decreased it by one, but the casino used three decks. I had read something about how that was supposed to change my calculation, but I couldn’t quite remember how. Every time I won a hand, I cursed myself for not putting everything on the line. Every time I lost, I breathed a prayer of thanks that I’d waited. And all the while, I kept track of the count. I had lost fifteen years of life when the count finally reached +5. “Bet?” Selene asked. “I wager my soul so you can be free,” I said. The table around me fell silent. Selene’s eyes flickered, but she showed no other emotion as she dealt the cards. I watched my first card, punching the air in excitement when I saw a Jack. My excitement turned to ash when my second card was a four. Fourteen. I looked at her hand. One card was facedown, but the faceup card was a King. I swore loudly, staring down at my hands. “Hit?” she asked. The entire table was silently watching me. “Hit,” I said, not looking down. The table erupted in cheers. I looked down to see a 7 atop my two other cards. 21. Blackjack. I looked at Selene who flipped over her facedown card to reveal a 9. 19. I won. The glassy look left her eyes immediately. She looked around in surprise, then her eyes locked on mine. “Orin?” she asked, then almost immediately began to cry. The entire casino broke out in cheers. I grabbed her hand and headed for the elevator. The doors had begun to close when the pit boss reached out with a hand to stop them. “Congratulations,” he said, beaming. He seemed to be honestly excited. “Shouldn’t you be upset?” I asked. “Not at all. Casinos love it when we have big winners. It inspires the other players to make larger bets. I imagine I’ll gain two or three dealers before the night is through from your performance.” “Great,” I said flatly. “Now let us go.” “Not yet,” he said. “You didn’t just win, Orin. You got a blackjack. And blackjack pays out 1.5 times your bet. You won your sister’s soul and more.” I stared, not sure what to say. “What are you saying? I won half a soul extra?” The pit boss grinned wildly. “Just remember what I said. You’ll find living for decades and decades to be a boring experience. After a few centuries, you’ll be back to gamble that half a soul away. Congratulations!” He removed his hand, and the elevator doors slammed shut. I helped Selene back to her house. Her children were relieved. I watched them cry, then moved into the kitchen to start making dinner. It’s been a few days since that experience. The casino is still out there, and buses full of people still arrive. I… I cut my hand pretty bad a few days later. When I checked it an hour later, it had already healed, no scar or anything. I’m not sure exactly what I won at that casino, but there’s no way I’m ever going back. Interested in more? Support me on Patreon at any level! My Patreon backers will get early access to my horror stories, free copies of my horror novels, and an exclusive story each month. Become a Patreon supporter here: https://www.patreon.com/WorchesterStreet Thank you to my lovely Patreon Backers: Brooke Tang Private Castle Lilith Scyther Peter Jamison MADman611 Lily Bain Vivienne Hoai Claire Shabbeer Hassan Maranda Mae Madeline Budd Lauren Ashley Luna Vaughan Stephanie Jennings, Krystin Molina and my new Patreon backers, Carter B, Yazz Ledgister, and an especial thanks to newest backer Christina! Your support is invaluable!
Before I start, I wanted to say that I've lived in many different countries (brick/concrete buildings) & I never experienced so many problems as I have with US homes. The use of cheap plywood and wood chip, poor or no insulation, flimsy siding and roofing that either blows off in high winds or just rots away after a few year, in addition to high prices have made life a living miserable hell for the average American. I've lived in US for the past 20 years, mainly in the west coast. I owned a nice peaceful house in Seattle area back in the 90s, things were not this expensive & I had a great mortgage rate until the collapse of housing market happened in 2008, and my mortgage rate went up from 3.25% to 6%, although I paid my mortgage onetime & didn't do anything wrong. Around the same time, my utilities, and taxes went up drastically. The house was built in the 80s and the constant rain & termite damage & carpenter ants had made the wood rot underneath the house, not to mention the leaky roof & many other issues with plumbing, mainly to do with wood-structured houses. Long story short, my house was peaceful, but because of high taxation, crime, constant rain & cold, & other problems like high utility & mortgage rate, I made a decision to sell the house and move to California. I rented a two bedroom luxury apartment unit in Orange County around 2015 for $2500/months, but everyday there was an issue with the management, constant noise of performance cars revving their engine, garbage trucks, leaf blowers & landscapers, you name it .... After a year, I finally got sick & tired of high rent & high taxation in Cali & moved to Nevada, Las Vegas. The apartment I moved in was ok for a few months until a loud motorcyclist moved next door to me. The guy worked all odd hours and he used to love revving his bike at nights, like 12 am, 3 am, 5 am, multiple times, when he commuted back & forth to work every day ... Calling the police, talking to Management or leaving nice notes on his bike, none of them worked, until I was forced to move out. Everybody said rent a house, apartments are crap. oh how little I knew So I ended up renting a home (paying $2100) to have more privacy & peace of mind. The house was fine for a few years (except the loud neighbors kids screaming & swearing, dogs barking all day & night, neighbors doing landscaping at 8am Sunday morning, etc etc), but I still put up with it, at least I had few hours of quiet at nights & I used white noise machine to drown out some of the noise. Until one day, out of the blue, the house started making weird noises, mainly coming from the ceiling/attic. It started with one loud knock/snap every morning at 8:30 am, and over a week period, the knocks went from one loud one to 20 knocks a day. Within a month, things became so bad that every time the sun would come up or go down, the roof would pop like 200 times. At nights, I would hear a lot of loud banging/popping noises coming from chimney and the attic. I let the landlord know right away (which they didn't believe me at first), I even paid for pest control (we thought it maybe rats or some other animal in the attic), which no trace of any animal was found in the attic. We brought roofers, inspectors, you name it, no one had any clue what was going on. Things got so bad that I couldn't sleep more than couple of hours every night, waking up with a very loud knock or bang, sometimes every 30 min. I lived in that house for 3.5 years, and didn't hear a beep from the structure of the place, so I have no clue how a building that quiet could go suddenly crazy & it was so frustrating that no one had any clue what was going on . Haunted house? I was forced to move out of the lease & find another place. I ended up living in another house (1,900/mo) that had severe zapping issues (the floors were made out of cheap laminate & they wouldn't let you ground), so every time I touch a door knob or kitchen appliances or doors or windows, I would get zapped like crazy. I also would hear loud banging from pipes when I took a shower & once every two weeks I would hear loud banging from the roof/siding of the house. But at least the structural noise of this house wasn't constant, like the other property. But a few months to my lease, I discovered that the house is foreclosed and the owner has no intention to fix anything, so I moved to another single family home in a very nice area & gated community (paying $2,300/mo). Oh boy, renting this new place was probably one of the biggest mistakes I have ever made. I moved there around December last year & the first night I slept there I realized that I have made a giant mistake. There were LOUD snaps/pops once every 30 min all over the house, I mean snaps as loud as gut shots that could be heard overheard all over the house, even in the closet or bathroom, day & night. It wouldn't go away. When the heater ran, the snaps & knocks would become so loud, as if wood is splitting in half on top of your head. No amount of white noise or ear plug could block that noise. I work from home & my clients could hear the loud snaps over the phone & often asked me what is that loud noise in the background and if someone is shooting. Because I had moved twice in less than 3 month I ended up putting up with it & staying there for 7 month, I have a background in structural/civil engineering, so I thought I could bring inspectors & could figure out a way to minimize the constant loud popping & snapping noises. I talked to PM & they send people who had no idea what was going on, charging the owner thousands of dollars in roof & pest control. I paid out of pocket myself, bringing contractors to screw the ceiling drywall, in case the nails holding the ceiling boards were moving in & out of 2x4s. We tried re-screwing the ceiling in one room & to my surprise it made the popping noises a lot worse & even more often. By then I knew the property has serious foundation & possibly truss uplift issue. I even got covid during this whole mess around January & not sleeping, constant stress & loud noises made my illness prolong for 4 months Dry coughs, severe diarrhea, shortness if breathe, severe joint & muscle pain & high fever. At that time I was so devastated & all I wanted was to sleep & I couldn't I couldn't even go rent a hotel room for a few days, since around March the Gov had shut everything down, so I was stuck inside a big house that I couldn't sleep in any of the rooms. Eventually when I recovered from covid, I thought I've had enough of homes with severe structural/roof issues & it's time to go back to condo/apartment living. At least, they wouldn't have serious foundation/roof issues, right? I moved to this condo a few months ago & of course it's another wood-structure multi-family home made with flimsy roof & floors. What I didn't know about this building is the fact that there is absolutely NO insulation in between the units, over the floor & walls that I share with other neighbors, NON, whatsoever, so I could hear normal conversation, dogs barking, constant door slamming, banging noises from other units. Also because of covid, some neighbors work from home, sometimes repairing heavy machinery & auto parts! Imagine , only sharing a thin plywood with the unit underneath and the loud obnoxious neighbor next door! Another issue with this condo is the shaky floor, when I walk around my unit or neighbors walk around their own unit, my floor shakes violently & ends up shaking my heavy coach as well as the bed. If I'm sleep & the noise doesn't wake me up right away, the shaking of the floor definitely would. I never thought I could hear this much from units downstairs or on the side, because I had lived in other apartments before, and I had never experienced this level of noise traveling up from downstairs neighbors or the hellish neighbors on the side. My neighbor on the side works night-shift, I hear her coming home, all odd hours (like 1am or 4am, every day- it's Vegas so people work odd hours at the casino), I hear everything, when she is taking a shower, slamming the hell out of her bathroom door, her dogs barking, walking around her unit, I've tried to reason with them & talk to them to at least not slam doors 10 times an hour day & night, but had no luck. Unreasonable people can't be reasoned with. As a matter of fact, I think they are doubling down on their door slamming & banging noises. My neighbor downstairs also has a habit of slamming every door & drawer & leaves the house at 7 am (every morning) & my floor shakes violently every time she goes in & out of her building, which is 5 or 6 times a day I have moved 4 times, in less than a year. I lived in single family homes as well as condos that were uninhabitable, because of poor construction & use of cheap plywood, if these structures were built with concrete/brick, none of these issues would have happened. Trust me, I have lived in many concrete/brick structures before, my first apartment in Seattle was an old building made out of brick & you still may hear loud trucks or bikes, but there is no way you would hear your neighbors talking in normal voice, taking a shower, wiping their ass, or closing their door. This is so depressing that we pay so much in mortgages or rent in America, yet we have to live in such horrible living spaces that are uninhabitable. American houses often have the appearance of having brick walls, however these are just stuck onto the outside of the plywood walls giving a false sense of quality and strength. I understand that using flimsy wood is much cheaper than using stone, brick or concrete, but this is not really evidenced by the prices of houses. Even multi-million dollar new houses in the States are being built from the same cheap plywood, poor insulation, shabby roofing material as cheaper houses. The fact that walls are paper thin and conversations can be heard a room away is nothing strange in American houses. I'm not even gonna mention horrible loud structural problems/noises that no one has any clue how to fix (god help you if something goes wrong inside the attic), rotting walls, water getting into insulation, pest issues, termite damage or leaking roofs. You will be surprised that the average material cost (cost of wood chip) for a cheap flimsy American home is around $5,000, but since we live in a mafia state, by the time the city, the contractors, & the utility companies are all done with you, you will end up paying hundreds of thousands of dollars, in some case millions of dollars for a home that's gonna end up having too many problems, in just 10 years or less. Sorry for the long rant, i know this has been a tough year for many with people dying alone of covid, but I'm penniless, sleepless, stressed & exhausted & I can't bare the idea that I have to move again soon , to another wood chip rental, I wonder what kind of a horror is gonna be waiting for me there? costing me thousands of dollars in rent & moving cost. https://preview.redd.it/rc86r7limv261.jpg?width=1200&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=b478a0688a4f977178bccabf38ad3e787839b5aa
I am 36 years old, make $66,900, live in Portland OR and work as a Data Coordinator.
Section Zero: Background Hello all, happy hoildays! I stumbled upon this subreddit not long ago and have enjoyed the commentary and experiences everyone's shared. Wanted to add another perspective from a mid-30s first-gen American. I've had some missteps regarding careers and finances, but I feel like I'm in a slightly better place now. I tried YNAB in the past but I wasn't consistent enough with it. These days I use Mint to monitor my finances and have a "Finance Friday" each month to review all my accounts and spending. I currently live with my partner TJ and his dog RR. We do not combine finances, but he has been unemployed since March. I have helped him with some bills and basic necessities here and there until he finds his next job or career. My current financial goals are to just maintain a status quo and not get any debt until pandemic times are over. Then I will focus on a house remodeling fund and savings for taking care of my parents. Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money? Did your parent/guardian(s) educate you about finances? My parents taught us about money from a frugal perspective. They are immigrants who worked in food service/factories. There was always this “save save save” mentality. Even when they started their own small business, we saved like there was no tomorrow. In high school, my calculus teacher bought us all “The Millionaire Next Door” book and had us read it as an assignment - that was my first structured introduction to finances. Did you worry about money growing up? No, there was always food on the table and a roof over our heads. I knew that our extended family would support us if needed. Was there an expectation for you to attend higher education? Did you participate in any form of higher education? If yes, how did you pay for it? Yes. My dad didn’t finish the high school-equivalent in their country, while my mom did finish high school, but no college. My older and younger siblings took a different path in life after high school. I am the first and only in my family to graduate from college. My parents covered all tuition for my two bachelor degrees with the agreement that I support them fully during their retirement and send them gifts/extra money whenever I can. I feel very lucky and privileged that they were able to provide that education for me. At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself and do you have a financial safety net? 24 when I went on a work holiday abroad. My family was always available to help when needed, but the experience abroad helped me stand on my own feet. As an adult, I also inherited that “save” mentality and put a lot of my earnings towards savings. I didn’t date until my 30s, lived frugally, didn’t go out to eat/hangout with people, shopped thrift stores, and had very few hobbies. I am starting to “live a little” now though. Do you or have you ever received passive or inherited income? Aside from the tuition, my parents have helped with a down payment for my first house and living costs during periods of unemployment. Section One: Assets and Debt Retirement Balance If the place I was working at offered a 401k, I would always contribute up to the company match. I started my IRA in my mid-20s and would try to contribute the yearly max. I've stopped that the past 2-3 years though. My Other Brokerage is some play money, but I got tired of staring it and switched to index funds. I haven't contributed anything to it in a few years.
401k: $34,127 (5% company match on contributions)
Brokerage: $22,421 ESPP
Roth IRA: $40,615 VTIVX
Rollover IRA: $15,760 VTTHX
Other Brokerage: $7,235 VTI
Coinbase: $1,286 ETH (mostly just playing around with it)
Equity if you're a homeowner Purchased my first home for $382,000 with 20% down, right before lockdown earlier this year. Perfect timing, right?? I plan to live here until my retirement. My parents contributed $15k while I used most of my savings for the rest.
Current Equity: $80,371
Savings account balance: $3,073 Checking account balance: $7,800 Credit card debt: I charge everything on my credit card for the points, then pay it off each month using my checking account balance. Student loan debt: Traditionally no student loan debt as mentioned in Section Zero. Section Two: Income Income Progression (listed as gross income with cost of living area): High School
$11/hourMCOL - Helped with small family business.
College and first “career” job
$12-19/hour MCOL - I did events/banquet serving after classes and had an internship doing software administration.
$22/hour MCOL - Junior web developer. I realized after a year that programming was not my calling.
Mental health break
$12/hour LCOL - Work holiday abroad. I got a steady banquet server job for that whole time. It was enough to live minimally in a hostel, do weekend trips, WOOF and figure my life out.
College (again) and second “career” job
$12-15/hour LCOL - Decided to go back to school for a different bachelor's degree. While pursuing that degree, I worked at hotels and events as a banquet server again. I also did “search engine evaluation” whenever there were tasks available.
$36,000/year salary LCOL - Software administrator at a casino after graduation.
$39,000/year salary LCOL - Systemsanalyst at same casino. I left after 2 years, feeling disillusioned with the casino industry. I moved back home with my parents until I could get back on my feet again.
Third “career” jobs
$20/hour HCOL - Entry level advertising role. I was applying to all types of office jobs and that was my only bite.
$45/hour MCOL - Cold-called from a global company who needed someone with my software administrator experience from the casino job. It was an 8 month contract. Although I was starting to love my advertising job, the increase in pay was no question.
$65,000/year salary MCOL - After the contract ended and a few months of unemployment, I landed my current job at the same company. It is an “early career” role according to their job levels.
$66,900/year salary MCOL - Cost of living and merit increases after 2 years on the job. Pre-COVID we got a $5000 bonus each year. They have now stopped bonuses as well as all COL and merit increases.
Main Job Monthly Take Home: Monthly Net (paid bi-weekly): $2,758 Deductions:
Side Gig Monthly Take Home: No side gigs at the moment, but I am thinking of signing up on Upwork.com and doing Excel/data entry projects to help pay the mortgage. Other Income: TJ’s friend will be staying with us for a month in January, who will pay rent of $800 including utilities. Depending on how that goes, we may take on a roommate in the spare bedroom long-term. Section Three: Expenses Mortgage - when I bought the house, the plan was that I would charge TJ a portion of the mortgage costs as “rent”, but since his unemployment I am now covering it all myself. Regular Monthly Payment: $1677.57
Taxes & Home Insurance: $326.52
HOA: $30/year Retirement contribution: Nothing additional than what's been mentioned. Savings contribution: I used to do $50-100/month, but since COVID I’ve stopped contributing to my savings account. Investment contribution: None at this time. Debt payments: $100/month towards TJ's credit card balance of $2,307. Donations: $10-20/month, usually towards Omaze or Planned Parenthood. Utilities:
Natural Gas: $30-80/month
Xfinity internet: $60/month
Cellphone: On my parents plan. Subscriptions:
LinkedIn: $29.99/month for TJ’s job search - he’s found it very useful.
Amazon/Netflix/Hulu: We piggyback off family and friends’ accounts.
Nintendo Switch Online: 19.99/year
Gym membership: Pre-COVID I did Orangetheory for a year. I started to pick up free exercise equipment from Craigslist this year, so we have a small garage gym now and utilize YouTube exercise videos instead. Pet expenses: $10/month. TJ has stockpiled some Costco canned dog food before unemployment, but once that runs out I will likely cover the costs. We also started to make homemade dog food to help supplement. Car insurance: $460 every 6 months. Car is paid off. Regular therapy: I will start in the new year. Not sure what the costs are yet, but I will use my HSA to pay. Vitamins/Medications: $20/month Groceries & household items: $75/month Miscellaneous (eating out, house purchases, gifts, etc): $100/month Section Four: Money Diary Monday 6:30am Neighbor starts up their truck. We joke that it's our natural alarm clock. They idle for about 15 minutes before heading off. I go back to bed. 9am My real alarm goes off. I put the electric kettle on for some morning tea. While it's boiling, I do my morning routine: drink glass of water, take synthroid, use bathroom, brush teeth, quick shower. I then make tea - Jasmine Pearl English Breakfast with dark forest mix. I started ordering loose leaf tea in large amounts back in March instead of small bags or single serving packets. Seems more economical since I drink it daily. I let the dog out into the backyard so he can do his morning routine. 9:30am I go through my daily tasks for work. They entail checking processes and reports to make sure they ran successfully overnight. I then answer some emails and catch-up on Slack channels. 12pm Lunch is leftover roast chicken and quinoa from Saturday. I heat it up in the instant pot. Love that thing! Almost every meal of ours involves the instant pot. We hardly use the stovetop. We then walk the dog to the business park across from our neighborhood. There's a very short trail that runs along a drainage creek by the business park. It's quite muddy, but has a nice woodsy feeling. Over the summer, we saw sumac trees there as well. Free sumac spice! 1:30pm Department meeting on Zoom. Our director announces his resignation on the call. Everyone is shocked! Layoffs were announced for next year but this was not a part of it. I think it's a good move for him and he doesn't have to have this worry of layoffs over his head. 3pm I meet with an engineer from another team and talk about a data source they are in charge of. He helps me out in understanding it and we identify most of the fields that I need for a project I’m starting. 5:30pm I check in with my partner. He's been watching LinkedIn tutorials on internal recruiting, job coaching and general computeoffice skills. It's a career change that he wants to make - something where he can talk to and help people. He doesn't have a bachelor's, only an associates, and hopes these tutorials will get him a leg up in the job search. I sent him some entry level HR admin roles the other day and remind him to apply. I then heat up leftovers: homemade chana masala and rice. I add some butter and coconut milk to thin it out, so there's enough for both of us. 10:30pm I take some magnesium, vitamin D and Airborne. I say goodnight to the dog who sleeps in the office. Then I say goodnight to TJ. He sleeps in the spare bedroom on weeknights due to his snoring keeping me up. I'm a light sleeper while he is a pretty deep sleeper. Daily total: $0 Tuesday 9am I check Reddit Secret Santa. My match seems like a really good person. Not sure what to get, but most likely will purchase something off their wishlist. I wish I was more creative with my gift giving. 11am Meeting with business stakeholder. She submitted a few changes to an existing data process about a month ago. I make the change while on the call and have her test. Success! Marking it off the todo list. I love when we can finish things directly on a call. 12:30pm I come out of my office to make lunch. I notice my partner is not home. I check my messages and see that he's stepped out to pick up a few things. I ask for celery, carrots, and kombucha. $17. I make a quick charcuterie board for lunch: Costco salami, cheese, homemade hummus and Triscuits. It's a simple, fast meal that’s always in our rotation. 2pm My partner is back and we take the dog out for a walk and quick round of disc golf at a nearby park. We mask up and play only a few holes. Disc golf is a pretty frugal activity, you only need 2-3 discs to get started. TJ remarks that my throws are getting better, but then again they weren't great to start with. We talk about Christmas/Birthday gifts on the way back home since he was born on New Years Day. He mentioned snowshoeing but asked to not spend that much. I'll do some research! 5pm I think about personal career projects. Should I put up a portfolio of projects somewhere? I decide to try and pull some Yelp data. There’s not a lot of data points that I was interested in. Regardless, I tinker with it for an hour. TJ asks if I'm hungry. I said not so much, but felt thirsty. Maybe some ginger soup tonight? 7:30pm Dinner is served - ginger carrot soup made in the instant pot. We eat some rice crackers with it. Lately I feel like we've been eating more vegetarian dinners. It definitely helps stretch our food budget. We end the evening by finishing Fargo season 3 on Hulu. Daily total: $17 Wednesday 1:30am I'm woken up by the dog. He's been sneezing a lot and wheezes at random intervals. TJ doesn't have the money for a vet visit but I've offered to pay as long as he calls to make the appointment. I give the dog some coconut oil, rub his belly until he seems better and go back to bed. 7am Garbage day. We usually put it out the night before but I forgot. I get up to go, but TJ handles it. I think, at least. I'm too sleepy to pay attention and go back to bed. 9am I wake up and rinse some dishes that have piled up and put them into the dishwasher. We both grew up in households that had a home dishwasher, but forbade from using it. It was drilled into us that hand washing saves more water, unless you had a restaurant/industrial dishwasher. I think with modern home dishwashers, that's changed, so I wanted to try it out with our dishwasher and monitor the water bill. Don't have any dishwashing pods or powder, so I put some OxiClean in it. 12:30pm I overhear TJ on a call with a recruiting agency. It seems to be going well, lots of laughing. I heat up some taco lasagna that I freezer meal-prepped last month. 2pm Collaborate on a project at work with an engineer. My manager put me on this project since I was asking for an assignment on a more technical team. I'm learning tidbits here and there, but I don't feel like it's structured enough. 5pm I do an Orangetheory-At-Home workout and try to break a sweat. It's not the same as going to their studio. 6pm Charcuterie for dinner. Our fridge is full of store-bought and homemade pickles that go super well on a charcuterie board. Daily total: $0 Thursday 7am I wake up tired. The house has been feeling more cold, which woke me up a few times. We keep the temp at 72F during the day, at night around 68F since we thought the bedrooms keep the heat in pretty well. My mistake! 9am I do my usual morning routine and login to work. My team mostly spends the morning sending each other emojis. 11:30am Lunch today is mini quiche, frozen chicken and veggie entree, and hot dogs. Not the most cohesive meal, but it fills the belly. 12:30pm TJ heads out to his mailbox that's 30 minutes away. He is still waiting on his tax return and a 401k withdrawal. His taxes had to be filed by mail for some reason, then the IRS office shut down due to COVID. So he wanted to see if it arrived yet at the mailbox. He also takes the dog to the vet's urgent care on his way. They didn't have any regular openings available until the end of the year, and the dog seemed to be getting worse. I give TJ $40 to mail a gift package to a friend in France and also reiterate that I'll cover the vet bill when he gets it. 4:30pm I pay some bills, my favorite activity (not)! Sewer bill: $59.44 (billed every 2 months). Geico bill: $459.60 billed every 6 months. Then I follow up with my mortgage officer over email. I had sent her some documents for a refinance quote last week, but haven't heard back. Rates keep dropping, so I'm told, but what does that really mean? I do some research on realestate. 5pm TJ messages me and says he'll be back for dinner. I ask him to pick up some Popeyes via drive thru since we both don't feel like cooking today. Popeyes is currently our fancy “going out to eat” food. $24.17 for a 4pc dinner meal and a 2pc dinner meal. Daily total: $583.21 Friday 8:30am Busy morning at work. My phone is buzzing with emails and Slack messages. I try to answer them while I make tea. 10am Zoom Department happy hour. We reminisce about our director and then play those Jackbox party games. Some of them are hard! 11am TJ asks if he can make me anything for lunch. He suggests savory oatmeal, quick and easy. I tell him that I really appreciate him making meals/doing chores/etc without me prompting. We've been having conversations about "house project management" and mental load because I did most of the chores or I had to continually remind/tell him to do it. I'm really happy to see us progress on this front. I decide to work through my lunch break so I can end the day early. I don't often do that, but I'm ready to get the weekend started. 2pm I check on TJ in the spare bedroom and ask if the dog has been fed yet, since he was nipping at my feet. I notice something off about TJ and ask how he is doing. TJ is depressed about his personal life, career, finances. He doesn't know what to do, spends half the day meditating and reflecting on past trauma. I've been prodding him to get a therapist but he is confused about his insurance. He makes an appointment with a primary care doctor first. I feed the dog some homemade dog-friendly beef stew. 4pm My mom swings by the house (but doesn't enter). She currently works at a school who distributes free USDA food boxes since March. There's often many boxes leftover that would go to waste, so she will grab a box for us. Onions, potatoes, beets, turnips, eggs, cheese, butter, frozen veggies and frozen chicken. She also brought her vintage pasta maker. I asked last week if she ever used it these days and her reply was “no, feel free to have it”. I love pasta and noodles and figure it would be great to make it ourselves as a frugal hobby. 8pm We catch up on Mandalorian and watch silly Youtube videos before heading off to bed. Daily total: $0 Saturday 9am I open up my web browser and look at Craigslist and NextDoor for free stuff. I've been scouring for free landscape rocks, pegboards, and wood for house projects. I had this grand ambition to redesign our backyard. It faces our neighbor and currently the fence is pretty low. They can see into our kitchen and bedroom and we can see them. But y'know, COVID and going from dual income house to single income means it all has to be put on hold. So I've been looking for free items in the meantime. Over the past months, I've gotten planter pots, plant cuttings, a raised bed, stepping stones, all from free listings. I don't see anything worthwhile so I go and make some tea. 11am I look at Amazon and make some purchases for Reddit Secret Santa. A foodie kit, DVD of their favorite movie, and some cute pens for their writing hobby. $54. I hope they like it! 12pm TJ heats up leftover stir-fry for lunch for us. I put on some Binging with Babish and we watch how to make pasta. We have a plan - TJ makes the pasta, I make the sauce. Perfect date night activity at home. We watch some more videos on pasta and noodles to educate ourselves. 4pm I start prepping veggies. Big batch of onions, canned tomatoes, ground beef and butter in the instant pot. Meanwhile, TJ works on the pasta by following Babish's instructions. 7pm We gorge on fresh made pasta and bolognese sauce. It's so good! We end up watching Fargo. 11pm Usually I'll be in bed by now, but it's a Saturday and not tired yet (probably because of all that pasta). We play some Kirby's Dream Course on the Switch. Daily total: $54 Sunday 10am Quick walk around the neighborhood with the dog. He's on a new routine now with the medicine he's taking. It seems to be helping his breathing issues. 11am The pasta maker and flour is still out since we didn't clean up yesterday. There's some old pie crust in the fridge so I roll it out with the pasta machine for mini quiches. (Sally's Baking Addiction blog is my go-to place for her all-butter crust and quiche recipes btw). TJ helps by mixing up the eggs. 3pm I play some Genshin Impact (GI) on my phone while TJ plays Starcraft in the office. I don't usually play gacha games, but the Zelda BotW-style of GI appealed to me. A gacha game is a game with randomized characteitem boxes that you use real-money to purchase a “pull” or to spin the wheel. I know the gacha parts of the game can be a real money sink if you get addicted to them, it’s almost like gambling. My main team is Fischl, Bennett, Barbara and Noelle. I level up to AR 22 and look up free-to-play tutorials for the game. 6pm There's some leftover pasta from yesterday, enough for both of us. I throw in some roasted beets to round out the meal. We watch more Fargo while eating. Almost done with Season 3! 10pm I find a tour operator who offers a small, socially-distant snowshoeing tour up on the mountain. I reserve for two people - this will be TJ's Christmas/birthday gift. $75. Off to bed for another workday. Daily total: $75 Weekly Total: $689.79
Food + Drink: $41.17
Fun / Entertainment: $75
Home + Health: $59.44
Clothes + Beauty: $0
Section Five: Reflections Aside from the car insurance bill, this was a typical week for me, COVID or not. We make the majority of our meals at home and usually splurge on drive-thru/delivery once every other week. I may have overspent on the Secret Santa gift, but I don't often give gifts out to friends. It's not something our family does either. For TJ’s Christmas/birthday gift, we usually talk upfront about costs. I’ve gifted him fancy restaurant experiences the past 2 years, since we can share that experience, but obviously can’t do that now. Snowshoeing is a nice change of pace. The conversations with TJ this week have given me thought on how to approach him differently about finances and working together in a relationship. I’m still unsure about the future financially, particularly as my parents near retirement age and that TJ has pulled out his 401k to pay his debts. I don't know if I can support both my parents and TJ together, so I am finding ways to upskill and/or side hustles without becoming a workaholic or bogged down by stress. Writing this money diary was also the first time where I really paid attention to my past income and current income. I might be contributing too much into ESPP that could go towards the 401k or mortgage instead? I also seem to have been underpaid for what I did in past jobs, even in a LCOL area.
Casino Management and Operations One of the keys to success for any business venture, including the casino as well, is the effectiveness of the management team. Management team is of a essential importance of success and profitability for a casino operation. The front line employees are dealers, cage cashiers, change attendants who need good ability to work in touch with customers, players ... Middle Management. General Manager: A general manager is the top tier officer of the middle management of the company management hierarchy. A general manager undertakes job functions relating to different sections such as sales and marketing, client relations, operation management, financial management and team management etc. Pour traduire ces convictions en actions concrètes au service de l’entreprise, un dispositif complet pour soutenir le management bienveillant a été élaboré et lancé par le groupe Casino. Ce dispositif n’est pas une démarche ponctuelle : soutenu au plus haut niveau par le Comité exécutif du Groupe, il se déploie de manière pérenne et structure la politique de ressources humaines. The structure of the Intelligent Casino Management System Market report can be categorized into following sections: Section 1: Scope of the Report & Research Methodology Section 2: Key Takeaways The following is a detailed casino management hierarchy structure: President/Director/Owner. At the top level of management and administration of every casino is a president or owner of that casino. He/she is responsible for the functioning and operations of the casino and guides the day to day operations and activities. He/she takes the major decisions and makes strategies for financial gain ... Management Team. John Farahi Chief Executive Officer John Farahi has been Co-Chairman of the Board, Chief Executive Officer, and Chief Operating Officer of the Company since its inception, and of Golden Road since June 1993. From 1973 until June 1993, Mr. Farahi was President, Director, and General Manager of Golden Road. Mr. Farahi is a partner in Farahi Investment Company ("FIC") which is ... Organizational Structure of a Restaurant. Learn More → The organization of a business is critical to its function and daily operations. Casinos especially rely on well-thought-out business organizational structures, given the nature of their business and the large quantities of money that pass through the doors hourly. Casinos typically have a large number of management positions to oversee ... Day 3 LECTURE--Casino Department Organizational Structure. Day 4 Slot Floorpersons. Chapter 7 Cage Operations. Day 5 How the Casino Department Relates to Other Hotel Departments. Supplemental-Casino Cage, Credit and Collections . Click on the Table of Contents and answer the Assignment and Discussion Questions for this week. All answers are due by midnight Sunday of each respective week ... View: Our management structure PDF, 77.46 KB. Liquor & Gaming NSW is responsible for: administering the regulatory framework; providing policy advice to Government; industry supervision activities including: licensing decision-making and administration; compliance operations; investigations; revenue assurance and integrity oversight of casino ... A Casino Management System (CMS) serves as a focal point for the day to day processing and recording of operational transactions throughout the facility. Realistically, there is no one single vendor who offers all of the software that a major casino resort needs to operate and manage their facility. Consequently there has always been a need for a central management system that is capable of ...
Simon Sinek: How to Build a Company That People Want to ...
Simon Sinek, author of Start With Why, explains to Inc. features editor Diana Ransom why great leaders give their employees the space and responsibilities to... In this video, I will show you how to create the Hospital Management System using java JDK With GUI(Graphical user interface) and NETBEANS 8.2. What in the world is organizational structure? Check out this explainer video for a quick and easy walkthrough. LEARN MORE AT http://www.businessdictionary.c... Enjoy the videos and music you love, upload original content, and share it all with friends, family, and the world on YouTube. Enjoy the videos and music you love, upload original content, and share it all with friends, family, and the world on YouTube. HR Basics is a series of short courses, designed to highlight what you need to know about a particular human resource management topic. In today’s HR Basics,...