Former Mohegan tribal chairman Bruce Bozsum’s time at Mohegan Sun has made him no stranger to entertainment, but he will be moving to a new medium tonight when he stars in the latest episode of Undercover Boss. Bozsum spoke about the experience with WTIC 1080’s Ray Dunaway.
Bruce Bozsum will be the latest executive venturing into his own business in disguise to get a new perspective on Undercover Boss, airing Friday January 17th at 8pm on CBS. He admitted the experience was something very new for him. “It was quite a job,” he said. “Interesting and scary all at the same time.”
While Mohegan Sun’s casinos are a major presence in Connecticut and Pennsylvania, the business has always been very hands-on, like a big family. “I spend a lot of time down there [the casinos], meeting with everybody, helping out and trying to talk to people,” he said. “I go to a lot of personal family functions throughout the casino, I try to stay involved with everybody. I like doing that.”
This proved to be the biggest challenge for Bozsum… when everyone knows who he is, how could he go undercover? “That was a big challenge from the beginning,” he recalled. “We weren’t sure if we could even do the show, but they do such a good job with makeovers. Mine was very challenging, because everybody knows me, but we did such a transformation that my own son didn’t recognize me.”
Bozsum’s transformation was quite elaborate, sporting a shaved head, a goatee and fake tattoos, but his son, a player rep at the Wilkes-Barre, PA casino didn’t notice him, even after multiple encounters. “He walked by me probably five times, took a quick look, and kept going,” said Bozsum.
During his time undercover, the chairman served as a valet, a slot attendant, a beverage server and worked on set-up at the casino’s arena. He found the details involved with each job to be his most fascinating discovery. “It’s very interesting to see all the details behind making everything work, instead of looking at the paper and writing the compendiums and approving the job positions,” he recalled.
The other big discovery Bozsum made was how positive the attitude toward the casino was, from the ground up. “Everything I saw was very positive” he recalled of his time undercover. “I didn’t know what I was going to do that day… the folks working with me were teaching me how to do the job and teaching me how to do it right, it was all about customer service. They kept praising the place that we worked for and the people we worked for, and I said ‘Wow, what a great spot to be in.'”
Bozsum also noticed more similarities with his employees than differences, despite their varying careers and positions. “Getting to learn about everybody’s life and how we’re all in the same boat, [was] amazing,” he said. One employee featured in the episode is Marcus, a slot attendant at Mohegan Sun, an ambitious guy who wants to go to law school and who lost his house during Hurricane Sandy. He’s trying to make mortgage payments and saving for law school while working at the casino. Bozsum is glad to see this episode spotlight some of the people who work for him, as well as himself.
“I can’t believe the stuff I heard, the stuff I saw,” he said. “We all take this for granted, I don’t care where you go– stop at a coffee shop, go grocery shopping– you look at people, but everybody’s doing something else in their life. Or they may have the same things going on in their life as you… everybody’s got a story, that’s the best part of the show.”
Revenue at the casinos in Connecticut has been down recently, and Bozsum believes this is based on competition and other economic factors. “The competition is a big deal. If you go back eight years ago, we had the market, we had everything,” he stated. “It was a whole different world back then. Then, one state allows table games, other states allow slot parlors, right surrounding us. The threat of competition is hurting.”
“That’s why we keep our business at the top of everything,” he continued. “We make sure our shows are number one, we make sure the restaurants are number one. The best part of going undercover was– I still say and always have– the reason we are successful is because of all our employees.”