WMS Gaming Reviews

Updated April 14, 2015
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Gavin Isaacs
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24 Employee Reviews

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  1. Cultural Challenged

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at WMS Gaming

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Benefits are among best in industry

    Cons

    Management culture is highly political, poorly motivated, and looking out for themselves only.

    Advice to Management

    Fire yourselves - Lochiatto regime.

  2. Helpful (1)

    What a waste of time

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Artist in Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Artist in Chicago, IL

    I have been working at WMS Gaming full-time (More than a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Benefits, cafe in building, games, free soda...ummm thats about it

    Cons

    Where do I begin - sr management is definitely NOT transparent. They kept so many secrets from us hard workers specially when layoffs happen. We didn't receive bonuses either...management "claims" they didn't receive one either. I find that hard to believe. If you're looking to work here - DON'T. They're still laying off folks. Remember they bought a competitor so roles are overlapping left and right. Avoid this place at all costs. It sucks here and I'm trying to get out ASAP! Morale is down the crapper! Sigh, wouldn't be surprised if everyone packed up and moved to Vegas. Offices are closing left and right.

    Advice to Management

    Open up a bit, get your head out of the clouds. Come off from behind closed doors - have open door policies! Open communication. Get to know your employees - stop giving non-managers offices!!! There's 2 there that don't deserve them. Make them sit in cubes where they belong!

  3. Helpful (1)

    Power Dive (emplyoee approval rating)

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Artist in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Artist in Chicago, IL

    I worked at WMS Gaming full-time (More than 3 years)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    When I started at WMS everyone there seemed so content. There were initiatives to broaden yourself and learn new things. The company had scored consecutive listings as one of the best places in Chicago to work. Brian Gamache the former ceo had a reputation for listening to his employees. They built a new building that is a pretty nice place to go to work and the cafeteria was really nice.

    Cons

    ...Then the merger with SG was brokered in 2013 and everything went south. Musical chairs in the top offices and the fear and paranoia began. Many, if not most of the people in my department confided fearing for their job to me. Supervisors began watching their backs and at a middle management level there was a lot of jockeying for position. In the 2+ years that I was there I received no raises, not even cost of living raises. I busted my butt to be exactly what they needed, but during reviews I was told that raises were next to impossible to come by. I thought that this was just my own deal, but the more people I talked to offline seemed to confirm my suspicion that the company likes to give average reviews so that they can justify giving no raises. If you want a promotion you need to basically threaten to leave, otherwise there are numerous "bands" to climb, and I was unsuccessful at even moving up one level.

    Advice to Management

    Is anyone over there looking at the company rating trends on Glassdoor? Take a look for yourself... Power dive! This is because you've had wave after wave of lay offs. Can the people that remain feel good about their positions? (I'm referring to the people who are still there, not growing crowd of people that have been laid off by you). Gavin Isaacs is such a dreadful person. It was always amusing to see an auditorium full of WMS employees rolling their eyes at every other phrase out of his mouth during his "speaker phoned-in" townhalls. Everyone really misses Gamache, he was ten times the leader.

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  5. Biggest corporate nosedive in history, all thanks to one guy.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Senior Developer in Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Senior Developer in Chicago, IL

    I have been working at WMS Gaming full-time (More than 10 years)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    The staff are awesome to work with. So much talent in so many offices around the world. Remuneration is good.

    Cons

    Top heavy company with upper management who are clueless. More VP’s and Directors than people who actually do the work. Management will say one thing and do the complete opposite, moral is so low I can’t wait to find a new job. It’s gone from the best company to the worst because of the appointment of a certain VP who wormed his way into the position. SG takeover was the last straw because they failed to abolish the ‘good ol boys’ club. Beware of working for this company, you will not learn anything new and you will be stuck with methodologies that existed in the pinball days. A real embarrassment, a real shame.

    Advice to Management

    Offering advice is pointless, SG have been told many times by many people the real problem however they failed to address it. Maybe one day the ‘good ol boys’ will be gone and we can achieve greatness once again.

  6. Helpful (6)

    Terribly bad leadership

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at WMS Gaming full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    There are still some good people at WMS and not all groups are bad.
    Some groups know what they are doing but they sit at odds with much of the rest of the company.

    Cons

    When WMS was swallowed up by SciGames which was losing lots of money every quarter, WMS went from a profitable company that rewarded their employees to one that’s big in the RED.

    Benefits slashed
    Reduced: 401k matching, amounts people can get for promotions/raises, medical and other benefits.
    Reduced holidays/PTO
    New hires have very little opportunity for advancement now and missed out on the days when you could get a nice salary bump every year.

    Management slashed/dysfunctional
    So much of the management was gutted that the void was filled with people who have no idea what they are doing.
    Engineers write really bad code and it’s applauded as if it was gold.
    Managers push really bad ideas and nobody squashes them.
    Moving from a FREE revision control system that is heavily ingrained to a really expensive one nobody knows how to use? Great idea!
    Let’s spend countless hours in meetings discussing things that don’t matter to anyone.
    Let’s kick off projects, but walk away from them before they fail and take all the glory for the idea but none of the blame when it turns out to have caused the company to lose a lot of money.
    Let’s be the cause a huge disruption, then turn around and become the self-declared champion to fix it.

    Work ethic at an all-time low
    People are in constant fear of another synergy/layoff, which seems to happen about every 3 months.
    Game Development culture feels like a chicken running around with its head cut off: We don’t know what we want, but we want you to get it done yesterday. So that idea I can’t fully explain to you, just get it done!
    Frequent shifting of priorities with no clear path forward. The pattern is: Wreck a project, then kill it.
    Don’t expect any professional development process (Waterfall, SCRUM, etc). Development process is an amateurish Code and Fix.
    Want to bring order to chaos by rolling out some professional policies and procedures? People have tried but they end up fired. They lose to the argument that people are “too busy” for process. In fact, most people in charge never even worked somewhere to learn what a good process even is.

    Advice to Management

    If you want to turn this company around, hire some people from outside who have real experience and give them the power to make some changes. Hopefully there are some managers at Bally who will figure out who knows what they are doing at WMS and those who don't.

  7. Helpful (6)

    Complete Trainwreck Since SG Acquisition

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Senior Software Engineer in Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Senior Software Engineer in Chicago, IL

    I have been working at WMS Gaming full-time (More than 10 years)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    None of the paychecks have bounced yet!

    But seriously, WMS used to be a fantastic company to work for. Good benefits. Good co-workers. Good environment. This has since changed 180 degrees.

    Cons

    Since the SG acquisition, the company has COMPLETELY changed, and it is a total disaster now. Management does not communicate at ALL with the regular employees. When one of the many "interim" CEOs took over and was asked if he should send an email to all employees to introduce himself, his response was "why would I want to do that?"

    Prior to the acquisition announcement, WMS on its own was making EARNINGS to report to Wall St every quarter, despite a SECULAR DECLINE in the gaming industry. The numbers weren't blowing anyone out of the water, but they were stable and consistent.

    Now that Scientific Games has taken over in a leveraged buy-out, the added interest payments on the debt taken out to acquire WMS has turned it into an UNPROFITABLE entity. (Also utter and complete mis-management from the top has also been a large contributing factor.) The debt payments are an albatross that we will never be able to get out from under. Taking on EVEN MORE DEBT with the Bally Tech acquisition is probably going to fail. Everybody internally knows it. I think it will be funny when Wall St finally figures it out too. In the mean-time, party on Garth, and let the stock ride up while the top brass cash in on stock options and pull the rip-cords on golden parachutes.

    All the employees see the writing on the wall, and work ethic has seriously suffered. I honestly miss the days when I would come into work, contribute to developing great products, hear encouragement from management, and help the company earn money. Those days are long gone, and are never coming back.

    Advice to Management

    Enjoy it while it lasts! Hahah.

  8. Helpful (4)

    Once the best, now falling like a stone.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Developer in Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Developer in Chicago, IL

    I have been working at WMS Gaming full-time (More than a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    - State of the art facilities
    - Excellent cafeteria
    - Talented coworkers

    Cons

    - Location is difficult to get to; no easily accessible public transportation.
    - Morale is at near zero. There has been intense pressure to hit quarterly numbers, with veiled threats about the looming next round of layoffs. The general mood seems to be that nothing we do will matter in the end anyway.
    - Significant feeling of betrayal: SG's acquisition of Bally only a few months after WMS has appeared particularly suspect given the new CEO's close ties to that company, and the curiously high price per share paid to acquire it.
    - Benefits and perks slashed: "Thank You Days", extra holidays, we're eliminated. Bonuses were changed to put more emphasis on overall company performance than individual performance. Cafeteria costs rose as the company subsidy was cut (or eliminated, don't know for sure). Benefits were cut *significantly*.
    - Totally rudderless management: roadmaps change monthly, miscommunication runs rampant. Priorities seem to be shifted weekly.
    - Zero training budget: And I mean ZERO. Transitioning to an extremely complex new tool? Hope you can figure it out on your own. New hires don't even get a tour of the facilities any more.
    - Poor processes: Company pretends to do Agile development when in fact it is utterly ad-hoc chaos disguised with some Agile buzzwords. Documentation for software frameworks and tools is totally nonexistent, or worse, outdated and incorrect. Culture of diffusion of responsibility means that nobody ends up being responsible for anything, resulting in a horrific mismatch of pet design patterns, scripting languages, and API conventions.

    Advice to Management

    I'm not sure this company can be saved at this point. You are essentially gutting everything that made me want to work here in the first place.

  9. Helpful (5)

    Once a great company until corporate greed set foot in the door!!!!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chicago, IL

    I worked at WMS Gaming full-time (More than a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Nice new building. Some employees are good to work with.

    Cons

    Ever since the two mergers so far, the company is nothing more but a downfall. The company is turning into a corporate greed company. Now it's all about money money money $$$. Almost all my friends were laid off so far and more is it's way so the company saves money. Upper and Top Management don't know anything about games. Most have high school degrees!!!! and make millions of dollars a year watching the real hard workers such as, Programmers, designers, artist do all the hard labor. The Upper managements gets all the money while the middle workers get nothing more but peanut shell scraps. We all know why they got their positions. Just look at their last names (ethnic religious). They don't care they will let you go at anytime as long as these greedy upper management make their millions. You work for them as servants and they make all the money doing basically nothing , and you end up working the hardest.

    Advice to Management

    Most are highly uneducated with high school degrees and make millions of dollars a year watching others do all the dirty work for them. They know nothing about games or the history of games. The only reasons why they were hired in the first place is because of their last names (ethnic religious) connection. As for the greedy Ron Perelman who owns about 40% of the company. The reason why he helped buy the company is because he wasn't making enough billions of dollars a year. Greedy, greedy, greedy rich snob. I think all the Top Management should be fired!!! They are wasting money and they don't know anything about games. They hire hard workers to do all the work for them while they sit in their luxuriant offices and get paid millions of dollars with their high school degrees.

  10. Helpful (4)

    Once a great place to work at

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chicago, IL

    I have been working at WMS Gaming full-time

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    This company had a great culture but it is being sucked away slowly by Scientific Games, the company that bought them out.

    Cons

    Management is totally disconnected. Lack of communication. Most of the people on the SG side are uninspiring. They love having meetings but there's really no improvement.

    Advice to Management

    Let the professionals make decisions instead of stagnating everything by having a meeting about it. Stop taking away benefits, it's why WMS was successful and profitable.

  11. Helpful (5)

    Pretty company with terrible management and qualification issues!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Gaming Designer in Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Gaming Designer in Chicago, IL

    I have been working at WMS Gaming full-time (More than 8 years)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Beautiful facility! WMS went all high tech and efficient cosmetic to build the newest 'green' building, featuring windows with solar system installation. Indoors, great screens with video games and derivatives available; playing area with pool-tables and a cybernetic basketball space, gym and free soda. Awesome parking lot amenities, and a beautiful terrace on the fifth floor overlooking the city. Fun and dedicated middle-men looking to make history whenever their managers die.

    Cons

    Well, it may really be the nice facility the only thing that have employees satisfied nowadays, since free soda is considered unhealthy for a green company and people can get in trouble for smoking. Since the merge with Scientific Games, WMS' benefits went down the drain. The company's culture that was once smart and effective decayed to the point of amateurs in control, products of micro-management. Schmucks without even a college degree (minimum) hold high hierarchy in Game Development and Engineering and lead without any other experience in the industry other than being artists at WMS for 20 years. Once in a while they even put their flip-flops to rest and wear suits to work.

    Advice to Management

    Hire highly competent, decision-maker, solid people with academic and professional experience to take over management! Make a change that send over-paid underachievers out of the door. The reputation that certain people in charge are only there because of "WHOM" they know, runs opened inside the company, and it is not a rumor. These guys not only give the company a bad name, but also show the environment as inefficient because they impact the grow and flow of the company, corrupt their team with lies and take credibility for the hard work, so they can look average among their peers. Although, this is no longer Brian Gamache's legacy, the WMS still has lots of potential in pretty graphics and story telling. Jokers are destroying operations because they don't know how to manage distribution and think that only their tail is important: instead of understanding logistics and relationship management which are important assets for a company's strategy, WMS is losing talented personnel and quality services along with time and money. Departments are fighting among each other because leaders lack common-sense! My boss already told me not to take on any work from another manager if it does not come from him personally (he does not even know what I do.) The dude is so lost, it is not even funny! Company will be in the whole if this keep happening, numbers are already down.

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