WMS Gaming Reviews | Glassdoor

WMS Gaming Reviews

Updated March 25, 2017
146 reviews

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Pros
Cons
  • The new leadership has caused growing pains within the company ever since being bought out by Scientific Games (in 11 reviews)

  • Little to no ongoing investment in development tools or environment (in 4 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (2)

    "Be Careful Which Life Stage of WMS People Are Commenting On"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Director in Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Director in Chicago, IL
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    The compensation and benefits have been consistently above-average through the transition from the original leadership to the takeover of the hired guns to the acquisition by SciGames.
    The actual work is fun and interesting and you will find people who care about that above the politics and posturing. Hopefully you report to one.

    Cons

    Most of the vision and purpose of the leadership from the early 2000s has been lost through the transitions and the focus has shifted to pure numbers. This is not necessarily a bad thing; it is part of the maturation as the company and market has grown and perhaps necessary to survive in 2015.

    Advice to Management

    Since the exit of the original leadership, I never really understood the goals of the organization other than profit, and even how to go about becoming more profitable other than work hard and obey orders. If that was communicated at all, it sounded like propaganda and difficult to get behind. Fix that.


  2. Helpful (8)

    "What a waste of time"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Artist in Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Artist in Chicago, IL
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    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 (6)

    "Power Dive (emplyoee approval rating)"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Artist in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Artist in Chicago, IL
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    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. Helpful (2)

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

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Developer in Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Senior Developer in Chicago, IL
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    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 (4)

    "Was a great company with the previous leadership."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Product Development and Commercialization in Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Product Development and Commercialization in Chicago, IL
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    The benefits are pretty good here, comparable to other companies. You are exposed to many interesting products at the Chicago campus. In addition, the people that work here are innovative and team based. Great working conditions at the chicago office.

    Cons

    The new leadership has caused growing pains within the company ever since being bought out by Scientific Games. The previous executive committee has gone and so did the great values and culture they brought into WMS. The opportunity for promotions in the workplace is minimal at this point due to not meeting sales goals and budgeting from the parent company.

    Advice to Management

    Try to emulate what the previous leadership did for the employees of WMS. They valued their employees highly and made sure that was shown. The basis of WMS products is innovation, so we need to continue that path to stay successful as the company develops into its mergers.


  7. Helpful (8)

    "Complete Trainwreck Since SG Acquisition"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Software Engineer in Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Senior Software Engineer in Chicago, IL
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    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 (7)

    "Two-time employee...probably won't be three...."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chicago, IL
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    Fun environment to be in...if you're used to normal, boring IT/engineering work, being somewhere with art, music, games, etc., is a welcome change of pace. Company embraced its long history as Williams Corp., who made the pinball machines and video arcade games for generations of youth.

    Cons

    Chicago location can be difficult to get to (no easy access from Metra or CTA trains). Company is going through two consecutive buyouts/mergers, and the corporate environment is changing DRAMATICALLY. NO clear picture as to upper management vision, and the old Brian Gamache ways of treating each individual like a valuable commodity are fading away, day by day. When I was laid off, my immediate boss did not know, and I went from my director saying "hey, can I talk to you for a minute?" to being escorted out in less than 10 minutes, with no opportunity to retrieve personal effects or say goodbye to people I'd spent years working with.

    Advice to Management

    Remember who Williams/WMS used to be. Treat people like family, not like budget items.


  9. Helpful (11)

    "Sad End to An Awesome Company"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous in Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Anonymous in Chicago, IL
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Facilities: Gorgeous new Chicago campus - digital displays in every conference room, TV-worthy basketball/volleyball court, 2 gyms, yoga, EFT sports training, an above-average cafeteria, free soda, pool tables.

    Product: One of the most fun products to work on. It's great to be able to see the work you've done in the hands of the player.

    People: Some of the best you'll ever work with. Will go to heII and back to produce an awesome piece of SW with focus on player experience.

    Parking: Ample, free parking. Beware of angry, dive-bombing birds in the Spring.

    Cons

    Structure: Obscenely top-heavy. 1:2 ratio of VP/Directors to developers.

    Culture: Once great - rivaling Google - culture has turned into an "every man/department for himself" fiasco. Finger pointing, non/miscommunication is rampant, and morale is at an all-time low.

    Management: Runs on the "Good Ol' Boy" system. A secretary (yes, administrative assistant) is VP of Game Development... Enough said.

    Benefits: After the aquisition by Scientific Games, benefits have been slashed. Medical and dental, along with 401k matching, are on par with Walmart.

    Advice to Management

    Dear Scientific Games Execs,

    You know nothing about casino gaming, and you're killing the golden goose. Good luck.


  10. Helpful (8)

    "Used to be one of the best...now not so much!"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chicago, IL
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at WMS Gaming full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    Work-life balance was exceptionally tailored to the employee in most cases. It was usually up to the individual's manager but typically the company was very family friendly.

    Cons

    Where to start-
    Since the merger this company has gone straight down the tubes. NO Morale among employees, everyone is waiting for the day they walk in to be fired. There is little to NO communication anymore as to what is being done since the merger, which gives all the more reason for employees to feel uneasy and confused. In my opinion this low morale has traveled its way up to managers. Great managers have turned into barely adequate co-workers. There used to be a "team" feeling around the office and now it is every man for himself- how do I prove I am worth saving- how can I show my worth?!

    Not to mention- this company has turned into an all men's club.So Ladies, if you are looking into this company, SGI, or Bally's...DONT! You will get hired at a lesser title and for lesser pay!

    HR is complete joke at this company. It is not run by rules or standards but more or less who you are friends with and you have angered in the past. Some of the top HR personnel got the job merely because of their last name and who they are married to in the company.
    Training and advancement for employees is lacking significantly since the merger. The entire training department was dissolved as of a year ago. There were no "GOALS" set for any of the departments until a month ago, which is already more than half way through the year.
    Benefits used to be one of the greatest around. Not anymore, not even close. When have you heard of a company that charges you for insurance based on your pay grade/band level??!!!

    Plain and simple, since Brian Gamache left the culture of "Employees come first" is long gone. It is a company about bottom dollar, how to make the most buck with the cheapest most complacent employees.

    Advice to Management

    Stick up for your employees, fight for them. Dont try and save every penny in your budget so that you get a bigger bonus at the end of the year. Give your staff the titles and raises they deserve when you fire the rest of your team and make them do 5x the normal workload.
    Most importantly- every Joe and Bob that works there doesnt need to have a "VP" in front of their title. I have never seen a more top heavy company in all of my career!


  11. Helpful (5)

    "Once the best, now falling like a stone."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Developer in Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Developer in Chicago, IL
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    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.


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