Hayley Brugger, Silverstar’s Slots Manager, knew as a child that the exciting world of entertainment destinations would be where she carved out her career – she’d loved visiting them with her family, enjoying the seemingly endless options for fun and games for the kids. Since joining the casino industry after matriculating, her passion for it has grown exponentially over almost three decades.
Exciting casino journey
Hayley started as a Tables Dealer in KwaZulu-Natal and then grabbed an opportunity to travel by joining a casino cruise line based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA. During her tenure she visited cities up and down the east coast of America, from Alaska to Panama. “It was a wonderful experience waking up in a different city every day. Since the passengers were obviously all on holiday, the vibe on those cruise liners was energising and festive. It was a special experience and I can honestly recommend it to young people starting out in this industry,” Hayley reminisces.
After spending a few years travelling, she returned to South Africa and joined Tsogo Sun first as part of the opening team at Blackrock Casino in Newcastle, KZN and then at The Caledon in the Western Cape. In 2012 Hayley was appointed Gaming Manager at Garden Route Casino, where she worked with a team of 90 employees until moving to Silverstar in October 2018.
“I am loving it at Silverstar. I was ready for a new challenge – and this is a whole new experience, with a new city, a new gaming board, a big floor with 900 slot machines, and a great and supportive new team,” she says.
What’s so special about slots?
In the course of her career, Hayley has been involved in all aspects of the gaming floor and has now chosen to be focused on slots, which she is passionate about. “There’s always something new happening in slots. It’s a highly innovative area and very entertaining for every player, from the casual day visitor to the regular high rollers. I also find that slots players tend to be relaxed and easy-going. They are always ready to be excited about our new machines, games and promotions.”
In 2016 Hayley was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer and underwent surgeries, chemotherapy, and radiation – dealing with the impact on her own life, on her husband, two teenage daughters and stepson. “This was a most humbling time of my life; it forced me to redefine my priorities and taught me that the little things in life are precious. I was also overwhelmed by the depth of the support that my colleagues extended to me and my family – they were by my side through treatment, they shaved their heads in solidarity, took over responsibilities, encouraged and supported us on every step of that journey. It highlighted what’s truly important in life.” She says the experience was a test of character that forced her to dig deep inside herself for strength she hadn’t known she had.
Hayley says she is very excited about Silverstar’s new products and machines, Silverstar will be able to offer a bigger variety of gaming options. “Part of my vision is to inspire my team to work harder and smarter to ensure all our slots customers are given a consistently good experience on the floor. Part of this plan includes acknowledging our guests with friendliness and outstanding service, with more excitement, the latest slots products, and great promotions.”
Fun facts about Hayley
If I couldn’t work in this industry I would…? I would love to be a criminal psychologist – my favourite author is James Patterson.
What am I reading now? JD Robb’s Leverage in Death
Books or movies? Books
My bucket list place to travel? Australia – the whole continent
I can’t live without…? My phone
Pet hate? Dishonesty
Favourite meal to eat? Curry And to cook? Lasagne
Outside of Silverstar, I love to… Spend time with my family, including our two pugs – my family keeps me grounded.