Work in a Casino
The hospitality industry as a whole is entering what analysts are predicting to be a period of unprecedented growth, but no other sector is expected to perform as well as the gaming industry.
In addition to the long-time gambling strongholds of Las Vegas and Atlantic City, there are now over 360 Native American-run gaming facilities in the United States. Together, these operations generate nearly $80 billion in annual revenues. The remarkable profit potential associated with the sector has prompted many states to re-evaluate their positions on gambling, and some analysts have predicted that further deregulation could spark even more future growth.
There are many different types of gaming facilities, but one common denominator most share is an ongoing need for skilled personnel with experience in the hospitality industry. Although the unique excitement of gaming is often the strongest draw, most gaming facilities also rely on an array of comfortable, inviting hospitality amenities to attract and retain loyal guests. Often, casinos are co-located with luxurious hotels; others have a nightclub-like environment. Most popular casinos also offer their guests world-class dining facilities.
The bottom line? If you have a hospitality industry background, it’s very likely that you’ll be able to find work at a casino. But before you make the leap, make sure you’ve considered your expectations and options carefully. Although casino work can be exciting and lucrative, these fast-paced environments don’t suit everyone.
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Casino Work: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
As with work in any sector, there are advantages and disadvantages to employment in the gaming industry. Some of these are similar to the pros and cons of any hospitality job, while others are unique to the casino environment.
- A Lively Atmosphere - If you’re an outgoing person who is energized by rowdy, fun-loving crowds and interesting characters, and you don’t mind being surrounded by tobacco smoke and free-flowing alcohol, the casino environment may be a great fit for you.
- An Emotional Roller-Coaster - Over the course of a single shift, you’ll be expected to interact with customers riding the high of post-jackpot jubilation and those who just lost thousands of dollars in the blink of an eye. If you’re compassionate and can read and respond to people well, this may be a great role for you.
- Geographic Limitations - Although the gaming industry is spreading, the most lucrative properties are still those that are clustered in and around a handful of large cities. Nevada remains the epicenter of the North American gaming industry, and it’s where most experts recommend that new recruits migrate to break into the field. If you’re not up for an adventure that may include relocation, or if you have local ties that would make a move difficult, casino work may not be a viable possibility.
- Licensure Requirements - While specific requirements vary from state to state, most jurisdictions require all casino employees to apply for licensure or certification, even if they are service staff who don’t personally engage in gaming activities.
Tips and Hints for Breaking into the Gaming Industry
So, you’ve considered the pros and cons carefully and you’re still interested in finding work in a casino or gaming facility. What next? Well, new jobs are constantly being created in this rapidly growing field, but experts caution that finding the perfect position can sometimes be tricky.
- Start Small - The gaming industry is built on trust and tradition, and seniority is often very important. It’s unlikely that a newcomer will be hired at a top casino with no previous gaming industry experience. So, set your sights a bit lower for your first casino job - try to find work at a lesser-known facility. Having a bit of verifiable industry experience will go a long way toward helping you get your foot in the door at one of the more popular casinos.
- Follow Instructions Carefully - Unlike work in a typical restaurant or hotel, casinos and other gaming facilities are strictly regulated environments, and employees are often required to adhere carefully to an array of procedures and policies. Demonstrate your willingness and ability to follow rules carefully during the application process. Be a stickler for details; this is not the time to flaunt your creativity!
- Strike the Right Balance Between Friendliness and Formality - Although your experience and work history are vitally important, your comportment and demeanor may be the factors that determine whether you get the job you’re looking for. According to Paul Flowers, the director of the Gaming Lab at the Community College of Southern Nevada's Cheyenne campus, you should aim for a manner that is deeply courteous while remaining impeccably professional. Excessively bubbly, over-the-top personalities are not typically appropriate.
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