Developing your Qualifications for a Casino Industry Job
Professional gaming attracts a variety of people. Many get jobs working in casinos without any experience, yet all come with common qualities that make them effective employees. According to the hiring directors we've talked with, applicants need outgoing, friendly personalities and a take-charge attitude as a first requirement for hiring consideration. A personnel manager at a downtown Las Vegas casino had this to say about her company's policy:
We hire people with all kinds of previous employment experience. The important thing is for the applicants to have proven skills that will make them an asset for our company. We are looking for friendly, well-groomed people who are dependable and can handle a variety of responsibilities.
Management also wants its employees to have excellent customer service skills. Mix that with technical skills, like the ability to deal specialty table games, and you have a winning formula for casino floor employment. But casinos hire more than just those who can work the actual games. They need a support staff as well. People who can handle the money as it flows in, carefully counting and recording it, are in high demand. They need slot change attendants, security officers, and beverage service personnel. Away from the casino floor are still more opportunities. Many get their start in the hotel side of things or in the marketing and sales department. Secretaries and receptionists work in casino resorts as do maintenance crews. So, if you have what hiring managers deem "transferable skills," the ability to take what you learned at your previous jobs and apply those skills and experiences in a positive way for their purposes, the better your chances for employment.
To work as a professional dealer you will need special training. There are three ways to achieve this: learn from a friend who is already in the business, attend a professional dealing school, or receive on-the-job training. Sometimes people combine these methods; for instance, getting a friend who is a blackjack dealer to spend a couple nights going over the basics of shuffling, pitching, giving hits, and cutting checks (casino talk for chips). The aspiring dealer may then take a job at a casino working a casino floor support position, meanwhile training with staff dealers during breaks and on days off until the shift managers or pit supervisors feel the new employee is ready for her own table.
In addition to this informal system of current dealers breaking in new ones, more and more casinos have incorporated their own formal, full-time dealer training facilities. This is especially true for casinos in the Lake Tahoe area and those in Atlantic City. Some even go so far as to include general job skills training.
At casinos with their own in-house dealer training facilities, you'll learn one or two games, depending on the needs of the casino. After perfecting the skills required, you'll be stationed on the floor, eligible to receive the same tokes as those who have been in the business for years. However, if you don't want to depend on finding situations in which the company provides training or don't know someone already in the business who can teach you all the necessary skills, you'll need to turn to a private, professional dealer school for your training.