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Considering a Casino Career

Aug 17, 2007
Hospitality workers consider all kinds of places to start their career, but the one-stop place for every hospitality career you can think of is a casino. Frequently, casinos roll a bar, restaurant, hotel, concierge, retail stores, and entertainment services all under one roof. It is an excellent place to 'break in'. The only potential downsides are that casinos usually pay near the bottom of the scale, and you might find yourself spending your paycheck before you got out the door. But they say if you can make it at a casino, you can make it anywhere.

There's a cultural element to the casino industry. You'll be in a fun environment, surrounded by a world that is rich and textured, interacting with people from every walk of life. You'll have all the entertainment of being a guest, plus you get the behind-the-scenes view. Recruitment for casino jobs is going strong, thanks to the boom since the casino entertainment industry has grown to encompass a full family experience. No more only an adult resort, casinos today include movie theaters, amusement park rides, big ticket entertainers, bowling alleys, and golf resorts. The entire family is encouraged to come, because the new slogan is 'something for everyone'.

Jobs in the traditional casino environment include everything from floor workers to promotional management to financial services. They need engineers to keep the slots running, security to protect the company's interests, cocktail servers, dealers, managers, maids, chefs, and a host of other specialties. The casino industry looks for people who are energetic, enthusiastic and most importantly ethical. Those on the job often work with large amounts of money, so background checks are stringent. Their ideal candidate is over 21, scrupulously clean and very personable. In the gaming industry, ensuring that their staff has strong ethics and scrupulous honesty is the only protection they have against corruption.

Also consider that casino workers make the top of the scale when it comes to tips. Casino patrons as a rule tend to be more generous than those in a non-casino business. Especially gamblers have a superstition about tipping the staff 'for luck'. Others see the casino as a place to show off their affluence. Those who have just won a jackpot are quick to give you a large tip for the most trivial favors. Players of table games sometimes tip in the form of putting down a side bet 'for the house', which is a small tradition in its own.

Before we go on, there's two myths to dispel about the modern casino industry. One, there is no longer any involvement with organized crime. It is true that the early Las Vegas and Atlantic City were heavily involved in the mafia, and you'll have legends involving them at some point in most casino's history. But that element has faded into the past; these days, your casino is more likely to be owned by a multinational entertainment company, rubbing elbows with the likes of Disney and Time-Warner.

The other myth is that it is a sleazy environment. In fact, the adult entertainment industry is quite distinct from the casino industry - there may be a 'strip club' in the neighborhood of a casino, but it's rare to find a casino hosting one itself. This is part of the new family-friendly casino business. The showgirls these days are likely to be wearing more clothing than the audience members.

Now, let's get to another point: if everything so far sounds too good to be true, that's because we haven't talked about the city around the casino and what it's like to live there. Casino cities tend to be more expensive places to live - that loose money floating around tends to drive up gas and grocery bills. Real estate is mid-line to high. Car insurance rates tend to be incredibly high. Luxury items and entertainment tickets will drive you to sticker shock. The only relief from the financial pressures is that there's no state tax in places like Nevada, and if you are local and spend some time scouting you can still find economical dining and reasonably-priced accommodation.

Casinos and big cities tend to go together, so if you like the urban lifestyle, you'll usually be happy there. Casino cities tend to have good coverage for Internet, cable TV, and cell phone services. The local culture, while not exactly what you would call 'hip' or even a 'culture', does tend to at least be well-informed and sophisticated. One thing that must be noted, is that a casino city still isn't the best place to raise a family. They just don't tend to be the kinds of environments which give rise to grassy playgrounds, day cares, libraries, and thriving, uncrowded schools.

The job market is always good in the casino field. The lower-end casinos are called 'break-in houses' because they have a high turnover and so tend to hire anybody with a pulse. A 'break-in house' on your resume will not be held against you when you go to apply at a more affluent casino - in fact, you might meet a few co-workers at your new job who regard you with a small bond, because they, too, put in their two years at the same place.

When you work for one of the top-end casinos, you have a well-paid position with fantastic job security. While other industries boom and fade all around it, the casino industry remains rock-stable, even weathering stock-market trouble and recessions.
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Freelance writer for over eleven years.

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