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A Casino Gaming Manager Career: Pros and Cons
Casino gaming managers oversee casino operations and make sure that casino guests have a pleasant experience. Read on to discover the pros and cons of a career as a casino gaming manager.
Pros of a Casino Gaming Manager Career
A high school diploma may be sufficient education*
Average salary is significantly higher than the average annual pay across all occupations (about $80,860 vs. $47,230 as of May 2014)*
High turnover rates might increase your chances of employment*
Working at a casino on a cruise ship can give you the chance to travel around the world*
Cons of a Casino Gaming Manager Career
Usually must work amidst excessive cigarette/cigar smoke and noise*
You may be expected to work nights, weekends and holidays*
The job market is competitive*
All states require you to have a license to work*
Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Essential Career Info
If you love casino games and enjoy working with people, a career as a casino gaming manager might be for you. Casino gaming managers manage the operation of floor and table games, including roulette, blackjack, craps, video poker, live poker and slot machines. As a manager, your goal is to ensure that customers enjoy themselves and that all dealers, croupiers and other casino employees are helping to provide a positive experience for patrons. In addition, casino gaming managers have security responsibilities that include monitoring suspicious behavior and making sure that all laws and casino regulations are respected by patrons and employees alike. In most cases, casino gaming managers also prepare work schedules, evaluate employee performance and interview, hire and train new employees.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that job duties may vary, depending on the kind of establishment that employs you. While the highest concentration of U.S. casino jobs is in Las Vegas and Atlantic City, you might find work in such places as Indian reservations, riverboats or cruise ships. Since casinos are generally open around the clock, you’ll most likely need to work nights, weekends and holidays.
Career Outlook and Salary Information
According to the BLS, you can expect to earn an average salary of about $80,860 as a casino gaming manager in 2014. Gaming services job opportunities were expected to grow about 7% between 2012 and 2022, with the best opportunities available to those who have industry experience and keen customer service skills.
Each casino determines its own education and training requirements. Although many employers might not require it, an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in business, hotel administration or recreation can help properly prepare you for a career as a casino gaming manager. You can also obtain a gaming or casino management certificate from various universities and vocational schools. Regardless of whether you decide to acquire a degree or certificate, you need to be extremely familiar with casino rules, games, procedures and security measures. Many casinos and slot-machine manufacturers offer training sessions, but you might need to land a job before attending.
Casino gaming managers have the complex responsibility of making guests feel welcome while simultaneously watching them for any improprieties. They work in a fast-paced environment and sometimes have to deal with angry, disturbed or intoxicated guests. Taking courses in communications, business and leadership may prepare you for this delicate balance of leadership, friendliness and surveillance.
All states require casino employees to have a state license, and some states have age or residency requirements, reports the BLS. To secure a license, you typically need to provide a photo ID, pay a fee and submit to both a background and drug test.
Job Postings from Real Employers
A leadership position at a casino requires you to display your knowledge of casino games, good judgement and oftentimes, patience. To give you an idea of what other traits casinos look for in potential employees, here are a few real job postings from March 2012:
- A cruise line needs someone to manage casino operations on its Asian cruises. Duties include monitoring casino games and staff, training employees, managing budgets and taking care of guests. Candidates must have at least a bachelor’s degree in hospitality management, business administration or a similar field and a minimum of five years experience as a casino manager. They also must be graduates of an approved game dealer school and have fluency in English and either Mandarin or Cantonese.
- A casino in New Mexico seeks a manager to oversee seven table games, including poker, craps, blackjack and roulette. Ideally, this person would have the ability to build a connection with dealers and players while simultaneously keeping them under surveillance. Applicants should have previous table management experience.
- A casino in northeastern Nevada needs a games supervisor to oversee player tracking, credit issuance, bankroll maintenance and customer service. Applicants must be eligible for a Nevada gaming license, have dealing experience, be able to stand and walk for a full shift and understand the rules of the games he or she is supervising.
Standing Out in the Field
Because the minimum education requirement for gaming managers is a high school diploma, you can get ahead of the competition by earning an undergraduate degree in business administration or hospitality management. You could also pursue a certificate in gaming management; some certificate programs are available online. If you want to show employers that you have a strong understanding of casino games, consider enrolling in a postsecondary gaming dealer program.
Since many tourists visit casinos, demonstrating proficiency in a second language might appeal to employers. The American Hotel and Lodging Association runs several initiatives and programs; getting involved could help boost your resume and show potential employers that you’re actively involved in the industry. You can also join the American Gaming Association to stay abreast of industry news and network with others in the gaming field.
Alternative Career Paths
Gaming dealers are at the hub of the casino experience, dealing cards and awarding chips to the winners. Like gaming managers, they must have extensive knowledge of the rules and regulations of the games they are dealing. You won’t have to address customer complaints or security issues, and you can acquire the job with no more than a high school diploma. Your yearly take-home pay, however, would only average around $22,000, based on May 2011 BLS statistics.
Gaming Cage Cashier
If you don’t want to memorize the details of all the casino games, but you’d like a casino job, you might consider becoming a gaming cage cashier. In this job, you’d help casino game players cash in on their winnings by exchanging their chips for money. You won’t have the supervisory and surveillance responsibilities of managers, and you can get a job with a high school diploma. However, the annual average pay as of May 2011 was only around $27,000. Furthermore, casinos continue to automate the cash-out process; it could be more difficult to find available jobs.