Friday, December 27, 2013

Christmas Presents for New Yorkers: Casino Jobs

One or two full-service casinos will be opening in the Catskills, with the remaining two or three in the Albany or Saratoga area and near Binghamton.  Licenses will be granted in the middle of 2014, and the businesses will open over the next two years.  Current contenders include two in Monticello, two in Liberty, one in Rock Hill, and one in Ellenville.  What jobs will they have?

Casino-hotels typically have about one full-time employee per guest room.  That means locations in Sullivan County and nearby will need about 200 or 400 workers.  All will be local, and most will be recruited from area residents.

Casino resort jobs can be divided into two groups – those connected with the gambling operations, and those with other functions.  Gaming managers can expect to earn $45,000 to $95,000 per year.  Dealers, at blackjack, craps, roulette, poker, and other table games, are usually paid the minimum wage plus health insurance and other benefits – the tips they receive put them solidly in the middle class.  Slot machine attendants are paid similarly.  Pit bosses, who supervise groups of gambling tables, can expect to earn around $50,000.  Cage workers and their supervisors are needed to buy and sell chips from players, and sports books, which take wagers on football, basketball, baseball games and more, require people to set the odds and handle bets.  A large number of security guards, generally getting around $30,000 per year, will also be hired, along with their higher-paid supervisors. 

The Catskills casinos will need many more workers than these.  Each will have several restaurants with chefs, cooks, bussers, and waitstaff.  They will also need bartenders, not only at up-front locations but at service bars from which players’ drinks are prepared.  These jobs will typically pay as much as they would in other settings, and many will have opportunities for tips, which are often very large; for example, Las Vegas cocktail waitresses, though paid only the minimum by their employers, often earn over $150,000 per year.  In addition, a full hotel staff, ranging from front-desk workers and housekeepers to managers, will be required.  Almost all casino-hotel jobs have two advantages:  first, employers tend to promote people quickly and from within; and second, work skills can easily be transferred to other gambling locations.      

What does it take to get these positions?  Related experience is highly valued, but not always necessary.  The casinos will be looking for people good at communication, customer service, and arithmetic, and willing to work at unusual times.  When the licenses are granted, a variety of community and technical schools will partner with management to offer courses, focused on getting students hired, on dealing and other skills. 

Will you have a good, new career before the next presidential election?  That is quite possible, if you have the interest, abilities, and competence for a casino job.