The 57 tribal casinos operating in California have more in common than games of chance and Native American ownership. Their help-wanted signs are multiplying faster than the progressive jackpot at a slot tournament.
"There is enormous growth throughout California’s casinos," reports Doug Elments, spokesman for Thunder Valley Casino in Lincoln. "Tribes are expanding at a rapid pace and they also are renegotiating contracts with the state so they can have more slot machines." Which can only mean larger facilities, more customers, and more employees needed to serve them.
Thunder Valley is an example. The casino is booming and Elments says there is always a need for qualified employees. His facility currently employs 2000, and larger casinos have 3000 to 5000 people on the payroll. According to the California Employment Development Department, the state’s tribal casinos now employ over 56,000 workers.
The jobs run the gamut – not only dealers and cashiers, but technical and mechanical positions, food and beverage servers, plus accounting and maintenance work.
Making the Cut
"You name it and there is a need to be filled," Elments remarks. "We always are looking for people who have a good personality, an ability to deal with customers on a day-to-day basis, an eagerness to learn, and the motivation to be part of a larger team."
Job applicants must be over 21 and able to pass a background check and drug testing. Experience in another casino, having lived and worked in places like Las Vegas or South Lake Tahoe, or a background in bookkeeping and accounting can move your resume to the top of the stack. Previous experience in restaurants or food distribution is another way to attract attention. "Applicants who have attended a dealer school and know how to deal table games are also in demand," Elments reports.
"Sierra Junior College in Roseville has training program for people who want to learn to do maintenance on slot machines. Thunder Valley offers tuition reimbursement for employees who return to school for a work-related advanced degree." Employee benefits include medical, dental, vision coverage, 401k, plus free training and free meals.
Deal Yourself In
The Casino College, with dealer schools in Los Angeles, Merced, Sacramento, Mountain View and San Francisco, is a great place to get started. Job placement of graduates is over 90 percent.
"We teach all the table games," explains Robert Martin, director of the school in Mountain View. "You have to learn three types of poker – Texas hold’em, seven-card stud and Omaha hi-low split – to be certified as a professional card dealer."
Other games taught in all the locations are blackjack, pai gow, pai gow tiles (one of the few dealer schools that teaches the ancient game using tiles rather than cards), baccarat and craps. Casino College is the only school on the West Coast that teaches how to be a croupier at the dice table.
Three interpreters are on staff to accommodate students, some of whom come from the Far East to learn dealing skills. The global job opportunities in this exploding industry are sure bets. According to Martin, there is a new casino going up every 20 minutes someplace in the world. The largest hotel in the world is a casino nearing completion in Singapore.
"The whole gaming industry is a phenomenon," he marvels. "Last month, we had two French-speaking students from Montreal who landed jobs in Paris immediately after course completion."
So Martin’s school is busy.
"The course usually is completed within 60 to 80 hours," he says. "Students start out shuffling the cards and eventually become magicians with their hands. We won’t let you graduate until you are perfect. In the casino dealing industry, there are no job interviews, only auditions. It’s like show business."
If they are good ‘entertainers,’ professional dealers can earn $75 to $80 an hour in tips. Dealers are not taught how to spot or apprehend a cheater. They are expected to deal the cards the same way every hand, and leave it up to the security cameras to catch a card swindler.
The $899 course is open ended, which means that students attend classes as long as it takes to gain proficiency. The teacher-student ratio is low – one to ten.
For more information about The Casino College, call 800-556-6499 or go online to CasinoandBarSchool.com.
Flush With Opportunity
"Gaming is an economic boom not only for those who work in California’s casinos but for all suppliers," states Jack Taylor, spokesman for River Rock Casino in Geyserville. "Gaming here is leading the tribal industry nationally in growth, and along with it comes jobs and opportunities for everyone."
It’s not a traditional 9-to-5 environment, in fact it’s an alcohol-free 24/7 operation and all shifts have to be covered all day and all night. River Rock is constantly looking for candidates to fill those shifts. In fact, Taylor says there is a huge video screen in the employee dining room that constantly posts job opportunities for those who want to change positions or "bump up."
River Rock is growing and has positions in most every department, including table dealers and floor supervisors, poker room dealers and supervisors, slots staff, key hosts (the people who pay out the floor jackpots), guest service hosts, security and EMTs, food and beverage, cooks, servers, valet attendants and cage cashiers. "Dealers are in more demand than other posts," Taylor reports.
"The best part of working in a casino is the excitement. You also can have a good career in a new industry that offers opportunities for rapid advancement."
And of course there is the lure of big money. "You get caught up in the action," he admits. "The exhilaration of people winning money, cars and travel is part of the constant action in the casino. It’s a euphoria that sweeps you up in the tide."
For more information on casino careers, visit these websites:
CasinoCareers.com – Search jobs, post a resume and apply online directly to employers. Click on ‘Career Tips’ for interviewing advice, a sample resume, and information on the employers currently posting jobs. Also featured are helpful links to gaming trade schools and links to hospitality and other career websites.
Gaming.unlv.edu – The University of Nevada at Las Vegas has created an extensive and entertaining Center for Gaming Research. A must read for anyone considering entering the casino field.
LasVegasJobs.com – Pack your bags and hop a jet. The next Vegas casino job fair is March 12. Until then, surf the wide range of openings on this site that could land you a job on the strip.
WorldCasinoDirectory.com/jobs – You can find a job and satisfy your wanderlust with this job board. Even features cruiseline casino jobs.