Gaming Occupations


Exploring this Job

Because casino gambling and employment is generally restricted to people who are at least 18 or 21 years old, it is very difficult for high school students to get firsthand experience in this field. Most casino jobs for a high school student will be limited to those in gift shops and eateries. However, part-time and summer jobs in restaurants, hotels, amusement parks, and other areas of the hospitality and entertainment industries will give you a feel for working with the public. Cashier jobs are also good ways to gain experience in handling money. Participating in school fairs, carnivals, state fairs, and other places where skill-type games are played may also offer insight into the gaming industry.

Potential sources for information for this occupation include individual casinos, the departments of tourism in the states that allow gambling, and hotel and motel associations. Don't forget to consult the horse racing industry and the American Gaming Association. Casinos can provide information about the types of jobs available for skilled or unskilled workers. You can also consult your local library for information on the gaming industry.

The Job

The gaming industry relies on a variety of workers for specific customer services and operational tasks. One example of a service position is that of cashier. Cashiers may be categorized as either coin cashiers or change persons. Basically, these employees work in a cage or at a station on the gaming floor and make change and sell coins to patrons for slot machines. They may pay off slot machine jackpots and keep records of all transactions. At the end of each shift, they count and balance their money drawers. Cashiers also provide information to guests, call for cocktail servers to visit the slot area, and provide other customer services. The duties performed by cashiers in this capacity are similar to those of a host.

Cage cashiers sell gaming chips to patrons for roulette, card, and dice games. These workers operate the main cashier cage in the casino and act much like a banker. They may provide the slot cashiers with additional change. They take in cash, accept checks when appropriate, charge guests' credit cards for currency advances, and check credit references. Likewise, these workers must balance their cash drawers and keep records of their cash transactions.

Slot key persons, or slot attendants, coordinate and supervise the operation of slot machines. They must verify and handle payoff for winnings, reset the slot machines, and refill the machines with money. Slot key persons must be able to make minor repairs or adjustments to the machines, as needed.

Dealers conduct the gaming tables for poker, blackjack, baccarat, craps, or roulette. These workers exchange real currency for casino currency, in the form of either chips or coins. They explain the rules of the game and wagering guidelines, ask patrons to place their bets, conduct the game, and make appropriate payoffs and collect losing bets. In poker the dealer shuffles and deals the cards to the players, and the casino takes its winnings as a percentage of the pot. Blackjack dealers deal themselves a hand of cards and try to win money for the "house," or the casino.

Games such as baccarat, craps, and roulette are conducted by more than one employee. Baccarat requires three dealers, two of whom collect money for bets and the third who calls the game rules. Craps dealers also collect money for bets at the game table and exchange money for chips. A manager called a box person supervises the exchange of money for chips, and another assistant, called the stick handler, collects the dice after they have been thrown, passing them to the next shooter. Because craps is a fast game, there is a greater potential for cheating, so three people work this particular table. Roulette dealers sell chips, take bets, spin the roulette wheel, toss the ball in, and announce the winners. In busy games, chips are collected, passed, racked, and sorted by color by the chip mucker.

Other game attendants include keno runners, who pick up keno tickets, money, and bet orders from patrons who are in the lounge or playing at another gaming table and deliver these to the keno writer. The keno writer calls the game, punches the game draw cards, and changes the paper color with each new game. The keno writer also takes players' tickets, makes copies, and checks or calculates payoffs at the request of players. Runners take the copies back to the players, check for winning tickets, take winning tickets to the payoff window, and return winnings to the players.

Bingo is another popular form of gambling that is found in many cities across the country. People who work in bingo parlors are bingo paymasters, who sell the playing cards and pay money to the winners, and bingo callers, who operate the device that chooses the numbers, call out the numbers, check winners' cards, and announce the payouts. Many parlors have bingo package preparers who put together packets of bingo cards and special games.

Shift supervisors, floor bosses, and pit bosses oversee the performance of the game attendants. Sometimes these workers monitor one or more game tables, while at other times this work is performed by staff dealers. Shift supervisors may be responsible for all the casino games being played during a shift.

The role of casino hosts is a visible one. They cover the gaming floor, greet guests, and make sure everyone is enjoying themselves. Some aspects of their job are similar to that of a hotel concierge. Customers may request that dinner or room reservations be made or tickets obtained for special casino functions. Some casinos have executive casino hosts designated to care for premium customers, especially high rollers.

"And they're off!" A good race announcer adds to the excitement of any race. Besides giving horse, owner, and trainer information prior to the start of the race, an announcer will declare each horse's final odds and racing colors. During the race, the announcer will give a detailed, neck-by-neck account of the race.