Job opportunities are available nationwide and are no longer
limited to Nevada and New Jersey.
Workers need a license issued by a regulatory agency, such
as a State casino control board or commission; licensure requires
proof of residency in the State in which gaming workers are
Employment is projected to grow faster than average.
Job prospects are best for those with a degree or certification
in gaming or a hospitality-related field, previous training
or experience in casino gaming, and strong interpersonal and
customer service skills.
Nature of the Work
Legalized gambling in the United States today includes casino
gaming, State lotteries, pari-mutuel wagering on contests
such as horse or dog racing, and charitable gaming. Gaming,
the playing of games of chance, is a multibillion-dollar industry
that is responsible for the creation of a number of unique
The majority of all gaming services workers are employed
in casinos. Their duties and titles may vary from one establishment
to another. Despite differences in job title and task, however,
workers perform many of the same basic functions in all casinos.
Some positions are associated with oversight and direction—supervision,
surveillance, and investigation—while others involve working
with the games or patrons themselves, performing such activities
as tending slot machines, handling money, writing and running
tickets, and dealing cards or running games.
Like nearly every business establishment, casinos have workers
who direct and oversee day-to-day operations. Gaming supervisors
oversee the gaming operations and personnel in an assigned
area. They circulate among the tables and observe the operations
to ensure that all of the stations and games are covered for
each shift. It is not uncommon for gaming supervisors to explain
and interpret the operating rules of the house to patrons
who may have difficulty understanding the rules. Gaming supervisors
also may plan and organize activities to create a friendly
atmosphere for the guests staying in their hotels or in casino
hotels. Periodically, they address and adjust complaints about
Some gaming occupations demand specially acquired skills—dealing
blackjack, for example—that are unique to casino work. Others
require skills common to most businesses, such as the ability
to conduct financial transactions. In both capacities, the
workers in these jobs interact directly with patrons in attending
to slot machines, making change, cashing or selling tokens
and coins, writing and running for other games, and dealing
cards at table games. Part of their responsibility is to make
those interactions enjoyable.
Slot key persons coordinate and supervise the slot
department and its workers. Their duties include verifying
and handling payoff winnings to patrons, resetting slot machines
after completing the payoff, and refilling machines with money.
Slot key persons must be familiar with a variety of slot machines
and be able to make minor repairs and adjustments to the machines
as needed. If major repairs are required, slot key persons
determine whether the slot machine should be removed from
the floor. Working the floor as frontline personnel, they
enforce safety rules and report hazards.
Gaming and sportsbook writers and runners assist in
the operations of games such as bingo and keno, in addition
to taking bets on sporting events. They scan tickets presented
by patrons and calculate and distribute winnings. Some writers
and runners operate the equipment that randomly selects the
numbers. Others may announce numbers selected, pick up tickets
from patrons, collect bets, or receive, verify, and record
patrons’ cash wagers.
Gaming dealers operate table games such as craps,
blackjack, and roulette. Standing or sitting behind the table,
dealers provide dice, dispense cards to players, or run the
equipment. Some dealers also monitor the patrons for infractions
of casino rules. Gaming dealers must be skilled in customer
service and in executing their game. Dealers determine winners,
calculate and pay winning bets, and collect losing bets. Because
of the fast-paced work environment, most gaming dealers are
competent in at least two games, usually blackjack and craps.
The atmosphere in casinos is generally filled with fun and
often considered glamorous. However, casino work can also
be physically demanding. Most occupations require that workers
stand for long periods; some require the lifting of heavy
items. The atmosphere in casinos exposes workers to certain
hazards, such as cigarette, cigar, and pipe smoke. Noise from
slot machines, gaming tables, and talking workers and patrons
may be distracting to some, although workers wear protective
headgear in areas where loud machinery is used to count money.
Most casinos are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and
offer three staggered shifts.
Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement
There usually are no minimum educational requirements for
entry-level gaming jobs, although most employers prefer at
least a high school diploma or GED. Each casino establishes
its own requirements for education, training, and experience.
Some of the major casinos and slot manufacturers run their
own training schools, and almost all provide some form of
in-house training in addition to requiring certification.
The type and quantity of classes needed may vary. Many institutions
of higher learning give training toward certificates in gaming,
as well as offering an associate, bachelor’s, or master’s
degree in a hospitality-related field such as hospitality
management, hospitality administration, or hotel management.
Some schools offer training in games, gaming supervision,
slot attendant and slot repair technician work, slot department
management, and surveillance and security.
Gaming services workers are required to have a license issued
by a regulatory agency, such as a State casino control board
or commission. Applicants for a license must provide photo
identification, offer proof of residency in the State in which
they anticipate working, and pay a fee. Age requirements vary
by State. The licensing application process also includes
a background investigation.
In addition to possessing a license, gaming services workers
need superior customer service skills. Casino gaming workers
provide entertainment and hospitality to patrons, and the
quality of their service contributes to an establishment’s
success or failure. Therefore, gaming workers need good communication
skills, an outgoing personality, and the ability to maintain
their composure even when dealing with angry or demanding
patrons. Personal integrity also is important, because workers
handle large amounts of money.
Gaming services workers who manage money should have some
experience handling cash or using calculators or computers.
For such positions, most casinos administer a math test to
assess an applicant’s level of competency.
Most gaming supervisors have experience in other gaming occupations,
typically as dealers, and have a broad knowledge of casino
rules, regulations, procedures, and games. While an associate
or bachelor’s degree is beneficial, it is not a requirement
for most positions. Gaming supervisors must have strong leadership,
organizational, and communication skills. Excellent customer
service and employee skills also are necessary.
Slot key persons do not need to meet formal educational requirements
to enter the occupation, but completion of slot attendant
or slot technician training is helpful. As with most other
gaming workers, slot key persons receive on-the-job training
during the first several weeks of employment.
Gaming and sportsbook writers and runners must have at least
a high school diploma or GED. Most of these workers receive
on-the-job training. Because gaming and sportsbook writers
and runners work closely with patrons, they need excellent
customer service skills.
Most gaming dealers acquire their skills by attending a dealer
school or vocational and technical school. Most of these schools
are found in Nevada and New Jersey. They teach the rules and
procedures of the games as well as State and local laws and
regulations. Graduation from one of these schools does not
guarantee a job at many casinos, however, as most casinos
require prospective dealers to also audition for open positions.
During the audition, personal qualities are assessed along
with knowledge of the games. Experienced dealers, who often
are able to attract new or return business, have the best
job prospects. Dealers with more experience are placed at
the “high-roller” tables.
Advancement opportunities in casino gaming depend less on
workers’ previous casino duties and titles than on their ability
and eagerness to learn new jobs. For example, an entry-level
gaming worker eventually might advance to become a dealer
or card room manager or to assume some other supervisory position.
Gaming services occupations provided 177,000 jobs in 2004.
Employment by occupational specialty was distributed as follows:
Slot key persons
Gaming and sports book writers and runners
Gaming service workers, all other
Gaming services workers are found mainly in the traveler
accommodation and gaming industries. Most are employed in
commercial casinos, including land-based or riverboat casinos,
in 11 States: Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana,
Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, and South
Dakota. The largest number works in casinos in Nevada, and
the second-largest group works in similar establishments in
Atlantic City, New Jersey. Mississippi, which boasts the greatest
number of riverboat casinos in operation, employs the most
workers in that venue. In addition, there are 28 States with
Indian casinos. Legal lotteries are held in 40 States and
the District of Columbia, and pari-mutuel wagering is legal
in 40 States. Forty-seven States and the District of Columbia
also allow charitable gaming. Other States have recently passed
legislation to permit gambling, but no casinos have been opened
as of yet.
For most workers, gaming licensure requires proof of residency
in the State in which gaming workers are employed. But some
gaming services workers do not limit themselves to one State
or even one country, finding jobs on the small number of casinos
located on luxury cruise liners that travel the world. These
individuals live and work aboard the vessel.
With demand for gaming showing no sign of waning, employment
in gaming services occupations is projected to grow faster
than average for all occupations through 2014. Even during
the recent downturn in the economy, revenues at casinos have
risen. In addition, the increasing popularity and prevalence
of Indian casinos, particularly in California, and pari-mutuel
casinos will provide substantial job openings that were not
available in the past. With many States benefiting from casino
gambling in the form of tax revenue or agreements with Indian
tribes, additional States are reconsidering their opposition
to legalized gambling and will likely approve the construction
of more casinos and other gaming establishments during the
next decade. Some job growth will occur in established gaming
areas in Nevada and Atlantic City, New Jersey, but most of
the openings in these locations will come from job turnover.
The increase in gaming reflects growth in the population
and in its disposable income, both of which are expected to
continue. Higher expectations for customer service among gaming
patrons also should result in more jobs for gaming services
Job prospects in gaming services occupations will be best
for those with previous casino gaming experience, a degree
or technical or vocational training in gaming or a hospitality-related
field, and strong interpersonal and customer service skills.
As a direct result of increasing demand for additional table
games in gaming establishments, the most rapid growth is expected
among gaming dealers. However, there are generally more applicants
than jobs for dealers, creating keen competition for jobs.
In addition to job openings arising from employment growth,
opportunities will result from the need to replace workers
transferring to other occupations or leaving the labor force.
Wage earnings for gaming services workers vary according
to occupation, level of experience, training, location, and
size of the gaming establishment. The following were median
earnings for various gaming services occupations in May 2004:
Slot key persons
Gaming service workers, all other
Gaming and sports book writers and runners
Gaming dealers generally receive a large portion of their
earnings from tokes, which are tips in the form of tokens
received from players. Earnings from tokes can vary depending
on the table games the dealer operates and the personal traits
of the dealer.
Many other occupations provide hospitality and customer service.
Some examples of related occupations are security guards and
gaming surveillance officers, sales worker supervisors, cashiers,
gaming change persons and booth cashiers, retail salespersons,
gaming cage workers, and tellers.
Sources of Additional Information
For additional information on careers in gaming, visit your
public library and your State gaming regulatory agency or
casino control commission.
Information on careers in gaming also is available from: