Las Vegas Dealer-School Owners Say Students Getting Hired

Las Vegas schools that teach people how to become casino dealers are getting almost all students hired in a COVID-19 recovering economy, the owners say.

Bellagio craps player
Bellagio craps player
A customer rolls the dice at a craps table in the Bellagio on the Las Vegas Strip. Casinos in recent weeks are getting larger crowds. (Image: USNews.com)

Ricky Richard, owner of Crescent School of Gaming and Bartending, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that moments of catastrophe create opportunities.

He said “almost anybody who wants to work” can get a job.

Recent visitor volume, spurred in part by the national vaccine rollout, indicates tourists are returning to Las Vegas in growing numbers. On the weekends, hotels are experiencing a 95 percent occupancy rate. 

In the months before COVID-19 vaccines became available, Las Vegas suffered from a steep decline in tourism. Several resorts closed their hotel towers during the slow middle of the week because of low consumer demand. With more foot traffic in town now, some of these, including the Palazzo at the Venetian Resort, have begun accepting midweek reservations again.

This apparent gradual revival has created a demand for casino employees, said Jesse Lauer, owner of PCI Dealer School Inc. He said nearly all of his students find jobs. 

“Now that the casinos are getting busy again, the casinos are in need, especially dice dealers,” Lauer told the newspaper.

$50K Salaries and Higher

The cost to attend dealer schools ranges from $500 to nearly $12,000, according to the newspaper. Lessons last from six weeks to six months.

Graduates who move on to casino jobs earn about $35,000 at off-Strip casinos to more than $50,000 at megaresorts on the Strip, the newspaper reported.

Lauren Goldberg, a dealer at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, said she made about $75,000 in 2020. She was able to earn that much even though resorts statewide were closed for 11 weeks, beginning at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic in March 2020. The Cosmopolitan is a luxury resort towering over the older Jockey Club on the west side of the Strip. It is just south of the Bellagio.

This year promises to be even more lucrative, said Goldberg, who also is general manager of CEG Dealer School.

I don’t know what it is, but we’ve made more money after we reopened than before we shut down,” she told the newspaper. “It’s close to a $100,000-a-year job if you get into the right property.”

In addition to existing resorts, new hotel-casinos are opening, creating more job opportunities. Resorts World Las Vegas, set to open this summer, is filling 6,000 positions, from locksmiths to card dealers. It is being built where the Stardust once stood on the west side of the Strip near Circus Circus.

Casino Workforce Vaccinations

While there is optimism about an economic rebound, caution exists. Some in the industry are concerned that a surge in coronavirus cases, or a widespread emergence of contagious variants, will keep potential visitors at home. 

The Nevada Gaming Commission and Gaming Control Board recently sent a notice to resort licensees, encouraging them to put forth strategies to vaccinate employees.

After May 1, the Control Board will have the authority to allow more customers onto gaming floors than the current state-mandated 50 percent capacity.

The Control Board will increase the casino capacity only “in cases where licensees have taken measurable and material steps to vaccinate” the workforce, the note states.

Included in the note is a reminder that a gaming license is a revocable privilege, not a right. 

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