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Gaming Cage Worker

Gaming Cage Worker

Education and Training: On-the-job training

Salary: Median—$10.74 per hour

Employment Outlook: Fair

Definition and Nature of the Work

Gaming cage workers or cage cashiers count the money at casinos and other gaming establishments. They work in a secure place, known as the cage, which is the central depository for money, gaming chips, and casino paperwork. Cage workers exchange real currency for playing chips used in dice, card, and roulette games. They also buy these tokens back from patrons for cash, verify credit references for patrons who want to open a credit account at the casino, and cash checks.

Because the gaming industry is highly regulated, the cage cashiers must keep precise records. Transactions involving large sums of money must be reported to the Internal Revenue Service for tax purposes. Gaming cage workers use computers to calculate and keep track of all transactions. They must balance their money drawers at the end of each shift.

Education and Training Requirements

There are no formal educational requirements for the job, although most employers require a high school diploma or the equivalent. Casinos usually provide on-the-job training to acquaint cage workers with the establishment's procedures. They also may offer classroom training in rules and regulations. Employers expect applicants to speak clear and proper English and to have excellent math skills. Some employers administer a math test to job applicants. Experience in handling money or other employment in gaming establishments is helpful in getting a job as a gaming cage worker.

Gaming cage workers must be well organized, detail oriented, discreet, and trustworthy. They often handle confidential material. Good customer service skills are essential.

Gaming cage workers, like all casino employees, must have a license issued by a regulatory agency such as a state gaming control board or commission. To get this license applicants must show photo identification, provide proof of residency in the state in which they plan to work, and pay a fee. The fee may vary by geographical area. Age requirements for the job may vary by state as well. All gaming job applicants should expect a background check.

Getting the Job

People interested in casino work should contact the personnel offices of casinos directly for information on openings and entry-level requirements. Working part time or as a seasonal employee during major tourist seasons is a good way to move into full-time employment.

Advancement Possibilities and Employment Outlook

Gaming cage cashiers can advance to supervisory roles by maintaining spotless work records and by demonstrating professionalism and good customer relations skills. Additional education and training may be required for advancement.

The job outlook for gaming cage workers is only moderate through the year 2014, partly because of technology. All gaming establishments are finding ways to reduce the amount of cash handled by employees. Cash-out machines, change machines, and automated teller machines (ATMs) are common. Some slot machines make payouts in tickets instead of coins. The tickets can be read by other slot machines and the amount on the ticket transferred to a new machine. By reducing the amount of cash needed to play, fewer workers are needed in the cage.

Gambling is legal in eleven states and the number of gaming establishments is growing. The largest growth will probably be in Native American–owned casinos and in racetracks that offer casino games. A fair number of openings for gaming cage workers should result from the continuous turnover in this occupation, which is usually due to the high level of scrutiny these employees receive.

Working Conditions

Most gaming cage cashiers work eight-hour shifts five days per week. Because casinos are typically open twenty-four hours a day, shifts are usually staggered, and cage workers are expected to work some nights, weekends, and holidays. Cage workers are on their feet throughout their shifts but are usually given two short breaks and a mealtime break. They must work quickly and be able to concentrate for long periods in a noisy and hectic environment. Stress is particularly high for gaming cage workers because they are always being observed by supervisory and surveillance personnel. Cage workers must be tactful when dealing with unruly and frustrated patrons. In establishments that are not smoke free, they must also deal with exposure to cigarette, cigar, and pipe smoke. They are sometimes expected to lift and carry heavy bags of money.

Earnings and Benefits

Wages for gaming cage workers vary according to their level of experience, training, location, and the size of the gaming establishment that employs them. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median hourly salary of gaming cage workers was $10.74 in May of 2004.

Where to Go for More Information

American Gaming Association
555 Thirteenth St. NW, Suite 1010 E
Washington, DC 20004
(202) 637-6500

275 Seventh Ave.
New York, NY 10001-6708
(212) 265-7000

Casinos usually provide full-time workers with benefits that include health insurance, retirement plans, vacation time, paid sick days, and extra pay for working on holidays.

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