Education and Training: High school plus certification
Salary: Median—$14,340 per year plus tips
Employment Outlook: Good
Definition and Nature of the Work
The most high-profile workers in casinos and other gaming establishments are the dealers, or croupiers, who run the games of chance. Dealers explain and enforce the rules and wagering guidelines for games, ask patrons to place their bets, conduct the games, make payoffs to the winners, and collect losing bets. Some games, such as dice, craps, baccarat, and roulette, require more than one dealer to run. Dealers are frequently moved from one gaming table to another during a shift and often switch between two or more games per day.
Education and Training Requirements
There are no formal education requirements for dealers, although employers do prefer to hire people with high school diplomas or the equivalent. They expect dealers to speak clear and correct English and to have strong mathematical skills. Some employers administer a math test to job applicants.
Gaming dealers are required to have a certificate or appropriate training from a dealer school. Some technical schools offer classes to train workers in specific games and skills. Other schools offer a Professional Casino Croupier certificate to students who have learned to run all of the games. Some colleges offer programs that include formal training for the casino industry. Casinos may provide dealer training, especially for employees who wish to change jobs.
Dealers, 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 varies by geographical area. Age requirements for the job may vary by state as well. All gaming job applicants should expect a thorough background check.
Getting the Job
Individuals interested in working as dealers 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
Dealers can advance by maintaining clean work records and by demonstrating professionalism and good customer relations skills. Dealers may be promoted to a higher wage table or to a more desirable work shift. With additional education and training, they may become supervisors.
The employment outlook for casino dealers is good, with jobs expected to grow faster than the average through the year 2014. As more states are legalizing casino gambling, more casinos are being planned and built, which will increase the number of dealer jobs. The largest future growth will probably be in Native American–owned casinos and in racinos, which are racetracks that offer some casino games. Part-time and seasonal positions will be most readily available.
Casino dealers usually work eight-hour shifts five days per week. Because most casinos are open twenty-four hours a day, shifts are usually staggered, and dealers are expected to work some nights, weekends, and holidays. Dealers are on their feet throughout their shifts but are usually given two short breaks and a mealtime break.
Casino dealing is a high-pressure job. Dealers must work quickly in a noisy, hectic environment; knowing that they are being observed by supervisory and surveillance personnel adds to their stress level. Dealers must be tactful when dealing with unruly and frustrated patrons and those who do not know when to stop gambling. They may be exposed to cigarette, cigar, and pipe smoke.
Where to Go for More Information
American Gaming Association
555 Thirteenth St. NW, Suite 1010 E
Washington, DC 20004
Earnings and Benefits
Casinos pay dealers a base salary that usually begins at minimum wage. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median wage for dealers in 2004 was $14,340 per year; however, dealers earn a substantial portion of their income from tips. Gaming dealers generally prefer weekend, evening, and holiday shifts because those are the busiest times and often bring in the most tips. In some casinos dealers keep the tips they get; in others the tips are shared by all dealers. 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.