SAY WHAT? Casino industry career way out of economic hardship?

Although it may seems incredulous in Las Vegas – a virtual one-industry town with close to 13% unemployment and tens of thousands of casino workers out of work or scraping by on reduced hours and fewer tips – casino gambling supervisors and managers will be among the 50 best careers in the United States in 2010, according to an article in the latest issue of U.S. News & World Report, on newsstands today.

The number of casino supervisors is projected to grow by 12%, "a bit more than average for all careers between 2008 and 2018," the magazine says.

U.S. News' view is seconded by a web site that bills itself as "the top online casino gambling news reporting organization."

The expansion of legalized casino gaming beyond the historic powerhouses of Nevada and Atlantic City, N.J., means "thousands of jobs have opened up across the country," according to a report posted today by (the other) Tom Jones, Staff Editor of In the past year, legislation approving or expanding casino gaming has been enacted in several U.S. states, including California, Colorado, Florida, Missouri, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

And because few industries manage their operations more closely than the casino business, "every gaming operation needs smart managers to oversee its daily business, no matter the casino's characteristics," U.S. News concludes.

The magazine, in particular, glosses over difficulties that have plagued the industry and casino-dependent regions in recent years. The article's only mention of the industry's devastating workforce and shift reductions in recent years is to note that "although Las Vegas took a hit during the recession, more and more states are looking to gaming to boost their ailing budgets." At least CasinoGamblingWeb notes that, "As Nevada is finding out, casino gambling is only profitable when people have the money to gamble," although it then inexplicably claims that "while unemployment rates continue to rise in other industries, casino owners are hiring employees for their new casinos on an almost daily basis."

U.S. News asserts that with ambition and "experience in gaming and skill," a casino manager should enjoy solid promotional prospects. The article reports that median wages in 2008 for gaming supervisors were $45,000. Gaming managers – "who tackle more of the human resources hiring and training responsibilities" – had median earnings of just more than $68,000, according to the article, which notes a wide pay range for managers: $30,000 to $112,000.

As any Las Vegan with at least a cursory knowledge of the industry knows, the stress level is "sometimes high," U.S. News acknowledges. "Casino work tends to be pretty colorful, and you may face tough hours (nights and weekends) and have to deal with unhappy (i.e., losing) customers."

Aside from a license from the state board or commission that oversees a manager's casino, there are no strict educational requirements," U.S. News reports, which is a definite plus in the eyes of CasinoGamblingWeb. "The best part about the casino industry is that there is little education needed to break into the field. That leaves the door open for thousands of people in the U.S. to change careers in 2010, moving towards a career in a casino field that looks to be on the rise for decades to come," the web site's report concludes.

Just tell that to the ten of thousands of out-of-work Las Vegas casino workers.

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