Switching Sides

written by I. Nelson Rose

#158 © Copyright 2003, all rights reserved worldwide Gambling and the Law® is a registered trademark of Professor I Nelson Rose, Whittier Law School, Costa Mesa, CA

Every serious gambler has wondered at some time or other what it would be like to be on the other side of the table.

Working in a casino is obviously demanding. But a lot of people do it. So the pay must be good, or at least, good enough.

And there is the romantic image that has been painted in fiction: Who is that handsome man in the tux, suavely winning hand after hand at Baccarat? The one who looks like a spy?

“The name’s Rose, Nelson Rose.”

Even the job titles have a mystique: croupier, professional dealer.

It is hard to tell how much dealers really earn. Beginning dealers are paid salaries not much greater than the minimum wage, $4 or $5 per hour. Casinos tell trainees that tips can be $14 per hour or more, and they could be making, before taxes, $40,000 a year. Top Las Vegas dealers supposedly make $60,000 a year in tips alone.

Yet, the reported tax cases show the IRS estimates tips run only about $10 per hour.

If you have thought about becoming a dealer or slot technician, you will probably never see a better opportunity. In 1979, I first predicted that the U.S. would be entering a third wave of gambling. This is the third time in American history that legal gambling has swept across the nation.

The wave has grown enormously since then and now is sweeping the world. There are a number of prime growth areas, which are almost desperate for skilled workers:

* •Indian casinos, particularly those in Arizona, California and New York. Arizona is the most in need of blackjack dealers. As this is being written, the state is about to introduce the live card game to the full-scale casinos which already dot the state. Tribes are setting up training schools: there are 300 students learning to deal blackjack in the Tucson area alone.

* •Slot technicians. Slot machines continue to be the most important part of most casinos, and the machines are getting more and more sophisticated, which means they need more trained workers. The wild card here is racinos. Almost every state which has not already done so, is looking at putting in slot machines or video lottery terminals into race tracks; and, those with slots or VLTs are putting in more. Horse and dog racing are in trouble and need gaming devices to survive. The states are also in trouble, faced with budget deficits made worse by the Islamic attacks of 9-11.

* •If you speak Spanish, there are opportunities throughout Central and South America. Mexico is once again discussing legalizing casinos.

* •If you speak English, you are not limited to working in the U.S. Every province and territory of Canada has casinos, although they are trying to limit jobs to Canadians, to fight high unemployment.

* •The real growth area will be Europe, especially England. Every country is looking at expanding casinos, both in number and in size, but the United Kingdom is going to go the furthest.

England now restricts its casinos to 10 slot machines and similar numbers of table games. An official government study, called the Budd Report, recommended that the limits be lifted.

The government naively believes there is no pent-up demand, that there will be no expansion of gambling when these limits are lifted.

What is actually going to happen is the emergence of dozens of Las Vegas style and size casinos throughout the British Isles.

This is probably about three years away. But, if you ever thought of switching to the other side of the tables, and the other side of the Atlantic, now is the time to act.

Professor I Nelson Rose is recognized as one of the world’s leading authorities on gambling law. His website is www.GamblingAndTheLaw.com

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I. Nelson Rose

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