Casino Host - Casinos & Gaming Career Opportunities

Last / Next  2011-04-10 00:12:58

CAREER PROFILE
Duties: Greets and entertains casino guests; evaluates and provides special services for guests    
Alternate Title(s): Executive Casino Host; Host    

Salary Range: $30,000 to $65,000 and up    

Employment Prospects: Good    

Advancement Prospects: Good    

Best Geographical Location(s): Locations with legalized gambling and casinos including Las Vegas, Nevada, Atlantic City, New Jersey, locations with Indian gaming facilities such as Connecticut, and riverboat casinos such as in New Orleans    

Prerequisites:    
Education and Training—High school diploma/ GED required; on the job training    
Experience—Some prior experience in the gaming industry, typically one to three years as a dealer or floor person   
Special Skills and Personality Traits—Excellent communication and interpersonal skills; strong customer service orientation; networking and relationship building skills; organizational skills as well as tact and discretion 

CAREER LADDER
Player Development Executive or Executive Casino Host   
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Casino Host   
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Casino Host, smaller facility, or other position in the gaming industry such as Dealer or Floor Person 

Position Description
The excitement of being at a casino is the feeling that anything can happen with a roll of the dice. At any given time, people are winning and losing thousands of dollars. When people go to casinos, part of the experience is the treatment they receive. Whether they are wagering a lot of money or a little, they want to feel valued and like a VIP.    
With many different casinos in a given location vying for customers, the position of Casino Host is an essential one. Casino Hosts greet and entertain customers, developing relationships with new clients and building relationships with their current roster of guests. They are vital to their hotels because the services they provide can help attract and retain customers. Casino Hosts can make the difference for a player to chose one casino over another although they may have the same amenities.    
Casino Hosts aim to make sure guests of the casino/ hotel enjoy their stay. They often spend much of their working hours out on the casino floor, introducing themselves to people and asking if there is anything with which they can help. They answer questions and talk to guests, making conversation about both their gambling experience and personal lives. Furthermore, they help them with aspects that will enhance their visits such as making dinner reservations and securing show tickets.    
When players gamble at a casino, they frequently use a club rating card that they insert into slot machines or give to the floor person in the gaming pit when they sit down at a table. This card is entered into a computer system and tracks their gambling. Casino Hosts may review aspects of gaming play of different guests, including how long they spent gambling on the floor, how much money they lost, and more. This information is used to make decisions about “comps,” short for “complimentaries,” which are services that are given for free.    
Casino Hosts make determinations about comps for guests. These services can include free dinners, hotel rooms, spa services, show tickets, and more. The use of comps is yet another strategy used by Casino Hosts and casinos to recruit and retain guests. Comps used to be granted only to high rollers, but Casino Hosts now might work with all players to enhance their stay and encourage them to come back and keep gambling.    
Additionally, Casino Hosts may work in player development. They may have lists of players to contact by phone and e-mail, checking in to invite them back for a stay or special event, perhaps with a free room. Building these relationships is important, as is follow up. Casino Hosts often send guests thank you notes or e-mails after their stay, always enhancing the positive relationship.    
Casino Hosts also prospect for new business, identifying people who might visit and visitors who might become player’s club members. Player’s clubs entitle members to special benefits and may have different levels; for example, Diamond Level used to identify high rollers. Casino Hosts are often involved with these player’s clubs at their casinos, registering target numbers of new members, attending events, and networking with members. They also encourage progression of players into the higher levels.    
Some Casino Hosts, usually executive casino hosts, are responsible for greeting special guests including celebrities and high rollers. They might accommodate specific requests such as penthouse suites, limousine transportation, and gourmet room service. Executive casino hosts have many of the same responsibilities of a Casino Host, just at a higher level.    

Additional responsibilities may include: 
- developing and implementing new promotions 
- maintaining player accounts 
- entering player information into databases 
- attending staff meetings 
- participating in property events and promotional activities 
- making credit decisions 
- resolving problems 
- working with assigned lists of clients 
- playing golf or attending other events with clients 
- recognizing and greeting frequent guests by name 
- assisting with telemarketing 
- collaborating with other hospitality departments, such as rooms or food and beverage to ensure comps 

Casino Hosts work long shifts, usually between 10 and 12 hours, and may work five to six days per week. These hours include evenings, holidays, and weekends, and may extend even longer when they are accommodating requests and questions from high-profile guests. Casino Hosts spend much time on their feet, interacting with people. It is position for those with high levels of energy, enthusiasm, and people skills.    

Salaries    
According to a salary survey on Salary.com, a typical executive casino host earns a median base salary of $47,244. Half of the people in this job earn between $37,656 and $69,887. However, salaries can vary greatly depending on the size and location of the casino. Most Casino Hosts work on salary and do not receive tips. At the level of player development executive, commission is often part of salary.    

Employment Prospects    
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment in gaming services occupations is projected to grow by 23 percent between 2006 and 2016, which is much faster than the average for all occupations. They state that the increasing popularity and prevalence of Indian casinos and racinos will provide substantial new job openings, as will states that are reconsidering their opposition to legalized gambling and will likely approve the construction of more casinos and other gaming establishments during the next decade. The BLS also suggests that additional job growth will occur in established gaming areas in Nevada and Atlantic City, New Jersey, as they solidify their positions as tourist destinations.    
Because Casino Hosts are so important to attracting and retaining guests, employment prospects are good. They will continue to grow as hotels face more competition from one another and as more casinos and casino hotels are built worldwide. Additionally, there is high turnover in the position, with three years as a typical tenure at one hotel. Some Casino Hosts may be required to sign an agreement saying they will not solicit any of their former customers after the end of their employment.    
Most Casino Hosts come to their positions through prior experience in the gaming industry. Many have worked for one to three years as dealers or floor people. Insiders say that the best way to start may be as slot casino hosts, and entry level positions may also require more phone work than personal contact.    

Advancement Prospects    
Advancement prospects are also good for Casino Hosts. The communication and relationship building skills they use are transferable to many other areas. They may move to larger properties and/or into positions as Executive Casino Hosts, with more responsibility and high salaries. Also, they may move into management in positions such as player development executive. In this role, they are responsible for cultivating players, increasing revenue, and marketing. Insiders say that player development executives can earn up to twice as much as Casino Hosts.    

Education and Training    
While there is no specific educational path required to become a Casino Host, a high school degree or equivalent is required. Some properties prefer candidates with bachelor’s degrees and others are willing to substitute education for experience.    
Knowledge and training in the gaming industry is needed, and can be obtained through the on-the-job training programs many casinos offer, as well as courses at community colleges or vocational schools. Virginia College in Biloxi, Mississippi (www.vc.edu/site/department. cfm?deptID=16) and San Diego State University in San Diego, California (www.ces.sdsu.edu/casino_ online.html) are two of the many schools that offer certificate programs.    

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits    
Casino Hosts must, above all, enjoy working with people. They need energy, enthusiasm, and a strong customer service orientation to build and maintain relationships and make conversation. They must like meeting new people and have a good memory for names, faces, and personal details, essential in networking and relationship-building. Schmoozing is crucial as they may be required to play golf and go on other social or sports outings with clients.    
Furthermore, Casino Hosts must be organized and able to multitask, as they work with many clients at once. They must employ tact and discretion as they are dealing with people’s sensitive financial information and may be entrusted with other personal details. They should always remain professional and calm, especially when dealing with problems.   

Unions and Associations    
While there is no specific professional association for Casino Hosts, many in the field say they keep in touch with other Casino Hosts informally, and within different geographical locations many get together and know one another. The Harrah Hotel College at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, has a list of hospitality industry professional associations at hotel.unlv.edu/ IndustResProAsso.html.    

Tips for Entry 
1. To learn more about positions in the gaming industry, conduct an informational interview with a Casino Host. Find out how he or she got involved in the field, as well as what a typical day is like. 
2. Read job descriptions for casino jobs at sites such as casinocareers.com/jobsearch.cfm and www. jobmonkey.com/casino. 
3. Enhance your customer service skills through courses in public speaking and jobs where you are working with people and answering questions. 
4. View the Web sites of major casino chains such as www.harrahs.com. 
5. Explore the site www.statescasinos.com, which provides information about casinos and casino hotels in all of the United States.

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