USM Prepares For Casino Management Classes

Here's a riddle about USM Professor Ernie Wilson. What do you get when you combine the Hawaii native's aloha hospitality with South Mississippi's southern hospitality? The answer in this case is the state's first casino resort management program.

"And what could be more exciting than being a part of that," the professor asked.

Despite an attorney general's opinion that said teaching casino resort management courses at state colleges was illegal, the college board told Professor Wilson and USM Gulf Coast to offer the program this fall.

"This just makes sense," he said.

Professor Wilson spent part of his morning outlining a casino resort management schedule to prospective student Barrett Smith.

"I think this program will go a long way to preparing people like yourself who are from Mississippi to become executives in Mississippi's number one industry," he told Smith.

The 24 year old restaurant employee drove down from Hattiesburg to see how he could enroll in the program.

"You're looking at Mississippi's largest industry, and finally a program that deals with that," Smith said.

Marketing is one of the classes a casino resort management student must take. So is business administration and psychology. Listen to what's not on the curriculum list.

"How to deal a hand. How to throw dice," Smith said.

Teaching that information is against the law at a Mississippi college. So it won't be part of Professor Wilson's casino resort management program.

For years, Mississippi casino executives have urged the state to teach casino resort management. They said the classes would help Mississippians to move into higher paying jobs.

Last winter, Tulane started a similar casino resort management program. It's being taught at its Edgewater Mall campus .