Casino Employees Wonder About Future Job Opportunities - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Casino Employees Wonder About Future Job Opportunities

By Brad Kessie - bio | email

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - First, the Mississippi Gaming Commission denied RW Development's site approval request. Less than a week later, Harrah's announced that Margaritaville was slowing down its construction schedule in Biloxi. That put a lot of casino workers on edge. They considered both projects their next chance to advance in the industry.

Because Margaritaville's grand opening has been pushed back, a few thousand jobs are on hold. When RW's South Beach project was rejected, three thousand new jobs were put on a back burner.

The two announcements created quite a stir for people who are training to get into the gaming industry. People like Charlie Pye. She stood behind a craps table, absorbing as much information as she could about how to deal the game.

"I am here at Crescent School of Gaming for exploring a career in gaming," she explained.

When Pye enrolled in the casino dealer's class, Margaritaville was arriving in 2010. And the South Beach Casino Resort was on Biloxi's horizon. The casino industry seemed like a good gamble.

"It's a well paid field. It's respected because it's also a professional field," she thought.

Then news spread that Margaritaville construction would continue, but at a slower pace. That came on the heels of South Beach finding out it didn't have a legal gaming site. For future dealers, a good gamble suddenly looked like a bad bet.

"It leaves less opportunity for a job for us to go into," Pye said.

From what Biloxi Mayor A.J. Holloway can tell, gaming in his city is still vibrant. In fact, he's still getting inquiries about potential sites around east Biloxi.

But if those don't pay out, dealers know they have options. However, those options may not be in Biloxi. Crystal Ashmore realized that fact while training at the dealer's school.

"To me, I'm in an industry where I can go anywhere," she said.

Next to her was an IP employee. She was hoping IP dealers would jump to the new resorts. That way, she could become an IP dealer, and stay with a company she loves.

Charlie Pye doesn't have an allegiance. She simply wants to break into the industry. And she says she's willing to go somewhere else, if the coast casino market remains stagnant for too much longer.

"I am in this to get a job," Pye said. "And if there's nothing for me to go into, then it's very concerning. I don't want to waste my time. But it's something that I'm interested in doing."

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