Casino & Gaming Management Degrees: Bachelor, Associate & Online Info

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What will you learn in a casino and gaming management degree program? Read about program requirements, the pros and cons of an associate and bachelor's degree and potential careers.
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Studying Casino and Gaming Management: Degrees at a Glance

The gaming industry mostly involves gambling-related activities, such as betting on sports teams, card games and other games of chance. Many of these activities occur at casinos, which offer a diverse set of career paths. Potential casino management career fields include surveillance, slot machines, card-game supervision, public relations, restaurant management, marketing, hotel management and guest services.

Most careers in casino management do not necessarily require bachelor's degrees. Nevertheless, several related professions to casino management do require 4-year degrees, including management positions in public relations, human resources, marketing and promotions. Casinos are often connected to restaurants, clubs and hotels, and some management positions at these locations also require bachelor's degrees. Many of these related careers require academic training from different fields. However, individuals can minor in casino management to gain a better understanding of the gaming industry.

Associate Degree Bachelor's Degree
Who is this program for? People who want to know more about management careers in the gaming industry Hospitality professionals interested in starting a job in one of the casino management career fields, such as security, guest relations, marketing and support services
Common Career Paths (with approx. median annual salary) - Surveillance supervisor ($43,000)**
- Slot machine supervisor ($29,000)*
- Gaming supervisor ($49,000)*
- Casino public relations manager ($93,000)*
- Gaming promotions manager ($88,000)*
- Casino banquet manager ($46,000)**
Time to Completion 2 years full time 4 years full time
Common Graduation Requirements - Complete required casino work experience hours
- Fulfill general education requirements
- Complete internship hours, if required
- Complete capstone projects, if applicable
- Pass final exams
Prerequisites - High school diploma
- Background check
- Lower level math courses, if required
- High school diploma
- Background check
Online Availability Very few Some

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2011 figures), **Salary.com 2012 statistics.

Associate Degree in Casino and Gaming Management

There are very few accredited associate degree programs in gaming or casino management. These programs prepare students for various casino management tasks, including game supervision, security, casino operations and customer service. You'd learn the rules of different gambling games as well as strategies for supervising guests and minimizing security risks. You also receive training with gaming technology.

Most programs are structured to include laboratory hours in pretend casino settings. In these fictional settings, you can practice running games and monitoring patrons. Several programs also offer the opportunity to intern at real casinos. As a graduate from these programs, you'd gain a better understanding of state and federal gambling regulations. You'd also develop skills in cashiering, customer relations, surveillance and leadership.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Between 2010 and 2020, gaming services occupations were expected to experience a 13% job growth rate*
  • During that same decade, open positions for gaming surveillance officers were also expected to increase by 18%*
  • Most of these programs provide initial training in all the major casino management fields, allowing you to figure out which field suits your interest

Cons

  • You may have to pass background checks to work as an intern at most casinos*
  • Earning an associate degree may not be necessary because several positions only require that applicants hold high school diplomas*
  • These degree programs tend to offer general skills training, so you may have to take additional courses to gain advanced training in any specific casino management field

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2010-2020 projections).

Courses and Requirements

Most casino management degree programs include hospitality courses that cover topics related to professionalism, sales and leadership. Human resources coursework discusses major issues in the hospitality and gaming industry, such as team building and staff management. Several programs also teach students about the rules for some of the most popular games, including blackjack, roulette, poker, craps and pai gow.

Common courses in casino management may include some of the following:

  • Slot management
  • Hospitality industry standards
  • Gambling laws and regulations
  • Lodging, food and beverage management
  • Surveillance and security technologies
  • Casino operations

The majority of degree programs also require you to complete work training at a real casino. To fulfill work experience requirements, you may have to work 200-320 hours, but typically you can work more hours if you choose. After completing the allotted hours, most degree programs require you to write about your experiences.

Online Degree Options

Since there are very few traditional casino management associate degree programs, there are even fewer online degree programs. Most online programs related to casino management are for certificates, not associate degrees. There are also online continued education courses related to casino management, including classes in surveillance and table game operations. Some of these continued education online training courses are designed for professionals already working in the gaming industry, so you may be expected to know most industry standards.

Stand Out with This Degree

One way to stand out to potential employers includes learning the rules to all the main casino games. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), casinos will usually send dealers to gaming schools so that they can learn about each game. If you already possess that knowledge, along with an associate degree, casino employers may be more likely to hire you, since you'll require less training.

Another way to impress potential employers while still in the associate degree program can be getting as much customer service experience as possible. The BLS notes that careers in the hospitality and gaming industries involve a lot of interaction with customers, so workers need to know how to handle guests. Although gaining experience in the hospitality industry would prove most useful, practically any customer service experience will suffice.

Bachelor's Degree in Casino and Gaming Management

The majority of bachelor's degree programs in this field are structured to include general business management classes along with courses that cover important issues in the casino and gaming management industries. You'll gain skills for communicating with fellow employees, resolving customer issues and implementing casino policies.

In most cases, casino management degree programs are connected to hospitality or tourism departments. Therefore, you may have to take courses that are not directly related to the gaming industry, such as classes in restaurant, resort and convention management. Many of these industries are connected to the gaming industry, so cross-training in these areas may make you more marketable.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • From now till 2020, all public relations manager positions were expected to see a 21% job growth rate*
  • Open positions for promotions and marketing managers were also expected to increase by 14% during the same decade*
  • Several degree programs offer internship opportunities in various casino management fields, such as business, finance, hospitality management and security

Cons

  • Many casino management careers don't require bachelor's degrees, so you may spend several years earning a degree that you may not need*
  • Not all states allow non-tribal casinos, so you may have to move to places like Nevada or New Jersey to find more employment opportunities*
  • Some degree programs focus on the entire hospitality industry, so you might not get enough specific training in casino management

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2010-2020 projections).

Common Courses and Requirements

Several programs may have you complete foundational courses related to business, such as marketing, accounting and business operations. You might also have to take classes in business management and leadership strategies. At the bachelor's degree level, more casino management coursework focuses on customer service, including topics about gaining customer loyalty, player development programs, customer market research and customer amenities.

Potential core classes for casino management may include the following:

  • Casino operations management
  • Surveillance and security procedures
  • Casino promotional strategies
  • Gaming revenues management

Most bachelor's degree casino management programs require you to complete internships. Some programs require you to work as an intern at casinos, whereas other programs may allow you to intern for any business in the hospitality industry. Not all programs require internship experience; some degree programs may let you complete final projects instead.

Online Program Info

There are very few reputable online bachelor's degree programs related to casino management. Although online programs could teach students about gaming regulations, management strategies and surveillance equipment, there's a lot of hands-on learning within this program. Additionally, casino management is all about customer service and communications, and acquiring these skills often requires face-to-face interaction, rather than online study.

Getting Ahead with This Degree

As you earn your bachelor's degree, you can make yourself more marketable by earning related certificates. Several online certificate programs are related to gaming management, and most of these programs include core classes similar to associate degree programs. Since some bachelor's degree programs focus on the entire hospitality industry, earning a gaming management certificate may help you gain more casino-specific training. Also, online training seminars may help you learn about such topics as responsible gambling and gaming protection.

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Saint Leo University

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American InterContinental University

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