In a sure bet, the Hollywood Casino Toledo, under construction on the East Toledo riverfront, announced yesterday it was accepting applications for 400 to 500 jobs for dealers.
The jobs, which will pay $16 to $22 an hour with tips, will handle the gaming tables at the $300 million casino to open next spring.
Penn National Gaming plans to fill the first 100 dealer jobs by the end of October. It will send the selected applicants to a dealer school at Owens Community College for a five-week, 20-hours a week course in blackjack, then put the would-be dealers to the test under simulated games at the casino.
Applications are being accepted only through the Internet, at hollywoodcasinotoledo.com.
The casino expects to fill its dealer jobs in stages, hiring them in groups of 100. About 90 percent of the hires will be from the Toledo area, casino officials said. How many of those will be full-time jobs or part-time will depend on need and customer demand.
Full-time dealers usually work 40 hours a week, while part-time dealers will work about 32 hours or less, officials said.
Some hires with the right skills could be elevated beyond blackjack dealer and given further training for other games, such as craps and roulette.
But landing a job as a dealer will be a lot harder than just knowing when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em.
"Of course, we'll train for the skills, but we're looking for the right attitude, the right demeanor, outgoing personality, service-focused employee that we can train," said Mike Galle, the new assistant general manager at the Toledo casino and a veteran of the gaming industry.
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Overall, the casino plans to hire 1,200 workers, with the bulk of the hiring starting in November.
The dealer jobs are among the first hires because of the longer training time needed. "It's a technical skill," Mr. Galle said. "It's all the rules and regulations behind dealing. It isn't just chucking cards."
He added: "Why does a dealer clear his hands? Why do they deal the first two spots with their left hand? What about the take-in and pay-in sequence. What the rules of the game are. What to hit on and what not to hit on. When to pay out, when not to pay out."
The dealer position is not the most important job at a casino, "but it is the most recognizable job," Mr. Galle said.
It also is one of the most exciting jobs at a casino, said Neal Perry, the Toledo casino's director of table games, and a blackjack dealer for five years in Atlantic City.
"I would love it when everybody would win because when they won I made money," he told The Blade. "It is a tip position and the house doesn't necessarily worry about winning because they want everybody to have a good time. It was exciting to see when somebody was winning. And it could be a little heart-wrenching to see people lose their money."
A dealer, he explained, has to be good with people because you meet all types in all types of moods. "There's so many characters. We use to say we should all write a book about this business after the years we spent in it because you meet all kinds -- the good, the bad, the indifferent."
Chrystal Herndon, the casino's vice president of human resources, said the casino posted two dealer job openings yesterday, one for those with experience and one with no experience. Having experience will help with the dealer school, but not necessarily provide an edge in hiring.
"Most importantly is the personality. It's the personality, it's the attitude, it's are they outgoing?" she said.
Dealer applicants must be 21, have a high school diploma or equivalent, agree to attend the dealer school on their own time, and submit to and pass a drug test and background check. People with felony convictions likely will be ruled out, Ms. Herndon said.
Mr. Galle said the casino could get up to 9,000 applicants for its dealer jobs. As of noon yesterday, it had 100 applicants and it had not even advertised the openings.
Because the Toledo area has a strong labor union presence, it would not be unusual if its workers were to organize. Several casinos in Detroit are unionized and represented by the United Auto Workers, while many casinos in Las Vegas and Atlantic City are represented by the Hotel Employee and Restaurant Employees union. HERE claims to represent 100,000 casino workers in nine states, including Michigan.
Penn National said it operates several casinos where its employees are unionized.
Contact Jon Chavez at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6128.