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From Las Vegas and Atlantic City to Macau in China, jobs in the casino industry are a sure deal for a career in these lean times.

You can bet the house that these jobs are going to grow faster than your shrinking 401k. Don’t believe me? Check out these statistics according to the Gaming Market Outlook to 2015.

In 2012, the commercial casino and gaming equipment manufacturing industry employed more than 363,000 people. During the past 22 years, the casino work force has increased more than 67 percent, from 198,657 employees in 1990 to 332,075 in 2012 and casino employees earned $13.2 billion in wages (including tips and benefits) in 2012, more than $2.4 billion more than in 2000.

Those are great odds.

In 2011, Jenna Anthony of El Cajon was laid off from her teaching job and spent nine months looking for another gig. Finally a friend told her about jobs in the casino industry and she applied to casinos in San Diego County, Atlantic City and Lake Tahoe. Within two weeks she had five interviews.

“I chose Tahoe because of the skiing and the proximity to San Francisco,” she said. “I ended up starting as a cocktail waitress and now I’m a pit boss. I love this job and don’t think I’ll ever go back to teaching.”

With all the casinos being built on reservations and off, the outlook for casino careers is hot. Regional casinos are expected to grow from 18 billion in 2011 to 24.3 billion in 2015 according to the Gaming Market Outlook to 2015.

Beside the growth of the casino industry, its diversity is also a winner.

In 2000, the AGA Diversity Task Force teamed with PricewaterhouseCoopers to develop the Gaming Industry Diversity Snapshot. According to their site, the aggregated gaming industry employment statistics by job category, race and gender, the study was subsequently updated in 2003 and again in 2007. The study found that in 2007 casinos employed a greater percentage of Black, Hispanic, and Asian workers than the U.S. workforce. Overall, participating casinos employed more minorities than the national U.S. workforce by 20.6 percent.

Yes, many of the jobs are in bartending and food/cocktail service. But jobs in gaming surveillance and investigation are hot. The median pay for these jobs is about $30,470, and a certificate program is pretty much the highest level of education needed for this position. Training is often conducted in a casino-like atmosphere using surveillance equipment. Prior casino or security experience is preferred, and more likely than not there will be a full background check. So, professional card counters need not apply.

Gaming and sports book writers and runners with a median pay of about $28,850 isn’t going to buy you a ton of fancy duds, but it will be a cool job. And you will get a lot of respect at your high school reunion when you say you’re a (legal) bookie.

Lance Warner of Carlsbad became a poker player out of high school and made his name in Las Vegas as a card shark for about 10 years when his luck ran out.

“I made a ton as a player and spent just as much on cars and trips and women,” he said. “When things changed I got a job in a casino and made an honest paycheck. It’s not quite as exciting, but a regular paycheck is a lot less stressful.”

Bottom line: As more states legalize gambling, more casinos will be built and high roller jobs as well as behind-the-scenes casino gigs will need workers. Take a chance.

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