The Tricks and Trades of Casino Management at UNLV

Players gather around a craps table within a dimly lit room filled with slot machines and blackjack tables.

A woman throws a pair of dice, then smiles as applause and jubilation erupts below the watchful eyes of a dozen security cameras overhead.

The scene looks straight out of any Las Vegas casino, but it’s not. The “players” are college students studying the ins and outs of the hotel-casino sector at UNLV’s world-renowned gaming laboratory.

Just some miles from the Strip, the Konami Gaming Lab serves as the education ground for UNLV hospitality students thinking about gaming management.

“We’re not teaching students how you can gamble,” insists UNLV gaming professor Gary Waters, who teaches introductory classes within the gaming lab. “We’re teaching students the way to manage casinos. This is truly important for the gaming industry.”

As soon as upon a time, individuals thinking about gaming management didn’t have to have a college degree. Many worked their way up the casino ladder, from dealers to pit bosses to floor managers to casino executives.

But as the casino business diversified, adopting new gaming technologies and complicated business enterprise tactics, a college degree is more of a requirement for casino employees keen on upper management.

“The landscape has altered inside the last couple of years,” Waters said. “There are far more college-educated executives leading these casinos. Education is far more very recognized in gaming now.”

Waters brings practically two decades of practical experience in Las Vegas hotels and casinos to his introductory gaming classes.

To come to be a good casino manager and executive, UNLV students have to learn not just how to play the different table games and slot machines, but also what it takes to deal the cards and operate the machines. They need to understand the many facets of a casino operation from the perspectives of a customer, a dealer along with a manager.

“(Being a dealer) is often a lot diverse than getting a client,” Waters stated. “It’s a unique picture when you are on the other side (of your table).”

Waters utilizes on line sources, textbooks and hands-on experience within the gaming lab to teach his students blackjack, craps, roulette, baccarat, pai gow, poker along with the slots.

Waters just lately introduced craps to about 60 students in his Gaming 225 class.

“Who’s played this game prior to?” he asks before he begins his lesson. Two students raise their hands.

Waters launches into his tutorial on craps, going over how to play it, but additionally game theory and game protection, which safeguards the casino from cheats and scams.

You will find a variety of approaches to play craps and wagering choices, from proposition bets to spot bets to pass line bets, Waters says. He tells students the property has just a slight 1.4 percent to 1.6 percent benefit in an individual craps game, but that the odds for the casino enhance to 14 percent when looking at the entire craps operation.

“That’s the top strategy to win,” Waters tells his students. “Knowing when to quit.”

And ultimately, Waters reviews game integrity, maybe the most significant function of a casino manager. Soon after all players will not bet if they don’t trust the game.

In an adjoining space, students find out tips on how to monitor tables for cheaters and card counting utilizing a dozen security cameras in the gaming lab. Students also understand the best way to spot tampered slot machines and discover most effective practices for game protection.

“If the dice leaves the table, it requirements to be examined by the pit boss,” Waters reminds his students.

Most of Waters’ students are freshmen and sophomores who are also young to legally gamble. The gaming lab – which uses free-play slots and fake wagers – provides under-21 students an opportunity to prepare for jobs within the gaming market with out breaking the law.

“Everyone right here desires to be a manager, and we have to know each and every single element from the casino,” said UNLV sophomore Michael Dick, 19, who aspires to personal a boutique hotel and restaurant. “Just to become in a position to encounter this makes me view the casinos in a different way.”

Furthermore, the lab provides UNLV’s international students a glimpse in to the Las Vegas casino model. Asian students in specific have flocked to UNLV’s Harrah’s Hotel College, buoyed by new opportunities in Macau, Singapore and Thailand.

Inside the coming year, multibillion dollar casinos are set to open inside the Philippines, South Korea and eastern Russia following the achievement of casinos in Macau and Singapore, which raked in an estimated $40 billion last year. With Japan and China contemplating gaming legislation, Asian students are planning to gaming kingpin Las Vegas to learn about gaming.

“We have an excellent model in Las Vegas but gaming has turn out to be a growing number of international,” Waters stated. “We need to turn out to be additional internationally minded.”

UNLV freshman Xue Yan Ning is an international student who hopes to work in Asia’s fledgling but quickly expanding hotel-casino economic climate. One problem: The 17-year-old hails from Hunan province in China, where gambling is illegal.

“(UNLV’s gaming lab) is extremely exciting for us, because we cannot find out (these games) in China,” Ning mentioned. “This is our only possibility to attempt to discover the games.”

Gaming education has evolved due to the fact UNLV opened its very first gaming lab at Bern Hall in 1995.

At the time, slots machines nevertheless took coins and tokens instead of tickets. Pai gow and baccarat had been less common and technologies including the automatic shuffler weren’t broadly implemented.

Seeing the wave of alterations inside the gaming business, UNLV integrated plans for a new and expanded gaming lab when it built the Stan Fulton Constructing six years ago. Konami – a slot machine manufacturer – renovated the new lab two years ago.

The new lab incorporates some of the new trends and technologies becoming pioneered by Las Vegas casinos right now, including software package utilized for player tracking.

“Points and rewards. That’s what the business is all about now,” Waters mentioned.

Konami is putting in player-tracking software program on slot machines and table games inside the gaming lab to teach students how the club cards function.

Other nascent trends, just like bonus capabilities on table games, are getting adopted far more slowly to make certain these changes are right here to remain, Waters mentioned.

“We try to help keep (the lab) as realistic as possible,” he mentioned.

That realism aids when UNLV students apply for gaming management internships, which have become harder to secure within the recession, Waters mentioned. UNLV has partnered with nearby gaming businesses to help its students land internships and opportunities. About a third of UNLV gaming graduates acquire provides for a supervisory position, he mentioned.

“Our primary objective is so students can relate academic data to actual table games and slots, and get some operational experience,” Waters said. “The far more they get involved, playing it and dealing it, the superior they carry out in their internships as well as the additional profitable they are in their careers.”

While the gaming lab is used by other professors along with the International Gaming Institute for analysis into subjects like gambling addiction, its main goal will continue to focus on undergraduate education – despite gaming’s mounting challenges.

Currently, gaming in Las Vegas represents a smaller portion of a casino’s revenue streams, which now incorporates rooms, dining, nightclubs and entertainment. Las Vegas is also facing a lot more competitors from casino operations overseas, on Native American lands and even on-line.

Nevertheless, Waters believes gaming will persist in Las Vegas, called the gaming capital of your world. So long as Las Vegas continues to hold that title, UNLV will continue to educate its students in gaming management, he said.

“Gaming will generally stay a significant driving force in Las Vegas,” he said. “That’s why we really feel (gaming education) is very crucial.”

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