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What are the job opportunities for women in the gambling industry?

Published on October 25, 2014, 4:32 pm

by Jeff Grant Twitter account Jeff Grant LinkedIn account

In a world where men traditionally get paid more than women, casino employment is a promising career path for females. A recent summit held for and by the female segment of casino workers in Iowa celebrated this fact. The Iowa Gaming Commission sponsored the meeting, which was specifically designated for the Iowa females who drive the gambling industry in the state.

Iowa Women Leaders in Gaming Summit
Announcement of the Iowa Women Leaders in Gaming Summit in Altoona, Iowa (

The Women Leaders in Gaming Summit

The one-day conference, called the Women Leaders in Gaming Summit, took place at the Prairie Meadows Conference Center in Altoona and lasted six and a half hours. Female casino executives were the stars of the show, as well as several female politicians with prestigious titles in Iowa. The intent behind the showcasing of these women was for others to see “the variety of opportunities gaming offers,” according to Caesar's Entertainment VP Janae Sternberg. Approximately 150 guests attended the summit.

The Career Path of Nancy Ballenger

Logo of the Isle Casino Hotel (Bettendorf, Iowa)Nancy Ballenger, VP and manager of Bettendorf's Isle of Capri, is one example of a woman who worked her way up the casino ladder and found success. Ballenger started working at the Isle of Capri 23 years ago. Her first position was entry level, but she quickly ascended the ranks to the managerial title she holds today. The gaming business offers “tremendous rewards” to women who wish to follow that type of career path, according to Ballenger.

Ballenger offers some compelling statistics about women in the casino industry. In Iowa, 44 percent of all casino managers, supervisors, directors, and executives are women. “It's a pretty good story to tell,” Ballenger remarked to the press.

Entry Level Casino Positions

In any field, an entry level position is one which requires little or no experience. On-site training is often provided. This type of position is great for someone who did not attend college, although entry level positions exist in the world of college graduates, too. Essentially, an entry-level position is a bottom-rung job, often with the possibility of promotion. In the casino industry, it's possible for a worker to climb the corporate ladder as they gain more experience and prove their capabilities on the job.

Job candidates can apply for a number of different types of positions at a casino. Here is a partial list of entry-level casino jobs:

Floor Worker

A floor worker is anyone who works on the main gambling floor, including the slot and table game areas. A floor worker could be a security guard, bar tender, slot attendant, or custodian. These workers are often required to wear a uniform and display a clean-cut look with no tattoos or loose hair. A floor worker's salary is often on par with minimum wage, but tips sometimes raise that rate. People who love providing customer service and don't mind interacting with a large group of guests might enjoy floor work.


A casino cashier is known as a cage worker. These workers often begin at minimum wage, but they can advance with experience. Cage workers handle large sums of money on a daily basis and must be extremely responsible and organized. Previous experience with handling money, either as a cashier or an accountant, makes a cashier candidate look more attractive to employers.

Pantry Worker

A pantry worker helps prepare the food that is served at the facility's restaurants. Duties revolve around food preparation and include cleaning, cutting, chopping, and storing. Depending on the facility, a high school diploma and up to two years of experience could be required. This job sits on the low end of the pay scale and is not to be confused with that of casino chef.

Valet Parking Attendant

Many gambling halls offer valet parking to the clientele who wish to pay for it. A valet attendant must hold a valid driver's license and be able to comfortably operate all types of vehicles. A high school diploma is usually required, and depending on the casino, some experience with valet parking might also be required.

Other casino jobs are not considered “entry level” because they require specific training or experience. Here is a partial list:


Most casinos won't hire a dealer who hasn't had any formal training. Fortunately, it's relatively easy to learn how to be a dealer. Many courses take eight weeks or less to complete. During a dealer course, students learn the rules of the game and the regulations of their particular state. They also work on the physical skills necessary to facilitate their chosen game. Students can expect to pay several hundred dollars, or more, for such a course.

Female dealer working at the Gran Casino Barcelona
Female dealer working at the Gran Casino Barcelona

Casino Host/Hostess

The field of casino hosting is a competitive one. Hosts and hostesses work to ensure that patron's have a wonderful time and want to come back to visit the facility again. People with experience in customer service and event coordination are more likely to snag these jobs. An employee's chance of being promoted to host/hostess status is better if they've been at the facility for a while and have clout with the boss.

Executive Chef

An executive chef is responsible for food preparation, restaurant inventory, adherence to state regulations, and diner satisfaction. He/she might also develop recipes and take responsibility for the productivity and efficiency of the restaurant. This type of position might require a bachelors degree and/or several years of culinary experience.

In spite of today's slumping economy, the casino industry is a growing field. The turnover is high, but those who persevere often end up getting promoted fairly quickly. Some of the drawbacks to working at a gambling hall include cigarette smoke exposure and a work schedule that can stretch into the wee hours of the morning. If a job candidate, female or male, feels equipped to handle these drawbacks and is interested in working for a casino, it could be a promising career with the potential for promotions and salary increases.


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