Casino College Attracts Gaming Employees - Wednesday 22nd of February 2006


TUNICA, MS-With the continued and rising popularity of poker, a natural offshoot has been the demand for more good dealers to handle the new playing pressure on poker rooms in casinos and other legal poker rooms and that role is being fulfilled by the recently opened Casino College of Mississippi.

The College, located in Robinsonville in Tunica County, is officially licensed by the Mississippi Gaming Commission, and to date several hundred students have been graduated from the facility or in the process of doing so. While most of the aspiring dealer students are from the general public, a lot have been casino personnel who are seeking wider dealing experience by having several games on their resume.

"We saw a need for this college to provide training and job placement in this area," said Robert Smith, Vice President, who operates it with his sister, Olivia Harvey, chief administrator, and her husband, Vern, who is VP of Marketing. Robert, who is in charge of sales and instruction, was formerly in the financial services industry with GE Capital and one of his positions there was Manager of Corporate Training and Development, making him suited for his new role at the College.

The trio came to Tunica in search of a suitable opportunity after Robert spent three months in California working with the Casino College of Sacramento taking all the courses and working as an instructor. Collectively they have over 100 years of work and management experience.

Although there are six Casino Colleges nationwide, the Mississippi facility is not a franchise but works closely in affiliation with the other units to arrange auditions for students around the country. "We do not guarantee jobs but we actively assist our graduates seeking casino employment and we have had success in doing do," said Robert. "There is a need for dealers in all games and we feel our training gives graduates a leg up in interviews."

The college offers a flexible schedule and several finance options as well. Current courses offered include poker (Texas Hold 'em, Omaha, and 7 Card Stud); Blackjack, (single, double and multi-deck games); Three Card Poker, Caribbean Stud, Let It Ride, Pai Gow and Craps. Poker has been the most popular course.The school is open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and classes are offered from 10 to 2, 1 to 5 and 5 to 9 for attendance flexibility. Most of the students fall into two categories according to Smith: existing casino dealers who are seeking to add additional games to their background or students seeking to break into the gaming industry.

Courses run from 3 weeks for blackjack to 8 weeks for dice. Blackjack costs $499 and Craps is $999 per course. Group discounts are available as are dealer discounts. In house financing is offered with no interest.

The College was recently approved by the Work Investment Network (WIN) as a Mississippi state program, which provides grants for retraining displaced employees and for increasing skill levels for Mississippi adult residents who qualify.

The College is located at 3444 Casino Way and more information is available at 877-235-2674 or 662-363-3300, or online at www.casinocollege.net

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