1. Casino Worker
The nitty-gritty: Given the 24-hour, nonstop action at venues spanning the spectrum from flashy big-name mega-casinos like Harrah's and MGM Grand to riverboats and "racinos" at racetracks, the need for workers who like the night life is unending. Typical positions include card dealer, ticket writer, pit boss, security guard and valet. The upside: An energizing workplace with nonstop action. It's not all bright lights, though. Jobs that require you to work the casino floor front and center can be high pressure and fast-paced. You've got to turn on the megawatt charm, and stay calm when the clientele get unruly. The work can be demanding physically, too, particularly if you're standing for long stretches or pacing the spread-out playing arena. The noise from clanging slot machines and keyed-up patrons can be rough on the nerves. There's also the silent stress of being watched by supervisors and security cameras to make sure you're doing the job right. Big brother really is watching.
The hours: Flexible from full time to part time to seasonal. Eight-hour shifts are the norm, but partial weeks or weekend evenings and nights are often available.
Median pay range: $7.50 to $17.54 an hour for dealers. Slot positions that require verifying and paying off jackpots and resetting slot machines after payoffs range from $8.31 to $24.73. Security positions range from $9.85 to $23.87. Many jobs, such as valet, waiter or waitress, and dealer, are low wage, and income is dependent on tips.
Qualifications: All gaming service workers must obtain a license from a regulatory agency, such as a state casino control board or commission. Applicants for a license must provide photo identification and pay a fee. Some states may require gaming service workers to be residents of that state. The licensing application process includes a background investigation and drug test. Some of the major casinos and slot machine manufacturers run their own training schools, which last anywhere from four to 12 weeks. Almost all provide some form of in-house, on-the-job training. Most casinos also require prospective dealers to audition for open positions. Prior work experience in a hospitality-related field and strong customer service skills can help. The American Gaming Association is a good resource to learn more about the industry. To start a job search, try the casino job section on aarp.org. You can narrow your search by various criteria including location. Your best approach may be to go straight to the source and log on to the career or employment pages of casino websites, including headliners like Caesar's Entertainment or a local establishment in your town, and browse the latest job postings. If you thrive on never having a dull moment, roll the dice.