A large part of the promise of Bally’s planned casino in Chicago’s River West has been jobs. Thousands of jobs, and hundreds of them in the key public-facing role of table games dealers.
Those dealer jobs in the new casino will require special skills and dedicated training. To achieve the goal of providing employment in an urban area that needs it, Bally’s Chicago Casino, in partnership with the City Colleges of Chicago (CCC), will offer local residents the job training they’ll need to land one of those casino jobs dealing cards and manning the gaming tables.
A City Council vote in May 2022 approved Bally’s for the Chicago casino project.
Bally’s Needs Live Dealers For Table Games
The casino will have to ramp up its staffing quickly to fill dealer positions for games such as blackjack, craps, roulette and the many “carny”-style games (poker-based, house-banked games) that make up a 21st century casino floor. And there will be lots of them. Bally’s Chicago Casino is estimated to have 170 table games, likely operating around the clock, every day of the year.
To recruit and train the hundreds of dealers that must be hired before the temporary casino is expected to open later this year, Bally’s Chicago is launching a Dealer Training School this spring to teach candidates the skills required to handle the gaming tables.
The initial Dealer Training courses will be conducted by Bally’s Chicago management team, with plans for future Dealer Training Schools to be available through City Colleges of Chicago curricula.
What Is Required For Dealers
Learning the ins and outs of dealing a casino game isn’t easy. Those jobs require manual dexterity, a knowledge of the games and good math skills handling gaming chips with monetary value. But also, casinos frequently have their own rules about the minutia of dealing, such as interacting with players to the left with the left hand and with players to right with the right hand.
And, of course, dealers must make sure they are adept at the ritual-type pantomime of conducting the games so that every move can be observed by the “eye-in-the-sky,” meaning the overhead surveillance cameras that cover the casino floor from end-to-end.
The casino is part of a growing gaming scene that includes online and retail Illinois sportsbooks, after the state launched sports betting in 2020.
Mayor, Bally’s Executive Talk About Effort
“The opportunities offered at Bally's Chicago Casino will provide our residents access to good-paying, union jobs and a foothold into the broader gaming and hospitality industry," Chicago Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot said in announcing the cooperative effort between the casino company and the City Colleges of Chicago. "The Dealer School, working in coordination with City Colleges, is the first step to delivering on the promise of these jobs that residents from any neighborhood or walk of life can take advantage of.”
A Bally’s executive echoed the mayor.
“Our Dealer Training School is an exciting opportunity for Chicagoans to receive real workforce training for a new profession and become a member of one of the best gaming companies in the world,” said Ameet Patel, senior vice president and Regional General Manager of Bally’s Corporation. “We are pleased to offer future Bally’s table games dealers an excellent career path with more advancement opportunities that will be created with the opening of the permanent casino.”
Lightfoot has said she’d like to see Bally’s open its temporary casino by early this summer. The permanent casino is planned for a 2026 opening. It will be located on the 30-acre Chicago Tribune Publishing Center at the intersection of Chicago Avenue and Halsted Street.
How Big Will Bally’s Chicago Casino Be?
The $1.7 billion project aspires to be a world-class gambling destination with 3,400 slots, 170 table games, 10 food and beverage venues, a 500-room hotel tower with rooftop bar, a 3,000 seat/65,000-square foot entertainment center, a 20,000-square foot space for exhibitions, an outdoor music venue, and outdoor green space including a public riverwalk with a water taxi stop.
Whenever the temporary casino opens, it will make Chicago, the third-largest city in America by population, the largest U.S. city with a casino within the city proper.
This will be one of the most ambitious gaming projects in Illinois, which currently has 11 commercial casinos, including ones near Chicago in Des Plaines, Elgin, Aurora and Joliet. And this month, two state legislators introduced bills aimed at bringing Illinois online casinos into the legal, regulated gaming market.
As a comparison with other major casinos, at least in terms of table games, Caesars Palace in Las Vegas has 185 table games, according to its website.
Broadly, Bally’s is promoting the casino as a “showcase (for) ‘The Best of Chicago’ arts and culture, food and sports, and curated dining and entertainment experiences.”
Information on Attending Training Sessions
In launching the registration process for the dealers’ school, Bally’s Chicago is hosting a series of information sessions where interested candidates can meet Bally’s management, learn what a table games career is about and gather information about the upcoming classes. There’s “a dedicated focus on reaching underrepresented communities,” according to a news release.
Public information sessions will be held at CCC campuses as well as at Bally’s downtown Chicago location in February. At least six sessions are scheduled from Feb. 17 through Feb. 28.
Individuals aged 21 years and older can RSVP for upcoming sessions and get more details by registering at www.BallysChicago.com. Any additional questions can be sent to HR@BallysChicago.com.
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