Cumberland Times-News

January 23, 2013

Rocky Gap job fair a big deal

Hundreds show looking for a spot in future casino

Matthew Bieniek
Cumberland Times-News

— ROCKY GAP — Hundreds of people hoping to help themselves to a good job and offer customers the hope of wealth beyond the dreams of avarice, waited in line on Wednesday evening hoping to become dealers and table game operators at the upcoming Rocky Gap casino.

Traffic was brisk at the job fair, which ran from 4 to 7 p.m. at the lodge.

“Getting my foot in the door” was a phrase heard time and time again as job-seekers, some already working and some unemployed, filled out applications for jobs as casino employees and waited for a quick initial screening interview, which lasted from 10 to 20 minutes.

At about 5 p.m., a line of about 70 people were in the lodge’s lobby waiting to head downstairs for an interview with casino officials.

Some folks were looking for a new career.

“I’m looking for a job in human resources or security, or possibly a dealer,” said retired Marine Corps member Brett Blanco of Cumberland. “These are nice people, with good management. I want to get in on the ground floor,” he said.

“I’m looking for a job as a dealer or a security guard,” said Daniel Hott of Cumberland.

Ashley Jones was looking for something “a little different,” she said. “I like casinos, it’s not monotonous, it’s something new every day.”

Quite a few of the applicants hoping for a casino job but holding other jobs said they’d rather not speak to the newspaper.

Some of the job hopefuls were dressed casually and others were dressed in attire fit for a casino: wearing black pantsuits and white shirts or white trousers and white shirts, some wearing jackets or vests.

While Wednesday’s fair was aimed for prospective dealers, the casino was accepting applications for all positions, said Karen Blank, a manager at Rocky Gap.

Once someone got past the initial screening, they would be invited for a second interview and testing before admittance to the 12-week dealer school, said Torina Stonestreet, another manager at Rocky Gap.

The dealer school is free but unpaid, according to a flier distributed at the fair. Most dealers will be initially trained in blackjack, the flier said.

Evitts Resort LLC, which now owns the lodge and resort, is a subsidiary of Lakes Entertainment of Minnesota. The lodge and resort are located in Rocky Gap State Park.

Officials with the owners of Rocky Gap Lodge & Golf Resort say that when the casino opens, they’ll be employing nearly double the current full-time staff, with about 300 employees.

About 100 of those employees will be card dealers and other gaming table operators, officials with Lakes Entertainment have said.

The rest will be employed in lodge operations, food and beverage work and the golf course.

The gaming operation will start with 550 slot machines and 10 table games, said Scott Just, the general manager at Rocky Gap.

The casino should open in June, with new conference space available in the fall, officials have said.

Another fair, aimed at a wider range of personnel, is scheduled Feb. 23 in conjunction with Allegany College of Maryland, Blank said.

Contact Matthew Bieniek at mbieniek@times-news.com.