| G. Michael Dobbs
SPRINGFIELD – After years of speaking about the impact on the local employment market, MGM Springfield is now offering specifics about one segment of its employees: the dealers.
On Jan. 24 about 30 people gathered at the MGM training facility in the Colvest building on Columbus Avenue for an orientation session led by Robert Westerfield, the vice president of table gaming at the casino.
To be a successful dealer, Westerfield said what is required is “50 percent aptitude and 50 percent attitude.”
Job applicants must take classes through the Massachusetts Casino Careers Training Institute at Springfield Technical Community College. Westerfield said those who want to work at table games such as craps, blackjack and roulette, must take two classes in different games, while those who wish to deal poker must take one class.
The prerequisites for any of the classes include “a positive attitude, basic math skills, ability to pass a CORI background check and meet all licensing requirements and a signed student contract.”
Classes range in price from $399 with 130 hours of training for blackjack to 200 hours of instruction and a price of $599 for craps to $459 and 200 hours of instruction for poker.
There is a dress code for the classes of white shirt, black pants and comfortable shoes as there will be a lot of standing, Westerfield explained.
After successfully completing the needed classes, applicants will be offered an audition with the casino and then, if chosen, a job. Westerfield said the casino would need 110 dealers for poker and 150 for table games in both full and part time positions.
Applicants must also pay a $300 licensing fee to the Commonwealth, which MGM may offer payroll deductions.
He said poker dealers would keep their own tips, while table game dealer pool their tips.
The base pay for dealers is $5 an hour, Westerfield said. “With tips the sky’s the limit,” he said. “Let’s face it the tips are the money.”
He said MGM looks carefully on the customer potential of prospective dealers. “We look for that when we hire – we call that ‘the show.’”
Westerfield added he started in 1979 as a craps dealer. “I didn’t know a crap table from a kitchen table, he said with a smile. He went to school for 13 weeks.
There were a number of questions asked ranging from whether or not a MGM Springfield dealer can gamble there – the answer was no – to if the casino was going to offer employee parking onsite – the answer was perhaps depending on the number of casino customers.
For more class information and to register go to www.mccti-org or call 552-2086.