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Best of Howard Stutz

Gaming Guru

Howard Stutz
 

Company Aims to Keep Employees

10 February 2005

LAS VEGAS -- The expected availability of 15,000 new casino and hospitality jobs in Las Vegas over the next five years -- 10,000 alone from April's planned opening of the $2.5 billion Wynn Las Vegas -- makes smaller gaming operations prime targets for experienced workers.

American Casino & Entertainment Properties, the company that operates the Stratosphere and the two Arizona Charlie's properties, is taking steps to try and slow that migration.

While centralizing its human resources division, American Casino believes it has devised ways to keep its employees from exploring other opportunities.

A new internal job promotion campaign allows American Casino employees to transfer between properties when positions become available. A worker might, for instance, move from a job as a line employee at one casino into a management position at another.

"Like any company, we want to keep our best employees," said Kim Davis, American Casino's vice president of human resources. "We believe that focusing on career development and giving current employees various opportunities within the company will help enhance our retention."

American Casino employs about 3,500 people between its three Las Vegas properties and another 2,500 at the Sands in Atlantic City.

The company unveiled the program internally last month and will hold public job fairs from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday and 8 a.m. until noon Saturday at the Stratosphere to recruit new casino, hotel, food and beverage, information technology and finance employees.

Davis said some workers would rather work at a smaller, niche property, such as one of the Arizona Charlie's casinos, that cater to local-based customers, than at a Strip megaresort.

Under the new program, American Casino plans to focus on recruiting, career development and long-term retention through programs that focus on education, training and leadership. The transfer policy also allows Las Vegas employees to move into positions at the Sands in Atlantic City and vice versa.

One potential worker-retention hurdle for Las Vegas casinos so far hasn't materialized. The spread of American Indian casinos in California so far hasn't siphoned off Las Vegas' casino work force.

"We receive a lot of job applications from people working in Indian casinos in California," Davis said. "They seem to like the opportunities here."