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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Profiles: Casino jobs


Security officer

Pete Stephens was a Sedgwick County detention deputy before he became a security officer at the Kansas Star Casino in December. A Wichita native, Stephens said the casino is a much more positive environment to work in and that his interactions with people are almost always friendly.

“You make them (customers) feel warm when they come inside the door,” he said.

Since working at the casino he’s met millionaires and people from all over the world.

“You just never know who is going to come in,” Stephens said.

Shift manager

Kari Bisping is a shift manager at the Kansas Star Casino. Bisping, who came to Mulvane from Iowa, is the boss of the “pit bosses” at the casino. So she oversees the managers who oversee the dealers at the poker, craps and blackjack tables.

Bisping has been in the casino business off and on since 1995, and she started her career as a dealer.

She said her primary job function is to make sure that “all the rules are being followed” at the table games and poker tables, by dealers and customers alike.

“It’s just exciting” to work in a casino, Bisping said. “And I like visiting with the customers.”

Dealer

Christy Howard was one of Kansas Star’s first dealers, and had never worked in the casino business before taking the job at the new casino last year.

The Wichita native was working in a military cut-and-sew shop until it closed and she lost her job.

“Every day is a different adventure,” Howard said of her work.

She said she likes everything about her job, including perfecting her work as a dealer, the atmosphere that she works in and the customers she works with.

Most of all, “I like watching the potential of the casino grow,” Howard said. “There are endless possibilities.”

Slot ambassador

David Cox is a Billings, Mont., native who, after a career in teaching, became a golf pro in Arizona.

That was before the economy collapsed and he and his wife, Tammy, lost their jobs.

So they moved to Derby, where Tammy grew up, but they had a tough time finding work until they applied at the casino.

David and Tammy Cox are both slot ambassadors, assigned to help people who are playing the casino’s hundreds of slot machines.

His favorite part of the job? “It has to be paying out the jackpots,” he said.

Cox adds that over time he’s come to learn that slot machines are like people, each one is different and each has its idiosyncrasies.

-- Jerry Siebenmark

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