Casino security jobs aren’t for everyone. The 24-hour business cycle, intoxicated patrons and stimulating surroundings are too overwhelming for some. However, if you’re a team player and you can adapt to the unusual environment, working as a casino security guard can be an exciting way to earn a living.
Like other security guards, a casino security guard protects his employer's property from vandalism, theft and other illegal activity. Guards may do this while patrolling the grounds or while stationed at a static position. Casino security guards also protect the gambling hall’s money during transport from the gaming pit to the vaults and other destinations. Occasionally, officers will go undercover in street clothes to monitor and investigate suspicious activity.
Interacting with the general public is a big part of a casino security guard’s regular routine. Not only does he safeguard patrons and their property, officers are expected to assist guests whenever asked. This includes greeting visitors, giving directions and escorting motorists to their car if need be.
Education and Training
Casinos usually only require a high school diploma or GED for standard positions. Most casino security guards receive on-site training, so no special schooling is required. However, military and law enforcement backgrounds are highly desirable. Additional certifications may be necessary if you’ll be carrying a firearm, and some states require licenses for these positions, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
A casino security guard may be required to work in smoke-filled environments. She also should expect to spend most of her time on her feet, either patrolling or literally standing watch. Casino security guards work eight-hour shifts, but overtime is common. Expect to work holidays too.
Pay rates vary greatly depending on experience and casino location. The Bureau of Labor Statistics website reports that the median annual wage for a security guard in 2008 was $23,460. It is not uncommon for a casino security guard in Reno, Nevada, to make $8.50 an hour, when he is just starting his career.
Don’t confuse casino security officers with surveillance officers. Surveillance officers monitor live games with the help of security cameras and monitors. These men and women must be well-versed in casino game play, so they can spot cheating gamblers and dealers. Surveillance officers do not patrol the property as casino security guards do. They rarely leave the surveillance office.
2016 Salary Information for Security Guards and Gaming Surveillance Officers
Security guards and gaming surveillance officers earned a median annual salary of $25,830 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, security guards and gaming surveillance officers earned a 25th percentile salary of $21,340, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $34,680, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 1,134,000 people were employed in the U.S. as security guards and gaming surveillance officers.