Gaming runners are responsible for assisting in the operation of such games as bingo and keno. They also assist patrons by taking bets on sporting events. When patrons present winning tickets, gaming runners scan those tickets, calculate the winnings, and pay the patron. Some are in charge of operating the machines that randomly generate numbers in bingo and keno games. They also announce the numbers that are generated to patrons, collect tickets and bets, and verify and record the cash wagers of patrons.
Legalized gambling is a multi-billion-dollar business in the United States and includes casinos, State lotteries, wagering on dog and horse racing, and charitable gaming. Most gaming runners are employed in casinos, and their specific duties vary from establishment to establishment. Some positions require specialized skills while others require skills that are common to almost all types of businesses.
Gaming runners should have an outgoing personality. They must have the ability to maintain their composure even when dealing with angry or demanding patrons. Because so many of these workers handle money, and sometimes large sums of it, personal integrity and honesty are also very important qualities.
In 2002, gaming runners earned a median annual salary of $18,660. Earnings varied greatly depending on level of experience, training, location, and size of the gaming establishment in which they worked.
Training and Education
The typical minimum educational requirement for gaming runner positions is a high school diploma or GED. All workers are required to obtain a license issued by a State casino control board or commission. In order to qualify for this license, applicants must submit photo identification, proof of State residency, and a fee. The licensing procedure in all States includes a background check. Every casino has different educational requirements, and almost all provide some type of on-the-job or in-house training. Those interested in long-term careers in the industry are encouraged to earn an associate's, bachelor's, or master's degree in a major such as hospitality management, hospitality administration, or hotel administration. Some vocational, community, and technical colleges offer training for this occupation.
In 2002, gaming runners held about 14,000 jobs. Most were employed by commercial casinos, and the largest concentration of workers was found in Nevada and New Jersey.
Between 2002 and 2012, employment of gaming runners is expected to increase faster than the average. Even in times of economic recession, casino profits continue to rise, and many States that do not currently allow gambling are reconsidering that stance. Opportunities will be best for those with a degree or certification in gaming or a hospitality-related field, as well as those with previous experience and good communication skills.
To learn more about hospitality, retail, and travel related careers, please visit our section on Hospitality Schools for more information.