Casino Management Degrees: A Comprehensive Guide

Casino Gaming

Casino management degree

Working in the gaming industry can be exciting and rewarding. It’s also a career path that’s open to people from any background, and you can gain experience in many casino roles without needing a degree. As your career advances, however, getting an education in hospitality management can help you make faster progress (and a higher salary). If you’re curious about gaming management degrees and how getting one can help your casino career, read on to find answers to your questions. 


Overview of casino management degrees

Managers in casinos have a similar role to those in other areas of the tourism and hospitality industry, and many of the day-to-day tasks of the job are the same as those of a restaurant, hotel, or resort manager. Casino managers make sure guests have an enjoyable experience, schedule and manage staff, and oversee the finances and operation of the business. 

The main difference is that gaming operations are highly regulated, and leadership in the casino industry needs to understand these laws and regulations inside and out. This is information you’ll get in a casino management program, along with skills and knowledge that’s applicable to a variety of leisure and hospitality businesses, such as marketing, accounting and finance, staff management, and other aspects of casino operations. 

Casino management degrees are available at the associate, bachelor’s, and master’s level. Associate degrees are typically a two-year, on-campus program, though there are some online options available, and normally include a work hour requirement as well as classes. The four-year program for Bachelor’s degrees goes into more depth and covers more topics, often culminating in an internship or capstone project. Like associate programs, these are available in both online and on-campus forms. 

The highest education option in the field is a Master’s degree in Casino Management, which may take the form of an MBA program with a specialization in gaming or a Graduate Certificate in Gaming Management. Depending on the course, these can range in length from 15-30 credit hours. Which level of degree will be right for a given student depends on their career goals and level of experience in the field. 


Typical coursework in a casino management bachelor’s program

A Bachelor’s degree for gaming managers is a specialized version of the Hospitality Management major at most schools. This means the coursework will include general topics of value for hospitality professionals, including hotel and resort operations, restaurant management, and general skills like business strategy, staff management and leadership, customer satisfaction, business accounting, and soft skills like communication and team-building. 

This broad focus can be a benefit for many professionals. Casinos are often located within resorts, or have attached restaurants and entertainment spaces, and the manager is often in charge of these in addition to the gaming floor. 

In addition to these general courses, casino management bachelor’s programs include content specific to gaming facilities. This starts with learning about the games themselves, and you’ll learn how to play, deal, and run table games like blackjack, poker, roulette, craps, and baccarat, as well as basic slot machine operation and sports betting best practices. Other topics typically covered in the coursework of a casino management bachelor’s degree include:

  • Casino operations
  • Casino staffing and employee management
  • Gambling technology
  • Gaming ethics and problem gaming mitigation practices
  • Gaming laws and regulations
  • Gaming revenue management
  • Odds and probability 
  • Promotional and marketing strategy
  • Surveillance and security

Graduate-level casino management coursework

The type of coursework involved in a graduate casino management program will depend on the type of degree or certificate you’re working toward. One option is to get a Master’s of Business Administration (MBA) with a concentration in Gaming Management. Typically, you’ll need to hold a Bachelor’s degree before enrolling in one of these programs, and the courses will build on that foundation. 

These are typically 30-credit programs designed to be completed in two full-time academic years. Like with the Bachelor’s degrees above, the classes will be divided between general business management studies and those specific to gaming facilities. Some of the typical topics covered include:

  • Casino operations and management
  • Ethics and social issues in the gaming industry
  • Gaming laws and regulations
  • Financial management
  • Human resources management
  • Marketing management 
  • Risk management 
  • Service quality management

Other schools, such as the University of Las Vegas, offer a Graduate Certificate program for gaming managers. These programs are shorter and have a lower tuition than a full two-year Master’s program, and focus only on topics of interest to the gaming industry. These include:

  • Accounting, auditing, and financial decision making
  • Casino management strategies and techniques
  • Government and community regulations, law, and compliance
  • Internet and mobile gaming
  • Marketing of gaming industry businesses
  • Sociology and psychology of gambling
  • Statistical analysis in gaming
  • Trends in gaming operations

Admissions requirements for casino management degree programs

Associate degree programs have the lowest barrier to entry. Depending on the school, they may even have an open admission program, particularly if you take courses through a community college. Most do require students to have a high school diploma or GED to apply for financial aid or to receive a degree, but you can often at least take the courses without any formal education. 

Programs at the Bachelor’s degree level are more selective. The minimum requirement is usually a high school diploma or GED, along with submitting scores from a standardized test such as the SAT or ACT. Some schools may also have minimum GPA requirements, so you’ll want to check the admission information for the particular college and program you’re considering. 

Master’s degree and certificate programs normally look for students who hold a degree from an accredited university, often with a minimum GPA requirement of 2.5 or higher. Some will consider verified work experience in lieu of either the degree or the GPA requirement, though this will vary depending on the institution. Many schools also require students to take the Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT) or Graduate Record Examination (GRE). Some have a minimum score requirement, while others simply ask that students have taken the exam.

One other thing to keep in mind before applying for a program: since casino managers work with large amounts of money, most employers will require a criminal background check before offering employment. If you have a criminal background, it’s smart to do some research on which jobs will be open to you before starting your education.


Career options with a casino management degree

Pit manager

Average salary: $59,000 per year
Typical education: Bachelor’s degree

Pit managers or pit bosses are the ones who supervise the day-to-day operations on the casino floor. They work closely with the security team as well as the dealers to spot and stop cheating, resolve disputes, and keep the casino running smoothly. You can think of this as an entry-level management role since it’s where many gaming managers get their start. 

Director of table games

Average salary: $85,000 per year
Typical education: Bachelor’s degree

The next level up from a pit manager, this role is responsible for managing all of the card and dice games in a casino. This includes hiring, scheduling, and managing the dealers, enforcing house rules and government regulations, and monitoring guests for signs of cheating or problem gaming.

Slot operations manager

Average salary: $69,000 per year
Typical education: Bachelor’s degree

Similar to the director of table games, the slots manager oversees all of the machine-based gaming that happens within a casino. They’re responsible for keeping the machines in working order, coordinating maintenance and repair teams, and supervising the staff and players on the gaming floor. 

Internal auditor

Average salary: $51,000 per year
Typical education: Bachelor’s degree

For those who prefer to work behind the scenes and have a strong mathematical aptitude, a role as an internal auditor could be ideal. These professionals review the financial figures and operations records of the casino to check for signs of fraud, theft, or cheating, and ensure the facility is in full compliance with all laws and regulations.

Operations manager

Average salary: $102,000 per year
Typical education: Master’s degree

Also called the Director of Operations or Casino General Manager, this is a top-level management position that oversees the entire gaming enterprise. This may include managing facilities like an on-site restaurant, events space, or performance venue, in addition to coordinating with security teams, pit managers, and other facility staff. They’re also often responsible for developing and executing the casino’s overarching business strategy, ensuring compliance with gaming laws and regulations, and overseeing marketing and promotional campaigns, making this a role that requires extensive business knowledge as well as expertise in the gaming industry. 


Should you get a casino management degree?

As with many areas of hospitality, there are ample job opportunities in the gaming industry that don’t require any formal education. Not all of these are entry-level roles, either, and you’ll certainly find casino managers who never went to college. 

This doesn’t mean a degree lacks value, however. Earning a casino management degree counts for more years of experience on your resume than the two to four years you’ll spend in the program. You’ll be qualified for a wider range of job titles and be seen as a strong candidate by more employers, which can translate to faster career progress and higher salaries sooner. If you’re committed to working in casinos for the long-term, getting a degree in casino management is a smart move. 


Bristol Associates, Inc. is an executive search firm with over 55 years of excellence in recruiting nationwide. Bristol specializes in recruiting for the Casino Gaming; CBD; Facility and Concession; Food and Beverage Manufacturing; Healthcare; Hotel and Resort; Nonprofit; Restaurant and Foodservice; and Travel, Tourism, and Attraction industries.

If you’re interested in working with Bristol Associates, click here if you’re an employer or here if you’re a candidate.

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