July 22, 2013

Wild Rose Entertainment officials say a proposed Greene County casino would bring an annual payroll of $6 million to $7 million.

The privately held, West Des Moines-based company expects to employ more than 250 people in a Jefferson casino-and-entertainment complex. Greene County voters must pass a gaming referendum Aug. 6 for the project to move forward. The Iowa Racing and Gaming Association would then have to approve a license for the local not-for-profit that would develop the casino in concert with Wild Rose.

So what would the jobs be? How much would they pay?

In 2011, the Iowa Gaming Association, the organization representing the 18 state-regulated casinos, surveyed members on salaries and wages for a variety of positions in Iowa casinos, from the people who maintain slot machines to card dealers to hotel maids to management and finance professionals.

"We fall pretty much in that range," said Tom Timmons, vice president of operations for Wild Rose.

Wes Ehrecke, president and CEO of the Iowa Racing and Gaming Association, said the industry offers entry-level and professional positions - as well as a proven track record of internal advancement.

"We've had several people that have moved themselves up the ranks," Ehrecke said.

The industry also has been a leader in providing opportunities to women, Five of the 18 casino managers in the state are women.

"We think it's a really great opportunity to really reach out," Ehrecke said.

The following is how salaries and wages break down for casino positions statewide:

Slot machine technicians - $11.25 to $15 an hour beginning wages. Advances up to $17.

Slot machine managers - $30,000 to $60,000.

Black Jack dealers - $5.44 an hour (with tips).

Table game dealers (who can handle all games) $6 to $10 (with tips).

Hospitality services director - $35,000 to $100,000

Banquet setters - $9.07 to $15.

Concessions manager - $30,000 to $70,000.

Hostess/cashier - $9.07 to mid-teens.

Preparation cooks - $9.07 to high teens.

Housekeepers - $9.07 to $12

Hotel and front-office managers - $30,000 to $45,000

Ehrecke said salaries and wages also must be considered in light of health-care and other benefits. Casino employees at Wild Rose, for example, are eligible for health, vision and dental coverage and 401(k)s with 32 hours of work a week.

"We like to think we're very competitive with the communities we're in," Ehrecke said.

Wild Rose has a policy of paying at least 25 percent above the minimum wage. Workers who receive tips are paid smaller salaries and wages.

Ehrecke said that because casinos and associated features, like hotels and restaurants, operate around-the-clock, many employees are able to work in second jobs.