Isle of Capri's Cape GM talks about hiring process

Thursday, February 2, 2012
Chet Koch is the general manager of Isle Casino Cape Girardeau. (Laura Simon)

As Isle of Capri prepares to hire nearly 500 people to staff its new Cape Girardeau casino, the company is meeting with local groups to educate the community about its hiring process.

Isle Cape Girardeau general manager Chet Koch told the Cape Girardeau Lions Club on Wednesday about the types of positions the new casino will offer and Missouri Gaming Commission's employee licensing regulations. Koch is speaking to several community groups this month about working at the casino.

The time line for hiring is still under development, Koch said, but the casino is on schedule to open before the end of the year. Last week the company started its hiring process by internally posting its job openings for department director positions at its Cape Girardeau site. A director of facilities was recently hired and visited the site, Koch said.

Jobs will be advertised on the company's website in groups of similar occupations. Then groups of applicants will be brought in before a panel of interviewers. They'll also be required to do "courtesy auditions" to act out how they would handle certain situations that may occur in the casino, Koch said.

"We're looking for someone who has the personality to be great in a crowd," he said. "People that really want to wake up in the morning and grab hold of life and they're just excited about what the day has to bring to them."

The biggest differences between the new casino and other Cape Girardeau businesses are the regulations gaming establishments must meet.

"We operate under a privilege license issued by the Missouri Gaming Commission and just like a driver's license, it can be yanked away if we don't comply with what the rules are," Koch said.

Every employee, whether a dishwasher or a blackjack dealer, must have an occupational license granted by the Missouri Gaming Commission.

Most positions, such as a slot machine technician, a cashier or a waitress, require a level-two occupational license for which the potential employee must complete a 30-page application. Casino managers and department directors are required to have a level-one gaming license, which has a 70-page application.

The licenses are important to ensure the integrity of the gambling industry in Missouri, said Clarence Greeno, assistant deputy director of the Missouri Gaming Commission.

"The people of the state of Missouri have a vested interest in knowing the individuals operating these games and working in the casinos are of a moral character that gives them confidence that things are being handled properly," Greeno said.

Licensing includes a background check by Missouri State Highway Patrol officers looking at credit, financial and tax records in addition to criminal backgrounds, he said.

The forms are submitted to the casino's human resources department and then the information is forwarded by the casino to the gaming commission.

"If you've ever sat in the back of a police car for any reason other than work, you probably won't get a license," Koch said. "That's how strict Missouri is at providing for the integrity of gaming in the state. It makes it a little bit tougher for us to operate; we just can't hire anyone off the street. We already have high standards."

Being convicted of or pleading guilty to a felony will disqualify someone from receiving a license to work in a casino, Greeno said. So will any misdemeanors within the last five years related to fraud, theft or crimes of dishonesty.

When it comes to drug- and alcohol-related offenses, one possession of marijuana or one DWI conviction might not on its own disqualify a license applicant, Greeno said.

"We look at the totality of the circumstances. If the big picture indicates this individual is perhaps not of the moral character we feel has a place in the gaming industry, they will not receive a license," he said.

Applicants may also be disqualified by failing to disclose information to the gaming commission on the license application. By state statute, the gaming commission is considered a law enforcement agency and has access to closed court records, Greeno said.

Koch said working in the entertainment industry at a casino can be fun, but it is a different atmosphere than most other businesses.

"Our busiest times are nights, weekends and holidays when other businesses are closed and when most families are together. It's a cultural shift coming to work inside the casino," he said.

Casino jobs on the gaming floor include slot technicians, slot attendants who pay out jackpots and table game dealers. The casino will have several restaurants that will hire managers, cooks, servers and dishwashers. The casino will have about 200 computers and employ systems and computer technicians. It will have its own advertising and marketing staff; a finance department with accountants, accounting clerks and cashiers; human resources department with employee relations and benefits coordinators. Its facilities department will hire technicians and mechanics to maintain the property. Its environmental services teams will keep the site clean. The casino will also have a 24-hour surveillance staff to monitor cameras throughout the casino complex.


Pertinent address:

777 N. Main St., Cape Girardeau, MO

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