Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives Dade Phelan told reporters last week that he was open to bringing resort-style casinos to Texas.
“I want to see destination-style casinos that are high quality and that create jobs and that improve the lifestyle of those communities.”
So, what types of jobs would be available at Texas casinos, and, more importantly, how much money could workers expect to get paid?
Gambling could take center stage at statehouse
Speaker Phelan added that he believes voters would approve a constitutional amendment needed to expand gambling in the state. A survey conducted by PlayTexas in October appears to corroborate the speaker’s stance. According to the study, most Texans support gambling expansion, and they also show particular interest in casino-focused options.
Attempts to expand gambling in The Lone Star State have all failed in the past, but that isn’t stopping the industry from gearing up for yet another strong push to bring casino gaming to one of the last major markets without it. The Texas Legislature convenes every two years. On Jan. 10, the 88th Legislature’s regular session began.
Maybe this is the year Texas lawmakers pave the way for expanded gambling opportunities in the state. If that were to happen, casino developers would soon be stumbling over each other to build casinos in four major metro areas–Austin, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio.
Working in a Texas resort casino
So, what would it be like to work at a resort casino in Texas?
To give an idea, PlayTexas has compiled eight popular resort casino jobs, analyzed what their roles entail, and how much each job could potentially pay in Texas.
Neighboring states like Oklahoma and Louisiana are home to several resort casinos that could be comparable to the ones Texas hopes to get someday soon. Their pay scale will also be taken into account, as will the cost of living in the four metro areas: Houston, Dallas-Fort Worth, Austin and San Antonio.
It’s worth noting that the cost of living in Texas continues to be low relative to the rest of the country, according to data released by the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis in December 2022.
One thing is certain: Legalizing casino resorts in Texas would instantly create thousands of good-paying jobs.
Working at a Texas casino resort
The main duty of a casino shift manager is to run the day-to-day operations of the casino floor. They monitor the activities of the dealers and other employees. They ensure that everything runs smoothly and that players have a positive experience. Shift managers may also be responsible for hiring, training and resolving any customer issues that arise during their shifts.
- US average base salary: $55,674
- Expected average base salary in Texas: $52,136
Cage cashiers are an integral part of every resort casino. Just like bank tellers, these employees manage the money in the casino and help guests deal with checks, wire transfers, credit cards and other money issues. Cage cashiers finalize payments to customers, maintain the balance in the cash drawer, and also interact with customers in a friendly and professional manner.
- US average base salary: $35,777
- Expected average base salary in Texas: $29,770 to $38,375
Casino marketing managers are in charge of the marketing efforts at a resort casino. This includes determining demand for certain products and services, from the gaming floor to entertainment to hospitality. Additional duties may include designing rewards programs for frequent visitors and developing pricing strategies.
- US average base salary: $62,262
- Expected average base salary in Texas: $53,792 to $75,539
Security officer, surveillance operator
With all that money flowing through casinos, security is always a major concern. Security officers patrol the floor for any suspicious activity. They are there to ensure the security of players as well as staff. They work with guests as they make their way into the casino.
Surveillance operators are the eye in the sky. Their main purpose is to detect similar suspicious activity, only they have a much better vantage point. Security officers and surveillance operators also usually work in tandem to keep the resort safe.
- Security officer US average base salary: $36,973
- Expected average base salary in Texas: $25,800 to $38,200
- Surveillance operator US average base salary: $44,000
- Expected average base salary in Texas: $41,100
Many resort casinos have become gourmet hot spots with excellent cooks. Sous chefs are second in command and assist the executive chef in the daily kitchen operations. This involves duties like supervising the preparations and presentation of choice food. They’re also responsible for providing superior guest services to patrons of the casino by ensuring the food produced is of exceptional quality.
- US average base salary: $45,884
- Expected average base salary in Texas: $42,419
Casino hosts are friendly and outgoing. They typically work on guest outreach and brand management. There are three primary duties of a casino host: identify premium players and attract them to the casino; negotiate with players based on their level of play; and also organize transportation, accommodations, food and beverages, and other services for guests.
- US average base salary: $50,899
- Expected average base salary in Texas: $47,300
Software developers at casinos are IT professionals who design, develop and implement software applications. They also play a pivotal role in coding, testing and installing mobile and web applications for online casinos. The software engineer installs and runs a part of the complete software. End-users are given the chance to test the usability of the software and provide feedback. Other duties include providing maintenance services such as updating the software, fixing bugs and enhancing the code.
- US average base salary: $77,958
- Expected average base salary in Texas: $74,445
How casino wages stack up to Texas cost of living
According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the median cost of living in Texas in 2022 was $39,661.
Of the four metro areas, San Antonio is the most affordable, with the cost of living there being 13% below the state average. Dallas ranks as the most expensive, with a cost of living 13% above the state average. Austin’s cost of living is about 10% above the state average, while Houston’s hovers at 2% above.
Incidentally, The average salary in Texas in 2023 is around $47,651 annually or $22.91 per hour. For a more in-depth analysis, here are the average salaries for the major metropolitan areas:
Houston – $47,159/year or $23.58/hour
Dallas – $49,999/year or $25.00/hour
Fort Worth – $43,853/year or $21.93/hour
Austin – $44,437/year or $22.22/hour
San Antonio – $53,433/year or $25.69/hour
These median salaries suggest that casino jobs will, on balance, keep pace with cost of living standards in the state. However, these assurance are not a part of current casino legislation and will be the business of gaming regulators and casino developers once legislation passes.