LINCOLN – Twin River is preparing to open its new table gaming operation at the Twin River Road casino but still needs dealers and other employees to staff it.
That means there are still opportunities for Rhode Islanders to find a job with the new operation if they qualify through the state certification process, according to Patti Doyle, Twin River’s spokeswoman.
Twin River showed off the games that will be offered in the new operation later this summer with a tour for the media this past Tuesday and Doyle said the casino is still working to hire a full staff for the 65 tables of baccarat, craps, roulette, and black jack expected to be offered. Games of poker may also be added to that list in the future, according to Twin River.
Twin River has a training room for its new gaming employees where they can practice their needed skills with the help of industry professionals but the process of hiring also requires the staff members to pass muster for certification by both the R.I. Lottery and the R.I. Department of Business regulation, which oversee the casino’s operations. That requirement, and the need to hire additional employees beyond those now being trained, makes it difficult thus far to say whether Twin River is meeting its projections of hiring 70 percent or more of its new employees from Rhode Island, according to Doyle.
As of last week, about 300 prospective table gaming employees have been forwarded to the state review phase but Doyle said at least another 300 employees will be needed by the time the table games parlor opens.
Whether that number will include the projected number of Rhode Islanders has yet to be determined, according to Doyle.
“Right now, Rhode Islanders make up 70 to 80 percent of the current Twin River employees,” Doyle said. The estimate that that ratio would also apply to the new hires was a key component in the marketing campaign Twin River deployed to win both state and local approval of the casino’s gaming expansion last November.
Whether that ratio remains in place for the new employees will depend on how many Rhode Islanders make it through the full employment qualification process, according to Doyle.
“We cautioned everyone on Tuesday that we have made some new hires but all of the dealers have to be licensed by the state,” she said.
Twin River currently employs 900 people in staffing its existing operations and will need the new employees to operate the range of table gaming planned as part of Twin River’s approved $7 million expansion project.
The work is being done inside the existing building on the first floor of the casino.
Twin River pursued approval of the expansion as a way to head off expected competition from table gaming at new casinos being planned in nearby Massachusetts. The agreement to put the plan before voters included a reduction of the state’s 65 percent share of video terminal revenues at Twin River to 18 percent for the table games.
The state will still collect its 65 percent share of the proceeds from video terminals under the agreement. Although the Twin River expansion received the green light from voters in November, a plan to conduct a similar expansion at Newport Grand was turned down by voters in Newport.
Doyle said she hopes Twin River will be able to meet the projection of at least 70 percent Rhode Island employees that helped it win voter approval of the expansion even if that can’t be stated factually at the moment.
“I can’t say that now because we are still hiring but it would surprise me if it didn’t increase,” she said of the number of Rhode Islanders expected to be hired.
Twin River held a job fair for the new operation last November that secured 3,500 applications for table game work. Doyle said other job opportunities also exist at Twin River from time to time and prospective job seekers should check with the casino to see what is available on a regular basis.