Thousands Bet On Hundreds Of Casino Jobs In Las Vegas

The Plaza Hotel and Casino in downtown Las Vegas is undergoing renovations and will reopen later this summer with a new staff.
Jude Joffe-Block
By Jude Joffe-Block
July 05, 2011

When the Plaza Hotel and Casino in downtown Las Vegas announced it would be hiring, it was a rare dose of good news amid bleak employment statistics.

In the last several years, Nevada casinos have shed thousands of jobs, pushing the state's unemployment rate up to 12 percent – currently the worst in the country.

So as of July 1, just four days into the Plaza's two-week job fair, about 23,000 people had submitted online applications for just 800 open jobs.

"It far exceeds what we were expecting," said Tony Santo, the president and CEO of Play LV, which operates the Plaza. In fact, Santo said he already has UNE<PLOYEDthree times the number of applicants he hoped for.

"We always thought we would get a good turnout, but we just never thought we would get that many applications online," he said.

Photo courtesy of Play LV
Renovations at the 40 year old property meant closures and staff layoffs. When the hotel reopens, it will boast remodeled rooms.

The property was closed for renovations and is expected to reopen fully in September. So Santo is looking for everything from housekeepers to card dealers to managers.

The 800 openings make the Plaza's job fair the biggest in Las Vegas so far this year, according to Ben Daseler of Nevada's Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation. Former employees who were laid off during the Plaza's renovations will be given priority for 300 open positions.

Kathy Nelson came to the fair to interview for a food server job. She has been searching for work for a year and says everywhere she looks in Las Vegas is competitive.

"You know, I've even gone to a lot of restaurants and they've said they are out of applications because they have had so many people come in and ask for them," Nelson said.

Rocky Czejaka is also out of work. She said the number of other applicants is intimidating. But she isn't giving up.

"All I can do is hope," Czejaka said after her interview for a job in housekeeping or promotions. "And then if not, just continue on and find something else. Sooner or later, I'll have something."

But not everyone is so confident. Since the start of the year, more than 20,000 unemployed Nevadans have stopped looking for work and dropped out of the labor force.