Casino Management class prepares for sixth trip to Las Vegas


Photo from 2013 trip courtesy of Rob Heiman.

Julia Sprowls

Casino Management and Gaming Operations within the hospitality management program is set to take their sixth trip to Las Vegas the week of March 16.

The class will spend five days in Nevada at the Excalibur Hotel and Casino. Rob Heiman, an assistant professor in the department of Foundation, Leadership and Administration and term instructor Carl LoPresti team-teach the class and will be accompanying the students in Vegas.

“In class, we’ve been preparing for the trip by learning about Las Vegas history, learning gaming terminology and networking with business professionals in Las Vegas,” said Samantha Harris, a senior hospitality management major currently in the class.

Students in the class recently went on a field trip to the Hard Rock Rocksino Northfield  Park where they toured the facility and met with the head directors and the property’s president.

“It’s not sitting in a classroom watching PowerPoints of Las Vegas,” Heiman said. “We’re going to jump right in.”

“I’m most excited about meeting the business professionals in Vegas. As a senior, I need to start applying for jobs, and Las Vegas is exactly where I plan to do so,” Harris said.

Michael Kelly, a Kent State alumnus and current food broker, has been on this trip twice and said the contacts he made have been beneficial, specifically Emma Winstead, the front desk manager at the Bellagio hotel.

“The students have a lot of free time, but at the same time there’s about five or six structured, behind the scenes look at different components of the major businesses and that’s something that a tourist could never see,” Heiman said.

“This trip isn’t just a crazy let loose vacation. We get a decent amount of free time, but we have professional meetings every day with very important people in the industry,” said Devon Baker, a junior hospitality management major currently in the class.

This trip was first introduced in 2009 when Ohio passed Issue 3, the authorization to contract casinos in major Ohio cities.

This year’s itinerary includes meetings at Caesars Palace and the Bellagio hotel, as well as a showing of The Beatles LOVE by Cirque du Soleil.

“We have been told by the director of corporate recruiting for MGM properties, Adam Miller, that we are one of the only universities in the country that come out, go behind the scenes and really try to network firsthand with all these executives. It has resulted in several of our alumni getting jobs out there,” Heiman said.

Students 21 and over can take this class. To sign up or learn more, visit the casino management’s study abroad webpage.

Contact Julia Sprowls at [email protected].