Casino and Game Management class takes on Vegas

Kelsey Misbrener

Students in the Casino and Game Management class got VIP treatment on their annual trip to Las Vegas in early March.

Among other behind-the-scenes tours, they attended a private showing of the Fountains of Bellagio and the hotel suite in the MGM Grand where Snoop Dogg would be staying later that night

“We weren’t just tourists,” said Rob Heiman, assistant professor of foundations, leadership and administration. “We went there and talked and worked behind the scenes. You get a first-hand view and see operations of the largest hotels and casinos in the world.”

At the MGM Grand, the students got to see the most expensive rooms.

“They took us to the Sky Loft suites and said 90 percent of their employees have never even seen them,” said Nicole Smith, junior nutrition and food major.

Aside from the tours, the group also went to the Nightclub and Bar Convention and Trade Show, where they chose two products to research through different companies.

Students paid $750 to go on the five-day trip. The fee included flight, hotel, and a day at the Convention and Trade Show.

Before the trip, the class focused on topics like blackjack, horse racing and sports betting, said Nicholas Bellino, instructor of foundations, leadership and administration.

Sometimes the instructors brought in gaming tables and taught the students to deal, said Kelley Krebs, senior food and nutrition major.

“The hands-on quality makes it different from other classes,” Krebs said.

A month before the trip, small groups of students also had to choose a casino to study. Before they arrived in Las Vegas, students set up interviews and tours with the casino of their choice to find out the employment, philosophy and inner workings of the casino, Bellino said. They presented their projects to the class when they returned.

Smith said she didn’t think she’d like Las Vegas, but the trip changed her mind. She was amazed by the behind-the-scenes experience.

“It’s just cool they took the time out of their day,” Smith said. “They really want students, even from Ohio, to be interested in their business.”

Jasmine Neloms, sophomore food and nutrition major, said with all of the class work they still had time to enjoy themselves.

“It was definitely a party,” Neloms said. “But I feel like it should only be for people who are actually interested in hotels or some type of networking within it.”

Heiman said the trip to Las Vegas is a great way for students to get a first-hand view of professionals in the field.

“Every casino you go to is going to have hospitality management,” Bellino said. “It’s a mecca of hospitality, that’s why we want to showcase our students there.”

He said students usually behave themselves.

“And if they didn’t, I wouldn’t tell you,” he said. “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.”

Casino and Game Management has been offered for four years under the subject of hospitality management. Bellino said it used to be a special topics course, but it became a full-term elective course two years ago.

Contact Kelsey Misbrener at [email protected]