New York Community College Approves Second Casino Degree As Rivers Casino Opening Looms

Written By J.R. Duren on May 29, 2016 - Last Updated on November 30, 2022
NY community college casino management path

Believe it or not, you can major in gambling at Schenectady County Community College (SCCC), where students can choose the casino and gaming management degree path.

This past week, however, the school’s Board of Trustees reportedly approved a second gaming-industry degree: business administration-casino.

The college has yet to make available the minutes from the May 16 trustees meeting in which the new program was put forth.

An agenda posted on the college’s trustees page indicates the new program was on the schedule for discussion, as well as the reappointment of Kim Otis, an instructor of casino and gaming management, and Dr. Penny Hayes, vice president of Academic Affairs and the faculty member who spoke with the press following the board’s decision.

Linked to 2017 opening of Rivers Casino and Resort

Hayes said the decision comes at a crucial time in their casino-industry department. Rush Street Gaming, a Chicago-based casino operator, is building a $330 million casino just a mile from the SCCC campus.

The casino, named Rivers Casino and Resort, is slated to launch early next year, bringing with it about 1,200 new jobs.

New program details are sparse

Hayes said the framework of the new degree resulted from discussions with Rush Street.

“After talking with Rush Street Gaming, they also want us to have a program with a finance approach,” Hayes told the Albany Business Review. “We really modeled (the proposed program) after our current business administrative program, with a few changes.”

Hayes did not elaborate on the details of the degree program, though the Business Review was able to report that the new coursework will include casino-specific accounting and finance curriculum.

Existing program focuses on broad management issues

The existing program, an Associate of Applied Science degree in Casino and Gaming Management, offers students:

  • Adequate knowledge and skills for professional positions in the gaming industry.
  • Six new courses dedicated to casino gaming management.
  • A required, industry-specific internship.
  • Core courses that include overviews of casino management, operations, security, surveillance as well as regulatory requirements.

Instructor Kim Otis is quoted as saying on the SCCC website that the 60-credit program is “working toward having these students focus on responsible gaming, current industry practices and the broad picture of hospitality as their foundation.”

Casino accepting applications for employment

According to the Rivers Casino website, Rush Street is already accepting resumes for certain positions related to SCCC’s existing gaming degree as well as the proposed degree:

  • Director of Security
  • Director of Surveillance
  • Finance Controller
  • Senior Accountant
  • Accountant

Program needs further approval

Though the job openings at Rivers seem tailored for the new degree program, SCCC students won’t have their new degrees in time to fill finance- and accounting-related positions.

According to the Albany Business Review, SCCC’s second casino degree must be approved by the State University of New York and the New York State Education Department.

The community college isn’t the only educational institution in the state with casino-related degrees. Morrisville State College, Broome Community College and the Niagara Falls Culinary Institute also offer gaming/casino management programs.

The latter two, however, only offer “certificates” which require 15 and 26 hours of coursework, respectively.

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J.R. Duren

J.R. Duren has covered the Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey gambling beats for Catena Media. His past reporting experience includes two years at The Villages Daily Sun. J.R. is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and a first-place winner at the Florida Press Club Excellence in Journalism Contest.

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