Posted on: September 15, 2023, 09:05h.
Last updated on: September 15, 2023, 02:46h.
The Bally’s Corporation holds a monopoly on commercial casino operations in its home state of Rhode Island. In the firm’s ongoing commitment to civic stewardship, the casino operator announced a major gift to the state’s lone public community college this week.
On Thursday, Bally’s revealed a $5 million donation to the Community College of Rhode Island (CCRI). The contribution is the largest in the public school’s nearly 45-year history and doubles the size of the college’s endowment.
The money, school officials said, will be used to “increase pathways to higher education and provide economic opportunities for students interested in pursuing a career in the casino and gaming industries.” The funds will also help provide tuition to current Bally’s employees wishing to advance their skill sets.
Rhode Island is our home, and continued investment in its local communities and workforces will always be a top priority for us,” said Bally’s Corp. Chairman Soo Kim. “While this donation is the latest milestone in our long-term partnership with CCRI, we look forward to supporting this program for many years to come, creating a legacy of economic opportunity.”
Bally’s operates both of Rhode Island’s two commercial casinos — Bally’s Twin River Lincoln and Bally’s Tiverton.
Hiring across the U.S. gaming industry has been difficult in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many workers found new careers, with work-from-home options gaining attraction among a considerable portion of the population.
Bally’s is hoping to entice college students in Rhode Island to consider a career in the casino industry through its $5 million gift. CCRI will become the only place of higher education in The Ocean State to offer college students opportunities to obtain an associate’s degree based on a gaming-focused curriculum.
“The program will include traditional classroom learning, online courses, on-campus learning labs, and opportunities to work at a Bally’s property, and consists of casino, hospitality, and hotel management-specific courses such as dealer training, casino operations, cybersecurity, iGaming operations, culinary arts, hotel management, and slot technology,” a Bally’s release detailed.
Establishing the gaming courses will take some time, Bally’s and CCRI officials said. The goal is to offer the gaming program by the fall of 2024.
CCRI counts about 17,000 students across its Warwick, Lincoln, Providence, Newport, and Westerly campuses.
UNLV’s William F. Harrah College of Hospitality is where many future casino managers and executives study before entering the workforce. However, as gaming has expanded considerably across the U.S. in recent decades, more schools have developed and initiated gaming-centered curricula.
Many community colleges have also tailored job-specific training programs for careers in the casino industry.
In Maryland, for example, the Anne Arundel Community College offers a “Casino Dealer School” where enrollees learn how to deal blackjack and other popular table games. Full tuition scholarships are available, with those grants backed by The Cordish Companies. Cordish operates Live! Casino Hotel Maryland in Arundel Mills.