The regulations — covering everything from poker rules to required background checks on casino workers — are expected to be presented to the gaming commission for approval in early December, Martino said.

By then, many Marylanders may have decided whether they're ready to cash in as a dealer or as a player, since casino workers can't gamble where they work.

Anne Arundel Community College is one of two community colleges that had established training for both casino workers and card players to learn the games, even before voters approved them. Another vocational dealer school, the Casino Gaming Institute, plans to set up shop in the state as soon as possible, having secured state approval to qualify for federal vocational training funds before Election Day.

"There's going to be very big rush," said Vinnie Rege, director of Howard Community College's Hospitality and Culinary Management Program.

Two years ago, the Howard County school designed an associate's degree in casino management, and the Maryland Higher Education Commission approved the curriculum. But the program was put on hold until voters approved expanded gambling.

Rege expects unemployed casino workers from Atlantic City and Mississippi, where the gambling industry has shrunk, to stream into Maryland. He wants students to compete for management jobs having graduated from a program that requires a gambling history course before enrolling in the basics of poker. Since the referendum, about a dozen students a day have called about courses that start in January, he said.

"We're trying to keep the Maryland workforce within Maryland," Rege said.

Before her test last week in Introduction to Games of Chance — Anne Arundel Community College's final casino course in a series of three — Eleanor Hawkins said she's considering a part-time job as a dealer to supplement her Annapolis real estate business.

"Maybe, maybe not," she said as her instructor gave a refresher on the rules of roulette. "I'll be where the money is."

ecox@baltsun.com

By the numbers:

2,900: Number of new jobs at Maryland Live and Baltimore Horseshoe casino

24: Hours daily that casinos can operate beginning in January

150,000: Maryland residents estimated to be problem gamblers

240: Hours to complete a free dealer school offered by Maryland Live

$20,000: Cost of a high-end roulette table and wheel