Hundreds of people lined up on sun-drenched asphalt Saturday to see if they could get regular payouts, in the form of paychecks, from the new Maryland Live! Casino, a slots casino scheduled to open at Arundel Mills mall in about three months.
"I hope I get lucky enough to get a position," said Mark Ellison, who's from West Baltimore. "They want people who are willing to go the extra mile so customers come in and enjoy spending their money."
The operators of what will be the state's largest casino hosted a job fair Saturday with the Anne Arundel Workforce Development Corp. in order to inform people about the more than 900 positions that need to be filled in the next six weeks.
For six hours, lines of people snaked through a parking lot behind an office park, waiting to submit online job applications and speak with the people doing the hiring.
Over 600 people had gone through the fair by 1:30 p.m. and the fair wasn't scheduled to end until 4 p.m., said Rob Norton, the casino's president and general manager.
The jobs being promoted at the fair are "the lion's share" of the casino's workforce, he said.
Booths were set up where prospective employees could ask questions about working as a slot attendant, the qualifications for a "cage cashier" and the types of food service positions that are available, among other inquiries about the jobs.
"Being a cage cashier is a lot like being a bank teller, but a lot more exciting," Norton said.
And slot attendants do more than put tickets into the machines, he said. They're the people responsible for bringing people their winnings from the video machines.
"It's more about personality," he said. "Most of the jobs we're willing to do training for."
Rudy Volpe, the casino's executive chef, saw a lot of potential among job fair attendees.
"I've met some fantastically motivated students," Volpe said. "The local [culinary] programs should be very proud."
"We want to have fun in the kitchen. They can be hot, hard places," he said. "We want to congeal a family."
The casino's assortment of jobs brought people in a variety of employment situations out to the fair.
Maunera Evans of Baltimore works full-time as a prenatal health monitor but came to the event to hear about the possibility of getting part-time work on the casino's food and beverage staff. She'd like to bring in some extra cash, she said.
"I think it would be fun, an interesting experience," Evans added.
Marian Washington and Omega Houston, mother and daughter from Glen Burnie, are both employed, Washington at Greater Baltimore Medical Center and Houston at Under Armour. But Washington is hoping to make more money and Houston would like better hours.
Laurel resident Larry Brown, who has been out of work for six months, said he wasn't in a position to be picky.
"Wherever they want to put me, I can fit in," said Brown. He lost his manufacturing job with General Motors when the plant he worked at closed. "You have to get what you can sometimes."
Salaries for jobs in the casino range from $6 per hour on the low end, for jobs that are also compensated through tips, to $15 per hour on the high end, Norton said.
The casino expects to have completed hiring by the end of April and employees will be trained during May, he said.
The casino will be accepting applications online until the positions are all filled.