On the gaming front line
When casinos open in Bermuda for the first time, Jaidah Bailey is going to be on the front line.
The Berkeley Institute graduate is on course to be one of the first Bermudians to be trained in casino management, and is already hard at work studying hospitality management with a focus on gaming at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. “When I heard gaming legislation had been passed I saw it as a niche and a completely new industry for Bermuda, something people don’t typically go to school for,” she said. “I thought I could be one of the first Bermudians to get trained in gaming and saw it as an interesting opportunity because a lot of people don’t think of it as a career.
“They just see it as a vacation activity — people go on cruises or to Las Vegas to gamble. I thought it would offer me an advantage and be a great opportunity to go out and get started, so by the time I finish school and turn 21, I can come back and get involved with a career in gaming.”
The 19-year-old said that when she told her family she wanted to study gaming, they gave her their full support, although she did say some had approached her about her choice to study in Las Vegas.
“Many people doubted that I would be able to focus and be successful in a city known for partying and gambling,” she said. “That was greater motivation to succeed at high levels, to prove to others my ability to succeed no matter where I decided to study.”
Ms Bailey said she believed that casinos could be a terrific asset for the island, and the negative effects of problem gaming can be addressed with intelligent legislation.
“If Bermuda does its homework on risk management, we will be able to moderate gaming risks,” she said. “The laws surrounding gaming will have to be clearly outlined and tailored to fit Bermuda.
“If Bermuda just copies laws from elsewhere without fine-tuning them, that can cause detriment to the island. I am almost certain that with the right laws, gaming in Bermuda can be very successful and eliminate the concerns of residents falling prey to addiction of gambling.”
Ms Bailey was recently surprised by a visit from home, in the form of representatives from the Bermuda Casino Gaming Commission, who travelled to UNLV to find resources that could be used to train Bermudians.
“Once they were here I spoke with them and just shared my experience in my hospitality programme so far,” she said. “It was great to know they recognised what I was doing and it was exciting for me to know they were looking into training opportunities for Bermudians at UNLV.”
Richard Schuetz, executive director for the commission, said UNLV is one of the best schools in the world for hospitality and leisure, adding: “We’re particularly excited to see that Jaidah is being proactive in getting trained in hospitality and gaming, and anticipate she will be a huge asset to Bermuda once she finishes her schooling and is ready to return home to find meaningful employment.”
Ms Bailey is now set to earn some hands-on experience in the tourism industry locally and internationally this summer, during which she will both spend time as an intern for the Bermuda Tourism Authority and take part in a study abroad programme in Thailand.
The teenager encouraged other young Bermudians to be open to opportunities in the gaming industry, but insisted they had to be passionate about it.
“Don’t get into hospitality or gaming just because it’s coming to Bermuda. It should be something you enjoy,” she said. “In my opinion, it’s such an exciting field and there’s so much to learn and offer. It’s different from the corporate setting where you sit at a desk from 9am until 5pm. There’s a lot more excitement. You meet different people and get to learn new skills.”
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