Michigan Tribal Casinos Turn Up Hiring Incentives As Summer Approaches

Written By Matt Schoch on May 18, 2021Last Updated on December 13, 2021
Michigan Casinos Hiring Staff May 2021

Michigan casinos are hoping for a bounce-back summer in 2021 by looking toward hiring staff and replenishing their workforce to help make it happen.

The removal of mask mandates and the opening of Michigan’s summer tourism season are more signs the state’s 23 tribal casinos are raring to go.

So are the job fairs.

Gun Lake Casino raising minimum wage for workers

Gun Lake Casino in West Michigan is upping the ante to get workers back in casinos. The property hopes to hire more than 200 new employees.

The Wayland casino operated by the Gun Lake Tribe is raising its minimum starting wage to $14 per hour, according to an announcement.

The raise increases the employer’s lowest wage by more than 30%, and it raised the minimum wage for tipped positions to $7.40 per hour.

Michigan’s minimum wage is $9.87 per hour, and $3.75 for tipped employees.

“The Gun Lake Tribe recognizes that the past year has presented all of our Team Members with unique circumstances and an ever-changing environment,” said Tribal Chairman Bob Peters in a statement. “We are proud of our team members for pushing through every challenge while continuing to provide superior service, and maintain a safe environment. On behalf of our Tribal Council, and all of our Tribal Citizens, I say a heartfelt thank you to the Gun Lake Casino team.  We are honored to provide the team with these well-deserved compensation increases.”

The Gun Lake raises in wage will be effective June 1.

In addition, Gun Lake Casino announced a new hiring incentive in July:

Gun Lake Casino is celebrating new, and existing team members by giving away a brand new 2022 Nissan Kicks. The casino announced today that it will host a drawing this December for all eligible team members, hired by October 1, 2021, and in good standing as of December 1, 2021.

Gun Lake hosting job fairs in West Michigan

To connect with potential workers, Gun Lake Casino is hosting a pair of job fairs in West Michigan:

  • July 6: Gun Lake Casino administrative parking lot, 1123 129th Ave., Wayland, 4 p.m.-8 p.m.
  • July 7: Gun Lake Casino Harvest Buffet, 1123 129th Ave., Wayland, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

Gun Lake Casino also offers health care, vision and dental benefits, in addition to free shift meals and three weeks of paid vacation.

The casino seeks workers for food and beverage, table games, slots, cage, operations and security.

Gun Lake is building to the grand opening of a $100 million expansion, which is scheduled to open at the end of the summer.

Later, a $300 million expansion will add a resort to the casino.

Soaring Eagle, Saganing Eagles Landing also ups minimum wages to $15

Soaring Eagle Casino in Mount Pleasant and Saganing Eagles Landing in Standish also upped their minimum wage to $15 an hour.

The sister casinos operated by the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe announced the moves in late May, effective June 7. Tipped employees will have wages of at least $8 an hour.

As pandemic eases, employers need workers back

Some employers are aiming high to try and get workers back as the pandemic eases its grip on the state.

Michigan’s COVID-19 numbers continue to improve, and the state’s unemployment rate was at 5.1% in March, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Still, many businesses have open positions, in part because of the extra $300 in jobless benefits provided by the federal government.

State Republicans are urging Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to forgo the extra benefits in an effort to encourage the unemployed back to the workforce, but she has resisted.

Tribal casinos are key MI economic drivers

Tribal casinos across the state are among their regions’ largest employers. Last year, slot revenue was down 20%, a snapshot of the year.

Several Michigan tribal casinos stepped up and still paid employees in full during pandemic shutdowns last year.

Now, those casinos are among the Michigan employers looking to expand the workforce as life hopefully returns to normal this summer.

Other Michigan tribal casinos hosting job fairs

Gun Lake is not alone in hosting job fairs soon. Here are some other Michigan tribal casinos hiring staff by hosting job events:

  • FireKeepers Casino, Battle Creek: June 12, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. No experience necessary. Jobs available in food and beverage, hotel, marketing, security, table games slots and more. A $500 sign-up bonus is included. Fair is at casino’s events center.
  • Four Winds Casinos, three Southwest Michigan locations: A $500 sign-in bonus is included until June 30 for eligible positions. Here are more details.
  • Little River Casino, Manistee: May 18, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. or 4-6 p.m. On-the-spot interviews available.
  • Northern Waters Casino, Watersmeet: Several positions available, including food and beverage, marketing, security and cage cashier. There is a $200 sign-on bonus and a $2 per hour summer differential.
  • Ojibwa Casino, Baraga: There are immediate openings for security officer, line cooks and cage cashiers. Check out the website for more information.
  • Soaring Eagle, Mount Pleasant: Every Thursday until June 3, 2-6 p.m. Seasonal positions available at $15 to $20 per hour. Job fair at Soaring Eagle ballrooms. Some positions include a sign-up bonus.

Evolution, Playtech live studios also hiring in Southfield

Experienced dealers who are sick of cigarette smoke, unruly customers or loud casinos have a new employment option in Michigan.

Evolution, which is partnered with several online operators for live casino games, is hiring dealers and other casino personnel for their Southfield studios. In addition, Playtech also has jobs posted in Southfield.

Jobs posted for Southfield include facilities supervisor, office operations manager, floor operations supervisor, senior technical compliance specialist, regulatory compliance specialist, card inspector and technicians.

Dealer jobs cover blackjack, poker and roulette and pay $18 an hour guaranteed. Plus, there’s a chance to earn more from unlimited tips.

Playtech advertises “shuffler” (dealer) positions at $10-11 an hour.

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Matt Schoch

A Michigan native, Matt has worked at newspapers in Michigan, Missouri and the Virgin Islands. A versatile sports reporter, Matt has covered sailing on the Great Lakes, cricket in the Caribbean, high school and pro playoffs, and the Olympics in Rio. He’s also the former host of the Locked On Pistons Podcast and producer of a documentary on Emoni Bates. A former blackjack dealer, Matt has studied the industry from all sides.

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