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ANDERSON — At Harrah's Hoosier Park Racing and Casino in Anderson, you'll find bright lights, slot machines, and electronic table games.
What you won't find are dealers dealing playing cards for black jack. You won't find a craps table or a roulette wheel. Come January 1, however, things change.
"At the stroke of midnight, we'll be able to throw our first dice out and have our first bit of table games in the state," Todd Berendji, Harrah Hoosier Park vice president of operations, said. "We've been trying to get this for a long time."
Managers at the state's two racinos are gearing up for this big transition, thanks to a change in state law. The new legislation allows sports wagering and live dealers at table games at racetrack-casino combination facilities.
State lawmakers passed the bill as a means to make more competitive Indiana's gaming industry with neighboring states that already allow table games. The amended law translates to hundreds of new jobs at the racinos in Central Indiana.
"These aren't only jobs," Trent McIntosh, senior vice president and general manager at Harrah's Hoosier Park, said. "These are very well-paid jobs, as we've gone out and guaranteed the $20/hour wage, including tips."
Caesars Entertainment, which oversees Harrah's in Anderson and Indiana Grand Casino in Shelbyville, aims to hire hundreds in the coming months and train them, starting in September, on table games and sports betting.
Caesars Entertainment will offer paid training, so the new hires are ready for the change in law on January 1.
The company needs table game dealers, supervisors, and trainers. It also wants to fill positions for its sports booking side, including ticket writers for both of its properties in Shelbyville and Anderson.
Carrisse Hull, Harrah's human resources director, said what she's looking for in the new workers is simple.
"I'll tell you the one thing that I'm looking for and that's individuals that come with a wonderful attitude and a great personality," Hull said. "That's the number one thing that I'm looking for. With anything else, we can train you to do that."
For workers already employed at Harrah's or Indiana Grand, this could be a jackpot opportunity for advancement.
That's how Dustin Hepfer is looking at it.
Hepfer is a digital cashier at the electronic game table and has been working at Harrah's for 11 years. These days he has got his sights set on one of these new live dealer positions.
"You know, you get the butterflies. You get the anxiety," Hepfer said. "You get everything that comes with change after doing the same job for 11 years. And you wake up one day and it's like, 'Whoa we're going to have live cards. I got to get ready for it.'"
Landing the new job could help ease some struggles for Hepfer.
"This takes a person that could possibly work two jobs, here or anywhere else, to making a living off of just one job," he said.
And if you ask Hepfer why he keeps coming back day after day for more than a decade, he'll show his hand. Hepfer says the number one thing is family.
"It's always felt like a family environment for the 11 years I've been here," he said.