Gambling on higher education

SDSU’s gaming institute focuses on tribal casinos
Michael Murray thought he would be working in a tropical paradise about now.

But that was before the 25-year-old, who grew up in Temecula and Santee, came across the Sycuan Institute on Tribal Gaming at San Diego State University.

“I went to San Diego State to do hotels,” Murray said. “I wanted to do a hotel in Hawaii.”

Instead of showing up for work on the shores of Oahu or Maui, Murray now heads to the eastern edge of El Cajon to start his overnight shift as a slot operations supervisor at Sycuan Casino.

And he says he couldn’t be happier about it.

“I like the people in slots, the people I work with and the guests,” Murray said. “The benefits are good. The pay is good. It doesn’t even seem like a job. It’s exactly what I wanted.”

The tribal gaming institute is part of SDSU’s School of Hospitality and Tourism Management. It was launched with a $5.5 million endowment from the Sycuan Band of Kumeyaay Indians in 2005.

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