Mary Cheeks has 30 years of experience in the financial side of the casino gambling business, including serving as CFO of Harrah’s in Atlantic City.
After joining Rush Street Gaming six years ago, her responsibilities grew to include overseeing the finances at two casinos in Pennsylvania.
Now, she has the task of serving as general manager of the $330 million Rivers Casino and Resort being built in Schenectady. She relishes the challenge.
You grew up in Atlantic City. What did your dad do for a living?
He owned a small bar and grill and was into real estate. From age 11, I started helping him count the proceeds.
Did you have a knack for that?
I was always great with numbers. I’m a math person.
Why did you want to work for Rush Street Gaming?
Why did you want to work for Rush Street Gaming? So many casinos and employers say happy employees create a healthy bottom line, but here, we truly walk the talk. We function in a team environment. Our customers love our team and all of our businesses have a healthy bottom line.
Were you surprised when you were asked to become general manager in Schenectady?
I guess I was surprised because I was very satisfied in my CFO role overseeing Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh and SugarHouse in Philadelphia. But I was not shocked because I was part of the presentation here [to the New York State Gaming Commission] and I really liked the Capital Region. Without knowing it, I was really setting myself up for the job.
What do you like about the challenge of going from CFO to general manager?
The opportunity to build my own team. From team member one all the way up to team member 1,200.
How often are you approached by somebody who says, ‘How do I get a job at the casino?’
What do you say?
I direct them to our website to make sure that they apply and give them my card to send me a resume.
DeMasi, Michael. “10 Minutes with Mary Cheeks of the Rivers Casino and Resort.” Albany Business Review. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Sept. 2016.