London Native Gambles on DSM Move and Hits the Jackpot
Since Eddie Llambias began his casino career his life has in some ways mirrored the hustle and bustle associated with Vegas-style casinos. A London native, Eddie worked in many casinos and lived all over the world before moving to Greater Des Moines (DSM) in 2016.
Eddie left England at the age of 20 to work in the Bahamas as a table games dealer. He lived there for three years before returning home to London. Soon after his return, Eddie sought out another adventure. He joined a cruise line and worked as a dealer on the ships. He traveled to places like Jamaica, Puerto Rico, and Mexico, and he even got promoted to Pit Boss.
“It was a really fun experience — that’s why I did it for seven years. I got to travel throughout the Caribbean while advancing my career.”
Once Eddie decided to leave the cruise ships behind, he looked to the quintessential casino environment — Las Vegas. Eddie applied to be a dealer at Harrah’s. He auditioned on the spot and landed the job. Eddie stayed with Harrah’s for 10 years, working at various Harrah’s properties throughout the U.S. Eddie then went to Isle of Capri where he worked at their various properties for 10 years.
During those 20 years, Eddie’s career made him a resident of the Bahamas, Louisiana, North Carolina, Mississippi and New Jersey. Eddie was the General Manager of Bally’s casino in Mississippi when a recruitment company reached out to him about an opportunity in DSM. Prairie Meadows was hiring a Director of Table Games. Eddie admits being hesitant to apply for a job in Iowa, but upon arrival to the state he couldn’t quite remember why.
“I really liked the airport — it was small, but neat. Then we drove through these lush, green fields. It was a beautiful day with bright blue skies,” Eddie smiled as he reminisced.
As someone with more than 30 years in the industry and many casinos under his belt, it takes a lot to stand out to Eddie.
“We arrived at Prairie Meadows and I immediately was impressed by the property and the vibe and feel of the casino. I also really enjoyed meeting the team so it was a no brainer for me to accept the job.”
DSM is diverse
When asked what he enjoys most about living in DSM, Eddie’s face lit up as he explained, “I love how much diversity is here. DSM has a great food scene — I thought Memphis had a good food scene, but it doesn’t compare. I live Downtown and I love it — I love all the festivals and performing arts, and everyone is so genuine and nice. It’s refreshing.”
While Eddie had a long list of DSM perks, he chuckled as he mentioned missing one thing — the beach.
“The biggest challenge here is winter. I have never lived anywhere — not even London — where I had to wear a hat. And not for aesthetics, but to keep my bloody head warm.”
A more pleasant surprise for Eddie was Iowa’s work ethic. According to Eddie, he has never worked in a place with a stronger work ethic. And Eddie has a strong work ethic himself — within two years, he has been promoted twice at Prairie Meadows. He is currently the Vice President of Casino Operations.
Eddie chalks up living in DSM to timing and opportunity, but he wouldn’t change a thing and does not plan on leaving any time soon.
“I’m a big fan of this area. I’ve moved around a lot, and this is a place I can call home.”
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