CLEVELAND (AP) - The general manager who will open the doors to Ohio's first casino on Monday is all business discussing his pioneering role. But his eyes widen and he becomes animated at the mention of playing craps.
"There's a lot of action on the table," Marcus Glover, 37, said in an interview in the high-octane days leading up to the big date. "There are a lot of people wagering on different action and sometimes you have company on the action that you're on, so when that hits, there's nothing like having someone to celebrate with."
There will be no celebrating at the craps table for Glover at Horseshoe Casino Cleveland where he is senior vice president and GM. Glover is barred from betting there or at other casinos owned by parent company Caesars Entertainment.
As the public face of the state's first casino, Glover has become a regular fixture at gatherings around town, talking up the tables, the casino's role in the community and much-discussed job potential.
In his younger days in sports, Glover said, "I was always willing to assume the burden, or the responsibility, of making tough decisions, doing the tough things and never necessarily had a fear of failing at anything. Playing football, I was always the quarterback of my team."
But with the dizzying pace of a casino operation, Glover said he understands the role of a deep bench in Ohio's newest industry to create a positive first impression upon hardened gamblers and tour bus visitors.
"I'm a part of something that's much bigger than just me. This is truly a team effort of many, many people coming together to make this happen," he said. "A lot of times that doesn't get the prominence that it probably should because I'm speaking on behalf of a lot of people."
Glover, a native of Aiken, S.C., spent time as a management consultant and looked into jobs in media, sports and entertainment before he got an internship in the casino business.
His nine years in the industry include leadership jobs in New Orleans, St. Louis and Biloxi, Miss., where he helped reopen the Katrina-damaged casino. The post-hurricane work on the Gulf Coast improved Glover's skills with people, he said.
"It teaches you how to understand and have empathy and sympathy for people and how to inspire people when things are not necessarily going the right way for them," he said.
Glover's boss said Glover has a knack for delivering the casino experience gamblers want.
"I think Marcus Glover is right out of central casting for this job. Marcus is one of our most talented young leaders," Gary Loveman, CEO of Caesars Entertainment, said after a casino tour.
Terry Stewart, president of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, has watched Glover as a member of the rock hall board and the tourism agency board on which they both serve.
"He's the kind of guy everybody wants to be around," Stewart said. "He's got a heavy load to carry. This is a huge investment. People have great expectations."
After a busy day fueled by Starbucks and bottled water with the Horseshoe logo, Glover said he spends much of his off-duty time with his wife and three young children, and looks forward to coaching Little League.
He gives this advice to his staff on balancing work and their personal lives: The casino "is what we do, it's not what we are."
He enjoys sports and traveling, occasionally mixing business and pleasure by trying to disguise himself at a rival casino to try his hand at craps.
"I occasionally go out and play, put a hat on, pull it down over my head and I go in and enjoy it," he said.