TAUNTON — They call it a casino lab: a room with a wildly colorful carpet and low, indirect lighting with spotlights on the four felt-topped blackjack tables, two poker tables, custom chips, craps table, and roulette wheel.

The room is the pride and joy of Bristol Community College’s CATCH Institute and is the first and only school in the state to win the Gaming Commission’s Gaming School Certificate. Friday morning was the official ribbon-cutting celebration, attended by BCC trustees, staff and administrators, legislators and gaming commissioners at the Taunton campus inside the Silver City Galleria Mall.

The new BCC President Laura Douglas spoke about the rise of the hospitality industry and the need to train workers to fit those jobs. Former President Jack Sbrega spoke about the CATCH Institute, which began on his watch.

State Sen. Marc Pacheco, D-Taunton, attended as well as state Rep. Patricia Haddad, D-Somerset. Pacheco said the gaming certification is a symbol of Sbrega’s “leadership and legacy.” He said the state is living up to the promise of establishing resort casinos and vowed that one would be built in Southeastern Massachusetts, designated as Region C by the state’s casino legislation.

The gaming lab is part of the programs run by the CATCH Institute: standing for culinary arts, tourism, casino and hospitality, that is attracting attention as it prepares students for careers at casinos, hotels, resorts, restaurants — anything in the hospitality industry.

Soon after the Gaming Commission awarded the certificate in June, the Taunton campus was visited by Wanda Gispert, MGM Resorts workforce development regional vice president. MGM is building a casino in Springfield, and 3,500 jobs will open up. Gispert was in the role of talent scout, and about a dozen came to hear her pitch.

The BCC gaming program was originally to produce trained personnel for the Mashpee Wampanoag casino in Taunton, but that project is in legal limbo while other casinos are built across Southern New England, including the Plainridge Park Casino in Plainfield.

The casino lab will be useful for hands-on training for table games, for both players and the casino dealers. It is designed to be completely realistic, apart from the fact that money doesn’t change hands and the chips are valueless.

The realism extends into the next room at the BCC Taunton Center campus, which opened in 2016. The room is full of computers and flat-panel displays connected to surveillance cameras in the ceilings of the casino, and it will be used to train casino employees how to spot cheaters, a topic that casinos take seriously.

So far, said Bill Berardi, dean of the division of business and information management, about 15 people have enrolled, and "the sky’s the limit.” There are no registration deadlines; BCC does rolling enrollment all year long.

The two-year program offers an associate in applied science in hospitality management with a casino management concentration. Students will be asked to choose to concentrate in two of four games: blackjack, poker, roulette and craps.

BCC Board of Trustees Chair Joseph Marshall said, “We are finding a new and innovative ways to meet our students’ needs with degrees and certificates in business, criminal justice, paralegal, EMT, computer information systems and now casino management.”

Gaming Commissioner Bruce Stebbins said that the CATCH curriculum provides students with “a strong foundation for a career path and a future filled with opportunity for success.”

Follow Steve Urbon on Twitter @SteveUrbonSCT.