Atlantic City’s nine casinos reported a 17.5% decrease in employment in September 2020, year-on-year. The number of casino employees has been decreasing every month since July compared to the 2019 numbers.
151 More Jobs From August to September
The city’s nine casinos, Bally’s, Borgata, Caesars, Golden Nugget, Hard Rock, Harras, Ocean Resort, and Tropicana, reported 22,503 jobs in September, which is 4,782 fewer jobs than reported in September 2019, but 151 more than in August 2020.
Seasonal or temporary workers represented 4,800 out of 22,503 jobs. An unspecified number of employees is also on a leave of absence or furloughed. This includes front office staff, who handles meetings and conventions, as well as banquet and restaurant employees.
Last June was the industry’s first increase in total jobs since the last year, after a three-and-a-half month shutdown due to Covid-19.
Casinos Ready to Increase Capacity Restraints to 50%
Casinos struggle with the 25% property capacity restraints and the total absence of convention business. The restrictions put on indoor catering services and the lack out-of-state travelers because of the decrease in air travel put a damper on the casinos’ reopenings. Players are required to consume beverages while seated and can only order from a server or a bartender.
Steve Callender, president of the Casino Association of New Jersey and regional president for Caesars Entertainment Inc., said casinos are ready to go “50% indoor dining and, certainly, have meetings and gatherings” while respecting social distancing measures.
“If we had 50% indoor dining capacity, there would be an incremental increase of people returning to work,” The president of labor union Unite Here Local 54, Bob McDevitt, said. “Right now, there’s a lot of people back to work, but they’re only working 25 or less hours per week.”
Borgata Cut 4 Out of 10 Jobs Over a Year
Although each of the nine Atlantic City casinos employed fewer people last month than in September 2019, MGM Resorts’ Borgata Atlantic City cut 41.9% of its jobs with 2,359 fewer workers in September 2020.
Ocean Casino Resort put 265 workers back to work between August and September. The casino was also the only property operator in the Atlantic City area to increase its yearly revenue, with a 26.8% jump last month.
Atlantic City casino operators struggle to recover from the impact of the pandemic, with the mandatory shutdown from March 16 to July 2 (casinos reopened on July 4), with reported operating losses of more than $112 million in the second quarter of 2020.
Casino gaming revenues have not returned to pre-pandemic levels, with small peaks due to the popularity of online gaming, which is still not enough to sustain the industry. Revenues from all gambling activities were down in September, reaching a 23.5% fall for sports betting.