May 27, 2024 3 min read

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Report Highlights the Pros and Cons of Working at an MA Casino

Project leader and senior research analyst Thomas Peake elaborated that his team looked into a variety of factors, including mobility, retention and living wages

A Massachusetts casino report shows that many gambling properties in the state are meeting their hiring goals in terms of diversity and veteran hiring. Despite that, the new Casino Job Quality report shows that there are still some outstanding challenges in terms of female employment and how much workers earn.  

The new study was compiled by researchers from the University of Massachusetts Amherst Donahue Institute and Social and Economic Impacts of Gambling in Massachusetts who submitted their findings to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission. The Casino Job Quality report is furthermore based on workforce conditions and payroll data from the state’s three casinos.

Project leader and senior research analyst Thomas Peake elaborated that his team looked into a variety of factors, including mobility, retention and living wages.

When we went into this, we did a pretty extensive literature review of what people were looking at when they were studying job quality.

Thomas Peake

Many Paychecks Were Insufficient, According to MIT’s Calculator

One of the highlights of the study was a lower turnover rate and better compensation compared to the accommodation and food service industry as a whole. The median hourly wage in Massachusetts’ casinos stood at approximately $28.31. Turnover rates at casinos, on the other hand, were estimated to stand at 28.6%.

For context, the service industry as a whole has a turnover rate of 115%.

The researchers found out that MGM Springfield had a higher turnover rate (46.7%) than its competitors. Conversely, Plainridge Park Casino had the lowest turnover rate at 16%.

The experts behind the report leveraged MIT’s living wage calculator to conclude that almost 61% of workers did not earn what the calculator defines as a living wage. Peake noted that casino jobs still pay more than similar service industry jobs but that still isn’t enough, at least according to MIT’s calculations.

Most Casinos Hit Their Minority Targets

As mentioned, casinos more or less met or even exceeded their hiring goals for minorities, veterans and local workers. However, hiring for women still seems to be lagging behind, the Casino Job Quality report highlighted.

MGM Springfield’s workforce, for example, consisted of 57.3% minority workers, ahead of its targeted 50%. Veterans, on the other hand, comprised 5% of the workforce, ahead of the targeted 2%. Additionally, the property met its goal of hiring 35% of its workforce from the City of Springfield.

In terms of female employment, MGM Springfield, Encore Boston Harbor and Plainridge Park Casino fell short of their targets. The properties reported female employment rates of 44.9%, 44% and 42%, respectively.  

There Are Still Certain Racial Challenges

Another industry challenge highlighted by the study was paycheck differences between people of different races. At Encore Boston Harbor and MGM Springfield, Asian, White and mixed employees tended to have better paychecks, on average, than those of Black or Hispanic origin. At Plainridge, those of Black and White origin seemed to fare a bit better than their Asian and Hispanic colleagues.

Peake explained:

When it comes to earnings, another thing we did notice – there are some racial disparities within the casinos, which may in fact be – that there may be sort of education and skill certification issues that play in here – just what types of departments people are working in, and whatnot.

Thomas Peake

Peake noted that people of color were over-represented in the lowest 20% in terms of earnings. He added that this doesn’t necessarily mean that there is a racial discrepancy within a single job but pointed out that “the highest paid workers do look different than the lowest paid workers.”

Journalist

Although Fiona doesn't have a long-spanning background within the gambling industry, she is an incredibly skilled journalist who has built a strong interest in the constantly growing iGaming network. The team at GamblingNews.com is glad to have her on our roster to help deliver the best stories as soon as they hit. Aside from writing, she loves to dabble in online casino games such as slots and roulette, both for her own enjoyment and also as research to better improve her understanding of the industry.

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