In Financial Squeeze At A Critical Moment: A.C. Cuts Jobs While 4200 Remain In Limbo

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Article by : Helen Sep 2, 2020

Restarting gambling establishments in Atlantic City was supposed to bring people back to their jobs. It seems that the intends of the regulatory authorities will not come true. The Casino Association of New Jersey and government officials suggested temporarily stopping the use of J-1 visas. Instead, the state is planning massive recruitment of local staff to provide jobs.

As stated by the latest data from the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, the market does not offer new jobs. Moreover, casino operators who opened their doors in Atlantic City reported that more than 4200 staff remain on standby. But worst of all, casino operators are planning further staff cuts as revenues continue to fall.

According to the Division of Gaming Enforcement, the New Jersey gambling market is currently a permanent place for over 24,000 employees. The total number of staff employed in 9 gaming establishments decreased by 4261 people compared to last year. Quite a large number of staff are still on forced leave. They have no indication of even an approximate time frame for when they can return to work.

The situation with trade unions also looks very deplorable. “More than 50% of union members remain active. The total number of employees who have been laid off is about 5,000. Moreover, about 5,000 more remain on forced leave,” said Bob McDevitt, the President of Workers’ Union Unite Here Local 54.

Obviously, the situation is unlikely to improve, since casinos can only admit 25% of visitors. Gaming operators were forced to close catering facilities and exclude food and drinks from the gaming menu. Therefore, most restaurant employees are forced to stay at home until the situation changes for the better.

It is unlikely that further developments in the situation will change the general trend for the better. The gradual transition to the autumn-winter period can significantly worsen the overall situation in the casino market. Accordingly, further staff cuts would be a logical step. Also, it is essential to recall the winter season features for New Jersey casinos.
Unlike Nevada, where casinos operate all year round, local operators will have to somehow cope with snowfalls and other adversities during the winter period. Even if casinos could run at 100% load, it would hardly attract a large number of customers.

It looks like the long recovery of the Atlantic City gambling market has been completely wiped out by the aftermath of Covid-19. Despite stringent measures, which included the mandatory wearing of masks, the provision of sanitary stations, and plexiglass barriers, casinos are still struggling to get on their feet. However, the operators are not ready to give up and continue to overcome obstacle after obstacle.

The gambling industry has achieved outstanding results in recent years. The sudden shutdowns of the gaming operators and the economic crisis’s aggravation are not critical reasons to close the business once and for all. It looks like it won’t be easy to get out of this situation. However, all casinos, without exception, are determined to overcome the challenges posed by Covid-19.

Steve Callender, President of the Casino Association of New Jersey

Overall profit figures for Atlantic City casinos for June 2020 were down 23% compared to the same period in 2019. Casino operators lost about 47% of their profits, while some operators could compensate for some of the losses. The gradual return of the NHL and the NBA on the big screens speaks of modest revenue growth. This will allow gambling operators to stay afloat for as long as possible.


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