Major Job Loss in Pennsylvania Casino Sector due to COVID-19

We all know that the coronavirus outbreak of 2020 has led to major issues with employment. In the casino sector, tens of thousands of people in the US were furloughed or laid off when casinos across the nation shut down back in March. Over the past few months, casinos have started to reopen, but at a lower capacity rate. Because of this, employees are still without employment in some areas, including Pennsylvania. The state’s Gaming Control Board recently released its 2019-2020 Gaming Diversity Report, showing major job losses in the industry.

Over 40% of Jobs Lost

From the Gaming Diversity Report, we are able to see the number of jobs from 2019 and then those active today. In June of last year, the 12 casinos in Pennsylvania had over 16,700 employees. When compared to June 2020, the figures show a 40.8% reduction in employment. As of June 30, 2020, only 9,883 people were employed in the casino sector.

Mozelle Daniels, the Director of Diversity for the Gaming Control Board, commented on the casino closures in March and how it affected employment thereafter. By June 2020, COVID-19 protocols and procedures were in place and casinos were operational once again. Over 60% of the furloughed employees were back to work based on the re-openings.

Casinos in Pennsylvania were allowed to reopen based on region. The western portion of the state was allowed to open first and followed by other regions, with the area of Philadelphia the last to reopen.

Diversity Details

The commercial gambling law in Pennsylvania requires regulators to provide an annual diversity report, to promote inclusiveness as well as ensure that both genders and all races are employed in the industry. Last year, of the 16,717 employees in the casino sector, 43% were female. This rate continued in 2020. In executive positions, men are the main employee, with 64% of these roles held by males.

As far as race breakdown, most employees are Caucasian with 64% while 13% are African American. Hispanic employees came in at 8% while Asian employees’ range in 13%. The state hires local employees and of the just over 9,800 working at casinos right now, 92% live in the state.

Casinos in the state plan on hiring back those who were furloughed as soon as the economy permits. As the venues are operating at a lower capacity and some amenities are not open, there is no need for full staff numbers. Once the capacity can increase, it will lead to jobs reopening.

Along with the existing casinos, there are satellite venues in the works, which will mean more jobs for the area. Live! Casino & Hotel Philadelphia is under construction while the Live! Casino Pittsburgh is expected to open this November. These two facilities are owned and will be operated by the Cordish Companies.

Penn National Gaming is also working on two satellite casinos that will provide more employment opportunity. These venues will be located in Morgantown and York. The satellite gaming venues are allowed to offer slots and table games, but at a lower percentage than traditional full scale casinos.

Rebecca Kont
Rebecca Kont

Rebecca lives in Las Vegas and after completing her degree at Reynolds Journalism school joined the USGS team to pursue her journalism dreams.