While Las Vegas Casinos Reopen Some Employees Still Out of Work

Tens of thousands of people were furloughed and some eventually let go by casino operators in Las Vegas due to the coronavirus shut down. Operators had vowed to pay their employees and provide health benefits for a certain time frame, but the shut down lasted longer than expected. Now that casinos have begun reopening, people are getting back to work. However, there are still some people employed in Las Vegas that have not gotten the call back.

Reduced Capacity Calls for Reduction in Employee Numbers

As casinos started to reopen on June 4, they could do so only by following strict guidelines. Included in these restrictions were only opening at 50% capacity or less. Some casinos are offering limited services and with less customer numbers, there is no need for a full staff. Because of this, employees with seniority or specific jobs were called back, while others are still without jobs.

Those who are unemployed have the ability to claim unemployment, but many have yet to be paid. People are living off of what they can and that is not much. So many people rely on a job that is not back in business, such as clubs or shows in Las Vegas. It is unclear as to when or if this type of entertainment will be allowed again so employees in these positions may not be back at work for some time.

Returning Slowly

Around 38% of the unemployment insurance claims made in Las Vegas come from those in the food and accommodations industry. Another 3% comes from the arts, entertainment, and recreation sector. This information is from reports that ended on May 30th.

Applied Analysis principal analyst Jeremy Aguero commented on Las Vegas’ current situation stating that the gaming and tourism jobs are expected to come back in thirds. The first group of employees were brought back to provide services at casinos.

The second wave should take place next and will include another set of employees while a third way will happen must later on. As the restrictions are lifted and activities are allowed, the need for more employees will surface.

However, the third group could be waiting quite some time before they are employed once again. This will lead to the need for continued unemployment and possibly other services like food stamps.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel though. There are early signs that show customer demand is picking up. Hotel bookings are becoming more frequent and as the demand grows, so will the number of hotels and casinos offering services.

However, Aguero pointed out that the positive signs must not be misinterpreted as a sign that the economy has recovered. The process is going to be measured in a longer time frame than just a few months.

Even if the visitor volume increases, it will still be some time before we see all the jobs returning in Las Vegas. With the need for social distancing, casinos are opting for more technology that involves automation. Touchless technology is being used to slow the spread, but it could also make some jobs obsolete and casinos will most likely choose to keep the technology over rehiring employees.

Only time will tell what will happen in New Jersey and how the Atlantic City job market will move forward. Hopefully, it will not be too long before those who are unemployed are able to work again and feel secure in their position.

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.