Across the United States, casinos are shut down due to the coronavirus outbreak. Venues are closed in an attempt to ensure that people remain safe and practice social distancing. Tens of thousands of people have been laid off across the nation, with some companies offering to continue payments and benefits to employees while others are not. In New Jersey, the Local 54 chapter of the Unite Here union have called on gaming operators to support their employees, stating workers are not being treated fairly.
President of the Local 54, Bob McDevitt, spoke earlier this week, stating that the casino industry has their employees in the poor house. The union chapter is a representative of hospitality and casino workers in Atlantic City, New Jersey and McDevitt spoke up after the local casino industry decided to furlough over 26,000 people. McDevitt said that there is no excuse for the industry to turn their backs on employees after doing so well.
The federal government has provided options for businesses with many casinos having the option to take out a loan or use tax credits to retain their employees. However, despite this option, many operators chose to layoff employees. The unemployment offices in New Jersey as well as across the United States have struggled to meet the demand. In total, over 17 million people have filled for unemployment in the US.
Donald Taylor, the Unite Here International president commented as well, stating that the casino industry should pay for their employees as the shutdown continues because they are a privileged license and now a normal business.
Casinos from Atlantic City should be doing well as they have seen several years of growth, not to mention massive earnings from the online gambling industry. From 2017 to 2019, a steady increase in revenues was seen and the year on year growth continued to rise.
We shall see in the coming weeks what happens to the employees as well as the gambling industry. Will the casinos be back up and running by May? Will operators step up and provide for their employees?