PGCB Diversity Report Shows Resilience and Growth at PA Casinos Despite Virus Disruptions

Written By Kevin Shelly on October 18, 2021

Pennsylvania’s Annual Diversity Report for the state’s casinos has a welcome added wrinkle this year: continuing growth and ongoing resiliency in the face of COVID-19. The report is starkly more upbeat than the previous year’s analysis.

The report is focused on the demographics of each PA casino operating an entire year, and by each facility’s host region, as well employment, private sector business dealings, and charitable giving.

As the 14th annual 2020-2021 report states:

“Casinos have navigated significant obstacles to maintain business operations despite ongoing challenges presented by the COVID-19 Pandemic.

“The Pandemic ushered in an era of COVID-19 protocols and procedures, shutdowns, limited operations, remote/hybrid work schedules, labor shortages, hiring incentives, and other economic disruptions or changes, all of which continue to impact the overall employee total.”

PA casinos virus disruptions in Diversity Report

The virus hijacked casino operations for much of 2020 and all of the first quarter of 2021.

It wasn’t until this year’s Memorial Day that an actual semblance of normalcy returned to most PA casinos.

That normalcy meant lifting all COVID-19 restrictions, except mask-wearing in public, expanding casino floor capacity to 100%, and lifting limits at bars or restaurants. And on June 28, 2021, the mask mandate ended.

The only visible lingering change due to the virus is smoking is still not allowed at four of the state’s casinos.

They are:

Parx and Mount Airy are free of smoke by choice, while Rivers and Live! are smoke-free due to an ongoing health mandate in Philadelphia.

Job numbers at PA casinos significantly improved over last year

The diversity report from last year was grim. It showed a 41% reduction in PA casino jobs year-over-year.

year earlier, Pennsylvania’s then-12 casinos had 16,717 employees.

On June 30 last year, the same dozen properties had just 9,883 employees. That’s a reduction of 6,834 jobs.

But on June 30, 2021, the licensed casinos employed a total of 13,870. On the road to recovery.

The report stated:

“Delays, product shortages, and rising prices due to supply chain disruptions associated with the ongoing effects of COVID-19, have not wavered the casinos’ commitment to vendors and gaming service providers. Casinos continue to network with organizations that promote supplier diversity and economic empowerment.”

“Despite the ongoing challenges associated with COVID-19, the casinos’ training and retention efforts continue to result in internal promotions.”

Fifteen casinos are now operating at full capacity.

Other highlights from this year’s diversity analysis

Additionally, non-operating casino construction at Hollywood Casino Morgantown, which should open by the end of the calendar year, and Hollywood Casino York, which opened in August, shows investor and operator confidence in PA.

From July 1, 2020, through June 30, 2021, construction reports indicate contract values totaled more than $25 million.

Morgantown contract values totaled $7.6 million, including more than $5 million going to local companies for their services.

York contract values totaled $18.1 million, with minority and women-owned businesses getting $103,806. Local businesses received nearly $5.3 million.

Additionally:

  • Residents of the Commonwealth consisted of 87% of the casinos’ workforce.
  • Approximately 42% of the employees were female, while 39% of those employed at the casinos were racial minorities.
  • Executive/Management/Professional Staff at the casinos were comprised of 2,198 individuals.
  • Of this total, 36% were female and 25% were racial minorities.
  • Pennsylvania residents currently make up 81% of table games employees.

And after June 30, 2021, additional casino employees joined the workforce as the Commonwealth lifted COVID-19 occupancy restrictions.

Lead image of Rivers Casino Pittsburgh taken by Katie Kohler.

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Kevin Shelly

Kevin C. Shelly is an award-winning career journalist who has spent most of his career in South Jersey. He's the former assistant city editor of The Press of Atlantic City, where he covered the casino industry and Atlantic City government as a reporter. He was also an investigative, narrative enterprise, and features reporter for Gannett’s Courier-Post.

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