PA Casino Jobs Plummet by 41% in 2019-20, PGCB Gaming Diversity Report Shows

Written By Kevin Shelly on October 5, 2020 - Last Updated on January 25, 2022
PA casino employment cut down by 41 percent in 2019-20

COVID-19 has been relentless in 2020, and the casino industry was among the hardest hit. The result was a 41% reduction in PA casino jobs year-over-year, the recent 2019-2020 Gaming Diversity Report shows.

A year earlier, Pennsylvania’s 12 casinos had 16,717 employees. On June 30 this year, the same dozen properties had just 9,883 employees. That’s a reduction of 6,834 jobs. Upper-level employees accounted for 1,614 job slots.

Through several weeks beginning in mid-March, casinos had virtually no one working in the virus-shuttered facilities. That caused the furlough of approximately 5,590 PA casino employees. While the first of the PA casinos reopened June 9, it wasn’t until July 17 that all 12 were back in business (when Rivers Casino Philadelphia reopened).

Still, they had to reopen at limited capacity and with new rules in accordance with the PGCB virus safety protocols. This also means not all casino positions are back.

Some PA casino jobs are gone forever

While many are now back at work, approximately 900 casino employees permanently lost their jobs, according to the report.

The virus also temporarily halted work on new construction at four future casino sites, though those projects should mean additional jobs down the line.

  • A mini-casino, Live! Casino Pittsburgh, should open this November.
  • Live! Casino & Hotel Philadelphia is under construction and should open early next year. (Both Live! properties are part of Cordish Companies’ expansion.)
  • Penn National Gaming is developing mini-casinos, though there is no opening timetable. (One location is in York, at a mall rehab site; the other is in Morgantown.)

More financial details about the facilities are provided below.

Charitable giving from casinos dropped in 2019-20

The pandemic pause also caused a major dip in charitable giving by the gaming industry, which is down to $13.1 million according to the most recent report, a reduction of more than $1 million. That’s compared to $14.2 million last year.

The casinos have contributed well over $127.1 million toward corporate social responsibility endeavors and philanthropic giving since 2006.

PA casinos by the numbers in FY 2019-20

  • PA residents accounted for 92% of the casinos’ workforce.
  • Residents currently make up 87% of table games employees.
  • Approximately 43% of the employees were female, the same as the previous year.
  • Racial minorities across all casinos accounted for 21% of casino employees.
  • Black employees accounted for 13%, down from 15% the previous year.
  • Hispanic employment held steady at 8%.
  • The percentage of Asian employees remained steady at 13%.
  • Meadows Racetrack & Casino had the least diverse workforce, with 91% white, 4% Black and just 2% each for Asian and Hispanic.
  • Harrah’s Philadelphia Racetrack and Casino has the largest percentage of Black employees at 43%. White workers are just 37%, the lowest percentage at any casino.
  • Wind Creek Bethlehem has the greatest percentage of Hispanic employees at 17%.
  • Mount Airy Casino Resort is just behind, with 16% of its workers being Hispanic.
  • Presque Isle Downs has a workforce that is just 2% Hispanic.
  • The casino with the lowest percentage of Asian employees is Lady Luck Nemacolin at just 1%.
  • Meadows Racetrack and Casino employees are just 2% Asian.
  • Parx Casino has the highest percentage of Asian workers at 23%.

Construction dollars support local and minority-owned businesses

Stadium Live Casino & Hotel Philadelphia & Stadium Casino Westmoreland spent more than $213 million last year, per the report.

In Philly, contracts totaled $186.35 million. Minority business enterprises (MBEs) and women’s business enterprises (WBEs) accounted for $85.82 million of the contracted labor, or 46%. Local businesses got $97.65 million, or 52%.

In Westmoreland, the overall amount was $27.58 million. More than $5.26 million, or 19%, went to women’s and minority businesses. Local businesses took in more than $15.96 million, or 58%.

Penn National’s Hollywood Casino York had contracts last year of more than $15.48 million, but none of the money went to minority or women’s businesses and none to local businesses.

Penn’s Hollywood Casino Morgantown spent more than $10.85 million. Local businesses got a little more than $8 million of the business, while MBEs and WBEs got none.

Lead image courtesy of Mt. Airy Casino Resort. Casino construction images and renderings via PGCB/Gaming Diversity Report.

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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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