Borgata in Atlantic City told 73 employees today that their jobs are being cut, and let 349 other workers know that their hours are being reduced.
Borgata President Melonie Johnson said the workforce reduction is the result of new COVID-19 restrictions imposed this week by New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D). As of last night, casinos must stop serving food and beverages inside between 10 pm and 5 am. Outdoor dining and takeout can continue around the clock.
Regrettably, due to the adjusted operations and overall impact of the pandemic on business, we’ve been forced to modify our staffing levels,” Johnson wrote in a letter to workers.
“We are hopeful to return employees to work and increase hours when the executive order is lifted, operations expand, and business demand returns,” Johnson continued. “The governor has not yet announced when the order will be lifted. So, unfortunately, we don’t know how long this may last and cannot fully assess any lasting impacts on our business levels.”
Borgata generates more gross gaming revenue (GGR) than any other casino in Atlantic City. In 2019, the Marina District resort won $797.82 million, representing a 24.2 percent market share of the nine casinos.
Atlantic City casinos had their best month in terms of year-over-year comparison since being permitted to reopen in early July. Land-based GGR came in at $186.1 million, an eight percent year-over-year decline.
- Month — GGR — YoY % Change
- July — $147.4M — down 46.8 percent
- August — $199M — down 30.5 percent
- September — 190.5M — down 15.1 percent
- October — $186.1M — down 8.0 percent
Internet gaming continued to soar during the pandemic, online casinos pulling in $93.5 million last month. That represents a 107 percent premium on October 2019. Sports betting soared, too, oddsmakers winning $58.5 million on a record handle of $803 million.
October’s total GGR was a little more than $338 million. That’s a 15 percent year-over-year increase.
COVID-19 has cost Atlantic City’s gaming industry 4,782 jobs as of the end of September. Borgata, the city’s largest casino employer, has naturally been responsible for the most job layoffs.
During the pandemic, Borgata cut one in four jobs. Prior to today’s announcement, the MGM property had eliminated 2,359 positions.
“To say that we have experienced change and challenges over the past several months is an understatement,” Johnson told her Borgata colleagues. “I know how difficult these circumstances are, especially during an already challenging, unprecedented year.”
“We are working closely with state and local officials and will resume operations and welcome employees back as soon as we are able to do so,” she pledged.
Gov. Murphy understands there might be some pandemic fatigue, but says continued restrictions and the public’s abiding is critical in fighting the fall surge of new COVID-19 cases.
Asked Friday about people who might be tired of wearing a face mask and complain that it’s uncomfortable, Murphy responded, “You know what’s really uncomfortable and annoying? When you die.”