COVID-19 Eliminates 41 Percent of Pennsylvania Gaming Industry Workforce

Posted on: September 28, 2020, 10:34h. 

Last updated on: September 28, 2020, 11:46h.

Pennsylvania casinos are employing nearly 41 percent fewer people in the wake of COVID-19, the coronavirus causing the reduction of 6,834 jobs.

Pennsylvania casinos jobs diversity report
With table game positions reduced and customer demand low, Pennsylvania casinos aren’t in need of as many workers as they were prior to COVID-19. (Image: The Philadelphia Inquirer)

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) recently released its 2019-20 Gaming Diversity Report, and in it, the startling numbers of jobs lost is revealed.

On June 30, 2019, the state’s 12 land-based casinos collectively employed 16,717 people. On June 30, 2020, those same properties said their workforces totaled 9,883 individuals — a 40.8 percent reduction.

During March 2020, the COVID-19 Pandemic caused the closure of the twelve operating casinos in Pennsylvania,” explained PGCB Director of Diversity Mozelle Daniels. “In June 2020, after the establishment and implementation of approved COVID-19 protocols and procedures, the casinos returned more than 60 percent of the furloughed employees to work under PGCB guided re-openings.”

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) allowed the state’s casinos to reopen on a regional approach. Casinos in the western part of the state were the first to reopen in early June. The last were in the Philadelphia area, which came at the end of June.

Diversity Numbers

As required under Pennsylvania’s commercial gambling law, the state casino regulatory agency completes an annual diversity report to promote and ensure inclusiveness in all aspects of the industry.

In 2019, of the casino’s 16,717 workers, 43 percent — 7,237 — were female. That rate held steady this year, women holding 43 percent of the 2020 jobs.

As for executive and senior positions, men represent the majority. Of the 1,614 upper management roles, 64 percent are held by males.

The number of Caucasian employees working inside Pennsylvania casinos increased slightly during the latest fiscal year. Sixty-four percent of workers are white, compared with 62 percent in 2018-19.

Employment by Race (Percent)

 2016-17       2017-18     2018-19     2019-20

Caucasian                            64                 63                62             64

African American                 14                 14                 15             13

Hispanic                                8                   8                   8               8

Asian                                     12                 12                  13             13

Other                                     3                   3                   3                2

Pennsylvania casinos keep it local when it comes to hiring. Of the 9,883 workers, 92 percent are residents of the Keystone State.

Several casinos are located within a few miles of Pennsylvania state borders, including Parx, Harrah’s, and River’s in the Philadelphia area. Wind Creek Bethlehem is also just five miles from the Pennsylvania-New Jersey border.

In western Pennsylvania, Lady Luck, Meadows, and Rivers are all within 15 miles of neighboring states.

Employment Opportunities

Once economic conditions warrant, Pennsylvania casinos plan to hire back many of those lost positions. There are also new casinos on the way in Pennsylvania, which will bring additional jobs to the Keystone State.

Live! Casino & Hotel Philadelphia is being constructed in the city’s Stadium District. The Cordish Companies, parent company to the project, is additionally building a satellite casino in Westmoreland near Pittsburgh.

Penn National Gaming, the oldest casino operator in the state, is moving forward with two satellites, one in York and another in Morgantown.

Satellite casinos are permitted to house up to 750 slot machines and 30 table games.