Gaming Industry Adding to Better Outlook for Massachusetts Job Numbers

Posted on: July 20, 2019, 06:00h. 

Last updated on: July 20, 2019, 01:01h.

Casino operators, including Wynn Resorts, are playing an increasingly important role in job creation in Massachusetts, helping keep the commonwealth’s unemployment rate among the nation’s lowest.

Patrons waiting to enter Encore Boston Harbor where 135,000 people applied for jobs. (Image: MassLive)

Wynn’s $2.6 billion Encore Boston Harbor, open since June 23, is estimated to already have created 5,000 jobs, more than half the 9,800 positions added in Massachusetts last month.

Over the month, the private sector added 8,400 jobs as gains occurred in Education and Health Services; Leisure and Hospitality; Financial Activities; Manufacturing; Information and Trade, Transportation and Utilities,” according to the Massachusetts Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development.

Policymakers in the commonwealth voted in 2011 to permit casino gaming there. At that time, the politicians promised such properties would eventually create 15,000 Massachusetts jobs.

Today, there are three gaming properties in the state – Plainridge Park Casino (PPC), a slots-only venue, MGM Springfield, and Encore Boston Harbor.

Creating Jobs, But Short Of Expectations

PPC, which is run by Penn National Gaming, was the first casino in Massachusetts and accounts for about 2,500 jobs. MGM Springfield, the state’s first integrated resort, opened last August and initially created 2,500 positions, but the venue has struggled to live up to pre-opening gross gaming revenue (GGR) forecasts and has trimmed some staff.

Encore Boston’s Harbor is expected to have close to 6,000 permanent roles when the venue is fully ramped up. Wynn CEO Matt Maddox told local media that 135,000 people applied for jobs there.

It took 7,400 construction workers three years to build the property, which includes 210,000 square feet of gaming space. In its June report, the Massachusetts Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development did not break out the impact of Encore Boston Harbor construction jobs on the monthly data.

“From June 2018 to June 2019, BLS estimates Massachusetts added 35,500 jobs,” said the office.

Based on that figure, MGM Springfield and Encore Boston Harbor have accounted for approximately 20 percent of the new employment roles created in the state over the past year.

On a year-over-year basis, the leisure and hospitality industry was among the top three job creators in the commonwealth.

The Massachusetts casinos could potentially create more jobs. For example, job boards, such as Indeed, indicate Penn’s PPC currently has nearly two dozen open positions and the scuffling MGM Springfield has a slew of roles it’s looking to fill, too.

More Massachusetts Casinos?

Massachusetts has an unemployment rate of just three percent, well below the national average of 3.7 percent, and the state has 3.7 million jobs, of which the gaming industry accounts for a mere fraction.

There is a possibility of one more casino opening in the state and additional gaming employment opportunities. On the heels of the Encore Boston Harbor’s launch, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) is again considering allowing a gaming venue in what is known as “Region C,” the Southeast part of Massachusetts.

Last year, support emerged for table games to be allowed at PPC, an effort that is gaining momentum and could lead to more jobs.