Mississippi Casino Paying Workers $300 to Receive COVID-19 Vaccine

Posted on: March 11, 2021, 02:16h. 

Last updated on: June 30, 2021, 10:18h.

A casino in Mississippi is offering its employees up to $300 if they receive the COVID-19 vaccine. 

Mississippi casino Scarlet Pearl vaccine
A worker at the Scarlet Pearl Casino Resort is seen here sanitizing a gaming machine. The Mississippi resort is paying its workers to receive COVID-19 vaccines. (Image: WLOX)

Officials at the Scarlet Pearl Casino Resort in D’Iberville just north of Biloxi revealed today that its workers will be compensated $150 per shot they receive. That’s $150 total for the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine and $300 for those who receive the Moderna or Pfizer product. 

“Employees will be compensated for shots that have already been taken,” LuAnn Pappas, CEO of the Scarlet Pearl, told the Biloxi Sun Herald. 

Resort employees don’t have to go far to find the vaccine. Scarlet Pearl has partnered with Gulfport’s Memorial Hospital to provide on-site vaccinations at the casino property. Owned by an entity called D’Iberville West Development LLC, Pappas explained that all of the casino’s directors have received vaccines. The company is requiring managers and above to become vaccinated. 

“We want to mitigate the impact COVID-19 has had on the hospitality industry,” she stated.

The Scarlet Pearl’s 60,000-square-foot casino floor features more than 700 slot machines, 30 table games, and a sportsbook.

Vaccine Requirements

While federal and most state officials have repeatedly said the three approved vaccines are overall safe and effective, many Americans remain hesitant to go for their injections. The question has been raised, “Can your employer force you to get a COVID-19 vaccine?”

The short answer, an employment attorney says, is a simple, “Yes.” 

“History has shown that even prior to the swine flu pandemic in 2009, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has allowed mandatary vaccination programs. For example, mandatory flu vaccines in the health care sector are accepted, as well as obligatory hepatitis vaccination in the wastewater treatment industry,” employment attorney Jay Rosenlieb recently told Kiplinger. 

Rosenlieb explained that businesses have the right to protect their workplaces. He says owners must decide whether their business warrants such a vaccination mandate.

The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention says the more an individual interacts with others, and the longer those interactions occur, the higher the risk of COVID-19 spread. For casinos, the CDC says the highest risk is when casino and gaming operations are open at full capacity. 

State restrictions on casino operations continue to be eased. Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) announced this week that casinos no longer need to limit their capacity. 

Mississippi Vaccine Latest

Since the pandemic began early last year, Mississippi has confirmed nearly 300,000 cases of the coronavirus. The state has cited the disease for 6,864 deaths. 

Mississippi is towards the lower end of administering COVID-19 vaccines. Just 18 percent of residents have received one dose, and 10 percent have been fully vaccinated. Those numbers are better than only six states.

New Mexico and Connecticut led the way, with 27 percent of residents in each of those states receiving at least one shot. Connecticut’s two tribal casinos — Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun — are serving as mass vaccination clinics.