Mississippi Casinos Need Workers as Industry Recovers from COVID-19 Slump

Posted on: May 19, 2021, 03:15h. 

Last updated on: May 19, 2021, 03:58h.

With gaming revenue on the upswing in Mississippi, the state’s casinos are seeking workers to fill dozens of job openings.

Mississippi Gaming Revenues
Dealers at a craps table in the Beau Rivage Resort and Casino in Biloxi, Miss. control the action during a recent game. The Beau Rivage is one of several resorts in Mississippi with job openings. (Image: WLOX-TV)

In March, the gross revenue from Mississippi’s commercial casinos totaled $248 million, the highest amount since 2019, according to the Sun Herald newspaper in Biloxi. This increase followed a pandemic-related decline of 18 percent in 2020.

Twelve of the state’s 26 casinos are located along the Gulf Coast. Of these, eight are in the Biloxi area.

Scott King of the Golden Nugget Biloxi Hotel and Casino told the newspaper the resort had a “very strong March and a very, very strong April.” King is the hotel-casino’s assistant general manager and vice president of resort operations.

Going into the summer, we have a lot of momentum,” he said.

As tourism rebounds in Mississippi with the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines, casinos are hosting job fairs to attract employees.

The latest hotel casino to put on a job fair is the Island View Casino Resort in Gulfport along the coast. At its event on May 20, the casino is conducting interviews for hundreds of available jobs. The job fair is from 4-7 pm.

Not Just a Job

King said staffing shortages became noticeable when Mississippi casinos reopened in May 2020 after a two-month shutdown at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. 

The staffing problem grew worse as the economy improved, he said. This spring, there were days when 10 employee interviews were scheduled, but only two candidates showed up.

The Golden Nugget has boosted the pay level for some jobs and offered bonuses under its job referral program, the newspaper reported. With tips included, card dealers and others can earn more than $20 an hour, King said.

The Beau Rivage Resort and Casino in Biloxi recently held a job fair featuring live dancers, breakout sessions, and on-the-spot job offers, according to WLOX-TV.

Jason Sibisk, the resort’s employment manager, told the television station the intent was to welcome potential employees to the MGM Resorts brand.

“It’s not solely just, ‘Hey we have a job, come look for a job,’” he said. “It’s more of an experience.”

Arkansas Job Openings

Casinos in other states also are looking to hire more workers. 

The three commercial casinos in Arkansas recently have been on a hiring spree. These casinos are Southland Casino Racing in West Memphis, Oaklawn Casino Racing Resort in Hot Springs, and Saracen Casino Resort in Pine Bluff. A fourth casino has been licensed for Russellville, but is tied up in a legal dispute.

On Tuesdays in May and June, Southland is conducting employee interviews from 10 am to 2 pm. The resort has openings for various jobs, including dealers, cashiers, bartenders, and racing tellers. 

Southland is a casino and dog track across the Mississippi River from the larger Memphis, Tenn., metropolitan area. The dog track is slated to close next year, but the resort will remain open and is expanding.

Southland also recently raised the pay level for salaried, non-tipped employees to $15 an hour.