This September, Borgata Atlantic City, an MGM Resorts property, had 2,360 fewer people on the payroll than they did last September.
Numbers from the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement show that Borgata, Atlantic City’s biggest gross gaming revenue generator, and casino employer had 3,282 workers last month. That’s down nearly 42% year-over-year.
It’s Not Just Borgata, MGM Resorts Lays Off Thousands Nationwide
Across the country, MGM Resorts has laid-off approximately 18,000 workers, with around 10,000 of those on the Las Vegas Strip. Effective September 1, those employees were officially terminated from MGM at its properties within the US. The government enforced COVID-19 restrictions are the primary reason for the lay-offs.
Company CEO Bill Hornbuckle said the cutbacks were a result of the casino not being able to operate at full capacity. Also, tourists are reluctant to travel, especially when faced with a diminished experience due to mask mandates and social distancing rules.
Atlantic City casinos, including Borgata, continue to be restricted to operating at just 25% capacity. Indoor dining at restaurants in the state is also restricted to only 25%. Moreover, food and drink on the casino floor can only be consumed while seated. Finally, masks are mandatory at all times except when eating or drinking.
Atlantic City Continues to Struggle
Last month’s gross gaming revenue for Atlantic City’s nine land-based casinos totaled $190.5 million. That’s more than a 15% year-over-year decline.
In September, internet gaming surged 113% to $87.6 million, which allowed New Jersey’s gaming industry to post a Gross Gaming Revenue increase compared to last September.
However, while internet gaming generates income, it doesn’t help associated revenue for brick-and-mortar casinos, such as food, drinks, entertainment hotel stays, and shopping. And more importantly, online casinos don’t bring back Atlantic City’s lost jobs.
The Division of Gaming Enforcement jobs report showed that in September, the nine Atlantic City casinos employed 22,503 people. That’s 151 more than in August, but it’s 17.5% less when compared with September of 2019.
“It doesn’t surprise me that we’re down that far when you consider the capacity restraints that we have to deal with,” Steve Callender, Casino Association of New Jersey President and senior vice president of Caesars Entertainment’s eastern operations, said. “We need help, and we need to be able to offer more of an enjoyable experience for our visitors.”
“We think we’re ready for 50% indoor dining, and we can certainly have meetings and other gatherings where we can spread people out,” Callender added.
Industrywide Layoffs in Atlantic City
Every Atlantic City casino employed fewer people in September compared to 2019.
Atlantic City Casino Job Losses
- Bally’s Casino – 190
- Borgata – 2,360
- Caesars – 140
- Golden Nugget – 378
- Hard Rock – 267
- Harrah’s – 205
- Ocean Resort – 658
- Resorts – 267
- Tropicana – 319
- TOTAL: 4,784
Ocean Casino Resort was primarily responsible for the slight increase in positions compared with August. Fortunately, Ocean was able to add back 265 jobs between August and September.
Despite the COVID-19 restrictions, Ocean is doing well. At one time, the casino was struggling, but its Gross Gaming Revenue from its brick-and-mortar property climbed by 26.8% in September. In fact, it was the only brick-and-mortar Atlantic City casino with a year-over-year gaming revenue increase.
Overall, the state of New Jersey has regained 467,600 jobs lost since April, or about 56% of the jobs lost due to the COVID-19 lockdown and the continuing restrictions.
New Jersey’s unemployment rate fell by 4.4% to 6.7%, which is below the national rate of 7.9%. However, that drop was not due to people going back to work, but to workers leaving the labor force altogether. Hopefully soon, the Borgata, as well as Atlantic City’s other casinos, will be able to lift the restrictions and hire back their people.
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