The holiday season has been anything but easy for Atlantic City casino workers. When the pandemic barreled through the Gambling Capital of the East Coast, thousands of casino employees in Atlantic city were laid off as we’ve covered here. As you can expect, many of these employees were forced to adjust.
However, many more now find themselves in a dire situation that they never envisioned for themselves at the start of 2020: in line at the local Salvation Army waiting to be handed free thanksgiving meals. Many of the laid-off casino employees in Atlantic City have been relying on stimulus checks to keep their heads above water. But the amount can only be used for so much, including more critical expenses such as mortgages.
Assistance from the Salvation Army and other charitable donations supplement the little that these casino employees can afford. But many are hopeful that the tough times will soon come to pass, even as pandemic cases continue to surge all across the country, including in New Jersey.
But things are ominous for workers everywhere, not just for casino employees in Atlantic City. An estimated 50 million laid off and furloughed employees all over the nation will go hungry this holiday season as a result of misfortune and joblessness brought on by the outbreak. As such, numerous social service organizations and nonprofits such as the Salvation Army are being encouraged to step up in a bid to meet the growing demand for food supplies.
Atlantic City’s unemployment woes
As stimulus checks issued earlier on in the year and as employee benefits dwindle, Atlantic City is a cruel testament to the wide-ranging impact of the pandemic, as well as its accompanying economic consequences that have cut through the lives of individuals in the business live card dealers to housekeepers in the resorts.
AC’s unemployment rates rose quickly in March when lockdowns resulting from the pandemic were announced. They have since peaked in the last couple of months. Several casinos including MGM continued to let furloughed workers go as we’ve discussed here as widespread restrictions owing to the outbreak continued to dent its processes.
Other casinos in the city have also laid off employees and will probably continue to do so in the coming months. This is because labor remains the biggest expense in a future that still remains very uncertain. This is the harshest that the US economy has suffered its sharpest contraction thanks to the disruptions induced by the contagion, with corporate profits sinking even further.
Although the number of casinos laying off and furloughing workers has since decreased, the number of individuals without jobs in these last few months of the year is still ridiculously high. Just the other day, the New Jersey Gaming Control Board reported that the revenue generated by casinos has plummeted in the 3rd quarter.
Today, operations in Atlantic City boardwalk are up and running as covered here, but they are still a shell and a disquieting echo of how things were pre-contagion. A handful of tourists are showing up, lured by the considerable drop in process for stays at world-class venues such as Borgata and Caesars. The neon lights still shine as brightly as they did before, but the energy is nowhere near the same.
This is because the allure of night clubs is virtually non-existent. Live shows will soon make a return but you can expect them to sell out way in advance as they still have to operate at the recommended reduced capacity. Major shopping malls are open but they close very early.
Come nighttime, the boardwalk and social distanced poker rooms are an alternative but many are reluctant to take part. The shift in operations has reverberated and can be felt all over the state. As cases have surged in the last couple of weeks, the New Jersey Governor recently tightened restrictions even further.
Now, under the newest regulations, residents, and visitors must be in their face coverings at all times apart from when consuming food and beverages. Indoor dining is still taking place at a limited capacity. Only a maximum of 10 individuals is allowed to gather indoors in the state, down from 25.
The number of people that can gather for outdoor events has also plummeted from 500 to a paltry 150. All youth and adult sporting events to be held indoors have also been put on hold until January 2021.
Things have gotten worse and will likely continue to do so as long as the cases keep heaving. Atlantic City finds itself in the worse moment of this outbreak to date. The city is at the abyss and action must be taken immediately to limit deaths. Unfortunately, this will mean more bad news for the already suffering casino and gaming industry.
But there is hope, finally. Drug manufacturer Moderna announced the other day that its experimental vaccine had proven to be 94.5% effective in preventing virus infections. That alongside Pfizer’s vaccine, which has also been proven to be effective, the country could have access to 2 vaccines, which is great news at last.
There is no doubt that casinos in AC have suffered one of the biggest blows this year and there is still a very long way to go. The fallout caused by the pandemic will be felt for some time. As the city works on getting on its feet, the 2 recently announced vaccines have brought hope.
Bills are also in the works to lit AC’s casinos from the pits. And even though the economic relief provided will not be sufficient enough to put casinos back to pre-pandemic levels, it should help until things start to stabilize again.
Are you a New Jersey resident interested in playing online in our state and taking advantage of the best offers? Check out our curated list of NJ casinos, NJ sportsbooks, and online bonuses. And if you are a poker player, please check our list of Best Poker Sites in New Jersey.