CASINO

AC casinos lay off hundreds of staff as regional competition threatens

TAGs: Atlantic City, Maryland, Maryland Live!, New Jersey Online Gambling, Pennsylvania, Trump Entertainment Resorts, trump plaza, trump taj mahal

atlantic-city-casino-layoffsWith another summer officially in the books, Atlantic City’s struggling casinos are slashing their payrolls in order to brace themselves for the long cold winter ahead. On Thursday, the Trump Taj Mahal announced it was pruning 65 full-time staffers, while the Trump Plaza announced it was shedding 50 full-time employees. A further 80-odd seasonal workers were also handed their walking papers. Trump Entertainment Resorts CEO Robert Griffin told the Associated Press that his firm “just can’t compete” with AC’s non-union casinos.

But the grass isn’t exactly green on the other side of that labor fence, as non-union shop Revel announced its own layoffs on Thursday. Revel is shedding 115 full-timers on top of the 83 jobs Revel eliminated in April as the casino emerged from bankruptcy protection. The latest cuts came on the same day that AC’s largest casino workers union publicly complained about Revel’s enthusiastic use of part-time labor, which accounts for 29% of the casino’s total workforce, twice the city’s average. Unite-HERE says Revel, which received millions of dollars in financial aid from the state prior to its opening, shouldn’t be allowed to avoid offering its workers proper benefits.

Meanwhile, that giant sucking sound got louder as regional competition continued to hoover up gambling dollars that used to go into AC’s coffers. In Maryland, the state’s four casinos reported total revenue of $71m in August, a 50.1% rise year-on-year (excluding Rocky Gap, which opened in May 2013). Maryland Live! accounted for the bulk of this bounty, and its $53.3m take was up 64.4% from August 2012. The good times are expected to continue at Maryland Live!, which opened its 52-table! poker! room! on August 28.

Things were slightly less rosy in Pennsylvania, where the state’s 12 casinos reported slots revenue of $205.4m in August, down 2.5% year-on-year (down 3.4% when you factor out the Lady Luck Casino, which wasn’t open in August 2012). The Parx Casino earned top honors with $31m (-1.5%), followed by Sands Bethlehem’s $25.4m (+2%) and the Rivers Casino’s $23.4m (-2.4%). Typically, the state’s biggest decliner was Caesars Entertainment’s Harrah’s, which was off 11.7% to $19m. Philadelphia’s SugarHouse casino saw slots revenue fall 3.6% to $15.2m, giving them added incentive to attempt to prevent city officials from announcing their recommendation for who gets Philly’s second casino license later this month.

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