Land based casinos in the US are still getting back on their feet as fresh Omicron driven uncertainty looms on the horizon. American businesses were dealt severe blows throughout 2020 and as we enter 2022, they fear being kicked while they are down. The hospitality sector, particularly casinos, are struggling to meet growing demands because they are significantly short staffed and filling up vacancies is proving to be tricky.
In 2020, casinos had no way to estimate when they would be allowed to open doors again and they had little choice but to lay off thousands of employees. What the casinos did not anticipate is that it would be challenging to fill up those positions again when business scaled back up to pre-covid proportions.
Even though casinos are now allowed to operate at 100% capacity, the croupiers, the security staff, the waiters and other workforce that managed daily operations fluidly are in short supply. Why would the unemployed not flock to casinos eagerly to secure these jobs? Experts seem to suspect that many of them have simply chosen to stay home and collect extended benefits, some may have found other ways to make ends meet and a few may be hesitant about the prospects of having to face the virus again.
Casinos throw out the Red Carpet to attract Dealers
As punters fill up casinos with renewed vigour to make up for lost time, land-based casinos must now resort to offering bonuses and other perks that would have been inconceivable prior Covid-19. Dealers are especially in demand because they generally undergo substantial training to carry out their duties and being able to train inexperienced individuals is simply not something the casinos have time for right now.
Many highly skilled dealers have also moved to online live-dealer casinos, where players from around the world can connect and place bets on their favorite table games. Unlike their land-based counterparts, online casinos have benefited from the lockdowns. Not only have online casinos witnessed an increase in user traffic and activity, but with regulation happening across the States, online operators do not face the same issues as their staff can work remotely.
A lot of punters who tried online casino gaming for the first time during the lockdowns quickly learned that there were many perks to playing online. Online casinos offer a range of bonuses and there are never any queues or wait times to play games. You can play all you want at the comfort of your own home and banking online has never been easier or safer.
As long as patrons find licensed, regulated and well-established online casinos to play at, the land casino experience becomes something of a novelty experience that can offer a social element to casino gaming, but nothing more. Some of the best online casinos even offer no deposit bonuses to new players just for opening an account. Players can use these no deposit bonuses to try games and experience the casino first hand, absolutely risk free.
Some Movement in the Right Direction as Restrictions Ease and Job Perks Enhanced
Some states in the US now require unemployed individuals to show that they’re actively looking for employment in order to collect unemployment benefits. Such measures along with easing mask mandates and increasing vaccination figures are slowly starting help casinos get back to normal. An end in state issued subsidies is also forcing those collecting benefits to come forth and start working again. A few top casinos are dishing out signing bonuses of up to $2,000 in a desperate attempt to attract professional dealers, skilled chefs, etc.
In their job postings, casinos are also blatantly advertising that the dealer openings are well – paying positions. A professional dealer stands to make in excess of $100,000 annually.
The Woes at Sin City
Las Vegas certainly isn’t alone in struggling to find casino staff. Aside from Nevada, states such as Colorado and Massachusetts have also been grappling with the same challenges. However, Las Vegas seems to be most affected. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, 9% of people in Las Vegas are unemployed, making the Sin City the second highest in terms of unemployment rate. The lack of staff at Casinos and other related businesses that support the thriving gambling industry in Las Vegas are now dealing with long queues, insufficient accommodation, long wait times for dining services and a general lack of ability to meet the demands of players that are hungry for action after having been locked down at home for over a year.
One of the most iconic casinos on the strip, MGM Resorts reported resorted to holding full-fledged job fairs on a weekly basis in order to fill up gaping holes in their service chain. The company had approx. 70,000 employees before the virus hit and that number dropped to around 40,000 in Dec 2020 and they’ve been trying to find creative ways to fill positions since being allowed to run at 100% capacity again. MGM also manifested its own intra-mural vaccination center for employees. In fact, they also held lucky draws for employees that were fully vaccinated and offered lucrative prizes as part of their ‘Show Your Vaxx’ initiative.