The head of the gambling regulator of Louisiana shared expectations that the riverboat casino operators in the state would call for adjustments in the employee numbers included in their operating permits. As the watchdog’s boss noted, some of the hiring goals date back to the time when so-called riverboats were originally given the green light about 30 years ago and the necessary adjustments for relocated riverboat casinos were not made.
Louisiana Casino Association’s executive director, Wade Duty, shared that the existing job goals do not reflect the post-Covid-19 labor market in the state, in which operators have found it hard to attract and retain employees on customer-facing service jobs. Apart from that, riverboat casinos have been more focused on outsourcing restaurant and housekeeping staff members, and they are not allowed to count such workers toward the target number of employees in their operating permits.
The beginning of the week saw Mr. Duty approach the chairman of the Gaming Control Board, Ronnie Johns, to inform him that casino operators intend to seek approval to bring some amendments to their employment counts. The number of workers is called a “voluntary condition” because the state is unable to legally require the riverboat casinos to meet the job targets.
Louisiana Riverboat Casinos Currently Employ about 9,000 People
Currently, three of the 14 riverboat casinos that operate in the state have the number of workers called for in the operating permits that have been handed out to them by the state, based on mid-year numbers that were tabled at the Gaming Control Board meeting that took place on August 21st.
The 15th holder of a riverboat casino license, the DiamondJacks casino in Bossier City, has been inoperable since 2020 and changed ownership a year ago. Currently, it is subject to undergoing extensive renovation.
For the time being, about 9,000 people in Louisiana are employed by riverboat casinos. However, that number does not include employees of outside contractors who are still engaged in the process of operation and functioning of riverboats. New casino sportsbook employees are also not being counted toward employment goals in case they are working at an entity that operates separately from the riverboat casino.
The existing worker shortage at the local riverboat casino sector has been particularly obvious in the Lake Charles area, despite the fact that two locations there – the Golden Nugget and L’Auberge Casino Resort – have actually managed to exceed their job targets. The majority of local riverboat casinos, unfortunately, find it hard to compete with job opportunities available in the gas and oil sector, which currently offer starting wages of between $20 and $25 per hour to new hires with no experience.
To make things worse, some post-Covid-19 patterns have acutely affected employment at casinos, because none of the riverboat casinos that used to have dining buffets before the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic have opened them afterwards.