Help Wanted: PA Gaming Report Reveals Post-COVID Hiring, Diversity Woes

Pennsylvania casinos have rehired thousands of employees since COVID-19 forced the industry to reduce its labor numbers by more than a third, but the workforce still has some catching up to do.

Pennsylvania Casino Market

Most of the 15 casinos in Pennsylvania could use some help. (Image: PGCB)

Last week, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board released its annual Diversity Report, which revealed hiring challenges across the state, even as the gaming industry slowly reemerged.

Before Covid, Pennsylvania’s 12 casinos employed about 17,000 people. Three new properties have since opened, but collectively, their workforce dropped to 9,883 in June 2020. A year later, June 2021, 60% of the casino workforce had returned, with 13,870 employees —  4,613 being table games and poker staff.

Casino diversity push

About 58% of the employees were male, 42% were female, and 39% of those employed at the casinos were minorities. Of the 2,198 who count as executives and casino management, 64% were male, 36% were female, and 25% were non-white.

Those percentages have remained fairly steady over the last five years, with just a 2% uptick for racial minorities in management since 2016, when the state’s casino industry employed 18,000.

The law that brought casinos to the Keystone State charges the PGCB with promoting and ensuring diversity in all aspects of legalized gaming. That’s everything and everyone from the crap table stickman to the slot machine suppliers to food and beverage firms.

Casinos network with organizations that promote supplier diversity and economic empowerment. They include the Minority Supplier Development Council, the Women’s Business Enterprise Center East, the Pennsylvania Department of Community & Economic Development, and the Pennsylvania Department of General Services’ Bureau of Diversity, Inclusion and Small Business Opportunities.

Worker supply shortage

The report gives a glimpse at some of the problems casinos had finding employees from June 2020 to June 2021. For example, Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course had 332 positions open in that time frame, but was only able to hire 96. Parx Casino in Philly had 902 open positions and filled 352.  

Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh was able to fill 180 positions out of the 588 needed. Rivers Casino in Philly had a bit more luck, filling 341 positions when it needed 542. Wind Creek Bethlehem only could fill 168 out of 638. 

Presque Isle Downs (153) and Casino Mohegan Sun Pocono (96) both hired as many people as they needed and Harrah’s Philadelphia Casino and Racetrack was able to get close to hiring 236 with 202 new hires. 

A quick glance at the job site indeed.com shows more than 1,500 open casino jobs in Pennsylvania, including many poker dealer and table games positions. 

The Mohegan Sun Pocono in Luzerne County launched the casino industry in Pennsylvania in 2006. Since then, 14 more casinos opened and online gambling was legalized in 2017. 

The industry is running hot at more than 30% better than last year when it brought in $3.9 billion in gambling revenue.  

The PGCB’s monthly report for September will be released Monday. 

Written by
Bob Pajich
Bob Pajich is a poker news reporter, creative writer, and poker player who never met suited connectors he didn't like.

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