In the state of New Jersey, casino job losses are at an all-time high with casinos facing bankruptcy and some even closing back in 2014 and one set to close this fall. Will these job losses affect the online casino gambling industry?
Atlantic City has long been a go-to area for gamblers who wish to enjoy the seaside town, playing casino games such as blackjack, craps and roulette. In New Jersey, the city was a top revenue producer for decades. However, over the past few years, activity has changed and casinos have closed, leaving many without employment.
The Current State of Affairs
Currently, Atlantic City has 8 casinos in operation, after four closed in 2014. Later on this year, the Trump Taj Mahal will be shutting down, which will leave only 7 in operation in the city. There will be referendum set for the November ballot that if approved, would provide two new casinos in the northern region of the state. Atlantic City is currently the only area in the state where gaming is allowed.
Feelings behind the two potential casinos seem to be split. Some feel the new casinos will be helpful, providing jobs as well as revenues to the state. Others feel that the new casinos will hurt Atlantic City further leading to even more job loss and possible shutdown of the remaining casinos.
Global Gaming Business Magazine publisher, Roger Gros, stated that he feels the casino industry could continue to lose positions. 3,000 fewer jobs will be in service when the Taj Mahal closes this October and according to Gros, if the new casinos gain approval then the job market will shrink even more. Additional casinos opening in Maryland, Massachusetts and New York will also take away traffic as well as may lead to individuals seeking employment in a more stable environment.
For those who have been laid off and are seeking employment, these areas are prime real estate. Some venues have even hosted job fairs in Atlantic City to try and hire experienced dealers, servers and the like for their new venues.
What Does This Mean for the iGaming Industry?
Casino closures are not good for the online gambling industry of the state. For operators to offer online poker and casino gaming services, they must be partnered with a land based venue. If land based casinos continue to shut down, then operators of online gaming would shut down as well. So far, the online gaming industry has not been affected. According to recent reports, the revenue for online casino gaming continues to pick up which could help to stabilize the overall gaming industry in Atlantic City.
The remaining casinos have to continue to do well to be able to stay in business. With the help of online gaming, casinos will have additional revenues that can be used in other areas. The upcoming closure is not a good sign for the industry but many still remain to be able to offer quality online gambling options.
Many feel the closure of the casino is unwarranted. The Taj is currently under strike by employees who want benefits. When Carl Ichan took over the property he was granted the right to take away health care and pension plans in order to get the venue back on track. Since July, employees have been on strike with no signs of stopping. The Local 54 union cannot seem to come to an agreement with Ichan and the casino will be closing in response. Some blame Ichan for not reaching an agreement while others blame the union, as 3,000 will be out of work while only around 1,000 are under union representation.