The largest casino workers union in the US is asking regulators to protect its employees. The danger they are worried about is the neglect from private equity firms and hedge funds that are after short-term refunds on their casino ownership. The United Here union is talking to gambling regulator from three states. They are asking them to keep the workers in mind when they approve deals with Wall Street firms related to ownership and management of casinos.
The regulators form Nevada, New Jersey, and Ohio are the ones that received the union representatives. One of them is Bob McDevitt, from the Local 54 in Atlantic City. According to him, the ownership of private equity has been a huge disaster for this city’s gaming industry. Many job losses and shutdowns are according to McDevitt a direct result of these firms’ pursuit of profits in the short-term. He mentioned the Caesars Entertainment private equity ownership components. These own the Caseras, Bally’s and Harrah’s in Atlantic City. He also talked about MGM Resorts International.
This casino operator holds the Borgata casino in the same city. McDevitt believes these companies go for the quick extraction of profits and this helps the investors. But it also strikes hard the workers as well as their communities. Showboat casino is a good example. This facility was under the management of Caesars Entertainment and it was shut down in 2014. The casino was profitable at that point, but the casino operators decided that they are not profitable enough. Pulling the plug was the go-to solution for the Showboat casino back then. The result was the protection of photos, but the loss of jobs as well. Among these were people with jobs at the same casino for more than 27 years.
Protecting the Workers
Of course, the process of casino sales and purchases goes on even today, likely with an unchanging pace. The Ocean Casino Resort is the best and the most recent example – it is changing hands after less than six months of operation. Here, like in all other transactions that have big financial companies as owners or sellers, the workers often end up left behind.
McDevitt has a simple message: the union does not want to see a degradation of the industry for the profit of a small few. With that in mind, a solution would be more scrutiny for all major sales and purchases. A New Jersey Casino Control Commission chairman James Plousis heard from the union representatives. For now, he said only that the agency will review every request it gets, including this one.
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