Massachusetts’ first casino’s revenue to date may be underwhelming but its impact on local employment has been a clear winner.
Penn National Gaming (PNG) opened its Plainridge Park Casino in June 2015 and while the slots-only venue hasn’t exactly set the world on fire with its ability to generate revenue, a new Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) survey of casino staff shows how valuable the venue has been to their futures.
The MGC commissioned the survey to gauge the economic impact of Plainridge Park, the first of three commercial casinos and one (possibly two) tribal venue called for under the state’s gambling legislation. Given the survey’s findings, the MGC was understandably keen to promote the results.
The survey found that slightly over half (50.1%) of Plainridge Park’s new hires had been working only part-time or were unemployed before their new casino jobs. Over 86% of these new hires had no prior gaming experience before joining Plainridge Park.
Even more favorable, only 3.5% of Plainridge Park new hires had transferred from other PNG venues, and nearly 93% of new hires didn’t need to move house in order to commute to their new job. Of the 7% who did move, one-quarter relocated from within Massachusetts.
MGC chairman Steve Crosby recalled that a key motivator behind the legislature’s willingness to pass the state’s Gaming Act was to goose broad-based economic development, and Crosby said the survey was proof that this “legislative intent is being achieved.”
Given the negative narrative that usually surrounds gaming activity, it’s worth celebrating gaming’s obvious positive achievements. Plainridge Park’s launch also dispelled certain myths propagated by anti-gambling campaigners during the push to pass the Gaming Act, including the canard that casinos would boost crime rates or that state lottery sales would decline.
GLOBAL GAMING SUPPLIER INDUSTRY WORTH $18B
An unrelated survey by Applied Analysis on behalf of the Association of Gaming Equipment Manufacturers (AGEM) estimated that the average salary of the planet’s 55k gaming supplier industry employees was around $90k, significantly above the average salary in pretty much every jurisdiction except (possibly) the United Arab Emirates or the Vatican.
However, these 55k employees include not just rank-and-file staffers but also senior management, some of whom earn eight-figure annual pay packets, which tends to skew the individual average upward. Regardless, the survey estimates that the total economic output of the gaming supplier industry was $17.9b in 2016, up from $16.8b in 2015.