PGCB Diversity Report Highlights Continued Gender Inequality at PA Casinos

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On September 30, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) released its 15th annual Diversity Report. The 2021-22 report, required under 2004’s Pennsylvania Race Horse Development and Gaming Act, examines the racial and gender diversity among those employed at Pennsylvania’s casinos.

The number of casinos has grown to 16 this year (with the addition of Hollywood mini-casinos in Morgantown and York), and the number of gaming industry employees along with it.

In the statement accompanying the report, PGCB Director of Diversity Mozelle E. Daniels said:

The PGCB remains committed to monitoring the activities of the Commonwealth’s licensed casinos in promoting diversity and ensuring compliance with the Act.

She also stated that the goal of the report is:

… to ensure the Commonwealth’s goals of enhanced representation of diverse groups in the gaming industry and the creation of quality living wage jobs for its residents.

To what extent is that commitment bearing fruit? That’s open for debate, but it’s clear that some establishments are more diverse than others.

Overall Racial Representation Seems About Right

The report found that, of the 14,829 people employed by Pennsylvania casinos this year, the self-identified ethnic breakdown is:

  • 61% Caucasian
  • 15% African-American
  • 7% Hispanic
  • 13% Asian
  • 4% Native American

The white-to-non-white ratio is quite close to demographic data from Pennsylvania’s 2020 Census, in which 61.6% of the state’s 12.8 million residents identified as “White alone.”

Black representation in the Pennsylvania gambling industry is also quite close to that in the overall populace. A generous assessment of the data is that, in terms of raw headcount, Pennsylvania’s casinos employ as many minorities as state demographics suggest they should. That said, Hispanics are somewhat under-represented, while Asians and Native Americans are employed at a higher rate.

Work to be Done on the Gender Front

If the Pennsylvania gambling industry gets passing marks for racial representation, the same cannot be said regarding gender.

Women accounted for only 42.7% of the casino workforce. That’s a slight improvement on last year’s 42.1% figure. However, it comes on the heels of two consecutive years of declining representation for women. This year’s 0.6% improvement only makes up about half the ground lost since 2018-19, when the number was 43.2%.

Of course, even that is not terribly close to 51%, roughly the proportion of women in the overall population.

Less Representation at Higher Levels

In the “executive, management and professional staff” (EMP) ranks, women and racial minorities are both underrepresented, not just relative to state demographics but relative to overall casino employees in the state. The 2021-22 report states that, of individuals in 2,370 such roles, just 36% are women, and 26% are racial minorities.

Daniels’ comments in the report don’t explicitly address this issue. She does, however, mention some external factors affecting the state’s casinos and their efforts to increase diversity:

…a highly competitive labor market, shifts in employee expectations, and other economic disruptions.

Unequal Commitment to Equality

Examining the numbers for individual casinos sheds some light on the problem. While overall figures may align with the state’s racial demographics, the stories are not consistent statewide.

For instance, five casinos stand out as less diverse than their competitors.

  • Hollywood Casino at the Meadows: Overall staff is 89% white. EMP staff is 67% male.
  • Live! Casino Pittsburgh: Overall staff is 87% white. EMP staff is 70% male.
  • Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course: Overall staff is 80% white and 61% male. EMP staff is 85% white and 69% male.
  • Mohegan Sun Pocono: Overall staff is 80% white. EMP staff is 92% white.
  • Presque Isle Downs and Casino: Overall staff is 76% white and 65% male. EMP staff is 70% male.

Who’s Getting it Right?

At the other end of the spectrum, four casinos get high marks for racial diversity, all in the Philadelphia area. That’s no surprise since the largest city in the state is also the most diverse.

In fact, we should take these figures with a grain of salt because although these casinos employ more minorities than their competitors in other parts of the state, whites are overrepresented compared to demographics. In 2020, whites made up just 36% of the population of Philadelphia County.

  • Harrah’s Philadelphia is the sole property at which Caucasians are not the most represented group. African-Americans have the most representation among overall employees at 41%, and 42% of EMP staff are non-white.
  • Live! Casino Philadelphia also has high African-American representation at 32% compared to 38% Caucasian. Minorities hold 32% of EMP roles.
  • Rivers Casino Philadelphia: Non-white employees make up 60% of the workforce and 46% of EMP roles.
  • Valley Forge Casino Resort: Only 39% of the overall staff is Caucasian, and minorities hold 42% of EMP roles.

Gender equality remains the more significant issue even when looking at individual casinos rather than the total market. Only the Lady Luck Casino Nemacolin has a headcount of female employees exceeding that of their male counterparts. Even then, it’s a small margin: 637 to 620. Moreover, the EMP ranks at Lady Luck are 51% male and 85% white.

Based on these figures, there can be no doubting the necessity of the PGCB’s annual diversity report. There is similarly no doubt that the Keystone State has a ways to go before it can boast genuine diversity in its gaming industry.

About the Author

Emile Avanessian

Emile is a one-time banker turned freelance writer. He previously worked in equity research and as a member of the Financial Sponsors Group with Goldman Sachs, where he worked on numerous casino- and gaming-related projects. His written work has focused largely on sports (NBA basketball and European soccer) and sports betting. Emile currently also writes for Squawka and Urban Pitch. His work has also been published in The Los Angeles Times, The Blizzard, Yahoo Sports, SI.com, and ESPN.

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