There’s a retail casino talent shortage, says Rush Street Gaming (RSG) CEO Tim Drehkoff. The leader in charge of five US Rivers Casinos said while the tech industry is laying off personnel, his company and other land-based gaming facilities want to hire more employees.
Drehkoff said casinos have 400,000 fewer workers than the industry employed before the pandemic, and post-pandemic customer demand is higher than in 2019.
He cited a Wall Street Journal report that 2 million leisure and hospitality jobs remain unfilled.
So, Drehkoff explained to attendees of the East Coast Gaming Congress (ECGC) assembled on Thursday at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Atlantic City:
In our world right now, we definitely have a labor shortage.
Drehkoff was discussing Rush Street’s land-based gambling business, with Rivers Casinos in Illinois, New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. RSG also developed retail casinos in Mississippi and Ontario but no longer owns and operates them.
That’s in contrast to tech-oriented Rush Street Interactive (RSI). RSI (Rush Street Interactive 3,20 +5,96%) is known for its online gambling brand, BetRivers.
However, unlike Bally’s Corporation (Bally Bet, Bally Casino) and DraftKings (DraftKings 24,92 +2,01%), RSI reduced its marketing spend rather than laying off employees.
Bonus posted a synopsis of this article on LinkedIn on April 24.
James Moldenhauer, a sportsbook trading compliance analyst with Caesars Entertainment, commented:
Always a concern in the industry, staffing struggles never go away in such an intensive labor environment.
What a Retail Casino Talent Shortage Means
Drehkoff said the retail casino industry needs a diverse workforce in many ways, including:
Gaming provides more than 200 types of careers.
However, retail casino jobs aren’t forms of employment that provide immediate gratification. Drehkoff said while many post-pandemic workers want remote jobs with flexible schedules and quick start dates, land-based gaming employment doesn’t function that way.
For instance, he said that dealers must complete eight weeks of training, then physically show up for a scheduled shift.
That can be a hard sell, post-pandemic. Drehkoff said Covid-19-related shutdowns resulted in many workers reevaluating their lives and joining the Great Resignation.
Americans are flipping their priorities away from work and toward their private lives, he said. That’s also why there’s an increase in demand at retail casinos – post-pandemic gamblers are fulfilling their niche’s part of the overall consumer desire for travel and entertainment.
This is a good problem to have.
However, it does highlight the retail casino talent shortage.
Wage growth is not good enough to solve our problem.
So the approach RSG takes is retaining quality talent through a healthy, diverse workplace culture. Offering tuition benefits and showing personnel a path for growth also helps, Drehkoff said.
Beginning with the recruitment process and showing staffers they’re valued from Day One, RSG makes every effort to keep its employees happy and working for RSG, he said.
It’s something the sector can work together to do, too.
Drehkoff opined that the industry is in good shape, despite the worker shortage.
Our foundation remains strong.