ATLANTIC CITY — After eclipsing a high-water mark earlier this summer, casino employment waned in September across all nine properties.

Casino employment dropped 4.5 percent last month from a peak of 30,217 in July, which followed the late-June openings of Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City and Ocean Resort Casino. From July 2017 to September 2017, casino employment declined 4 percent across seven operational properties.

Total casino employment was 28,859 in September 2018, according to public data from the state Division of Gaming Enforcement. The number of full-time employees decreased 2 percent from July, and the number of part-timers dipped less than 1 percent. The number of “other” employees — which includes seasonal, temporary, on call or leave-of-absence employees — declined 19 percent from midsummer.

The seasonal employment adjustment is not unusual, said Rummy Pandit, executive director of the Lloyd D. Levenson Institute of Gaming, Hospitality and Tourism at Stockton University.

“Typically, as the season comes to an end, we expect a certain amount of reduction in employment,” said Pandit.

Full-time casino employees accounted for 76 percent of the industry total in September, compared with 73 percent in July. Part-time employment remained steady at 10 percent in July, August and September.

Bob Ambrose, an adjunct professor of casino management at Fairleigh Dickinson University and industry consultant, said the employment figures reflect a traditional drop that occurs annually.

Ambrose, who also worked at Tropicana Atlantic City, said the period between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve often is a “very lean” time for the industry.

“You’re always going to that fluctuation because (the Atlantic City casino industry) is seasonal,” he said.

Ambrose added he expects employment figures to stabilize in the coming months and be more consistent with the ebbs and flows seen in previous years.

The one difference to pay attention to this year, Ambrose said, is the addition of sports betting at Atlantic City casinos, which could make an impact both on visitation and employment in January and February.

The two new properties, Hard Rock and Ocean Resort, commenced gaming operations June 27 and added a combined 8,184 jobs to the market, 79 percent of which were full-time positions.

Ocean Resort decreased total employment the most among the resort’s nine casino properties, eliminating 315 positions, or 8 percent of its total workforce, since July.

The casino hotel increased the number of part-time employees by 20 while decreasing full-time and others by 283 and 52, respectively. Ocean employs 12 percent of all casino employees in Atlantic City, trailing only Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa (19.9 percent) and Hard Rock (14.7 percent.)

“New properties can take anywhere from six months to a year to stabilize in its market segments” and will adjust staffing levels accordingly,” Pandit said.

The three largest casino employers also provided the most jobs to Atlantic City residents, state data show. As of Oct. 16, Hard Rock employed 1,076 city residents, while Borgata and Ocean Resort provided jobs to 924 and 879 people living in Atlantic City, respectively. Tropicana Atlantic City employed 764 city residents, while Harrah’s Resort Atlantic City employed 598, Bally’s Atlantic City 497, Resorts Casino Hotel 450, Caesars Atlantic City 425 and Golden Nugget Atlantic City 383. Collectively, Atlantic City residents represent nearly 21 percent of all employees at the resort’s nine casino properties.

Bally’s and Harrah’s, two of the three resort properties operated by Caesars Entertainment Corp., reduced employment by 7 percent and 6.6 percent, respectively, since July. Harrah’s eliminated 231 positions, the second-most among Atlantic City’s casinos.

The Atlantic City casino industry employed 6,356 more people in September this year compared to the same month last year, when seven properties were open. However, all of the properties that were open in September of last year employed fewer people in 2018.

Contact: 609-272-7222 ddanzis@pressofac.com Twitter @ACPressDanzis

I cover Atlantic City government and the casino industry since joining The Press in early 2018. I formerly worked as a politics & government reporter for NJ Herald and received the First Amendment: Art Weissman Memorial NJPA Award two years in a row.

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