For the two years that it has been open, a Resorts World slots parlor in New York City has paid its workers slightly more than ten dollars per hour. Thanks to the efforts of a labor union called the New York Hotel & Motel Trades Council, or HTC, that will soon change. According to Peter Ward, president of the union, many gaming workers at this particular racino will now earn salaries that makes them eligible for the middle class. The raises will affect over 1,350 workers and will be generous: Most salaries are expected to double.
Under the new contract, a buffet cook who currently makes $12 per hour will now earn $22. A customer relations representative who currently makes $22,000 per year will now get $40,000. Kitchen staff will earn an average of $57,000 per year including 100 percent health care coverage and paid time off. Cleaning staff will net approximately $54,000 per year. Pay raises will be effective with the start of the new contract and are expected to cap at $60,000 for many of the facility's employees.
Higher Pay Standards
According to Ward, it is high time that workers involved in New York City's multimillion dollar Aqueduct racino operation are “taken care of.” After months of arbitration with the Malaysian conglomerate Genting Group, that is exactly what will happen. Ecstatic employees marveled at their extreme financial fortune when the ruling was handed down at the end of last month. Ward predicts that the generous pay raises will “set a standard” for the salary scales of other New York gambling facilities in the future.
More Good New to Come
The doubled salaries will account for just a small slice of the racino's overall profit. Last year, Resorts World took in an astounding $700 million in revenue. More good fortune could be coming for other New York casino employees if the gambling landscape in the Empire State continues to change.
Under proposed Referendum #1, New York is currently gearing up for the possible addition of seven more casinos in the next several years. The acquisition of these casinos would mean more revenue for the state and the creation of more well-paying casino jobs. Come Election Day, if Referendum #1 passes, those seven casinos are likely to become a reality soon under the leadership of Governor Andrew Cuomo.
About Resorts World Racino in NYC
NYC's Resorts World racino is a subsidiary of the Malaysian Genting Group, a parent gambling company which has successfully conducted business on American soil for the past 20 years. The Aqueduct racino offers horse racing, table games, and a wildly popular slots parlor. The parlor offers everything from penny slots to progressive games to high stakes machines. It is situated at the Aqueduct race track, a Queens horse racing facility whose profits were fading until the Genting corporation swooped in and rejuvenated business.
State Coffers Benefit From Resorts World
The extremely profitable racino has been pouring money into state coffers since it opened. The state lottery program is the recipient of 10 percent of the racino's profits. The New York Racing Association claims 14.5 percent of the cash. State education programs benefit the most from the gambling revenue, claiming approximately 44 percent of the monies. Casino profits are so beneficial to public education in New York, in fact, that the United Federation of Teachers recently donated $250,000 toward the promotion of adding new casinos through Referendum #1.
Finally, a Living Wage
Racino employees, many of whom had been struggling to pay for rent, transportation, and other necessary expenses, expressed relief and joy at the fact that they will now be earning a “living wage.” Debate continues to rage across America as to what is considered a liveable wage. The federal minimum wage is $7.25, but many say this is not enough money to live adequately and support a family.
Union Leaders Challenge Minimum Wage
Washington state currently offers the highest U.S. minimum wage of $9.19 an hour. A ballot measure initiated by SeaTac, Wash. union officials will be voted on this November that would extend the minimum wage to $15 per hour in that town. While many people support the measure, opponents argue that paying employees more money would ultimately hurt businesses.
This financial issue, though legitimate for many businesses, would be less of a concern for U.S. casino workers whose employers continuously earn a handsome profit.
Average Casino Workers' Salaries
According to GlassDoor.com, the average hourly casino worker's salary is $9.45. This amount is more than two dollars more per hour than the federal minimum wage, yet small enough that union leaders in SeaTac would consider it insufficient. A casino cashier earns slightly more at around $10.83 an hour, while the average casino floor supervisor earns significantly more at $35.44 an hour.
More data from the site: The average table game supervisor salary falls just short of $49,000 per year. The average dealer earns $41,000 per year. Casino hosts earn an average of almost $48,000 per year. Service team leads and promotion hosts rake in the most cash, according to the site, with average salaries in the $60,000 - $70,000 range.
The new Resorts World agreement puts its workers at a distinct financial advantage over other U.S. casino employees. Casino employees throughout the country are no doubt hoping that the handsome new Resorts World contract will influence pay scales across the country.
Gross Gaming Revenue May Affect Salary Increases
Whether salaries will increase at other U.S. casinos could depend, at least in part, on the success of those casinos. The American Gaming Association determines the Gross Gaming Revenue, or GGR, of the country's commercial casinos every year. GGR is the amount of money wagered by patrons minus the payouts won by those patrons, taxes, and other expenses.
In 2003, GGR was $28.72 billion. Over nearly a decade, that amount increased by about ten billion. In 2011, GGR was $35.64 billion. In 2012, GGR was $37.34 billion.
These positive increases, coupled with mounting pressure to raise wages in an industry that is flush with cash, could eventually bring good fortune to casino workers across the country.