Strip: Help wanted, a lot of it
Howard Stutz, Las Vegas Gaming Wire
VEGAS, Nev. - Casino operators believe they will
have no problem filling hotel rooms with guests and packing
casinos with free-spending gamblers during the current building
boom, which is expected to bring at least four new resorts
to the Strip and an estimated 45,000 more hotel rooms to the
Las Vegas market by 2012.
enough employees to clean the rooms, work the restaurants
and staff the casinos may not be as easy.
Bank Securities, in a report to its investors, said the Las
Vegas casino industry will need to hire some 113,500 workers
for the positions being created by the new resorts. Analysts
for the Wall Street investment house believe if the current
growth rate in Clark County's population continues unabated,
there will be a shortfall of some 25,000 jobs left unfilled.
Lerner, who authored the report for Deutsche Bank, said older
casinos will be hit by the open positions as qualified workers
flee for newer and more attractive opportunities. Lerner said
a job shift took place during the most recent casino hiring
wave in 2005 and 2006. Wynn Las Vegas, the South Coast (now
called South Point) and the Red Rock Resort hired workers
from competing casino properties.
Vegas resorts have not had an issue attracting labor, particularly
at the newer high-end properties," Lerner wrote in the
report that was released last month.
said Wynn received more than 110,000 applications for 9,000
positions while Station Casinos had 100,000 applications for
2,600 jobs at Red Rock Resort. The bulk of those applications,
he said, came from workers at existing Las Vegas properties.
believe this could occur with new supply as well, shifting
workers to the newest properties, and potentially causing
a shortage at older properties, " Lerner said. "Ultimately,
we expect if there were a shortage, properties could buy labor
if necessary, while the economy nationwide could play a part
as well. We expect that a labor crunch could weigh on property
resort corridor is already swelling with construction activity.
Las Vegas Sands Corp. plans to open the $1.8 billion Palazzo
later this year with 3,025 rooms. Wynn Resorts Ltd. has begun
construction on Encore, a $1.4 billion, 2,000-room resort
expected to open in 2008. MGM Mirage's $7 billion Project
CityCenter, which includes a 4,000-room hotel-casino and four
high-rise condominiums and condo-hotels totaling 2,700 rooms,
is also under way.
Boyd Gaming Corp., is preparing the closed Stardust site for
Echelon Place, a $4 billion project that totals 5,300 hotel
rooms. Also, Station Casinos is expected to break ground this
month on Aliante Station, a $600 million hotel-casino in North
to Deutsche Bank, the number of potential jobs is based on
a formula of 2.5 workers per hotel room. The investment house
also believes that Clark County's estimated average growth
rate of 7,300 new residents a month through 2012 will miss
Las Vegas population increases have fallen short of that level,
with the exception of 2004 which came close with an average
of almost 8,800 new residents a month," Lerner said.
added that the economy nationwide could play a role in bringing
more potential workers to Southern Nevada.
instance, high unemployment rates in another region could
spur workers to move to Las Vegas," Lerner said.
Taylor, the secretary-treasurer of Culinary Workers Local
226, which represents more than 60,000 hotel and restaurant
employees, agreed that a labor shortage could be on the horizon
unless the casino companies begin taking steps to avert the
crunch. He said the middle to upper end of the job scale would
be the most impacted unless the industry undertakes a serious
job training program.
said the union's Culinary Training Academy graduates 3,000
employees annually, but he'd like to see that figure climb
companies need to break through rhetoric and create internal
training and mentoring programs for their workers," Taylor
said. "Some have embraced that concept and it will be
a big issue in the upcoming contract talks. It's imperative
for the industry that a career ladder inside these companies
be created so employees can develop different skills in order
to better themselves."
operators are mostly unconcerned about a potential labor shortage.
Seeing the amount of applications filed for recent casino
openings give them hope of similar numbers.
Vegas Sands spokesman Ron Reese said the company should begin
the process for filling an anticipated 4,000 positions at
the Palazzo this spring.
the other end of the timeline, Boyd Gaming spokesman Rob Stillwell
doesn't think the labor pool will dry up when Echelon Place
is ready to hire workers, possibly by 2010.
MGM Mirage is already taking steps to staff 12,000 positions
at Project CityCenter, which covers the hotel-casino and Vdara
development isn't expected to open until 2009.
Vosburgh, senior vice president of human resources for MGM
Mirage who is overseeing the CityCenter hiring, said at least
half of the development's employees will come from other company
hotel-casinos. MGM Mirage operates 10 Strip casinos.
12,000 is a starting point, the ripple effect is creating
a tsunami," Vosburgh said. "We'll have to fill the
same position two or three times because some will leave Mirage
for CityCenter and another person will leave (Treasure Island)
for that position at the Mirage. That will create some challenges."
Mirage expects 100,000 applications for jobs at CityCenter,
which will be hiring workers after the Palazzo and Encore
have filled their staffs.
you'll get 10 applications for one position and three or four
for another," said Michael Peltyn, vice president of
staff for CityCenter.
where we're challenged to grow the applicant pool," he