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Strikes the Latest Plague for Atlantic City Casinos

Atlantic City casinos have been hit with one economic disaster after another over the last two years, with the latest issue being a looming dealers' strike at several casinos.

Operators of the eleven Atlantic City casinos may feel as if they are under a biblical curse, considering the number and variety of problems that have beset them since the onset of the recession. Increased competition, tighter consumer budgets, poor publicity stemming from the Trump and Tropicana debacles, smoking bans, and now striking employees all are contributing to the stunning decline in casino revenue.

After having established a foothold by getting approval at some casinos to organize workers, the United Auto Workers is now calling for strikes by its new membership. Dealers at Caesar's Atlantic City, Bally's Atlantic City, and the Tropicana, and slot technicians at Caesar's and the Tropicana, voted to give the union authority to declare a strike.

Harrah's Entertainment, which owns Bally's and Caesar's, says it is prepared to continue operations in case of a strike. The company says it will replace dealers who strike with new employees.

“The UAW has resorted to bullying tactics by calling for a strike authorization vote, designed to harm our business at the expense of the hardworking employees, it claims to represent," says the Harrah's statement.

Since receiving worker approval to organize the casino dealers two years ago, the UAW has been in negotiations with casino management to reach a new contract, without success. Some dealers say they voted for strike approval not to go on strike, but to hopefully jump-start the talks.

Published on July 19, 2009 by VirginiaMaddox

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Recent Comments

Posted by: Chris SchultzWhen: 07/19/2009 08:42:50 PM EST
I strongly object to the claim that "smoking bans ... are contributing to the stunning decline in casino revenue." The smoking ban imposed by Atlantic City lasted only half of October and half of November 2008. The revenue as reported to the NJ Casino Control Commission was down for those two months compared to the previous year, but was down LESS than in the previous two months and the following two months, when there was no smoking ban. During that six-month period, only in the two months when the smoking ban was in effect did ANY casino post year-to-year gains. Good journalism requires checking the facts, not just listening to the whining of casino operators, who repeatedly blame anyone or anything else for their failure to attract customers, instead of correcting their business plan, which essentially involves repeatedly annoying and insulting the roughly 80% of adults who do not smoke.
Posted by: Virginia MaddoxWhen: 07/19/2009 09:51:34 PM EST
A search of articles on the Atlantic City performance in October and November of 2008 will yield a multitude of sources noting the anecdotal sories of wqorkers saying business was not affected versus the actual figures showing the smoking ban instantly affected business by almost 20% during the short ban, and lingeringly after, as patrons were confused as to smoking laws.

If the non-smokers would support a non-smoking environment, businesses would happily switch, and there would be no need for government compulsion.
Posted by: Chris SchultzWhen: 07/19/2009 10:28:05 PM EST
Some nonsmokers are likely to still feel confused and resentful after the way they have been treated by the casinos over the decades, and after the city council turned on them at the last minute back in October. Did you ever try to get a casino worker to do anything about a smoker puffing away in a nonsmoking area? I have, and the smoker gets the kid glove treatment from the casino every time, even after offering to beat me up for complaining. Virginia seems to want the nonsmokers to fix this situation, even when 11 out of 11 casinos consistently favor the smoker over the nonsmoker. I say it's time for one or two of those casino operators to apologize to the nonsmokers for the way they have been treated, shampoo the stale smell out of the carpets, and make the nonsmokers feel welcome. It has never been tried, even though it's the obvious way to bring in customers. If some of the operators had ever found the courage, perhaps the "need for government compulsion" would have been delayed or avoided.
Posted by: John EvansWhen: 07/20/2009 11:07:13 AM EST
What a lot of nonsense.

During the short ban on smoking the business at the casinos was down. Players went elsewhere. Maybe not the nickle and penny players but those who bet some decent money.

I have never seen a smoker NOT told to stop smoking in a nonsmoking area. Never. I have listened to some non smokers complain about others smoking while they were actually playing in a smoking section.

Perhaps that is your problem Chris, you were in a smoking area complaining.

I would rather see the casinos go back to 50/50. There were fewer complaints back then.

And remember no one has died of second hand smoke yet.

Posted by: Chris SchultzWhen: 07/20/2009 05:57:04 PM EST
The man disagrees with the NJ Casino Control Commission about whether October and November were two good months for casino revenue compared to other months lately; he apparently knows these things off the top of his head too well to bother to go to the Casino Control Commission website and look at the mumbers himself (Virginia, too). He disagrees with the US Surgeon General about whether secondhand smoke causes mortality, though he does not disclose what public health credentials he possesses. He disagrees with me over whether the signs that were posted where I have encountered dirtballs smoking said "Smoking Area" or "Non-smoking Area". I probably shouldn't try to discuss matters like this with someone who knows revenue better than the casino operators and the Casino Control Commission, knows medicine and public health matters better than the US Surgeon General, and can discern the meaning of signs better than I, who was there while the offenses were taking place.
Posted by: Chris SchultzWhen: 07/20/2009 06:00:10 PM EST
Typo in the previous post -- 'mumbers' s/b 'numbers'.