Bally's Atlantic City

A sign on the Boardwalk entrance of Bally's Atlantic City informs guests that the casino, along with all others in the city, is closed indefinitely. 

ATLANTIC CITY — Tens of thousands of casino workers, and the ancillary businesses that depend on the gaming industry, were dealt a crushing economic blow when Gov. Phil Murphy announced the closing of the city’s nine gambling parlors Monday to slow the spread of the new coronavirus and minimize the risk of exposure.

To alleviate some of the impending financial hardship and uncertainty, each of the city’s nine casinos are offering variations of health benefit extensions and/or temporary wages for their workers. As of March 1, there were 26,450 casino workers in Atlantic City, according to the state Division of Gaming Enforcement.

While there is no industry-wide standard for the stopgap measures, all of the properties are continuing to cover health insurance benefits for their employees, with some offering coverage until the end of June, including Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa and Golden Nugget Atlantic City.

Employee wages — based on internal communications shared by workers or publicized by the operators — are being handled differently across the entire industry and are property-specific.

Some of the larger casino operators, such as Caesars Entertainment Corp. and Eldorado Resorts Inc., have made company-wide decisions about how to compensate employees for lost wages, as casinos are being closed across the country.

Caesars Entertainment, parent company of Caesars Atlantic City, Bally’s Atlantic City and Harrah’s Resort Atlantic City, is offering two weeks’ pay to all employees. Tropicana Atlantic City, operated by Eldorado Resorts, will compensate all team members with their regular rate of pay for two weeks.

Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa is paying its full-time employees their normal rate for a two-week period.

Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City will pay full- and part-time employees for two weeks, from the date of the ordered closing.

Resorts Casino Hotel will pay full-time employees for two weeks based on an average of hours as determined by the company.

Ocean Casino Resort is offering the regular rate of pay for full-time and salaried employees through March 26. Full-time tipped employees will be paid the current minimum wage rate for the same period.

Full-time employees of Golden Nugget Atlantic City will have to use their accumulated paid time off, up to a maximum of 80 hours. Nugget parent company Landry’s Inc., owned by billionaire Tilman Fertitta, made market-specific decisions on how to compensate employees. Internal memos distributed to employees at the company’s properties showed variations in compensation offerings.

Although the casinos are closed, there is still a limited number of employees working on the properties. However, not all of those employees would qualify as essential to operations. A slot technician at one property said his department was being asked to work despite the fact that “nothing’s going to break, so there’s no reason to be here.”

Contact: 609-272-7222

Twitter @ACPressDanzis

Staff Writer

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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