Union Agrees to Tentative Deal as 4 Atlantic City Casinos Avert Strike

Union Agrees to Tentative Deal as 4 Atlantic City Casinos Avert Strike
By Lou Monaco
Fact Checked by Pat McLoone

Guests celebrating the Fourth of July Weekend in Atlantic City and New Jersey bettors can breathe a sigh of relief. 

Workers for Local 54 of the Unite Here union at four casinos – MGM-owned Borgata and Caesars Entertainment-owned Caesars, Harrah’s and Tropicana – all reached tentative agreements with their respective companies late Thursday night, in advance of a today’s July 1 strike deadline. 

The union’s worker negotiating committees at all four New Jersey casinos have approved the agreements and will set a future date for a ratification vote from the entire membership. 

The union was seeking substantial wage increases at a time of labor shortages throughout the industry and increased daily living costs. Bartenders, bellmen, cocktail servers, cooks, doormen, housekeepers and other service jobs within the casinos would have been affected.


Union President Happy with Deal

Shortly after the deal was reached late Thursday night, Bob McDevitt, the union president, told the Associated Press: “This is the best contract we've ever had. We got everything we wanted and everything we needed. The workers delivered a contract that they can be proud of for years to come.”

No terms were revealed by the union, which said it first had to present the contract to its full membership.

A strike deadline for Sunday, July 3 remains in effect for Hard Rock Casino, but it is expected that it also will be resolved. 

After contracts expired on May 31, casino workers picketed on the legendary Atlantic City Boardwalk and voted with a majority of 96% to authorize a strike at the five casinos listed above on June 15. 

One week later, on June 22, the City Council of Atlantic City voiced its support in a unanimous resolution that called for higher wages in the casinos and called on casino operators to negotiate in good faith to avert a strike. 

The last casino strike in Atlantic City was in 2016.

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May 2022 Numbers Show Inflation Starting to Enter Industry

Based on official monthly sports betting figures for May, it appears that inflation has started to impact in-person gaming revenue at Atlantic City casinos.

New Jersey also is among the few states that has real money online casinos. The others are Pennsylvania, Delaware, West Virginia, Connecticut and Delaware.

Those states, plus Nevada, also have online poker.

Retail gross gaming revenue for May posted at more than $233 million, which was a drop from April’s $235.3 million.

Internet gaming revenues for the month were flat at $136 million compared to April’s $136.9 million.

“We may see a flattening if not a small decline in internet gaming revenues throughout the summer as patrons shift their gaming behavior to take advantage of the city’s in-person offerings,” said Jane Bokunewicz, faculty director of the Lloyd D. Levenson Institute of Gaming, Hospitality and Tourism (LIGHT) at Stockton University School of Business, after May 2022 numbers were released. 

“Inflation, and continued increases in gas prices, may be starting to impact visitor behavior. People, still eager to get away, may consider Atlantic City with its beach, boardwalk, fine dining, entertainment and casinos an attractive choice for something closer to home. However, when they get here, they may have less money to spend.”



Lou Monaco had been East Coast Scene columnist for Gaming Today in Las Vegas since June 2019, covering the East Coast sportsbook scene with emphasis on NJ and PA. He also currently is a part-time writer for the high school sports department for NJ Advanced Media (NJ.com) in Iselin, NJ. Lou has over 30 years sports experience with previous stints at ESPN SportsTicker, Daily Racing Form and Oddschecker.

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