Andrew Hall, M.P.A., M.A., is a research analyst at the UMass Donahue Institute where he serves as a member of the economic and fiscal analysis team for the SEIGMA project.
The UMass Donahue Institute’s Economic and Public Policy Research team, a part of the larger SEIGMA team, strives to understand the impacts of the introduction of casinos on the people and economy of the Commonwealth. One point of interest in our work on the study is understanding the jobs at the casinos in Massachusetts, and the characteristics of employees when they are first hired to work there. We designed a survey to obtain this information and gather a range of data on work-related characteristics and aspirations of new employees.
The findings, detailed in our recently released report, reveal several important characteristics of new hires at Plainridge Park Casino and the emergent casino workforce in Massachusetts:
- 50.1 percent of new hires worked part-time or were unemployed before obtaining their job at Plainridge Park Casino.
- Major reasons for seeking employment included career advancement, improved pay, and improved benefits.
- 40.1 percent of new hires said they needed work due to being unemployed, part-time or underemployed. 86.2 percent had no gaming experience prior to their jobs at Plainridge Park Casino.
- 96.5 percent of new hires did not transfer from other Penn National Gaming locations; and 92.8 percent did not move to take their jobs at the casino. Of those who moved, one quarter originated from cities or towns within Massachusetts.
- Nearly three-quarters of respondents come to their job without pre-employment training for their position.
The vast majority of those who responded to the survey are people who are new to the gaming industry and are now being hired for gaming and non-gaming positions at Plainridge Park Casino, including its food court vendors. Very few workers (only seven percent) moved to take their job at Plainridge Park Casino, and those who did were mostly from Massachusetts and Rhode Island. This suggests that most new employees live close enough to commute to their positions at Plainridge Park Casino. Read a more detailed overview of our findings in our report.