Unite Here, the largest casino workers union in US, has asked the gambling regulators to protect employees from neglect by hedge funds.
The union approached gambling regulators in three states, asking them to keep workers in mind when approving Wall Street firms for ownership or management changes regarding casinos. The request was made to regulators in New Jersey, Nevada, and Ohio.
Bob McDevitt, president of the union’s Local 54 in Atlantic City, said private equity ownership has been disastrous for his city’s casino industry, with shutdowns and job losses attributable to the firms’ pursuit of short-term profits. He cited private equity ownership components of Caesars Entertainment, which owns the Caesars, Harrah’s and Bally’s casinos in Atlantic City, and MGM Resorts International, which owns the Borgata.
He said such firms prize the quick extraction of profits from properties for the benefit of investors, often to the detriment of workers and their communities. Caesars Entertainment, for example, shut down the still-profitable Showboat casino in Atlantic City in 2014 because it was not deemed profitable enough.