Guest Op-ed What Type of Jobs Could Be Created at the Casino

July 16, 2012
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Since the casino debate began there has been a lot of talk about just what kind of jobs may be created by a resort-style casino at Suffolk Downs. At community meetings and on websites the opposition to a casino in East Boston has long argued that many of the jobs offered by a casino are unskilled, low paying jobs with little or no benefits for the workers or community. They also argue that because the jobs are low level that it would add to the housing crisis in the area because many workers would not be able to afford the skyrocketing rents in places like Eastie.

In response to this criticism, Suffolk Downs released a breakdown of what kind of jobs would be distributed throughout the complex, which would include a casino, hotel, shops, restaurants, bars and a racetrack.

According to the racetrack’s ownership the hotel and resort would include reservationists and front desk personnel like concierges, chambermaids, housekeeping and custodial work and security.

The food and beverage side of the casino would include chefs, cooks, hosts and hostess, bartenders, waiters and waitresses, busboys, and other kitchen staff.

The gaming parlor would employee cashiers and croupiers, hosts, attendants and mutual clerks, dealers, supervisor technicians, security, floor managers and shift managers.

The entire facility would have a staff of plumbers and electricians, carpenters, machinery operators, valet parking attendants, limo and bus drivers as well as a grounds-keeping crew and parking lot and garage attendants.

Upper management jobs would include software engineers, network administrators, database management, human resource and finance administrators, audit and accounting as well as planning, analysis, marketing and communication jobs.

Since the release of the jobs breakdown, major area labor organizations, like the Metropolitan Building Trades Council and the Greater Boston Central Labor Council, have endorsed the 770year-old racetrack’s bid for to win a state license to operate a casino here.

“This project will create thousands of permanent, good-paying jobs with benefits and opportunity for advancement,” said Executive Secretary of the Greater Boston Labor Council Rich Rogers. “The project will provide employment opportunities across a wide spectrum, from white-collar professional to blue collar and service sector, in an area of communities most in need of these jobs,” he added. In its proposal, a casino at Suffolk Downs will generate 4,000 jobs with an average annual salary of $42,000, along with benefits and opportunities for career advancement.

According to a 2009 UMass Boston study, gaming workers in resort casino settings receive higher pay and more generous job benefits than workers in similar non-gaming jobs.

“The Resort at Suffolk Downs will provide extensive training for new hires and employ thousands of union workers,” said Chief Operating Officer of Suffolk Downs Chip Tuttle. “We are looking forward to putting people to work in the surrounding communities where it will have a significant positive impact.”

Along with the full time jobs once the resort is developed, officials project 2,500 construction-related jobs would be created to build the destination resort and related road infrastructure improvements.Last month, Suffolk Downs announced its plans for a Caesars-branded world-class resort and casino at New England’s only thoroughbred racetrack. The $1 billion development plan for the 163-acre site includes a hotel, restaurants, a casino gaming complex, retail shops, entertainment areas, luxury spa facilities and horse racing.

John Lynds is a reporter for the East Boston Times and has been covering the casino debate in that community for more than two years.