Las Vegas casinos found a way to receive more with less employees thanks to new virtual dealer machines. Like any hospitality business, much reflects on employees since they are the ones truly providing the hospitality that guests are paying for. Although employees are more valuable than ever, recent trends on the Las Vegas Strip, according to Forbes, show that casinos are get more out of fewer employees.
The workers at Nevada casinos are divided into six main groups. They work directly on the gaming floor, serving as blackjack dealers, slot service representatives, slot technicians, pit clerks and more. The food employees work in restaurants, kitchens, as servers, and other, too. Most of the employees who work in the Beverage department serve as bartenders or cocktail servers. Room employees include housekeepers and front desk staff. Within the state’s statistical collections, include a category labeled “other,” which is mainly retail and entertainment employees. The last category is the General and Administrative employees who perform a variety of tasks that are not included in any of the five other departments.
It’s easy to automatically assume the average casino employee is a deal since the main purpose of visiting a casino is to gamble. Or so it use to be, but last year only five percent of visitors that traveled to Las Vegas said they came primarily to gamble. Of course, Las Vegas casinos offer way more than just gambling, which may be why Strip casinos tend to have more employees working restaurants rather than in gaming since 2004.
According to Forbes, 26 percent of casino employees worked in dining; 23 percent directly in gaming; 22 percent on the hotel side; 14 percent in the general and administrative category, and eight percent in “Other” and beverage last year. The importance of gaming employees began decreasing in the early 1990s, when full-service casino resorts modeled The Mirage, which placed a greater emphasis on non-gaming elements. From 1990 to 1999, the proportion of gaming employees dropped from 32 percent to under 26 percent.
Then in the early 2000s, casinos began the shift to coinless ticket in/ticket out (TITO) slot machines, which eliminated entire categories of employees who collected, counted, and exchanged coins for bills. By 2007, the percentage of gaming employees decreased to less than 24 percent.
Casinos were able to achieve this by increasing in productivity and investing in technology that enabled them to reduce the number of employees directly involved with gambling. It is not about “employees being devalued” but more of raising importance to those still remaining.
The cut doesn’t make it easier for remaining employees either. In fact, employees are more for their employers than ever before and their overall pay is not keeping pace with the increase in productivity. Most employees are probably working harder than they did ten or more years ago, while juggling a significant amount of responsibilities.
As automation continues to increase, the trend of “more-with-less” continues to emerge. The Las Vegas Strip is bound to follow other casinos as they transition into virtual dealer machines. The next time you visit a casino you may notice a lack of employees who work there as technology is set to improve.