More Virginia casino resorts opening across the state won’t just help bettors hit it big. It’s going to play a key role in decreasing unemployment too.
The total number of employed Virginians jumped to 4.2 million in June, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The state’s unemployment rate fell to 2.8%. That’s almost a point below the national average of 3.6%.
The state counted 4.2 million employed Virginia citizens in June. Just under 94,000 people joined the workforce since Feb. 1.
Virginia casinos are a bit part of the gains.
Gov. Glenn Youngkin called the June unemployment rate “promising news for Virginia’s economic health.” The labor market is still competitive, he added.
“We remain committed to expanding workforce development opportunities for Virginians,” he said. “While the 94,000 job additions are promising, we must remain vigilant regarding the workforce participation rate, which does continue to lag.”
Virginia casino resorts fall under leisure, hospitality
As Youngkin looks ahead, 9 of the 11 main workforce industries have increased in employee count over the last year.
Virginia casino resort jobs fall under the leisure and hospitality industry. This sector accounted for 62,300 (17.9%) of the increase in over-the-year jobs.
The next five industries that saw the highest employee growth were:
- Education and health services
- Professional and business services
- Transportation and utilities
Combined, they amassed 60,600 new employees, which is 1,700 less than leisure and hospitality.
Virginia casino jobs by the numbers
- Hard Rock Casino in Bristol opened its temporary gaming complex in early July. The opening of the temporary casino created roughly 600 jobs. When the permanent location opens between mid-2023 and 2024, experts project Hard Rock to have 2,000 job openings and 1,000 construction jobs.
- Caesars Virginia in Danville was initially slated to open in December 2023. Unforeseen problems have pushed that back to 2024, however. In addition to the casino, Caesars will also open a 500-room hotel. That will add 1,300 casino jobs as well as 900 construction jobs.
- HeadWaters Resort and Casino in Norfolk will open a temporary casino in the parking lot of Harbor Park Stadium in March 2023. It’s unclear how many jobs will be available for the temporary location, however. The permanent location should open in Q4 of 2023. Look for 275 casino-related jobs as well.
- Rivers Casino in Portsmouth will open the doors to its $300 million facility early in 2023. In addition to the gaming space, it features a BetRivers Sportsbook and a hotel. Approximately 1,300 employees will be needed to operate the various facilities.
The economic benefits of casinos and sports betting are undeniable
We’ll get a feel for Virginia casino resort employment numbers once all four gaming operators open their permanent locations.
On top of that, casinos have paid $33.6 million in taxes since sports betting became legal in January 2021. Of that total, $32.8 million has gone to a general fund. Another $841,894 has gone to the Problem Gambling Treatment and Support Fund.
In neighboring states like North Carolina and Kentucky, the unemployment rate is 3.4% and 3.7% respectively.
While neither number is far off the national average of 3.6% both states could certainly benefit from creating more jobs and making more in tax revenue by expanding their gambling laws.