The Strip: I need help, I need a lot of help

Casino operators believe there will be no problem filling hotel rooms with guests and free-to-use gamblers during the current building boom, which is expected to result in at least four new resorts on the strip by 2012 and about 45,000 more hotel rooms on the Las Vegas market.

Finding enough staff to clean rooms, work restaurants, and hire casino employees can be daunting.

Deutsche Bank Securities said in a report to investors that the Las Vegas casino industry will have to hire about 113,500 workers for positions created by new resorts. Analysts at the Wall Street investment firm now believe that if growth in Clark County continues unabated, about 25,000 jobs will remain unfilled.

Bill Lerner, who wrote Deutsche Bank’s report, said old casinos would be hit by open positions as qualified workers fled in search of new and more attractive opportunities. Lerner said job shifts took place during the most recent casino employment waves in 2005 and 2006. Wynn Las Vegas, the South Coast, and Red Rock Resort hired workers at competing casino properties.

“Las Vegas resorts have had no problem attracting labor, especially in the latest luxury properties,” Lerner wrote in a report released last month. 파워볼실시간

He said Wynn received 100,000 applications for 2,600 jobs at the Red Rock resort, while Station Casino received more than 110,000 applications for 9,000 jobs. He said most of those applications came from workers at existing Las Vegas properties.

“We believe that this may cause new supply, a shift of workers to new properties, and potentially a shortage of old properties,” Lerner said. “Ultimately, we expect that if there is a shortage, we can buy labor if we need it, and the nationwide economy may also play a part. We expect labor shortages could weigh on real estate margins.”

Resort corridors are already swelling with construction activities. Las Vegas Sands plans to open a $1.8 billion Palacho with 3,025 rooms later this year. Wynn Resorts has started construction at Angkor, a $1.4 billion, 2,000-room resort expected to open in 2008. MGM Mirage’s $7 billion project city center, which also includes a 4,000-room hotel casino and a four-story condominium and condo hotel with a total of 2,700 rooms, is also in progress.

Meanwhile, Boyd Gaming Corp. is preparing a closed stardust site for Echelon Place, a $4 billion project that has a total of 5,300 hotel rooms. Also, the station casino is expected to begin construction this month on Alien Station, a $600 million hotel casino in North Las Vegas.

The number of potential jobs is based on a formula of 2.5 workers per hotel room, according to Deutsche Bank. The investment firm also believes Clark County’s average monthly new resident growth of 7,300 will miss estimates by 2012.

“Historically, Las Vegas’ population growth has fallen short of that level except in 2004, when it came close with an average of nearly 8,800 new residents a month,” Lerner said.

He added that the nationwide economy could play a role in bringing more potential workers to southern Nevada.

“For example, high unemployment in other regions could spur workers to move to Las Vegas,” Lerner said.

D. Taylor, secretary-general of Culinary Workers Local 226, which represents more than 60,000 hotel and restaurant employees, agreed that staffing shortages could be imminent unless casino companies take action to avoid the crisis. He said the middle to the top of the job size would be most affected unless the industry had a serious job training program.

Taylor said the union’s culinary training academy graduates 3,000 employees a year but wants to see that figure rise to 7,000.

“Companies need to break through rhetoric and create internal training and mentoring programs for their employees,” Taylor said. “Some have embraced the concept and it will be a big problem in upcoming contract negotiations. It is vital for the industry that a career ladder is created inside these companies so employees can develop other skills to better themselves.”

Casino operators are mostly not worried about potential labor shortages. If you look at the number of recent applications to open casinos, you have hope for similar numbers.

A spokesman for Las Vegas Sands, Ron Reese, said the process should begin this spring to fill the expected 4,000 spots in Palacho.

Rob Stillwell, a spokesman for Boyd Gaming on the other end of the schedule, believes Echelon Place will not run out of labor when it is ready to hire workers by 2010.

MGM Mirage, meanwhile, is already in the process of deploying staff to 12,000 locations in Project City Center, which includes hotel casinos and Vdara condo towers.

Development is not expected to begin until 2009.

Richard Bosberg, MGM Mirage’s senior vice president of human resources, which is overseeing the hiring of the city center, said at least half of the development’s employees will come from other companies’ hotel casinos. MGM Mirage operates 10 strip casinos.

“The ripple effect is creating a tsunami because 12,000 are the starting points,” Bosberg said. “We will have to fill the same spot two or three times because some will leave Mirage for the city center and another will leave for the spot. That will create some difficulties.”

MGM Miraza expects 100,000 people to apply for jobs at City Center, where Palazzo and Encore will hire staff after filling them.

“Sometimes you have 10 applicants in one spot and three or four applicants in another,” said Michael Peltine, vice president of the City Center.

“It’s where we’re struggling to expand our pool of applicants,” he added.

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