Casinos are a terrific source of good-paying, benefit-rich, blue-collar jobs, the Labor Resource Center of the University of Massachusetts at Boston has found.
Sounds great until you get to this paragraph buried at the end:
The study was paid for, in part, by the Construction Institute, a nonprofit association dedicated to improving the construction industry, and the Future of Work in Massachusetts project, which is funded by the University of Massachusetts’ President’s Office.
A read of this study shows a lot of very obvious problems.
The premise of the study is that casino workers with less than a college education earn more and have better benefits than similarly educated workers in other industries. Here’s the obvious problem: No one is denying that casinos earn lots of money. Comparing workers in a highly profitable industry to the aggregate of all other workers is a stacked comparison. A more relevant comparison would be between casino/hotel workers and non-gaming resorts such as Disney. Comparing the pay and benefits of a hotel worker in the MGM Grand in Las Vegas to a Motel 6 in Corndog, Iowa is meaningless. I would maintain that if you compared uneducated casino workers to similarly educated workers in other highly successful companies you would get a very different result.
The study also includes a section that basically says that unionized casino workers in Las Vegas fare better than their non-unionized counterparts in Reno. Interesting but meaningless since the differing economies skew the results. This section stuck out like a sore pro-union thumb.
There is a section that concludes that Patrick’s commercial casino plan is wonderful when compared to Indian casinos in CT and NY. Well duh.
This study came off as a real rah-rah for Patrick’s casino legislation with pro-union overtones. The basic mechanism of comparing workers in a highly profitable industry to all other workers was bound to produce the overly rosy results. Coupled with the funding from construction industry interests, let’s just say I’m not convinced especially when, as usual, the socio-economic costs are completely ignored.