2011-10-27 / Local & State

Pa. Casinos Up Hiring Of Asian Workers

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – Officials say the advent of table games at Pennsylvania casinos – and marketing to Asian populations – has spurred a hiring boom of workers of Asian descent for jobs at gambling establishments in the commonwealth.

The (Harrisburg) Patriot News (http://bit.ly/q9fdlj ) says Asians appear as a stand-alone demographic in the Gaming Control Board's annual diversity report for the first time, after being included as “other” in earlier reports because the number of workers was so small.

Asians now account for more than 7 percent of casino workers statewide, overtaking the Hispanic category thatmaintaineda5percent share of the employment. African Americans account for nearly 12 percent of casino employees, while the proportion of Caucasians has dropped to 75 percent from 82 percent in June of last year.

The report says more than 900 African Americans were hired, more than 770 Asians and more than 250 Hispanics – but proportions matter, especially in the big southeastern casinos. At Parx Casino in suburban Philadelphia, for example, one in every six employees is Asian, because casinos like Parx and the Sands in Bethlehem are drawing heavily on the Asian communities in the New York City region.

Parx spokeswoman Carrie Nork Minelli said casino customer demographics have been changed by the addition of table games, which tend to draw more younger gamblers and more males but also Asian customers.

Dr. Timothy Fong, co-director of the gambling studies program at UCLA, cites a “longstanding cultural history of gambling in Asian societies.” Research also shows a higher propensity for gambling among Asian-Americans, and officials say casinos have begun catering to the market.

Gaming Control Board spokesman Richard McGarvey said some casinos have specifically catered to their Asian clientele “and they hired for that purpose.”

Parx has an Asian gaming area with a noodle bar as well as buses running every day from New York City, with a stop in Chinatown. And it is advertising in Asian language newspapers and sending out Asian-language mailings, most recently invitations to its upcoming $50,000 baccarat tournament.

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