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Four-Day Work Week – Benefits and Drawbacks for the US Gambling Industry

Following reports that the US could be set to bring a four-day work week into play, this will likely have numerous effects on multiple industries across many markets, including benefits and drawbacks, both socio-economically and geopolitically.

The online gambling industry is one of the biggest growing in the US, and, as a result, it would be interesting to see how much an implemented four-day workweek would affect the industry's performance.

Over the last couple of years, numerous states have passed online gambling bills for both live casino online and sports betting, which has seen one of the biggest growth spurts of any industry.

There is no doubt that many sectors will be apprehensive about the prospect of a ‘32 hour workweek’ when taking into account the potential performance of businesses and the ability to meet deadlines and targets.

A bill has been submitted to Congress by Democratic representative Mark Takano, who speaks for California’s 39th district and is a considerable supporter of the proposed 32-hour week.

“Workers across the nation are collectively reimagining their relationship to labor — and our laws need to follow suit,” said Takano.

We have before us the opportunity to make common sense changes to work standards passed down from a different era.

A similar bill was proposed a year ago; however, this faced a significant backlash from The Society of Human Resource Management, which argued that this would reduce the amount of employee and employer flexibility.

“Fortunately, there are better ways to enhance employees’ work-life integration and attract and retain top talent,” Emily M. Dickens, Chief of Staff and Head of Government Affairs at SHRM, commented in a statement last year.

SHRM research shows 32 percent of organizations already offer a compressed workweek. Others have implemented flextime, shift work, part-time schedules, and job sharing. Those flexibilities, which vary according to industry and organizational size, would be threatened.

One of the main aims of the suggested bill is for it to allow people to “to live, play, and enjoy life more fully outside of work,” as Takano phrased it.

А Four-Day Workweek in the Gambling Industry

While many industries will likely be affected, for the gambling industry, it will be intriguing. Firstly, like some sectors, there are various roles, such as at landbased casinos and resorts, that are orientated around shift work, which means the ‘9 to 5’ doesn’t essentially exist.

The very nature of the gambling industry means that it is effectively a 24-hour industry, especially when considering resorts such as Las Vegas and Atlantic City.

Thousands of jobs cater to millions of gambling enthusiasts on a daily basis, from dealers to bartenders and waiters, and even cleaners, which all help to provide a hospitable experience for those frequenting the casino.

One of the biggest reasons for a backlash from the SHRM is that this could effectively increase the amount that companies pay on overtime in instances where this is required, which runs at a rate of 1.5 times the statutory pay.

It would mean that the chances of work being complete (based on demand and a number of other variables) within an employee’s 32-hour allowance could be unrealistic, and so the likelihood of overtime is very possible.

However, the gambling industry may actually see the benefits of a 4-day work week. While paying overtime, especially to shift workers, is likely to be inevitable, there are a couple of reasons why (certainly for now) land-based casino resorts should not worry.

Firstly, they can afford it. Many of the biggest companies in the industry have hundreds of millions, if not billions, of dollars in reserves, while their annual revenue far eclipses companies in most other industries in the US.

Secondly, there could well be a positive knock-on effect of the passing into law the 32-hour workweek. As a result, it means that most of the population has an extra day off in a week to enjoy what they are most interested in.

The last few years have shown that gambling (certainly online) has become one of the most popular activities in the US, and the result of this bill being passed could generate even more revenue for the gambling industry.

Potentially Game-Changing for the Gambling Industry

Should this come into force, it means that the gambling industry in the US could be one that actually benefits, however, certainly, others may also do so. Essentially a 4-day workweek gives people the opportunity to contribute towards the economy, so it could well be a masterstroke from the government.

Certain sectors, such as tourism, hospitality, and retail are likely to see an increased amount of traction, though there is a strong argument for gambling being top of that list.

Indeed, it was estimated that the US casinos market size would reach a valuation of $33,047 million by 2032, and this proposed change to working hours could well see this happen.

Employee happiness could well have a determining factor as well. There has been no mention of a decrease in salary levels to compensate on a pro-rata basis for the decrease in work hours. It could mean that, despite working hours only being 32 per week, it could mean employees are happier and more productive, and companies benefit as a result in terms of their bottom line.

The gambling industry already pays considerably above average, even in multiple markets, and this is one of the contributors to employee happiness. Indeed, a recent survey (Casino Industry Employee Survey) by the American Gaming Association (AGA) revealed that 78 percent of employees are proud to work in the US gambling industry.

Already, numerous states are witnessing a considerable increase in visitor numbers to casinos, while there has also been a surge in the development of new ones over the last year to keep up with demand as the land-based sector of the industry vies to compete with online.

What Impact Would a New Working Hour Bill Have on Revenues?

According to a Blue Weave Consulting study that was conducted in 2022, it is predicted that by 2028, the US online gambling could reach $7.6 billion in revenues alone, and the start of 2023 has only enforced the belief that these estimates could well be realistic.

Should the bill for a 4-day workweek be passed, it may see this figure be significantly eclipsed, with most of the traction likely to happen over the next 12 months as the economy adapts to the ‘new normal.’

One of the advantages of the online gambling industry is that it essentially runs itself, certainly requiring less staff than a traditional, land-based casino. Of course, every online operator has employees that work in various departments, such as marketing, CRM, trading, and customer service; however, the workforce could likely increase over the next year to accommodate the bill.

It would likely mean that in order to make sure that sites are manned on a continual basis, more employment opportunities will open up so that employees do not work over 32 hours over a seven-day period.

Should this occur, it will be interesting to see the effect that this has on an operator’s balance sheet. While it could be argued that the 32-hour workweek essentially provides an extra day that may afford people more time to visit online gambling sites, the potential increase in an operator’s workforce may affect the bottom line.

Furthermore, for those operators in the US that are in other markets, it may see them focus even more on these such as LATAM (Latin America), or indeed, those which operate solely in the US, look to establish themselves in others.

One state that provides significant intrigue surrounding the proposed bill is one that is arguably the epicentre of the world. New York is key for numerous industries, not least finance, however, following the launch of online sports betting in New York in January 2022, it has emerged as the most lucrative in the US gambling industry.

Indeed, monthly revenues almost consistently eclipse the $1 billion mark, such is the demand; however, this is one state that will need to be efficient should the bill be passed.

While Wall Street and the financial institutions that it is home to will keep open (certainly during the stock market hours), and undoubtedly the top law firms, if this bill is passed into law, how much this affects working hours of the ‘elite’ jobs remains to be seen.

Just like in other states, which may well see an increase in GGR (Gross Gaming Revenue), the figures in terms of participation will be curious when it comes to how big a difference there is from other states.

In addition, a four-day workweek could also drive participation in sports betting due to the fact that the US sporting calendar is one of the busiest in the world. Certainly, between September and February, there are the NFL, NBA, and NFL seasons that are in full swing, with these being some of the most popular betting markets in the country.

Having an extra day off per week is not only likely to drive viewing figures and attendance at these sporting events but could also potentially provide operators with the opportunity to target new customers via their online marketing efforts from a registration standpoint. Customers who may otherwise have been previously working.

What Is the Likelihood That This Will Happen?

What is obvious is that a case can certainly be made for both arguments; however, the likelihood of this bill being passed will depend on how much influence the SHRM will have on the decision-making process.

The fact that it has reached Congress suggests that there is confidence that the bill may well be passed - after all, why call for a vote unless you know that you have the votes?

Over the last few years – certainly, since the global pandemic, industries have seen considerable change in work patterns and habits, with this proving that set times and days do not necessarily have an effect on productivity.

The ‘remote working’ wave has (and still is) taken shape, leading most companies to offer this as a benefit, having seen, in most cases, a substantial increase in productivity. To perhaps reduce the number of employees wanting to continue this trend, the 32-hour workweek may well be a solution that re-focuses the workforce.

Certainly, in the online gambling industry, there are many nuances. Of course, not all operators have the same policies, exactly the same roles and logic may appear to dictate that some may become overwhelmed by perhaps a considerable increase in demand brought on by a four-day workweek.

It may even mean that some states decide to apply for a gambling license if they deem that there will be a substantial loss in revenue caused by the introduction of a four-day workweek as a means to generate more for the state in the taxable income generated by gambling companies.

Indeed, California (ironically, the state where the representative is from that has submitted the bill) rejected a proposed online gambling bill (likely this will be resubmitted), though it may result in a change of heart if industries in the state become affected from a productivity standpoint.

Being the most populous state in the union, with an estimated 60 million people, with 60 percent of this population employed, according to the California Employment Report. As such, the approval of the new working hour bill would ultimately result in 192 million hours per week in lost labor in California. This is a shortfall that the introduction of online gambling could certainly make up for from a state revenue standpoint, given the potential in taxation.

For now, it remains to be seen whether this will be passed into law following the rejection last year. However, most of the noise suggests that Congress will vote more in favor than not for the bill to materialize.

As for the online gambling industry, just like during the global pandemic, where it reaped the benefits, it could well see history repeating itself.

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