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Casino Workers Have Difficult Time Collecting BP Oil Spill Claims

Dec 27, 2010
Author: Steven Lock
Casino Workers Have Difficult Time Collecting BP Oil Spill Claims

According to a report in USA Today, many casino workers from Gulf Coast casinos have seen their claims for lost wages due to the BP oil spill rejected by the Gulf Coast Claims Facility. The Claims Facility was set up to distribute the $20 billion compensatory fund set up to aid victims of the oil spill.

According to Beverly Martin of the Mississippi Casino Operators Association, she has already received over 500 emails from casino workers who claimed they were denied compensation from the fund. In total, there are around 11,000 workers at the many casinos along the Mississippi coast.

After the oil spill, many tourists stayed away from the Gulf Coast during the busy summer months. Thanks to the influx of workers and some aggressive promotional offers, casino revenues stayed roughly equal to what was expected before the spill. However, workers that rely on tips – such as game dealers – reported significantly reduced incomes, as many of the gamblers were inexperienced.

“When players win, they tip more,” said Brad McDonald, a blackjack and craps dealer at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Biloxi. “We saw a lot of non-winning and a lot of non-tipping.”

The problem was compounded by the fact that many of the players who decided to skip the Gulf Coast were regulars who were friendly with dealers. These players were normally the most likely to leave large tips at the end of winning sessions, a treat that cut into the dealers’ bottom line. In total, McDonald said he lost about 10% of his normal summer tips this year.

According to representatives for the Claims Facility, there should be no systematic rejection of claims from casino workers. Anyone with good documentation of their lost income should be able to receive payments from the compensation fund. However, many casino workers have complained that even with sufficient records, their claims were rejected.

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