Illustration:Rebecca Zisser/Axios

As waves of automation-fueled job losses crash against the labor market, one unexpected hotbed of disruption is Las Vegas, a city overflowing with low-wage, low-skill work.

Why it matters: The consensus among experts is that the next big zone to be decimated by robots is the service industry. The hundreds of thousands of jobs in Vegas, among them cooking, cleaning, selling and dealing cards, fall squarely into this vulnerable pocket.

The already-underway technological upheaval could send Sin City, which only a decade ago was clobbered by the financial crash, reeling once again.

By the numbers: Per a report from the University of Redlands' Institute of Spatial Economic Analysis, 65% of Vegas jobs have a high chance of being automated away. Compare that to 25% of all jobs in the U.S.

  • Nevada suffered an outsized impact from the Great Recession, with a jobless rate north of 14%, compared with a peak national rate of about 10%. Its vulnerability to job loss means unemployment could flare again.

As we reported last week, the effects of automation are projected to hit the center of the country hardest. But not just middle America is at risk. There are urban pockets with high concentrations of low-wage service jobs — and Vegas is atop that list.

The root of the danger in Las Vegas is the dominance of one industry: casinos.

  • "That's a blessing and a curse," says Jeffrey Brown, a researcher at the Bertelsmann Foundation and co-author of a new report on the future of work in Las Vegas.
  • It's a blessing because casinos buoy the city's economy; it's a curse because when they begin automating away jobs, workers will have little to fall back on.

The bottom line: Casinos are already installing fancy gaming machines and new equipment that allows blackjack dealers to accommodate dozens of gamers, where until now they have been able to deal only to a handful. Their hotels are targets for robotization, too, with automated check-in, room service, housekeeping and even robotic bartenders.

Go deeper

Updated 6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 30,065,728 — Total deaths: 944,604— Total recoveries: 20,423,802Map
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 6,674,070 — Total deaths: 197,615 — Total recoveries: 2,540,334 — Total tests: 90,710,730Map
  3. Politics: Former Pence aide says she plans to vote for Joe Biden, accusing Trump of costing lives in his coronavirus response.
  4. Health: Pew: 49% of Americans would not get COVID-19 vaccine if available today Pandemic may cause cancer uptick The risks of moving too fast on a vaccine — COVID-19 racial disparities extend to health coverage losses.
  5. Business: Retail sales return to pre-coronavirus trend.
Ina Fried, author of Login
8 hours ago - Technology

Scoop: How the Oracle-TikTok deal would work

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

An agreement between TikTok's Chinese owner ByteDance and Oracle includes a variety of concessions in an effort to make the deal palatable to the Trump administration and security hawks in Congress, according to a source close to the companies.

Driving the news: The deal, in the form of a 20-page term sheet agreed to in principle by the companies, would give Oracle unprecedented access and control over user data as well as other measures designed to ensure that Americans' data is protected, according to the source.

9 hours ago - World

How the EU plans to take on human rights abusers

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Amid a global assault on human rights stretching from Belarus to Hong Kong to Yemen, the European Union signaled yesterday that it may act to deter corrupt kleptocrats and state abusers by hitting them where it hurts: their assets.

Driving the news: Europe's chief executive Ursula von der Leyen revealed in her first-ever State of the Union speech that she will bring forth a European Magnitsky Act, a sanctions framework modeled after a U.S. law that restricts malign actors' access to travel and the global financial system.