Casinos throughout the US have had it tough in 2020 as they were forced to close their doors. For many casinos, this has meant three months of no business. In response, casinos across the US are laying off staff in unprecedented numbers.
Initial excitement for casinos reopening their doors has been tempered, particularly in Las Vegas. Cities like Vegas rely largely on regional demand from California and other bordering states. They’re particularly dependent on non-gaming revenue, so many resorts have had no choice but to lay off staff.
Casino operators are only just now starting to fire staff as the Federal furlough program has come to an end. With further waves of coronavirus expected for later in the year, casino operators are acting now.
Big Layoffs Around the Country
Market observers gained their first insight into the true damage of the pandemic when Las Vegas Sands became the first US casino operator to release their second-quarter earnings. They reported a revenue decrease of 97.1% year-on-year. For a single quarter, this represents a decline of $1 billion.
With the future still in question, both national and regional operators have found it impossible to maintain a full team of staff.
However, there are encouraging signs for the industry. Atlantic City has allowed its casinos to reopen, but with just a 25% capacity on the gaming floor and no indoor dining options available. Meanwhile, in Vegas, only 50% capacity is permitted on the casino floor and in restaurants.
MGM Resorts has furloughed 63,000 employees around the country. They have already warned employees that furlough could become a permanent layoff for all furloughed employees by the end of August.
Penn National Gaming is starting to layoff its staff. They have already set a date for 541 employees to be permanently laid off on August 15th in West Virginia.
Boyd Gaming expects to layoff 25% of its 24,000 nationwide employees. That means another 6,000 staff are expected to be unemployed.
The problem is these major national operators expected the disruption to be short. With no end to the pandemic in sight, thousands of staff across the nation will be laid off.
How are Local Casino Operators Reacting?
Local casino operators have also been forced to layoff its staff in droves. The Motor City Casino in Detroit plans to layoff 2,000 of its employees currently on furlough.
Circus Circus in Vegas is planning to lay off 252 employees in September. Tropicana Las Vegas will also lay off 620 employees in October.
Land-based casinos are facing Armageddon as the coronavirus pandemic continues to spiral out of control in the US. Local operators are more vulnerable than their national counterparts and these layoffs could spell the beginning of the end for many of them.
A New Caesars Merger Could Lead to Further Layoffs
Caesars Entertainment has announced a full merger with Eldorado Resorts. Caesars has done this in order to reduce its expenses, streamline its operations, and, ultimately, survive the coronavirus pandemic.
Most mergers will historically lead to layoffs as many employees will find significant overlaps in their roles. There will likely be no exception here. However, it’s unknown how many employees could be laid off in the coming months.
This is yet the latest blow to ordinary employees in the gambling industry. Thousands are expected to suffer and, sadly, there’s no end in sight. Unless something drastic happens and the US contains the virus and is able to reopen the economy, there’s little hope that national and local casino operators will have the opportunity to reverse course.