The spread of the coronavirus across the country has taken a strong toll on the economy. Businesses have closed, reopened, and some have closed again. Unemployment is on the uptick once more after slowing down for a couple of weeks.
Every state is impacted differently. Nevada casinos were ordered to close in March. The closure of casinos lasted about six weeks. Casinos reopening has helped a little in the short term, but there are long-term consequences being felt by employees at casinos throughout the state.
Casinos have reopened, but not everything is back to normal
While many casino workers are back at work, there are plenty who either haven’t returned or won’t return. Casinos and the restaurants open inside are operating at a maximum of 50% capacity. Shows and nightclubs haven’t reopened, and the entertainers and staff remain on the sidelines.
While there was some pent-up tourist demand from neighboring states, business travelers haven’t returned to Las Vegas. There’s no sign that the visitors for conventions and meetings will be returning any time soon. This will have a chilling effect on major casino corporations like MGM Resorts and Caesars, that have been targeting these highly profitable visitors.
Casino operators in Nevada and around the US are laying off or furloughing employees. Even the newly merged Caesars Entertainment will be letting go of some employees in Nevada and around the country. Coronavirus aside, this is part of corporate consolidation. Surely, slow business will be to blame for some of the layoffs.
Don’t expect to see an improvement any time soon. White House officials say that Las Vegas should consider taking drastic steps to help slow the increase in coronavirus cases.
Las Vegas Sands (The Venetian and The Palazzo) reported a massive drop in earnings, close to $1 billion in the second quarter. The outlook isn’t promising as the virus continues to spread. During the earnings call, Las Vegas Sands President and COO Rob Goldstein said “We’re in a world of hurt here in terms of Las Vegas.” He continued, “I’ve never felt more gloomy than I do today about what’s happening in Las Vegas.”
Nevada casino layoffs
Las Vegas Sands hasn’t announced major layoffs yet. However, the company has reduced hotel capacity by keeping The Palazzo hotel tower closed during weekdays. Morels Steakhouse and Lagasse’s Stadium have both announced that they don’t plan to reopen. This could be the beginning of a major slowdown at one of Las Vegas’s most popular luxury resorts.
Wynn Las Vegas was able to pay all of its employees while casinos were closed earlier this year. Since reopening, the business has been very slow. Some restaurants like Charlie’s Bar + Grill will close Tuesday through Thursday. The buffet will close Tuesdays and Wednesdays. An unspecified number of Wynn employees will be furloughed. A spokesperson for the casino says these workers will continue to receive health benefits through Oct. 31.
A couple of weeks ago, Boyd Gaming announced it was slashing at least 25% of its workforce around the country. The national casino operator has 12 properties in Las Vegas. According to a letter written by Boyd Gaming’s CEO Keith Smith, it is reported that the company could lay off as much as 60% of its employees. They haven’t released a specific number of layoffs. The company has about 10,000 employees in Nevada.
Penn National Gaming (PNG) is a national casino operator with two properties in Las Vegas — M Resort and the Tropicana. The latter plans on finally reopening on Sept. 1. However, the company is already planning to lay off 620 employees in October shortly after it opens again. M Resort will lay off more than 300 people sometime in August.
Circus Circus is permanently terminating 252 employees effective Sept. 1. The casino has shuttered its free Midway show that so many guests have come to love over the years.
It appears as though the entertainment team at Sahara has gone from furloughed to permanently laid off.
Consolidation impacting casino staff as well
The merger between Eldorado Resorts and Caesars Entertainment will result in even more layoffs. Reducing employees has been part of the cost-cutting plan. However, it will impact casino workers at the same time, as all businesses in Nevada continue to lay off employees due to the spread of the coronavirus.
Caesars’ new chief financial officer, Bret Yunker, didn’t specify how many Nevada employees will be laid off due to the merger. He did tell the Las Vegas Sun that “reducing the size of a workforce is always challenging to go through. We commit to do that as compassionately and transparently as possible.”
This pandemic-hit economy will continue to impact Nevada today and for the foreseeable future.