The company that runs Boomtown Casino in Harvey is warning of 197 looming job cuts slated for Aug. 15, according to a filing with the Louisiana Workforce Commission, the latest in a string of mass layoffs at casinos across the state as the gaming industry struggles to cope with the coronavirus pandemic.
Casinos in Louisiana were shuttered for nearly two months by emergency orders aimed at stemming the spread of the coronavirus but were allowed to reopen at limited capacity in mid-May.
The Boomtown job cuts were announced in a legally required WARN notice filed with the state. The federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Act mandates that all but the smallest companies give state officials and workers 60-day notice of plant closures or mass layoffs.
WARN notices indicate the company doesn’t believe the employees will be rehired anytime in the next six months.
Boomtown was one of four Louisiana casinos managed by Penn National Gaming that the Pennsylvania-based company said will have layoffs in August. The L’Auberge casino plans to cut 602 jobs between its facilities in Baton Rouge and Lake Charles, while the Margaritaville Resort Casino in Bossier City plans to cut 347 jobs.
A representative with the company didn’t immediately respond Sunday to a request for comment on the layoff notices.
Sunday’s news follows an announcement last month that Treasure Chest Casino in Kenner would laid off 340 people, cuts that went into effect Wednesday.
By mid-August, a total of nearly 4,000 casino workers in Louisiana will have lost their jobs since the coronavirus pandemic struck in March, according to public filings with the Louisiana Workforce Commission. At least one Louisiana casino — the Diamond Jacks riverboat in Bossier City — has announced plans to permanently close during the pandemic.
The shutdown and limited reopenings cratered gambling revenue in Louisiana. According to the Louisiana Gaming Control Board, which oversees the industry, the state’s 14 remaining riverboat casinos brought in just $60 million in revenue during the month of May — compared with $157 million in May 2019.
At Boomtown, revenue for May plunged more than 60% compared with the year before. June revenue figures have not yet been released.
Revenue from video poker machines, meanwhile, suffered a similar collapse, according to Louisiana Gaming Control Board figures, dropping by 56% in May compared with the same month in 2019.
A number of large upscale chain hotels in New Orleans — where the city’s outsized tourism industry has been decimated by the sudden halt in travel beginning in March — previously announced mass layoffs there.
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