On March 17th, the Ameristar Casino in St. Charlese, Missouri closed its doors due to the coronavirus pandemic. After a short period of time, the casino furloughed its employees. Now, it seems that the parent company may be forced to permanently layoff as much as 60% of their furloughed employees in order to stay afloat.
Almost 1,000 Employees Affected
Boyd Gaming of Las Vegas is the owner of the casino, filing a notice in the state that around 947 employees could be affected by a permanent layoff. The Ameristar in nearby Kansas City also filed a notice, stating that just under 600 employees of that facility may be laid off.
In St. Charles, the casino expects to lay off as many as 25% up to 60% of employees beginning in July. The employees who are not laid off, they could see furloughs last longer than a six-month time frame. The layoff is announced at a time when Missouri plans to reopen.
For Boyd Gaming, the company has found it difficult to estimate what the level of business will look like once the Ameristar casinos are back in business. It is also unclear as to how long it will take for businesses to recover to what would be considered a normal level.
Boyd Gaming has yet to decide on a reopening date. Other casinos in the region have furloughed employees since closing due to the pandemic.
A Common Trend to Come?
The decision by Boyd Gaming to permanently lay off employees was a difficult one. It is also one that other gambling companies may have to make in the coming weeks or months. Venues are just now starting to reopen and while players are lining up to go inside, will the momentum last?
If the number of coronavirus cases continues to rise, will it see casino traffic slow down? Or will players continue to risk being in public to play slots and table games?
It is really unclear as to how the public will react and what they will do regarding casinos. Some companies will be forced to shut down permanently and lose employees due to not having enough backing to stay in business without turning a profit. Others may be able to make it a little longer, but eventually revenues are needed.
Some medical experts believe that a larger outbreak will take place in the fall as things try to get back to normal. It can take up to 14 days for symptoms to appear, so those who are affected by the virus could affect tens or even hundreds of people before they know themselves that they have it. If there is a second wave that is much worse than the first, what will happen to casinos then?
It is all a guessing game and companies have to make decisions that are best for them during this crazy and uncertain time.