Massive Gaming Industry Layoffs in the US as the Coronavirus Takes Hold

In the US, the coronavirus has hit hard. Almost 1,000 deaths along with tens of thousands of people sick. The economy is at an almost stand-still as non-essential businesses are shutdown in an effort to try and stop the severe spread of the sickness. In the gaming industry, 100% of the commercial casinos in the US are closed. People who were working on the gaming floor, in hotels and in restaurants are without work. In the US, a total of over three million people have had to file for unemployment due to these and other closures.

Out of Work

It was essential to shut down casino venues as they are hot beds for spreading the disease. There are so many high touch areas, such as ATMs, slot machines and table games, that the coronavirus would have spread even more rapidly if the venues had been allowed to stay open. Thankfully, they closed, but this left people without work during an already scary time.

Tilman Fertitta is a billionaire businessman who operates several casinos and restaurants in the US that has laid off around 40,000 people due to the virus. He holds assets like the Golden Nugget chain as well as Landry’s Inc. The staff members had to be laid off in order for the financial impact to be lessened within his business.

The businessman is actually asking officials to allow the hospitality and dining operations to reopen at a limited capacity in a few weeks to avoid a potential economic disaster in the US. Some people do not feel the coronavirus is a serious threat and that businesses need to be operational. Others see it differently and don’t even want to leave their homes in fear of contracting the disease and dying due to complications.

Even Trump seems to be pushing for a reopening of certain parts of the country due to the need for people to work and be around others. While this may sound good, the spread of the virus is so severe that if things do ‘get back to normal’ we could see an even larger outbreak in the US a few weeks later due to a delayed outbreak as people begin to show symptoms.

For now, fans of casino gaming are taking to online gaming sites where available. Players in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Nevada have access to online casino and/or online poker sites. Already, traffic is increasing at such sites due to the need for entertainment.

In other states, players are accessing top-rated offshore sites in order to play their favorite table games, slots and video poker. We shall see in the coming weeks if casinos are back up and running and it is business as usual or if the threat of spreading the coronavirus continues to be a major issue and non-essential businesses will continue to stay shuttered.

Rebecca Kont
Rebecca Kont

Rebecca lives in Las Vegas and after completing her degree at Reynolds Journalism school joined the USGS team to pursue her journalism dreams.