Louisiana gambling industry slammed by coronavirus


In Louisiana, the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic has led to more job losses in the gambling industry, with Penn National Gaming announcing plans that include laying off nearly 1,150 workers at four of the southeastern U.S. state’s casinos in August.

The Associated Press reports that approximately 161 L’Auberge Casino Hotel Baton Rouge workers are expected to be laid off while 441 more workers at L’Auberge Casino Resort Lake Charles are due to be let go, according to Louisiana Workforce Commission notices filed by the Pennsylvania-headquartered casino company.

State filings additionally reportedly show that the American casino and racetrack operator is set to lay off some 200 employees at its Boomtown Casino New Orleans in Harvey by August 15. And in Bossier City, the Penn National operated Margaritaville Resort Casino will also lose nearly 350 workers, according to the news agency.

Penn National statement:

Senior vice president of Public Affairs and Government Relations for Penn National Gaming Inc., Eric Schippers, reportedly said on Sunday that initially, 26,000 employees were furloughed by the company in March and it had hoped that in a few months it would see the return of many, according to The Advocate newspaper.

In a statement, Schippers said…

“While we have been able to reopen most of our properties on a limited basis, the continued social distancing requirements and uncertain business volumes means our properties will not be able to resume normal operations for the foreseeable future,” according to the newspaper.

Executive order:

On March 16, 2020, Governor John Bel Edwards ordered casinos in Louisiana to shut down for nearly two months in an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19. After the temporary closings of all the state’s gaming facilities, including riverboats, land-based casinos, racetracks with slots, etc., approximately $440 million in revenue for the months of March and April was lost, according to Louisiana State Police’s Gaming Enforcement Division reports.

Starting in mid-May, the governor permitted most casinos to reopen at 25 percent capacity and open half of their gaming stations, followed by the second phase of reopening on June 5 when the capacity was increased to 50 percent and 75 percent of stations were allowed open.

Thousands of layoffs:

Louisiana’s gambling industry has been hit hard by the coronavirus, with 4,000-plus casino employees across the state either having already lost, or expected to lose their jobs, according to information compiled by the Louisiana Workforce Commission, as reported by Nola.com.

According to the news portal, information provided via Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) notices…

…the most layoffs were by Horseshoe Bossier City, where on March 31, 2020, 978 positions were eliminated. The casino is owned by Vici Properties and operated by Caesars Entertainment.

After L’Auberge Casino Resort Lake Charles‘ 441, in descending order, the remaining layoffs include:

  • 414 employees at Sam’s Town Hotel & Casino in Shreveport were laid off on July 1
  • 354 employees at Delta Downs Racetrack Casino and Hotel in Dr Vinton were laid off on July 1
  • 349 employees at Louisiana Riverboat Gaming Partnership dba Diamond Jacks Casino & Hotel in Bossier City were laid off on May 22
  • 347 employees at Margaritaville Resort Casino in Bossier City are expected to be laid off on August 15
  • 340 employees at Treasure Chest Casino in Kenner were laid off on July 1
  • 246 employees at Evangeline Downs Racetrack Casino in Opelousas were laid off on July 1
  • 229 employees at Cypress Bayou Casino Hotel in Charenton were laid off on July 1
  • 201 employees at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs in Bossier City were laid off on March 31
  • 197 employees at Boomtown New Orleans in Harvey are expected to be laid off on August 15
  • 170 employees at Amelia Belle Casino in Amelia were laid off on July 1
  • 161 employees at L’Auberge Casino Hotel in Baton Rouge are expected to be laid off on August 15

Boyd Gaming losses:

Another casino company with gambling interests in Louisiana is feeling the effects of the coronavirus lockdown after Nevada-based Boyd Gaming Corp announced in early June that it would be laying off between 25 percent and 60 percent (estimated at more than 1,500 employees) of the workers at each of its five locations across the state between July 1 and July 14.

DiamondJacks closure:

Meanwhile, on May 15, 2020, DiamondJacks Casino & Hotel in Bossier City, owned and operated by Los Angeles-based holding company, Peninsula Pacific, announced that it would be closing for good “due to business circumstances” brought forth by the coronavirus. The property opened for business on May 20, 1994, and its closing came just days ahead of what would be its 26th anniversary.