Opelousas-based Evangeline Downs Racetrack and Casino owners revealed that 246 employees are set to be dismissed on July 1st, citing the losses which the racetrack suffered during the coronavirus pandemic shutdown as the main reason for the layoffs.
Officials from Boyd Gaming, the parent company of the casino, informed the Louisiana Workforce Commission about the layoffs. The latter are also set to include job reductions at the company’s four other properties across the state that have also been closed because of the lockdown measure. As revealed by the gambling operator, the layoffs are scheduled to take effect between July 1st and July 14th, with between 25% and 60% of the casino’s workforce set to be affected by the move.
In addition, 414 employees working at Sam’s Town Hotel & Casino in Shreveport are to be dismissed. According to information the company provided in its Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification, the operator will also lay off 354 employees at the Delta Downs Racetrack and Casino in Vinton, 340 workers at its Kenner-based Treasure Chest Casino and 170 workers at its Amelia Belle Casino.
The gambling venue held by Boyd Gaming in Opelousas has been one of the top five employers in the parish, with a workforce of between 400 and 450 employees before the casino industry shutdown.
Coronavirus Shutdown Has Had a Massive Negative Impact on Boyd’s Gambling Venues
In a letter dated May 22nd, the vice president of corporate human resources at Boyd Gaming, Chris Smith, revealed that Boyd Gaming has faced a significant negative impact of the coronavirus mandatory shutdown like many businesses in the US and in the retail gambling industry. At the time, Mr. Smith further noted that the effect that the pandemic would have on the business is to remain unpredictable.
According to media reports, Boyd Gaming has issued 20 WARN letters in six US states, revealing permanent layoffs and extended furloughs that would affect over 10,300 employees. The announced layoffs also include workers from Boyd Gaming’s corporate headquarters and uniform laundry service.
As far as the Opelousas casino layoffs are concerned, the positions of the workers that are set to be dismissed there vary, with most of them covering custodian, cocktail service bar and security. Other employees are included in the company’s furlough scheme, with the possibility to keep these individuals on furlough longer than the six months since the beginning. The news of the layoffs was revealed right before the planned start of the horse racing season at the Evangeline Downs Racetrack and Casino on June 12th.
The lengthy shutdown of the casino is expected to affect mostly St. Landry parish, because the gambling venue’s operations contributed to every governing body and to some organizations, too. According to the boss of St. Landry Chamber of Commerce, Raquel Manuel, there were limited options for Boyd Gaming to recover from the serious hit suffered during the casino closures.