Operators have relied on workforce suspensions to fight the COVID-19 crisis

Spain: employment contract suspensions affect over 5,000 gambling-industry workers

In an attempt to navigate through the financial impact of the pandemic, companies in Spain began adopting drastic measures, and the use of the 'ERTE' program was among the most popular within the gambling industry.
2020-04-03
Spain
Reading time 1:25 min
‘ERTE’, which stands for ‘Expediente de Regulación Temporal de Empleo’, is an expression that has become sadly popular these days as a result of the global health crisis. Under this "Temporary Employment Adjustment Schemes" put in place by the Spanish government, large regional operators such as Codere and Cirsa were allowed to suspend thousands of workers nationwide.

As the coronavirus spreads globally, many casinos were forced to shut down until further notice worldwide. In an attempt to navigate through the financial impact of the pandemic, companies in Spain began adopting drastic measures, and the use of the ERTE was among the most popular within the gambling industry.

Spain is among the hardest hit by the COVID-19 outbreak: as of Friday, the country registered over 100,000 cases and 9,000 deaths throughout the territory. An alarming rate of infection and death which evidences the seriousness of the health crisis’s impact on every aspect of the society.

In this sense, a large number of business activities had to shut down operations to mitigate the spread of the virus, a measure that is expected to have a negative impact on the financial stability of most industries in the country, including the gambling sector.

Companies and suspensions

Cirsa Gaming Corporation's implementation of the ERTE scheme affects over 83,5% of its workforce in Spain. The company has been forced to rely on this program after the closure of all of its casinos, bingo halls and Sportium betting shops. Cirsa also had to shut down its bars and restaurants, where it operates over 85,000 slots machines.

About 4,425 employees work at the properties Cirsa had to close in Spain, representing 83,5% of the company’s total workforce (around 5,300 employees).

Some of the companies owned by the Codere Group also made use of the ERTE scheme, with the initial suspension of 1,071 employees (about 69% of its total workforce in Spain). The group estimates that displacements will continue and eventually affect around 85% of its workforce in Spain (12% of the group’s total number of the employees worldwide). In other jurisdictions, the company has been adopting similar emergency measures pursuant to the different directives imposed by each local government.

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