enn National Gaming has reported plans to lay off nearly 1,150 workers at Louisiana locations next month, the latest job losses to hit casinos in the wake of coronavirus-related economic shutdowns.
About 161 workers for L’Auberge Hotel and Casino in Baton Rouge are expected to be laid off and 441 additional workers are set to be laid off at the L’Auberge Lake Charles casino on August 15, according to Louisiana Workforce Commission Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act notices filed by Pennsylvania-based Penn National.
The company also runs Boomtown Casino in Harvey, where nearly 200 employees are set to be laid off by August 15, the state filings showed. Nearly 350 workers at the Margaritaville Resort Casino run by Penn National in Bossier City are also expected to be laid off. All four casinos will remain open.
In addition, Cypress Bayou Casino Hotel in St. Mary Parish, owned by the Chitimacha Tribe, permanently laid off about 229 employees on July 1. In their notices, all the casinos cited COVID-19 as the reason for the layoffs.
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards ordered casinos to close in March in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus. The governor relaxed those restrictions in mid-May and allowed most casinos to open at reduced capacity and with other protective measures in place.
Penn National Gaming’s senior vice president of public affairs and government relations, Eric Schippers, said that even with the reopenings, business volumes have been impacted. “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,” Schippers said in a statement obtained by The Advocate.
The August layoffs will contribute to the more than 4,000 casino jobs lost in the state since March, according to data compiled by the news outlet from Louisiana Workforce Commission filings. The largest layoffs were by Horseshoe Entertainment in Bossier City, where 978 positions were eliminated on March 31.