International edition
October 21, 2020

From the casinos in Lincoln and Tiverton

Rhode Island: over 1,300 furloughed Twin River workers could be laid off

Rhode Island: over 1,300 furloughed Twin River workers could be laid off
Twin River employed 4,900 people as of spring 2019, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing.
United States | 08/25/2020

The furloughs — 1,043 in Lincoln and 296 in Tiverton — are set to become permanent Sept. 30. The notice went out the same day Twin River Worldwide Holdings reported a $24-million second-quarter loss that resulted from casinos being closed in April and at least part of May by COVID-19.

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win River has warned Rhode Island labor officials that more than 1,300 furloughed employees could be laid off by the end of next month.

In a call with analysts, CEO George Papanier said the company has tried to bring back as many workers as possible who were furloughed when the virus prompted near lockdown in March, but doesn’t know how many ultimately will be brought back.

Spokeswoman Patti Doyle has said the furloughs — 1,043 in Lincoln and 296 in Tiverton — are set to become permanent Sept. 30, clarifying an Aug. 11 layoff notice filed with the state Department of Labor and Training.

The notice went out the same day Twin River Worldwide Holdings reported a $24-million second-quarter loss that resulted from casinos being closed in April and at least part of May by COVID-19, the Providence Journal reports.

"While we have been able to welcome back a large percentage of those affected, there are still a large number of employees affected on furlough while we await the ability to increase capacity and amenities," Papanier said.

He added that the company has identified “meaningful efficiencies in marketing and decreases” in operating expenses.

"While we continue to be willing to spend money to capture market share and drive revenue, we don’t expect to simply return to the old way of doing business," Papanier said about gambling post-COVID. "We believe many of the efficiencies we have realized are sustainable over the long term and will result in improved profitability for our properties even while increased sanitation and cleaning costs become the norm."

He said furloughed employees are still receiving company health insurance benefits.

Twin River employed 4,900 people as of spring 2019, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing.

All things considered, however, Papanier said Twin River is pleased by its results since things began to reopen in June. Only $2 million of the second-quarter loss was in June and Papanier said preliminary July figures are encouraging for a return to profitability.

 Business at Twin River’s casinos in the South and West have come back faster than the Rhode Island flagship, as states such as Mississippi and Colorado were faster to ease COVID restrictions on gatherings.

And the recent quarantine orders placed on travelers from Rhode Island by Massachusetts, New York and Connecticut — later rescinded by the latter two states — also hurt.

"In Rhode Island, they are a little more stringent on their philosophy on allowing gatherings," Papanier said. "When they let up the demand is there."

President of Rhode Island Operations Marc Crisafulli said Twin River hoped to be allowed to return to 24-hour gambling here "in the next few weeks."

Six months into the pandemic, some temporary job losses at the start of the COVID crisis are becoming permanent ina variety of sectors across the country, even as the state’s overall unemployment rate ticked down to 11.2% in July.

The Omni Hotel in Providence reported 272 employees laid off on Aug. 6, according to a notice with the DLT, and the Providence Marriott reported 106 laid off on Aug. 14.

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