Posted on: January 5, 2021, 08:59h.
Last updated on: January 6, 2021, 08:15h.
Penn National Gaming is the latest US casino operator to lay off workers, with word this week that 159 employees are being let go at Henderson, Nevada’s M Resort Spa Casino.
The M Resort layoffs took place on Monday, and follow other coronavirus-linked layoffs at several casino companies and tribal gaming operations.
Most prominent layoffs were at MGM Resorts International. In August, MGM formally terminated approximately 18,000 workers in response to COVID-19.
Another property, The Tropicana, located on the Las Vegas Strip, laid off 702 employees in October. As of last month, it planned to lay off 132 more workers between the end of December and into this month, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.
In addition, last week, gaming properties operated by the Navajo Nation said they plan to furlough more than 1,100 workers, also because of the pandemic. The Native American tribe operates four casinos in Arizona and New Mexico.
The tribe employs more than 1,200 workers. Permanent closures remain an option.
Also, more layoffs could be seen at the Wynn Las Vegas. Casino officials recently informed the Culinary Workers Union Local 226, which represents many casino employees, of possible layoffs, Eater Las Vegas reported last month.
Coronavirus Pandemic Blamed for Layoffs
On Tuesday, a spokesman for Penn National Gaming confirmed to the Review-Journal the M Resorts layoffs were a result of the coronavirus pandemic and associated relatively low volume of guests.
The M layoffs are “the very unfortunate reality of not knowing how long this global public health threat will last or when we’ll be able to resume full operations,” Penn spokesman Jeff Morris told the Review-Journal.
Morris also noted the current 25 percent occupancy restrictions on casinos in Nevada. These apply to gaming floors, bars, and restaurants in casinos. They remain in place until at least Jan. 15.
Entertainment spaces at gaming properties are also at limited capacity of about 50 in the audience, forcing many of them to close temporarily.
Also, several Las Vegas hotels have shuttered temporarily during the middle of the week because of lower room reservations. Once lucrative conventions have also been canceled in Las Vegas by the coronavirus risk.
Penn National has set up a COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund available for its workers and former employees. The fund totaled about $2.7 million as of December, the Review-Journal said.
As of last month, tens of thousands of Las Vegas casino workers remain furloughed. Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman (I) warned late last year that Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak’s (D) COVID-19 occupancy restrictions would be “crushing to the city.” She also labeled him a “dictator.”
Last month, Stephen Miller, director of UNLV’s Center for Business and Economic Research, said Sisolak has put himself in an impossible position.
“Economic health will only be feasible if we get the coronavirus under control,” Miller told Casino.org. “The [COVID] vaccines should provide the answer if people take the vaccines.”
COVID-19 Cases, Deaths Continue to Mount in Nevada
As of Tuesday, Nevada saw 2,423 additional coronavirus cases. There were 29 more deaths.
In total since the outbreak began last year, Nevada has seen 235,455 coronavirus cases and 3,235 deaths.