Indiana’s casino industry is starting to feel the after-effects of COVID-19.
Casinos throughout the Hoosier State will be reopening this summer. Despite things slowly getting back to normal, the health crisis has already inflicted some economic damage.
Boyd Gaming is feeling the effects of that damage. Boyd operates Michigan City’s Blue Chip Casino and Florence’s Belterra Casino.
The company will be permanently laying off somewhere between 25-60% of its workforce around the country. That includes workers from Blue Chip and Belterra.
Many of those employees were furloughed when the casino shutdowns began and were hoping to get back to work soon.
Furloughed casino workers are stuck in limbo
Indiana’s casinos originally shut down in mid-March. Since there’s been no revenue coming in for several months, some economic ramifications were inevitable.
To help soften the blow of the closures, casinos around the state placed thousands of employees on furlough. The idea was to keep costs down for the time being.
However, casinos were hoping to bring those employees back when the situation had blown over. But, as Boyd Gaming’s situation shows, that won’t be possible for everyone.
At least for now, most casino employees around the state have no way of knowing whether or not they’ll be permanently out of work. As Indiana’s casinos gear up to reopen, more companies will likely announce what the future will hold.
Blue Chip and Belterra are the first casinos in the state to announce these types of permanent cuts to their staff due to COVID-19. However, they might not be the last.
Other Indiana casinos could be facing layoffs
Shelbyville’s Indiana Grand Racing & Casino might find itself in the same spot as Blue Chip and Belterra.
The Indiana Grand issued layoffs to over 1,100 employees back in late April. The casino’s parent company was hoping the layoffs would be temporary, but says the future is up in the air.
“Centaur Acquisition, LLC intends for the furloughs to be temporary, however, given the unknown certainty surrounding COVID-19, it is possible that the furloughs could become a permanent layoff.”
Since Caesars Entertainment, the owner of the Indiana Grand, is a much larger company than Boyd Gaming, it may be able to hold off on permanent cuts. However, it wouldn’t be a shock to see other companies follow Boyd’s lead.
With casinos shut down across the state, sports betting has been their only source of income throughout April and May. Indiana’s online sportsbooks only created a combined $1.5 million in revenue for casinos during April.
That means casinos without online sportsbook partners have been hit especially hard. With little to no money coming in, casinos throughout the state are hemorrhaging cash.
At least for now, there’s just no way to know for sure how things will play out. As Indiana casinos begin to reopen throughout the summer, we’ll start to get a better idea if these permanent layoffs are the new norm or the exception.