Rivers Casino and Resort is facing major layoffs in the upcoming weeks if the current lockdown situation is not lifted. About 1,000 individuals were furlough back in March and they will have to be laid off if nothing changes, as the casino operator faces significant gaming revenue loss. Other Upstate New York commercial casinos have also made that point over the past weeks and the overall number of people laid off could reach 5,000.
Ever since mid-March, in-parson casino gaming has remained prohibited across the State of New York, as physical distancing is the recommended practice and people should avoid large gatherings. Casino venues are enclosed spaces with many high-traffic areas, as well as gaming devices requiring hand gestures and clicks, increasing worries about players’ safety. This is why they have remained closed.
Mid-June saw the official relaunch of many Native American casino locations across the state. Native American tribes collaborate with the state thanks to their own compacts regulating the gambling operation and they have the freedom to relaunch in-person gaming sooner than commercial venues. They are overseen by Seneca Nation of Indians and Oneida Indian Nation.
Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, Yellow Brick Road Casino in Chittenango, and Point Place Casino in Bridgeport are the three casino venues overseen by the latter and they have been in operation for quite a while. Players making their way there should wear masks at all times, in order to protect themselves and the casino staff members. They also work at 50-percent capacity.
As for Seneca Nation of Indians, it manages Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino in Niagara Falls, Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino in downtown Buffalo and Seneca Allegany Resort & Casino. Those venues have already welcomed their first casino patrons in months and operation is in full throttle. In the meantime, commercial casino locations remain closed, because Gov. Andrew Cuomo has not allowed them to reopen.
Furloughed Workers Face Layoffs
Gov. Cuomo recently made it clear that casino hotspots and movie theaters across the state will have to remain closed for the foreseeable future. For the time being, this measure is considered to be the most appropriate. However, more than 5,000 individuals face layoffs as a result of the prolonged lockdown including commercial casino venues. Projections are that the layoffs could take place in the fall months.
Once six months have passed since the beginning of lockdown, the casino operator would no longer be able to cover the expenses surrounding the precious furlough. Commercial casinos have to reopen ahead of September if they want to keep all their staff members. Lance Young, Executive Vice President of del Lago Resort & Casino near Waterloo, stated that over the past four months of lockdown, the casino resort has worked on its safe reopening.
For the time being, the state has not greenlighted commercial casino operation and in-person gaming. Vernon Downs could layoff some 900 individuals, Resorts World Catskills could bid farewell to as many as 1,256 people. Resorts World New York City might have to lay off as many as 955 staff members in the fall months if nothing changes.