COVID-19 Impact: 1,600 Employees Laid off by Potawatomi Hotel & Casino

The Milwaukee Potawatomi Hotel and Casino has announced that 1,600 employees will be laid off.

The Tribal Operator Made a Difficult Decision

Potawatomi Hotel and Casino in Milwaukee announced yesterday that it will be laying off a big part of its employees. The operator pointed out that the main reason for the layoffs is the reduced guest traffic because of the respiratory disease COVID-19.

Back in March, prior to closing due to the spread of COVID-19, Potawatomi Hotel and Casino had some 2,600 employees. The staff was furlough but back in June, when the property reopened, some 1,000 employees returned back to work. However, the remaining 1,600 employees will be laid off, said the operator on Friday, July 17.

Decision That Hurts, Said Potawatomi Hotel and Casino CEO

In a statement, released yesterday, the CEO and general manager Rodney Ferguson commented by saying:  “The coronavirus pandemic has forced Potawatomi Hotel & Casino to scale down operations substantially and place a cap on guest traffic to a fraction of normal levels.” Ferguson continued by saying that as a result, the company had to take the difficult decision to consider the temporary furlough employees as permanent furlough. As a reason, he pointed out the COVID-19’s “unforeseeable length and impact.” The 1,600 employees will be laid off as of August 15.

Furthermore, the CEO deemed the decision as: “one that hurts.” Ferguson also pointed out that the company will continue to expand its business, based on what the guidance from science and conditions set by the pandemic. The CEO reassured that all company decisions will be made in the best of interests for both guests and employee’s safety and wellbeing.

COVID-19’s Heavy Impact on the Gaming Industry

In an avalanche effect due to the COVID-19 impact, thousands of layoffs were announced in the US. Earlier this week, Boyd Gaming has announced a 25% reduction of its workforce. On the other hand, in New York, some 2,211 employees by Resorts World will be laid off as well.

Elsewhere, in the UK, the operator Genting UK has announced that more than 1,600 jobs are at risk. The operator, who is a subsidiary of Malaysian gaming and hospitality group Genting Malaysia Berhad, has more than 30 gaming properties in the UK. Given that casinos in the country are yet to be allowed to resume operations, Genting UK is facing difficult time trying to keep its workforce intact.

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