Las Vegas casino layoffs not a good sign for live poker

Posted on: July 8, 2020 09:00 PDT

Despite a successful 4th of July Weekend that saw scores of gamblers head to Sin City, the road to recovery for Las Vegas is going to be a long one. And a slew of casino layoffs is proof of that.

A number of properties in Nevada have given the state notices of looming mass layoffs, as required by the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act.

“This is an uncertain time,” said Brendan Bussmann, director of government affairs for Las Vegas-based Global Market Advisors, noting that it’s unclear how long it will take for Las Vegas to get back to pre-pandemic levels. “No one ever hopes to see layoffs, but we’re in very uncharted and unprecedented territory right now. While you hope people don’t have to act on it, it allows businesses, as well as employees, to know a potential road ahead.”

A number of properties explained why.

“We were hopeful that we’d be able to call the employees back within a couple of months,” commented Eric Schippers, Penn National’s senior vice president of public affairs and government relations. “However, while we have been able to reopen most of our properties on a limited basis, the continued social distancing requirements and uncertain business volumes means our properties will not be able to resume normal operations for the foreseeable future.”

The situation is similar across the board — or down the Strip, specifically.

“These layoffs at (the M Resort) are the unfortunate result of COVID-19 related business circumstances that were sudden, dramatic and beyond our control,” says the letter, signed by general manager Hussain Mahrous. “These significant drags on our business will likely continue for the foreseeable future. … We are notifying you of this decision as soon as we practically could, taking into account the great difficulties our entire industry faces in projecting future staffing needs under these unprecedented circumstances.”

The layoffs are a bad sign for poker players hoping to get back to some sense of normalcy. Reduced staffing coupled with social distancing requirements means that poker rooms as we once knew them could be a thing of the past for a long time.