Casino Closures

Fremont Street is closed

Glasses clinked and cheers erupted across the bar; the buzz of energy swept over the room as people celebrated St. Patrick’s Day. Just as the party was getting started Tuesday afternoon, Governor Steve Sisolak publicly announced a 30-day shut down of the state of Nevada for all non-essential businesses due to the Coronavirus pandemic. On Tuesday April 21st, Sisolak said there is no firm date for when Nevada will reopen.

Golden Nugget boarded up

All casinos and gaming operations were considered non-essential and were forced to close their doors. The Nevada Gaming Control Board suspended all gaming licenses until April 18th requiring companies to suspend operations. With closures looming, preparations began.

Reservations were cancelled, entrances were boarded up, and decisions were made about the hundreds of thousands of employees that are the lifeblood of Las Vegas’s service industry. Executives and owners, navigating and steering their casinos through this extraordinary situation, made decisions based on business priorities and business needs. We’re going to take an in-depth look at how a handful of these casinos responded to the closures and grade them based of the level of assistance and support they provided their employees.

It is important to note, due to the month-long shutdown of all of the casinos, the American Gaming Association (AGA) estimates 616,000 casino employees in the U.S., including tribal properties, are out of work.

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

There were several ways casinos chose to manage their employees through this crisis. The following is a quick reference of some of the employment/unemployment terminology we may touch on.

The term “fired” applies to an employee permanently terminated from their job due to reasons under their control, such as poor work performance. If an employee quits or is fired, they will not receive unemployment compensation or a severance package. Being fired is not the same as being laid off.

The term “laid off” applies to an employee terminated from their job due to circumstances outside their control, such as redundancy, however they typically leave on positive terms and may be offered a severance package. Employees that are laid off are also eligible for unemployment compensation.

The term “furlough” refers to a temporary lay off from a job with the hope of being rehired. The furlough may occur for a number of reasons such as a company experiencing economic duress or reorganization. Typically, furloughed employees are not eligible for unemployment because of the temporary nature of the furlough. However, the new stimulus package (CARES Act) passed by Congress on March 27, 2020 amid staggering unemployment rates, declared all Americans who have been furloughed due to the coronavirus qualify for unemployment.

These grades are based on the information we could find. Keep in mind that they may change as more information is gathered on the situation.

Venetian

A+

August 8th UPDATE: Venetian maintains it's A+ ranking especially after this. Venetian announced that they'll continue providing benefits and paying furloughed staff through at least October 31st.

May 20th UPDATE: No change to the grade. Venetian is planning to open on June 1st and have started testing their employees and their families for the coronavirus. The Venetian has paid its employees throughout the shutdown and they will continue to do so. They have also announced a program to offer thousands of free hotel stays for essential workers and first responders.

The Venetian in Las Vegas receives an A+ with how they’ve treated their team members during this crisis. There were no layoffs or furloughs. All employees will continue to receive their pay and benefits for the entire length of their closure. All employees will be paid a minimum of 32 hours a week whether they are working or not. All on-call hourly team members will be paid based on their average hours worked in February, up to a max of 32 hours in one week. Employees who relied on their tips will be compensated for some of the tips they lost. Salaried employees will continue to be paid as normal. No one is required to take unpaid time off. The closure will not impact health care eligibility and there will be no changes to existing healthcare benefits. Benefit eligibility will not be affected by reduction of hours. As the hours ticked by leading up to its closing, the Venetian generously provided its employees with boxed lunches and bottled water to take home with them.

We remain committed to you and your family’s well-being.

Venetian

Venetian Letter
Venetian Letter
Venetian Letter
Venetian Letter

Cache Creek Casino

A+

Cache Creek Casino in Brooks, California receives an A+ for protecting their workers during these chaotic times. Cache Creek closed Tuesday March 17th at 6 am. According to ABC and CBS news, employees will continue to be paid throughout the entire shut down and everyone will be able to keep their benefits and health insurance without interruption. The casino is also making perishables and unused supplies available to their community.

The reason Cache Creek received an A+ is because they’re committed to paying all of their employees including benefits and health insurance during this shutdown.

Wynn Resorts

A

July 1st UPDATE: Wynn Resorts gets an A for their efforts to mitigate this crisis's effect on their team. Both the Wynn & Encore took care of their employees by paying all 15,000 employees for the entire length of the shutdown, including average tip compensation. The company invested close to $250 million in payroll expenses. Wynn also teamed up with UMC allowing employees to get a COVID-19 test at no cost to the employee.

Wynn Resorts gets a B+ for their efforts.

Full-time, steady-extra, seasonal, and both hourly and salaried team members will continue to receive pay for 30 days , even if they are not scheduled to work. If the team member made tips then the average of the past four periods will be added on to their paychecks in order to compensate for tokes. If the team member is still in their 90-day probationary period they will continue being paid, as well.

We have committed to paying all employees for 30 days, because we do not want you to worry about your paycheck.

Wynn

April 2nd UPDATE: Wynn announced that they will continue paying all part-time, hourly and salaried employees through May 15th. Tipped employees will continue to receive their averaged tipped amount. This payroll extension affects about 15,000 workers. Matt Maddox, CEO of Wynn Resorts talked about this topic in a video released to YouTube April 1st, 2020.

Encore Boston Letter
Wynn Letter
Wynn Letter
Wynn Letter
Wynn Letter
Wynn Letter
Wynn Letter

Snoqualmie Casino

A

Snoqualmie Casino in Snoqualmie, Washington receives an A for the way it has stepped up for its employees. According to an article on livingsnoqualmie.com , the casino announced it would cover all wages and benefits for its 1,100 team members through reopening. In a communication to its employees, the employees were given the choice to either receive 32 hours of regular plus a percentage of their estimated tips, if applicable, or to be placed on “Standby” so they could receive unemployment benefits, including the additional $600 under the CARES Act.

Regular email, text messages, phone calls, and a message board with direct access to the casino’s CEO were set up to communicate to and provide a way for employees to provide feedback in return. Additional programs were offered to employees though HR and Payroll departments to providing assistance and support during closure, and excess food from the casino was donated to the community.

The reason Snoqualmie Casino received an A is because they put their employees and community first, choosing the compassion and care of people over the potential financial loss of their business.

Snoqualmie Letter
Snoqualmie Letter

Stations

B+

May 19th UPDATE: Stations grade dropped to a B+. Starting May 16th, Station casinos are laying off a “significant” number of property and corporate employees. Full-time employees were paid until May 16th and medical, dental and vision benefits will continue until September 30th, including coverage for full premium costs. The few who were not laid off will continue to receive regular pay and benefits through May 31st. Station Casinos started a free testing program to screen employees for the coronavirus before they eventually return to work.

The Stations Casinos in Las Vegas receives an A- for lifting up their on-call workers before everything went south. According to a source, two days before the forced closures, Stations Casinos promoted 700 on-call workers to full-time. Nobody was laid off. Stations will continue to pay hourly and salary full-time team members as well as give them their health benefits up until April 30th.

April UPDATE: News 3 and Channel 8 local news have reported that the Stations casino will continue to pay their employees until May 15th. Full-time and salaried employees, including those who recently transitioned from part-time in March, will also see their benefits and health insurance extended until May 15th as well.

Nothing is more important to us than the health and well-being of our team members, guests, and the entire Las Vegas community.

Richard J. Haskins, President of Station Casinos

April: The reason why Stations received an A- and not an A is because pay is only guaranteed until April 30th and not beyond. Also, unlike the Venetian, Stations didn’t give their staff a detail letter telling them the specifics of what was happening with their pay, health insurance, and benefits.

Stations Letter
Stations Letter
Stations Letter
Stations Letter
Stations Letter

Primm Valley Casino Resorts

B

Primm Valley Casino Resorts, receives a B for its compassion toward its employees while navigating these difficult times. According to an article on Casino.org, Primm Valley Casino Resorts and four other Nevada casino locations under Affinity Gaming parent company, announced 1,093 workers would be (furloughed) effective April 17th. According to a letter sent to furloughed employees at the Primm Valley Casino Resorts, employees would retain medical, dental, vision and company sponsored life insurance through May 31st. However, employee coverage under voluntary products would end April 17th.

Primm Valley Letter
Primm Valley Letter
Primm Valley Letter

An anonymous Primm Valley Casino employee told us employees were paid hourly (from the time the casino closed) until they were furloughed. The employee went on to say all floor supervisors had been laid off. To support employees affected by the furloughs, links to resources were provided on Affinity Gaming’s employee website.

The reason Primm Valley Casino Resorts received a B is because it continued to support its employees before transitioning them to furlough statis. It also made sure the employees had access to healthcare 6 weeks after the furlough began. Communication and web link support rounded off the assistance employees received.

Graton

B

May 16th UPDATE: Graton was knocked down to a B when they furloughed three quarters of their workforce and all of their casino dealers on Friday May 1st. Employees who worked 20 hours or more per week will keep their health care.

Graton Casino in Rohnert Park, California receives an A for overseeing their team during these turbulent times. According to the following company letter, Graton closed Tuesday, March 17th at 5pm. During the closure, team members will receive full pay including average tips as well as benefits and health insurance.

The reason Graton received an A in April 2020 is because they’re committed to paying all of their employees including benefits and health insurance during this shutdown.

Graton Letter

The Sahara

B The Sahara in Las Vegas receives a B for the way they navigated through this crisis. Before the doors officially closed, employees were invited to attend a "Grocery Day" where they were given milk, cheese, eggs, fresh fruit, and vegetables in an effort to reduce waste during the closure. Sahara announced they will absorb the cost of maintaining health benefits for all of their team members. They suspect their doors will re-open April 17th, 2020.

[We] understand suspending resort operations come with great impact to our team members.

Sahara

The Sahara gets a B instead of a B- because of the extra effort put forth to give groceries to employees before the doors closed. Very little information is available regarding worker pay or benefits during the closure, however, they have stated intent to cover all healthcare costs. but there are no details about pay or benefits. It remains unknown whether workers are on paid leave, furloughed, or laid off.

Sahara Letter
Sahara Letter

Golden Nugget Casino

B- Golden Nugget Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada receives a B- for sailing through this tempest. One source revealed that employees received two weeks of hourly pay before being laid off however they do get to keep their health insurance until June. The Fertitta’s also created a $1 million relief fund where they’ll give grants to select employees. Employees will need to apply for these grants and money will be given to those most in need.

The reason why the Golden Nugget got a B- instead of a C+ is because the grant program started by the Fertitta’s is that extra step to help their employees. The reason why it got a B- instead of a B+ is because employees were only paid for 2 weeks and the grant program is for select families that have to apply.

Golden Nugget Letter

Silverton Casino

B- Silverton Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada receives a B- for shepherding its herd through this rocky terrain. Employees weren’t laid off until April 13th, 2020. All benefits and health insurance ended on April 17th, 2020. Silverton notified their employees that COBRA is available and that if they have any PTO, they can take a balance of up to 40 hours.

The reason why the Silverton received a B- instead of a C+ is because they paid their employees till April 12th, health insurance until April 17th and PTO was available for use. The reason they got a B- instead of a B is because they didn’t take that extra step of giving back to their employees.

Silverton Letter

San Manuel Casino

B- San Manuel Casino in Highland, California receives a B- for its conduct through this hardship. San Manuel closed Sunday March 15th at 5pm and was originally expected to last until March 31st, 2020. In a letter the tribe stated that they will continue to pay team members through April 11th, including benefits and health insurance. For employees who are not currently working due to the closure, pay will be based on regularly scheduled hours including average recorded tips. San Manuel will contact their employees when new information arises. One source reports that at the beginning of the pandemic, hand sanitizer was placed on every casino table, in every pit as well as multiple stands for players. They confirm that the casino’s maintaining good communication with their employees, offering support and assurance, through phone calls, texts and the web.

The reason why San Manuel received a B- instead of a B is because pay, tips, benefits and insurance are only offered until April 11th and team members don’t know what’s going to happen afterwards. San Manuel received a B- instead of a C+ is because of the effort they display that most casinos should take note of as they care for their employees during this pandemic. Whether that’s putting hand sanitizer bottles on the table or communicating their support and assurance to their people. Listed casinos that are a B- and higher took steps that were above and beyond what was expected of them, whether that was handing out food, covering employee tips, or promoting hundreds of on-call employees so they can be taken care of during this rough time.

San Manuel Letter
San Manuel Letter

MGM

B- June 30th UPDATE: MGM maintains its B- grade. MGM Resorts International, the largest employer in Nevada, says 60,000 of its employees have been furloughed. It has now raised over 13 Million for its Employee Emergency Grant Fund, set up to provide employees and their immediate families short-term relief for paying bills. Full-time employees, on-call employees, and those facing layoff, separation or furlough can request assistance. MGM Resorts is uncertain of how many employees will be brought back to work this year, as the company prepares for a significant drop in tourism once properties reopen. The company is making an effort to ensure access to healthcare a priority for its employees, further extending healthcare benefits through August 31.

MGM Letter

May 18th UPDATE: MGM maintains its B- grade. MGM has released a seven-point safety plan for reopening including temperature checks, face masks and more . The beginning of May, MGM laid off several high-level executives including four presidents from Bellagio, NYNY, Luxor and Excalibur .

April 8th UPDATE: MGM in Las Vegas receives a B- for steering through this storm. According to the Las Vegas Sun, MGM Resorts has raised around $11 million for its Employee Emergency Grant Fund which will help employees impacted by Covid-19. MGM announced on April 8th, 2020 that this fund will support tens of thousands of full-time, on-call, furloughed, separated or laid off employees with short-term relief so they can make their monthly payments or meet other obligations during this time.

In March, the Review Journal reported that MGM has both furloughed and laid off numerous employees. MGM said they would pay their employees for two weeks and their health benefits would last through June 30th.

MGM was raised from a C+ to a B- because of the $11 million Emergency Grant Fund. The reason MGM got a C+ to begin with is because it is it paid its workers for two weeks and kept health insurance until June 30th, which is the same as what Tropicana and Caesars did.

Ceasars Entertainment

B- Caesars Entertainment in Las Vegas receives a B- for how they operated through this calamity. The Review Journal reports that employees were paid for two weeks, until April 3rd. Accumulated paid time off [PTO] can be used after that and company health benefits will run through June 30th. Both the Reno Gazette Journal and Casino News Daily report that Caesars was preparing to lay off 3,200 workers three days before the state shut down on March 14th, 2020. This includes employees at Planet Hollywood, Paris, Caesars Palace, Harrahs, Flamingo, Bally’s, Cromwell, Linq and the Rio. One source revealed that all part-time workers were let go weeks ago and full-time employees were paid for two weeks. After that employers are expected to apply for unemployment benefits.

April 25th UPDATE: According to the company letter, starting April 13th, 2020 Caesars Entertainment will furlough 90% of their employees. Employees will be paid their full salary up until April 12th which after that employees are expected to go on unemployment. The company will automatically start utilizing their employees PTO unless notified otherwise. Caesars will cover their employees’ health insurance so employees can keep it until June 30th, 2020. According to one source, ground employees such as the casino hosts or the Reward Center customer service reps were furloughed a week before corporate. The Las Vegas Sun reported that on April 24th Caesars announced a new employee assistance fund helping those who are suffering through this crisis. This fund was supported by contributions from the board of directors and some executives. Employees must apply for this fund in order to be considered. The board will decide who gets the money based on “unusual hardships arising from Covid-19”.

The reason why Caesars was elevated to a B- is because of their Employee Assistance Fund to help those most in need. The reason why Caesars originally received a C+ instead of a B- is because they were preparing to lay off 3,200 before the state officially shut down and had laid off part-time workers weeks ago.

Caesars Letter

The Tropicana

C+ The Tropicana in Las Vegas was knocked down from a B- to a C+ for the way it operated through this zombie apocalypse.

Tropicana will continue to pay employees until March 31st. For tipped team members, they will include an average tip rate based of what the employee received the last three months. Benefits will also continue to the end of March. When the time comes, management will decide how they want to proceed.

March 27th UPDATE: Tropicana employees received a phone call on Friday March 27th, 2020 informing them that the Tropicana is furloughing all of their employees. They’ll still get their two week paycheck but after that employees are encouraged to file for unemployment. Medical benefits are extended through June 30th. The Review Journal released a report today stating that Penn National Gaming furloughed 26,000 employees nation-wide, 3,200 in Nevada including at the Tropicana & M resort. At the same time Penn National announced that it was selling the Tropicana casino in Las Vegas.

April 25th UPDATE: According to the Las Vegas Review Journal and CDC Reports , Tropicana was sold to Gaming & Leisure Properties Inc 〈GLPI〉. Penn will still operate the property for the next two years.

The reason why the Tropicana gets a C+ instead of a B- is because they furloughed all of their employees. The reason why they received a C+ instead of a C is because employees can keep their health benefits until June 30th.

Tropicana Letter

Pechanga Casino

C+ Pechanga Casino in Temecula, California receives a C+ for navigating through this disaster. Pechanga closed Monday March 16th at 12 pm. According to the company letter, employees will be paid their base pay and benefits until March 31st, 2020. Mass layoffs will occur on April 1st and employees will need to go on unemployment.

April 2nd UPDATE: A source in the Pechanga Public Relations Department informed us that team members were notified of the temporary closure on Saturday, March 14th via email through the companywide email system, and in shift briefings. After the closure was extended, emails were sent to company emails and personal email addresses. Employees received updates and had their questions answered through a company app during the closure, however they’ll only have access to this app until April 30th. Pechanga sent a formal notice which allowed team members to apply for unemployment benefits. On March 24th, Pechanga announced they would pay 100% of health insurance costs (medical, dental, vision) for all employees through April 30th.

It's Pechanga's intention to bring the team back together once this is past us. They are temporary layoffs with Pechanga paying health benefits through the end of April. We have not told Team Members they need to reapply for their positions. That and other logistical decisions are pending now and also have to be coordinated with licensing for regulatory compliance. The intent is to not require reapplication if the property reopens within a period of time. There will be a process of bringing team members back. Pechanga leaders hope the curve will be flattened dramatically by the extraordinary efforts by the private sector and governments at all levels to combat and slow the spread of COVID- 19.

Pechanga Public Relations Department

One source revealed that there is no communication with management and that employees will be receiving all of their PTO and sick pay in their last check.

Employees had to immediately turn in their badges, uniforms and were instructed to reapply for their jobs.

The reason why Pechanga received a C+ instead of a B- is because they paid their employees base pay and benefits until March 31st, 2020 and extended their health benefits until April 30th. The reason why they got a C+ instead of a C is because they maintained communication with their employees.

Pechanga Letter
Pechanga Letter
Pechanga Letter

The D

C+ The D in Las Vegas receives a C+ for the way they managed the circumstances surrounding this crisis. The D will continue to offer regular pay and health benefits for all of their hourly and salaried team members who were scheduled for 30 hours or more per week. They will do this until March 31st and after that employees will be laid off. All team members will be able to file for unemployment on April 1st. The D provided a FAQ sheet on how to file for unemployment. If team members want to use their PTO, vacation hours or paid leave, they must submit a request as normal. One source confirmed that dealers would get base pay only for 38.9 hours and no tips.

The reason why the D gets a C+ instead of a B- is because the listed casinos that are a B and higher took steps that were above and beyond what was expected of them, whether that was handing out food, covering employee tips, or promoting hundreds of on-call employees so they can be taken care of during this rough time. The reason why the D gets a C+ instead of a C is because the D is paying employees until March 31st as well as continuing health benefits. They also provided a FAQ on how to file for unemployment when the time comes.

The D Letter
The D Letter
The D Letter

April 2nd UPDATE: The D extended benefits and their health insurance plan through April 30th. The D sent their employees updates and information on community resources as they keep up with communications at this time.

The D Letter
The D Letter
The D Letter
The D Letter

Harah's Rincon

C+ Harrah’s Rincon in Funner, California receives a C+ for ushering through this fiasco. Harrah’s Rincon is managed by Caesars Entertainment. Harrah’s announced on Sunday March 15th, 2020 that it will be closing Monday March 16th, 2020 for two weeks, or until March 30th, 2020. One source reported that upon shut down the casino promised employees base pay plus tips until March 31, 2020 however dealers are only being paid base pay at $10 per hour at 56 hours for two weeks and no tips.

The reason why Harrah’s received a C+ is because they went back on their word, paying their full-time employees base pay but with no tip compensation until March 30th.

Southpoint

C April UPDATE: Southpoint dropped several ranks from an A- to a C for breaking their word and furloughing their workforce. According to the Las Vegas Sun and Fox News , starting May 3rd, 2020 Southpoint will furlough majority of their employees indefinitely. Employee benefits and health insurance will last until July 31st.

Once the property reopens, workers will be brought back based on demand

Southpoint

In March, Southpoint in Las Vegas received an A- for how it piloted this catastrophe. According to one source, Southpoint is paying 80% of salaries for full-time and part-time employees plus benefits till they either reopened or December 31st, 2020, whichever one comes first. On call employees will receive one paycheck with a two week period including any stored PTO that was cashed out. Then the employees can file for unemployment.

If Southpoint’s grade was determined by how long their employees were paid, how long their health insurance and benefits lasted then they would receive a B- ranking, but instead of doing something extra for their employees or community they went back on their word and furloughed the people they were supposed to take care of and that’s why they were knocked down two more ranks to a C.

Island View Casino

C Island View Casino in Gulfport, Mississippi receives a C for its leadership through this misfortune. Island View casino closed Monday March 16th, 2020 at midnight. According to a company letter, around 4pm on the same day the Mississippi Gaming Commission issued an emergency order requiring all casinos in the state of Mississippi to close. On Tuesday March 17th Island View casino announced that starting the next day, all hourly employees will receive one week of full pay and salaried employees will receive two weeks of full pay. After that PTO is available to be used. If the employees don’t want to use accrued PTO then they must contact their managers. Employees will receive health insurance and benefits for 90 days. One source informed us that the communication between employees and the casino is low and employees are speculation amongst each other due to the lack of information.

The reason why Island View received a C instead of a C- is because instead of laying off their workers immediately, Island View paid their hourly employees for one week and their salaried employees for two weeks. Employees are also receiving their health insurance and benefits for 90 days. Island View received a C instead of a C+ because there was no communication between the casino and their employees.

Island View Casino Letter
Island View Casino Letter

The Plaza

C The Plaza in Las Vegas receives a C for furloughing their workers, however, their line of communication remained open so workers knew what was going on. Our source told us that employees were given groceries when they picked up their last check and are now expected to collect unemployment.

The reason why the Plaza earned a C instead of a C+ is because they furloughed their workers right away with no additional pay or health insurance extension. The reason why Plaza earned a C instead of a C- is because they helped out their team members by giving them groceries and they communicated with their employees instead of leaving them in the dark.

C The Colorado Belle in Laughlin receives a C for its handling of employee layoffs in a city that depends on the casino for 400 jobs. According to the Review Journal and the Las Vegas Sun. The Colorado Belle announced the permanent closure of its riverboat casino, May 18th, just two months after its initial temporary closure on March 17th. Its parent company, Golden Entertainment, sent a letter to all employees the week prior to the public announcement. Charles Protell, CFO for Golden Entertainment says the closure and layoffs were the only way to “mitigate ongoing expenses and anticipated reduced business.”

The resort’s 400 employees have been laid off indefinitely receiving healthcare benefits through May 31st. Some employees could be placed with other Golden properties. In support of the permanent lay offs, Golden Entertainment provided links to an employee layoff resource guide, unemployment filing guide and other resources on their employee website.

The reason The Colorado Belle receives a C is because despite extending healthcare two weeks after the permanent closure date, and providing links to unemployment and other resources, the casino removed 400 essential jobs from the smaller Nevada community.

Colorado Belle Casino Letter
Colorado Belle Casino Letter

The Cosmo

D+ The Cosmo in Las Vegas receives a D+ for its conduct during the closure. One source said, “Well, we were originally told we would close for two weeks with pay. [We] haven’t gotten [an] update now that the governor shut everything down for a full month. We are all keeping our benefits, which is huge.” The Review Journal reports the company originally announced they would give full pay and benefits to all employees through March 31st, but they amended the policy. Full-time workers will get full pay until April 16th and benefits until the end of June; part-time and on-call employees are furloughed.

The Cosmo's low grade is due to the company going back on its word and furloughing part-time and on-call employees.

D+ Viejas Casino in San Diego, California received a D+ for abruptly laying off their employees by telling them they needed to apply for unemployment. Viejas Tribal Council temporarily closed beginning at noon on Friday March 20th, 2020 through the end of the month. [March 31st] In a letter the General Manager pronounced “During this time we recommend you apply for unemployment” Employees will continue their health benefits during this time.

The reason why Viejas received an D+ is because they laid off their employees telling them to go on unemployment.

Viejas Letter

Treasure Island

D Treasure Island Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas receives a D for the lack of support and assistance shown to their employees. According to the RGJ and Forbes articles , Treasure Island immediately furloughed all 2,225 employees March 17, 2020 at midnight. Employees were told the furlough intended to be temporary (under six months). In a show of support, one of the Las Vegas Labor Unions was able to negotiate continued coverage of health insurance for Treasure Island employees that were also Labor Union members.

When asked why he decided not to pay his employees while on furlough like some casinos, billionaire owner Phil Ruffin said he was following what the Strip’s largest operators, MGM and Caesars, did. When compared to the services and support of the MGM and Caesars, Ruffin and the Treasure Island didn’t even come close. Ruffin did however, offer to give any of his employees who asked for one, a loan at 3% interest .

The reason the Treasure Island received a D is because of its decision to forgo support and assistance to its employees even though it was in a financial position to help them. For the lack of compassion shown employees that ultimately ran the casino day to day, a D is generous.

Treasure Island Letter

Circus Circus

D Circus Circus in Las Vegas receives a D for how they governed their staff during this dilemma. Once source claimed that employees aren’t being paid anything however the company told them that they will keep their health insurance.

The reason why Circus Circus received an D instead of a D- is because employees get to keep their health insurance.

Boyd

D May 15th UPDATE: Boyd is maintaining it's D grade. On May 1st, Boyd announced that is was expecting to open Kansas Star as early as May 18th and it expected to open other properties either at the end of May or sometime in June. Team members can expect to receive call backs one week prior to the property’s scheduled opening. Both staff and guests can expect new sanitizing procedures.
Boyd Letter

April 21st UPDATE: Boyd was upgraded from an F+ to a D because they paid 100% of their premiums for medical insurance, dental and vision as well as benefits until June 30th, or upon their return to work. If employees are on supplemental insurance then their insurance payments will be deferred until they return to work. In a letter to their workforce, Boyd told their employees to apply for unemployment and they said they plan on honoring their obligations set forth in the collective bargaining agreement concerning medical coverage.

Boyd Letter

Las Vegas local news reported that several executives have agreed to take significant salary reductions and the board of directors will not be compensated.

We care deeply about the well-being of our team members, which is why we maintained full pay and benefits through April 10th. Implementing furloughs was a last resort for us, but a necessary step to protect our Company, especially given the current lack of visibility regarding property re-openings," said Smith in a prepared statement.

News 3

April 6th UPDATE: The Review Journal and Las Vegas Sun report that Boyd has reversed this policy after some initial pushback. On Friday March 27th, 2020 Boyd Gaming announced that that all part-time and full-time workers will continue to be paid through April 10th.

April 2020 - The treatment of their employees raised them up a full letter grade to a D+ however their original blunder was not forgotten and that knocked them down to a D.

March 2020: Boyd Gaming in Las Vegas receives a F+ for their management during the Coronavirus. One source disclosed that the company paid one week’s worth of pay to hourly employees and managers received two weeks of pay. After that, employees were forced to use their PTO to compensate for their pay. Boyd enrolled all of its employees into a system that automatically entered in their PTO and used it to pay their employees. If the employee doesn’t have enough PTO, then they could “borrow” PTO in order to get paid however Boyd expected them to pay all of that PTO back when they return to work. Employees can’t use any PTO until they’ve paid back what they owe. If an employee doesn’t want to use their PTO then they can call the company, stop the process, be laid off and go on unemployment instead. Employees were told that this policy will continue until April 1st. As for health insurance, right now it is still active but employees don’t know for how long.

You will not be required to take additional PTO to receive this benefit

Keith Smith

The Review Journal quoted Boyd Gaming President and CEO Keith Smith’s statement in a letter to employees, “You will not be required to take additional PTO to receive this benefit; however, you must still be available to work during this time if your job is essential, or if we need to prepare your property for re-opening. Additionally, your existing benefits coverage will continue through this period.” Boyd Gaming has 10,000 employees located in the Las Vegas area.

March 2020 - The reason why Boyd received an F+ is because they made their employees pay back the PTO time otherwise they would get laid off. Matching the effort that they’ve displayed, Boyd received a + for the extra effort it took them to care about their employees. Back tracking on their previous policy by announcing that employees would be paid until April 10th before they could all go file for unemployment.

The Excalibur

D- The Excalibur in Las Vegas receives a D- for its oversight of the closure. One source revealed that MGM furloughed its employees and people are expected to go on unemployment. Employees were never given a letter or any paperwork explaining what was going on.

The reason why Excalibur earned a D- is because they furloughed their employees with no explanation of what was going on.

If you worked for one of the above corporations and would like to update the record or contribute your company letter, please email me at [email protected]. Everyone will remain anonymous.

The catalyst for this article was a story, from a friend about a casino firing all of their employees and then firing that same manager afterwards. I wasn’t able to verify this story however it’s what got me started collecting information for this deep dive. We are living in unprecedented times where everyone’s lives have been turned upside down causing people to suffer from increased stress, anxiety and panic. Uncertainty of what will happen next has been made worse by mass layoffs and furloughs. Certain casinos took away their employees’ health insurance and financial security at the stroke of midnight. Unfortunately, we can’t all ban together and pull off an epic Ocean’s 11 heist because they already moved all the money off property. Instead, if you’re one of those who were affected by this, here is some relief that might assist you through these turbulent times:

during this time.

  • Nevada Energy will suspend disconnects for non-payment for customers who are directly impacted by this crisis. They will also waive late fees and deposits for people who experience financial hardship due to COVID-19 or they are unable to pay due to self-isolation.
  • The Las Vegas Valley Water District has temporarily suspended shut offs for non-payment. The Water District will work with customers during these hard times.
  • Southwest Gas has immediately suspended disconnections for non-payment and will work with customers and give them flexible payment options for customers experiencing financial hardship.
  • COBRA is available if health insurance is needed. Must apply within 60 days of being laid off.
  • Senator Catherine Cortez Masto sent a pdf to all Nevadans with additional information on assistance.

If you noticed we got something wrong please tell us so we can set the record straight. Also, if you work in the casino industry and your casino closed, let us know how you were treated. Email me at [email protected].

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