On March 20, the off-Strip Silverton casino in Las Vegas announced that over 600 workers have been furloughed.
Craig Cavileer, CEO of the 300-room hotel-casino, explained that the Hyatt Place Las Vegas at Silverton Village will remain open. This 150-room Hyatt-branded non-gaming property opened last October, and operates an essential license business, allowing it to stay open under Governor Steve Sisolak’s executive order to shutter non-essential businesses.
The CEO explained in a statement, “Conforming with communications of the governor and other authorities as to essential and non-essential categories, we operate in both the gaming and non-gaming environment and the governor’s made it clear on how we operate in those circumstances.”
He added that all “mission-critical employees” will remain on the job. This includes security, surveillance staff, and a skeleton crew for operations. But with business down and safety top of mind, between 600 and 800 employees have been furloughed.
While concerned about the effects the COVID-19 virus is having on business, Cavileer explained that this industry has seen tough times before and has remained resilient. “I was right out of college during the ‘87 (stock market) crash, went through the dot-com collapse in ‘92, all of us through 9/11 and (the recession) in ‘08,” he said. “Twenty-three of those years were in Vegas doing what we’re doing now. I know for sure we’re going to get through it. What I don’t know is when, but I know we will because we always do.”
Since the outbreak of the coronavirus, it is estimated that over 600,000 casino employees have been furloughed or laid off due to the pandemic. In a statement issued on March 19 by the American Gaming Association (AGA), they reported that 95% of the country’s 465 commercial casinos and 76% of all tribal casinos have either been ordered to close or have voluntarily chosen to do so.
The federal government has been working on a stimulus package to assist workers and businesses most affected by the virus, and it is expected that casino operators will be seeking some kind of financial assistance. Many of the workers who have been laid off as a result of the virus will also be filing for unemployment benefits and seeking other financial assistance offered.