Boyd Gaming Announces Layoffs in Indiana for Belterra, Blue Chip Casino Staffs

Posted on July 16, 2020 - Last Updated on July 15, 2020

Boyd Gaming has announced some permanent cuts to its staff.

Casinos reopened a month ago in the Hoosier State. Despite being open for business again, casinos are starting to feel the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Boyd Gaming owns Michigan City’s Blue Chip Casino and Belterra Casino in Florence, Indiana. A large portion of the employees at both locations will be out of a job.

According to a statement released by Boyd, the layoffs will be on the lower end of the 25-60% range the company announced back in May.

“While we have been able to reopen most of our properties since that time, we are still facing significant restrictions on our business, and visitation levels remain well below pre-pandemic levels. Given these ongoing challenges and continued uncertainty, we are moving forward with permanent layoffs of team members who were still on furlough and had not been recalled to work.”

Uncertain future for furloughed casino workers

Some economic consequences became inevitable once casinos shut their doors for a few months.

Macquarie Securities estimated that Boyd was burning $3.2 million every day during the shutdowns.

So even though casinos have reopened, everything isn’t back to normal.

The Indiana Gaming Commission (IGC) has a pretty strict list of rules that casinos have to follow. At least for now, services like buffets and valet parking are still closed.

For many of those workers and thousands of others around the state, those furloughs could have no end in sight.

Casinos will be able to return everyone to work on July 18, when Indiana enters stage five of its reopening plan.

However, just because casinos can reopen everything, doesn’t mean that they will.

Some casinos have been installing extra safety measures to limit the spread of the coronavirus. If casinos continue to play it safe, they may keep high-touch services like buffets closed for the foreseeable future.

Rising COVID-19 cases around the country have also created health concerns for the workers still at their posts.

Another round of shutdowns could be coming in the next few months. If that happens, it’ll likely mean more permanent layoffs, and at more companies than just Boyd Gaming.

No layoffs from Caesars Entertainment

Although there may be more Indiana casino layoffs coming in the future, they won’t be happening at any of Caesars’ casinos.

That’s thanks to a new requirement from the IGC.

The commission just approved the Caesars-Eldorado merger last Friday.

However, its approval came with a few conditions. One of them was that Caesars has to keep its employment levels the same for at least three years.

The IGC made sure that requirement covered workers who are currently still on furlough.

So until at least July 2023, Caesars won’t be laying off any employees in the Hoosier State.

That’s a big win for the company’s workers. Originally, Caesars-owned Centaur Acquisition said that layoffs might have been coming for Caesars locations like Indiana Grand Casino.

“Centaur Acquisition, LLC intends for the furloughs to be temporary, however, given the unknown certainty surrounding COVID-19, it is possible that the furloughs could become a permanent layoff.”

Since the company agreed to the IGC’s conditions, that possibility has been thrown out the window.

Once the merger closes, Caesars will own these Indiana casinos:

  • Harrah’s Hoosier Park
  • Indiana Grand
  • Horseshoe Hammond
  • Tropicana Evansville
  • Caesars Southern Indiana

However, the IGC is also requiring Caesars to sell three of those casinos. The company has already announced that it’ll likely be selling Tropicana, Caesars Southern and Hammond.

Caesars has to sell the casinos by December 31, 2020.

Once those three are in another company’s hands, they’ll no longer be bound by that July 2023 no-layoff period. The new owner will be able to cut jobs as they see fit.

So although the future is uncertain for most of the state’s casino workers, at least Caesars employees have an extra safety net for the time being.

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Jake Garza

Jake Garza is a sports writer based in Indianapolis, IN. He's an Indiana University graduate who's spent time as a sports reporter covering teams at the prep, collegiate and professional levels.

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