Louisiana casinos to lay off nearly 1,150 workers in August

Louisiana

In the New Orleans metro area, about 200 employees are set to be laid off at Boomtown Casino in Harvey.

BATON ROUGE, La.(AP/WWL-TV) — A casino operator has reported plans to lay off nearly 1,150 workers at Louisiana locations next month, the latest job losses to hit casinos in the wake of coronavirus-related economic shutdowns. 

According to Louisiana Workforce Commission notices filed by Penn National Gaming, about 160 workers for L’Auberge Hotel and Casino will be laid off in Baton Rouge and about 440 additional workers will be let go at the L’Auberge Lake Charles casino. The company also runs Boomtown Casino in Harvey, where nearly 200 employees are set to be laid off by Aug. 15. 

Nearly 350 workers at the Margaritaville Resort Casino in Bossier City are also expected to lose their jobs.

Coronavirus pandemic closings have cost Louisiana casinos hundreds of millions of dollars, and Penn National Gaming is not the only chain that has warned the state of layoffs. 

In June, Las Vegas-based Boy Gaming Corp said it has sent more than 1,500 employees letters to say they might be laid off. Spokesman David Strow says the company hasn’t yet decided the actual number.

The Advertiser reports that monthly revenue reports show casinos lost about $347 million during March and April, with another $90 million or more lost by video gaming establishments. 

Last month, the Senate Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Committee approved a bill to give the gaming industry an $83 million tax break over five years after the major hit it took from the shutdown.

The bill would allow each casino to give customers $5 million in free promotional play wagers without having to pay state taxes on those amounts. Anything above $5 million would be taxed at the normal rate, 21.5 percent.

The tax break would cost the state $11.2 million in revenues in the next fiscal year, starting July 1. 

The Legislature is planning to cut spending on higher education by $21 million as it struggles to balance next year’s budget, and the added revenue losses from this bill and others aimed at helping businesses recover from the virus shutdown could force more budget cuts.

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