Three different casinos in Indiana have furloughed a combined total of nearly 4,000 employees due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The affected casinos include Harrah’s Hoosier Park Racing and Casino, Indiana Grand Racing Casino in Shelbyville, and Horseshoe Hammond.
Harrah’s Hoosier Park Racing and Casino cited they furloughed 998 employees since March 16. Indiana Grand Racing Casino furloughed 1,126 employees on April 1. Horseshoe Hammond furloughed 1,693 employees since March 16.
While these furloughs are expected to be temporary, the fluid nature of the pandemic could see them lasting longer, and possibly even be permanent.
Casinos File through the Warn Act
The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act was put into place to help provide workers with ample time to prepare for job transitions and protection for workers, their families, and communities with the requirement that employers provide 60-days-notice of plant closings or mass layoffs.
However, with the unexpected nature of the outbreak, an advanced 60-day notice was simply not possible.
With the public health emergency, compliance was not something that could be foreseen in advance, and it’s a reason why for leeway that’s been given to the casinos.
According to Trent McIntosh, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Harrah’s Hoosier Park Racing and Casino, their notice was given as soon practically possible under the circumstances.
Indiana’s Gaming Figures Plummet in March
With figures not unique to the state of Indiana, their gaming figures have plummeted in the month of March due to the coronavirus.
It’s no surprise that American casinos have taken a heavy economic hit with the forced closure of casinos that began in March.
For the month of March, Indiana’s 12 licensed casinos and racinos made $90.6 million in adjusted gross revenue (AGR).
Compare that number with February’s AGR however, which was $192.5 million. That’s a 52.9 percent drop in gross revenue.
COVID-19 is also Crunching Indiana’s City Budget
It appears it’s not just the state’s casinos that are taking a financial blow, but the losses those casinos are generating is causing the state to cut city budgets to make up for lost direct revenue and lost employment taxes.
The state’s major attractions are looking at their budgets and cutting out any and all unnecessary attractions.
Sports Betting in Indiana Takes a Back Seat to COVID-19
March was gearing up to be a historic month for the state of Indiana, as it was the first March for legalized sports betting.
With sports being canceled due to the pandemic, however, it made for a less-than-impressive month. March was going to be chock-full of sports bets, with the NCAA Tournament and March Madness going on, but the suspension of the NBA season put that to an abrupt halt.
Things were going well for Indiana on the sports bet front in February, hitting $187.2 million in placed bets. Their betting handle for March, however, was $74.8 million.
Before March came, Indiana was fourth place in the sports betting market throughout the entire nation, an impressive feat indeed. They were only behind Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Nevada.
With the fluid nature of COVID-19, it’s unsure whether or not these furloughs will be a temporary solution or end up being permanent.
Indiana isn’t alone when it comes to being strategic with its budget amid the coronavirus crisis. Other casinos across the country, namely Las Vegas, have also resorted to furloughs and layoffs to deal with the economic downturn of the outbreak.
We hope that Indiana’s sports betting market will bounce back once business returns to normal. We’re optimistic that it will.
Be sure to check back for coronavirus casino updates!