Roughly 40% Of Detroit Casino Workers Are Out Of a Job After Latest Layoffs

Posted on September 8, 2020

The Detroit casino workforce took another hit leading up to Labor Day weekend.

Greektown Casino-Hotel will lay off 43 more workers beginning later this month in the latest workforce reduction for the city’s gaming industry.

Detroit casinos have laid off about 3,000 workers since the COVID-19 pandemic closed the gaming facilities on March 16, five days after the launch of regulated sports betting.

That’s about 40% of the workforce, as the American Gaming Association said in a report last month that Detroit’s casino employ about 7,600 workers.

Greektown, MGM Grand Detroit, and MotorCity Casino reopened at 15% capacity restrictions with no smoking on the casino floor. Greektown General Manager John Drake said the restrictions have contributed to an already harmful year.

“We could not have anticipated when our properties would be allowed to reopen and how restrictive the new operating conditions would be, and the negative impact this would have on business volumes.”

Greektown already announced more than 600 layoffs

The Greektown announcement was made through a federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN), which was dated for Thursday.

It’s the second such announcement this summer for the Penn National Gaming casino.

In June, Greektown announced it would lay off 621 employees starting on Sept. 15. Eric Schippers, Penn National senior vice president of public affairs and government relations, confirmed 26,000 employees were furloughed companywide in April.

MGM, MotorCity slashed over 1,000 jobs apiece

Greektown’s Detroit competitors have also made stinging slashes of their own.

Last week, 1,100 furloughed employees were cut by MGM Grand Detroit, the company disclosed to PlayMichigan.

Those losses were part of a reported national restructuring by MGM Resorts International that cost 18,000 employees their jobs.

MotorCity furloughed 2,554 employees in July because of the pandemic. After the casino announced its reopening date last month, a statement from general manager Bruce Dall said about 50% of their employees would be brought back.

State, city impacted by shutdowns too

In addition to the displaced employees, the shutdown is also impacting the tax revenues for local governments.

Through July, Detroit casino revenue was down 65% year to date from 2019.

That equated to $45 million less in state tax revenue and $66.1 million less for the city of Detroit.

Numbers were not yet available from August on Tuesday.

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Matt Schoch

A Michigan native, Matt has worked at newspapers in Michigan, Missouri and the Virgin Islands. A versatile sports reporter, Matt has covered sailing on the Great Lakes, cricket in the Caribbean, high school and pro playoffs, and the Olympics in Rio. He's also the host of the Locked On Pistons Podcast and producer of a documentary on Emoni Bates. A former blackjack dealer, Matt has studied the industry from all sides.

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