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Argosy And Hollywood Casinos Laying Off More Than 500 As Pandemic Upends Business

061720_argosy5.jpg_dan margolies
Dan Margolies
/
KCUR
The Argosy Casino in Riverside, Missouri, is laying off 289 employees.

Both casinos are owned or partially owned by publicly traded Penn National Gaming Inc. of Wyomissing, Pennsylvania, which said the layoffs will be permanent although the casinos will remain open.

Two area casinos are laying off more than 500 employees in the wake of COVID-19-related lockdowns that have disrupted their businesses.

The Argosy Casino Hotel and Spa in Riverside, Missouri, said it would lay off 289 employees beginning August 15. And the Hollywood Casino at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Kansas, said it would lay off 215 employees, also beginning August 15.

Both casinos are owned or partially owned by publicly traded Penn National Gaming Inc. of Wyomissing, Pennsylvania, which said the layoffs will be permanent although the casinos will remain open.

Penn National Gaming furloughed 26,000 employees in April at 41 gaming and racing properties across 19 states. It temporarily suspended operations at all of its properties in mid-March after the World Health Organization declared the novel coronavirus a global pandemic and state gaming agencies ordered casinos to temporarily close.

Eric Schippers Sr., a spokesman for Penn National Gaming, said that while it had been able to reopen some of its properties on a limited basis, “the continued social distancing requirements and uncertain business volumes means our properties will not be able to resume normal operations for the foreseeable future.”

“After thoroughly reevaluating our business in light of the ongoing pandemic, we wanted to communicate honestly and openly with our team members that it could be some time before all of our remaining properties are open, and that those properties that are open will unfortunately not require the same level of staffing due to limitations and restrictions placed on occupancy and offerings to create a safer environment,” Schippers said in an email.

“As a result, we informed our team members that their furloughs may be converted to a permanent layoff in the coming weeks or months. We had a legal obligation to send a formal WARN notice to all the team members who could potentially be laid off. To be clear, however, that does not necessarily mean that all those team members will be laid off.”

After being shuttered for several months, Hollywood Casino at Kansas Speedway reopened on May 25, with a line of people waiting to get in stretching around the building.

The Argosy Casino opened in 1994 and is one of 13 casinos in Missouri. The casino has more than 1,500 slot machines and 38 tables, according to its website. The adjoining hotel has 258 rooms.

Argosy employed 784 people as of last year, according to the Missouri Gaming Commission’s 2019 annual report, and brought in about $165 million in gaming revenue that year. Of that amount, it contributed about $4.5 million to the city of Riverside’s coffers, including money for infrastructure, equipment, parks and community services.

Hollywood Casino at Kansas Speedway opened in 2012 and has 2,000 slot machines and 64 tables. It had more than 700 full- and part-time employees in 2017, according to the most recent annual report published by the Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission. Its gaming revenues that year totaled $147 million.

The casino is partially owned by Penn National Gaming, which has a 50% investment in a joint venture that owns the casino with International Speedway.