The Par-A-Dice Casino in East Peoria has permanently laid off some employees due to “ongoing challenges and continued uncertainty” as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Boyd Gaming, Par-A-Dice’s parent company, warned employees in May that anywhere from 25% to 60% of the staff could be laid off in July. The WARN Act requires companies with 100 or more employees to send 60 days’ notice before mass layoffs.
It is not known exactly how many lost their jobs. According to a statement from Boyd Gaming, it’s on the lower end of that scale:
“As was previously reported, in May we issued WARN Act letters advising certain team members of the possibility of layoffs in July. 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. These layoffs are at the lower end of the range outlined in the WARN Act letters issued in May. We are notifying affected team members as expeditiously as we can.
This was an extremely difficult decision for our company, and one we had hoped would not be necessary. To assist impacted team members during this difficult time, we will be providing financial assistance to those who are affected.”
A July 9 employee termination letter, acquired by NBC Peoria, said the layoffs are due to “the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy, related restrictions on our property operations and our continued inability to predict future business trends.”
Pandemic and Par-A-Dice’s long-term outlook
However, as coronavirus cases climb in Illinois, it’s unlikely that these restrictions will be lifted anytime soon. Much like in other states, there’s a greater chance of the rolling back of reopening measures.
Prior to the pandemic, Par-A-Dice planned to renovate the casino’s deli and steakhouse. Those plans are on hold.
The Illinois Gaming Board also approved Par-A-Dice for a sports betting license. But on June 25, David Strow, Boyd Gaming VP of corporate communications, said there was “nothing to announce” in terms of a launch date.
Impact on other states
Par-A-Dice was far from the only Boyd Gaming property to be hit with layoffs.
Boyd Gaming had 24,300 employees prior to the cuts. So, using 25% as a minimum, at least 6,075 people lost their jobs. Boyd Gaming also operates in Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, Ohio and Pennsylvania.
About 10,000 employees worked in southern Nevada prior to COVID-19, and at least 2,500 of them have been cut. Nine of the area’s 12 casinos are open at limited capacity. The company furloughed most of its employees in April, and executives took pay cuts.