Regional casino operator Eldorado Resorts expected to furlough employees on Saturday

April 9, 2020 7:15 PM
  • Howard Stutz, CDC Gaming Reports
April 9, 2020 7:15 PM
  • Howard Stutz, CDC Gaming Reports

Eldorado Resorts is expected to furlough a large majority of its nationwide workforce Saturday after paying wages and benefits to employees during the nationwide casino industry shutdown that began last month due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In a memo to employees at the company’s three flagship casino-resorts in downtown Reno – home of Eldorado’s corporate headquarters – General Manager Tracy Mimno told the full-time staff they would go on furlough, which the company expects to be “temporary (less than three months).” CDC Gaming Reports was given a copy of the memo.

A company source said Thursday it is excepted similar notices will be distributed at Eldorado’s 23 properties in 11 states. Eldorado has committed last month to workers through Friday.

At the end of December, Eldorado employed roughly 15,500 workers nationwide, according to the company’s 10K filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Eldorado’s regional casinos were ordered closed by governors and state regulatory agencies throughout the U.S. starting in the middle of March. Last month, Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak ordered casinos, schools and non-essential businesses statewide to close on March 18 through April 15 in an effort to slow the COVID-19 spread. He extended to the casino shutdown to April 30.

“Although we have been ordered to close all of our casino resorts across the country, we are pleased to have continued to pay full-time team members through April 10,” Mimno wrote to the employees of Eldorado Reno, Silver Legacy and Circus Circus Reno, which is referred to as “The Row.”

Mimno said the company made the “difficult decision” to implement a leave of absence, which is a furlough.

“We are unable to resume normal operations or when you will be recalled,” Mimno wrote. Eldorado will continue to pay health benefits through June 30, allow employees to used one-week of “flexible time off” on the first week of the furlough, and are encouraged to file for unemployment assistance.

“The sudden and unexpected circumstances involving the COVID-19 pandemic prevented us from providing notice sooner,” Mimno wrote.

The Eldorado furloughs follow similar actions by other casino companies nationwide, including Penn National Gaming, Boyd Gaming Corp., MGM Resorts International, and Caesars Entertainment. Las Vegas Sands Corp., Wynn Resorts and Station Casinos have committed to pay employees through May 15.

Eldorado and Caesars are in the final stages of completing a $17.3 billion merger between the two companies. The deal, which is still anticipated to close by the end of June, requires approvals from gaming regulators in Nevada, New Jersey, and Indiana, as well as the Federal Trade Commission. Analysts have said the deal remains fully financed, will create the industry’s largest regional companies with some 60 properties in 18 states.

On April 3, Las Vegas-based Caesars said it was furloughing 90% of the company’s workforce. The Las Vegas-based company’s entire casino portfolio of 53 properties in 14 states is also shut down due to the pandemic. Caesars employs 64,000 throughout the organization, according to its 10-K filing with the SEC.

Eldorado is the acquiring company in the merger. Its management will control the merged operation and the company will take on the Caesars name.

In March, Eldorado agreed to sell its management stake in the Montbleu Resort in Lake Tahoe to Las Vegas-based Maverick Gaming for an undisclosed price. In January, Eldorado agreed to sell the Eldorado Shreveport in Louisiana to Maverick for $230 million.

Both deals are expected to close in the second half of the year and would remove the anti-trust issues hanging over the deal.

Eldorado also has a deal in place to sell Isle of Capri Kansas City in Missouri and Lady Luck Vicksburg in Mississippi for $230 million to Twin River Worldwide Holdings, a transaction expected to close in the second half of the year.

Shares of Eldorado closed Thursday at $18.11, down 4 cents or 0.22%.

Howard Stutz is the executive editor of CDC Gaming Reports. He can be reached at Follow @howardstutz on Twitter.