Racino layoffs planned in Dayton; 2 Ohio casinos plan 304 layoffs

Layoffs set for August, casinos warn

Penn National Gaming is planning a “very small number of layoffs” at the Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway racino, in addition to more than 300 layoffs planned at its Columbus and Toledo casinos, the company said Tuesday.

A Penn spokesman could not say how many Dayton layoffs are planned or when they will begin.

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Eric Schippers, Penn’s senior vice president of public affairs and government relations, said in an email that Penn was forced to furlough 26,000 employees in April, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Penn notified Ohio government that its Hollywood casino in Columbus will lay off 188 employees in August while its casino in Toledo will lay off 116 workers, also in August.

The layoffs will be permanent, but the facilities will remain open, Penn said.

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“We were hopeful that we’d be able to call the employees back within a couple of months,” Schippers said in his email to the Dayton Daily News. “However, while we have been able to reopen some of our 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.”

The Penn properties that stay open will not require the same level of staffing going forward, Schippers said.

He added that Penn will extend employees’ medical and pharmacy benefits coverage through July 31. And he said Penn’s “emergency relief fund” is also available to assist them.

Penn’s Hollywood casinos in Columbus and Toledo are planning to lay off a total of 304 workers, a human resources manager notified Ohio state government in a WARN (Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notice) letter.

Hollywood Casino Columbus will permanently lay off 188 people beginning Aug. 15, the manager said in the June 12 letter.

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A similar letter had the same message regarding Hollywood Casino Toledo, where 116 employees will be laid off permanently starting Aug. 15.

Ohio casinos and racinos are permitted to reopen at 6 a.m. Friday, but the customer experience will be very different.

Permitted capacity will be halved at the Dayton Raceway racino off Wagner Ford Road. Floor decals will mark out “social distances.” Slot machines will be spaced out. Guests will be “encouraged” to wear masks. There will be no live music, and the skybox at the Dayton Raceway will be closed.

Valet parking and coat checks won’t be happening, either, at least for now. Buffets are allowed if employees are serving customers from the buffet.

In May, Belterra Park’s parent company notified Ohio that it may need to lay off more than 300 employees, and the gaming site told Cincinnati TV station WCPO that without a certain reopening date, it’s unsure exactly how many workers it will have to let go, the station reported.

The Columbus and Toledo casinos are leased properties of Penn.

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