Do you need a buffet and other lessons US casinos learned from pandemic

3 days ago

By WAYNE PARRY

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — The COVID communicable affected many U.S. casinos to abutting for months, causing payrolls, income and balance to tumble.

But the affected shutdowns and awful adapted recoveries also accomplished the industry helpful acquaint which will abide alike afterwards the communicable is a abroad memory, panelists at a main bank appointment answered Thursday.

Speaking at the East Coast Gaming Congress, admiral from main bank organizations answered the changes they were affected to accomplish because of the communicable had anytime benefits.

“We abstruse acquaint which can’t be unlearned,” answered Thomas Reeg, CEO of Caesars Entertainment.

“It affected us and gave us the adeptness to say to our visitors which things which acclimated to be beheld as an entitlement, maybe they don’t choose them as abundant as they although t they did,” added Jim Allen, administrator of Hard Rock International. “Do you choose a buffet? Should you have a buffet?”

The appointment was once captivated in the Hard Rock bank in Atlantic City, whose bistro is still operating. Some of Hard Rock’s casinos in added states, including Florida, action buffets while others do not.

David Cordish, administrator of the Cordish Companies, which operates casinos in Pennsylvania, Florida and Maryland, answered the communicable offered his business an befalling “to bind the ship.”

“We have not gone alternate to buffets,” he said. “It absolutely wasn’t fun. Being bankrupt for months was once abominable for employees. But there were a lot of acquaint learned.

“What we did — and we may choose to do it afresh — is while we were shut, we put in each accessible kind of bloom and protection screening you could do,” including duke sanitizers and barriers amid amateur positions at table games, measures which were generally adopted at casinos above the country.

Cordish answered those costs paid off amply already the casinos were allowed to reopen in gentle 2020.

“People were fed up with actuality cooped up and came cloudburst alternate to the casinos, decidedly while we did these things,” he said. “Since we reopened, business has been terrific.”

Eric Hausler, CEO of Greenwood Racing, which owns Pennsylvania’s Parx casino, answered the communicable opened his eyes to one accurate liability.

“We had a restaurant which was once accessible each day for cafeteria and never fabricated any money,” he said. When the bank reopened afterwards its pandemic-related closure, “We didn’t accompany it back, and no one anytime answered a affair about it.”

Jeff Gural, who owns two racetrack casinos in upstate New York, had a agnate experience.

“We had a Subway sandwich abode which didn’t work,” he said. “Then we adapted it to a pizza abode and which didn’t work. Someone appropriate converting it to a sushi abode — and I don’t like sushi. And it succeeded.”

Gural also answered cease helped him apprehend which spending big cash on advertisement ads, billboards and car giveaways wasn’t bringing in the acknowledgment he expected, authoritative it simpler to calibration alternate spending on such things.

Daily housekeeping of bank resort apartment has become addition blow of the communicable in anytime places. In June, Atlantic City’s capital bank workers’ abutment filed a complaint with the accompaniment which four casinos were declining to apple-pie guest resort apartment circadian as appropriate by law, and one accepted it did not have abundant housekeepers to apple-pie each allowance each day.

Hospitality industry leaders say the aggregate of a curtailment of housekeeping workers and the abhorrence of anytime visitors to allow resort workers into their apartment all through their break has led to the abandonment of a circadian allowance charwoman accepted in resorts above the country.

One abiding aftereffect of the communicable is abate payrolls. This is due both to workers who were let go all through or anon afterwards the closures and have not been rehired, and a continuing adversity in alluring new workers above the bank industry, as with many others.

Jayson Guyot, admiral and CEO of Connecticut’s Foxwoods Resort Casino, answered he ordered a complete restructuring of the business from high to basal all through the closure— anything which would have been difficult to do had it still been operating.

“It enabled us to clean our margins from 10 to 13% to 18 to 20% now,” he said.

But he also accurate a accustomed concern: Foxwoods has not yet alternate to its pre-pandemic business levels.

That is a main captivation for Atlantic City’s casinos, which collectively have yet to acknowledgment to 2019 income and income levels for in-person gambling.

Second-quarter earnings, appear in August, appearance which bristles of Atlantic City’s nine casinos bootless to beat their pre-pandemic income levels, and the resort as a accomplished saw a decrease in profits of about 1%.

Atlantic City has bags beneath bank workers than it did afore the communicable struck. It, like around each added bank market, has struggled to allure new workers and absorb absolute ones.

Hard Rock lately fabricated account by spending $100 million to accord big raises to 10,000 non-tipped workers, many of them in the U.S. Other organizations have accustomed abate raises recently. Foxwoods has aloft its alternate minimum allowance from $10.50 two years ago to $14.50 now, Guyot said.

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Follow Wayne Parry on Twitter at www.twitter.com/WayneParryAC


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