Jack Entertainment to Close Detroit Office Following Greektown Casino Sale, Laying Off 92

Posted on: September 13, 2019, 03:15h. 

Last updated on: September 13, 2019, 01:09h.

Dan Gilbert’s Jack Entertainment will close its office in Detroit, laying off 92 employees in the wake of the sale of the Greektown Casino-Hotel to Penn National Gaming (PNG) and Caesars REIT spinoff VICI Properties.

Jack Entertainment, Dan Gilbert
Dan Gilbert has been at the forefront of the economic regeneration in Detroit. But the closure of the Jack Entertainment office will result in job losses. (Image: Tanya Wildt/Detroit Free Press)

The news comes via a WARN notice filed with the state of Michigan. WARN refers to the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act of 1988, a US labor law designed to protect employees by mandating employers with 100 or more workers must provide 60 calendar-day advance notification of planned layoffs.

Per WARN regulations, the layoffs will begin in November and should be completed by Q1 2020. Crain’s Detroit Business reports that the employees are non-unionized.

“Following a strategic assessment of Jack Entertainment’s business portfolio and the subsequent sale of three of the company’s properties, including Greektown Casino-Hotel in Detroit, Jack Entertainment is making changes to the home office as the operational responsibilities have been reduced,” said Jack Entertainment CEO Mark Dunkeson in an emailed statement to CDR.

$1 Billion Deal

PNG and VICI finalized the purchase of Greektown in May. Under the terms of the deal, VICI paid $700 million for the property, while Penn is paying VICI $300 million for operational rights.

Jack Entertainment, formerly Rock Gaming, acquired the 100,000-square-foot casino and 400-room hotel in 2013 for $600 million.

Detroit native Gilbert is the founder of independent mortgage lender Quicken Loans and owns the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers and several other sports franchises. Meanwhile, his company, Rock Ventures, comprises real estate, technology, financial services, gaming, sports and, with 17,000 workers, is among the top employers in the region.

Gilbert, whose personal wealth is estimated to be $6.7 billion, has been active in leading the regeneration of Detroit’s urban core through the development of regeneration projects and business initiatives.

Offloading Casinos

Gilbert acquired the struggling Greektown in 2013 from two investment groups. The casino opened in 2009 at the height of the economic downturn, and its highly leveraged majority owner, the Sault Tribe of Chippewa Indians, quickly filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The property then passed into the hands of its principal creditors.

Jack Entertainment took Greektown to profitability before the sale to PNG and VICI, which was part of a general strategy to off-load the company’s casino holdings. It currently owns three Jack-branded venues in Ohio, the Horseshoe Baltimore in Maryland, and the Turfway Park racetrack in Florence, Kentucky.

The company said in a statement that workers impacted by the closure of the Detroit office will have the opportunity to apply for positions at other Jack Entertainment properties and within Rock Ventures.

Impacted workers are receiving assistance seeking employment, including workshops for resume writing, and most have already found new jobs, the company claimed.

“We are very optimistic that future affected team members will have the same success, and our leadership team will continue to support them throughout,” it said.