Parx to Furlough More Than 2,200 Philly Area Workers For Pandemic, Move Effective Monday

Posted on: April 10, 2020, 04:36h. 

Last updated on: April 10, 2020, 04:57h.

Workers at Pennsylvania’s largest casino will be temporarily laid off starting on Monday. According to the state Department of Labor and Industry, Parx Casino and Racing will layoff more than 2,200 workers at its complex in Bensalem, a Philadelphia suburb.

Parx COVID-19 Furlough
According to the state Department of Labor and Industry, more than 2,200 workers at Parx Casino and Racing will be furloughed effective Monday. (Image: VegasCasinoKid/Wikimedia Commons)

The state web site indicates the closure at both the racetrack and casino will be temporary and stems from the COVID-19 outbreak that has shut down essentially all retail casino gaming in the country. No time frame is given on the site regarding when officials from the venue owned by Greenwood Gaming and Entertainment hopes to resume operations.

Messages to Parx spokespeople were not immediately returned Friday afternoon.

According to the Worker Adjustment Retraining and Notification (WARN) statements by Parx, the layoff will affect 1,997 casino workers and 227 racing employees.

The furlough move will start a month after Parx officials initially suspended operations. On March 13, Parx announced it would suspend live racing based on the recommendations from Pennsylvania state leaders. The following day, it announced the casino would close as of 6 a.m. on March 15.

The closures at both were initially set for two weeks. But on March 27, officials announced on social media the closure would continue indefinitely.

Most Slots, Highest Handle in Pennsylvania

Parx Casino is the largest in the state based on the number of slots and the handle those machines generate.

Through February, the slots at Parx have generated a handle of $3.73 billion for the fiscal year, which ends in June. Gross revenue from slot play during that time has been $281.8 million, with $95.8 million generated in state taxes.

For February, the slots handle at Parx reached $474.4 million, with gross revenues totaling $36.9 million. That gave Pennsylvania $12.5 million in tax revenue for the month.

The 199 table games at Parx rank second to Wind Creek Bethlehem. Last month, the casino generated $17.6 million in revenue and $2.5 million in state taxes. For the fiscal year, the casino has earned $130.4 million in revenue and Pennsylvania has received $18.3 million in taxes.

The COVID-19 outbreak has already cost Parx 13 racing dates. With an exception of two weeks span in August, the Pennsylvania Horse Racing Commission allows Parx to offer racing three or four days per week, depending on the month.

No other thoroughbred track in the state has that many days.

Casino Construction Questioned in Philly

While casino gaming is at a standstill, construction had progressed on a new Philadelphia casino. But a local labor union pulled its workers, saying the Xfinity Live Casino project, along with other job sites, was not adhering to US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.

The safety of our members always comes first and that is why we have come to this decision,” wrote Gary Masino, the president and business manager for Sheet Metal Workers’ Local 19. “The plan is to give the General Contractors managing these sites a few weeks to try to meet our requests before our members are cleared to return.”

The Philadelphia Inquirer said work continued at the South Philly site even after Gov. Wolf ordered non-essential businesses and work to shut down because of the outbreak.

The general contractor, Gilbane, said that it had received a waiver to continue construction. But state officials told the paper that waiver was intended for other projects.

Latest Casino Furlough News

Parx is the latest gaming company to announce a furlough for its workforce.

Earlier this week, Eldorado Resorts announced it would lay off employees at the 23 casinos it owns or operates in the US. According to a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, the company plans to furlough more than 90 percent of its workforce at each casino.

In addition, CEO Tom Reeg, Executive Board Chairman Gary Carano, President and COO Anthony Carano, CFO Bret Yunker, Chief Administrative Officer Stephanie Lepori, and Chief Legal Officer Edmund Quatmann Jr. have all agreed to reduce their base salaries for an indefinite period.

Caesars Entertainment similarly announced furloughs last week that also affected about 90 percent of its US workforce. That includes Harrah’s Philadelphia casino.