Twin River Planning Layoffs of More Than 1,300 Rhode Island Workers

Posted on: August 25, 2020, 09:28h. 

Last updated on: August 26, 2020, 12:06h.

Twin River Worldwide Holdings (TRWH) is poised to lay off more than 1,300 employees at its two Rhode Island casinos. It joins a growing list of gaming companies operating with significantly reduced headcount amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Twin Rivers Layoffs
The Tiverton Casino, seen here, and Twin River will have combined layoffs of more than 1,300. (Image: East Bay Newspapers)

The affected staff are currently furloughed. But 1,043 workers at the Twin River Casino and nearly 300 at the Tiverton Casino in the Rhode Island town of the same name will be let go on Sept. 30, according to a filing with the state Department of Labor and Training.

TRWH made that filing with the state on Aug. 11, the same day it reported a second-quarter loss owing to the COVID-19 industry shutdown. On a conference call with analysts and investors on that day, CEO George Papanier said the company brought back a significant percentage of its workforce. But many employees remained on furlough.

Furloughs differ from layoffs in that under the former, there’s some chance that the impacted staff could be called back to work or placed into a different role when business conditions improve.

Rough Stretch for New England

In the second quarter, TRWH reported a loss of $23.6 million, as revenue plunged almost 80 percent to $28.9 million from $143.2 million a year earlier. However, the company added that less than 10 percent of that loss was realized in June, and there were signs of improvement in July, as its venues throughout the country reopened.

Still, news of the Rhode Island layoffs adds to what’s been a rough period for New England’s gaming companies and their employees. In late June, Wynn Resorts announced the furlough of 3,000 staffers at Encore Boston Harbor. Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun, Connecticut’s two tribal gaming venues, temporarily furloughed workers earlier this year. Earlier this month, Mohegan Sun said some of those employees will be laid off.

Twin River is seeking other avenues for conserving cash, including halting its dividend and share repurchase programs.

Home State Issues

Another issue confounding TRWH in its home market is state limitations on large gatherings, which is forcing the Twin River and Tiverton casinos to operate below full capacity. However, executives believe that there’s pent-up demand and that when those restrictions are lifted, more patrons will return to the gaming properties,

As for the human element of the gaming industry and how that will look when COVID-19 is finally vanquished, employment may not rapidly return to pre-pandemic levels because many regional operators are realizing improved margins, due in large part to lower staff counts.

Rhode Island is TRWH’s largest market but is adding to its geographic diversity. It currently runs gaming venues in Colorado, Delaware, Mississippi, and Missouri, and has pending deals to add properties in Louisiana, Nevada, and New Jersey.