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Layoffs hit Twin River as new Boston casino steals customers

Business News

LINCOLN, R.I. (WPRI) — Twin River Casino is planning to lay off 30 table games supervisors as revenue slumps following the opening of the new Encore casino in Boston, WPRI 12 has confirmed.

Twin River is asking employees to volunteer for layoffs, according to spokesperson Patti Doyle and two employees. A memo provided by one worker asked employees to express interest by Thursday at 8 p.m.

“Business levels have dropped significantly, and we are faced with the need to reduce staffing levels accordingly,” the memo said. “This is without question a difficult time, and we are doing everything we can to lessen the impact on our employees.”

The news comes just a day after Twin River disclosed to investors that revenue from table games at its Lincoln flagship slumped 34% in July, the first full month of operation for the Encore, owned by Wynn Resorts. Twin River shares fell sharply on the news.

“We are effectively staffing to the present volume of business on the table games,” Doyle said in a statement. “We also are hoping post-Labor Day trends kick in so we will potentially have the ability to rehire some of the employees impacted. We are also exploring voluntary reduction of hours in order to reduce the number of layoffs.”

A spokesperson for the Rhode Island Lottery, which licenses Twin River to operate its two casinos, did not immediately respond to questions about whether officials were informed in advance about the layoffs.

Twin River has already been making headlines in recent weeks because of its outspoken opposition to Gov. Gina Raimondo’s proposed 20-year extension of IGT’s existing contract to run the technology for Rhode Island’s traditional and casino lottery games.

Twin River employees who accept a voluntary layoff will receive eight weeks pay as well as unused paid time off, if eligible, according to the memo.

“Additional staff reductions, shift changes and day off changes may be required to balance the department once the voluntary period is expired,” the memo said.

The new competition could have a ripple effect on Rhode Island’s state budget: Twin River is supposed to contribute $309.5 million from video lottery terminals and $19.9 million from table games to the state’s general fund in the 2019-20 fiscal year, which began July 1.

Twin River’s 2005 state contract to run the casinos in Lincoln and Tiverton expires next year. However, three years ago state lawmakers gave the company the option to extend the deal by two additional five-year periods, which would keep it in place through 2030.

Ted Nesi (tnesi@wpri.com) is WPRI 12’s politics and business editor and a Target 12 investigative reporter. He is a weekly panelist on Newsmakers and hosts Executive Suite. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook

Neil Remiesiewicz contributed to this report.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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