Canadian casino begins massive layoffs

While employees at other casinos have been striking for better working conditions and increased wages, staff at Casino Sault Ste. Marie in Canada have been leaving.  Some of the employees were offered separation incentive packages, while others were simply laid off.  The move comes down to the casino’s plan to automate operations at the casino. 

The casino is owned by Gateway Casinos and Entertainment Ltd., a company located in Burnaby, British Columbia.  Gateway’s public affairs director, Rob Mitchell, stated, "I know there are some staff reductions taking place today at the casino in Sault Ste. Marie,” adding “I know a number of employees are taking us up on a voluntary exit incentive plan.”

Mitchell didn’t divulge the number of employees that were being let go, either voluntarily or otherwise.  He explained of the layoffs, “This is part and parcel of an ongoing review of all our operations across the board to find efficiencies and improve customer service, and as a consequence of that, because we’ve been investing in a lot of automation in terms of a new gaming management system and improved surveillance and so on, this has in some cases impacted staffing and there’s also change in hours of operation and that has had some impact on our staffing.”

While the movement is reportedly tied to restructuring and automation, there have been comments about other reasons.  Some residents in the area have reported that the casino has turned into a ghost town, while others blame the city council.  The casino was purchased by Gateway last year and, subsequently, payouts dropped significantly, according to others. 

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