Employees at Massachusetts casinos start to see shutdown pay run out
By Bob Garcia
Some casinos are finding their cash reserves falling dangerously low
Casinos all around the country have been getting shutdown orders from the authorities in an effort to stop the coronavirus from spreading quickly. In Massachusetts, both MGM Springfield and Encore Boston shut down operations as instructed, and MGM has promised to continue paying salaries to their employees for two more weeks. The other two casinos in the area, Encore Boston Harbor and Plainridge Park, had similar arrangements for their employees and agreed to similar arrangements. That was on March 14, and, now that March is coming to an end and casinos can’t open yet, most casino employees are going to find themselves in the lines of workers requesting unemployment benefits as companies’ liquid assets begin to run out.
It was last Wednesday when the Massachusetts Gaming Commission voted to extend the closing order for one more week, currently until April 7. That decision was made following Governor Charlie Baker’s order of closing all non-essential businesses. Not only in Massachusetts, but across the US, there have been waves of people filing unemployment claims. Based on data from the federal government, the number of people who have submitted unemployment requests in the state jumped to 147,995 by the end of the week that ended on March 21. That is close to 20 times the number of applications that were submitted on the previous week.
Since the request to close down gambling facilities took effect on March 14, for most of MGM Springfield’s workers, the two-week payment period expired this past weekend. MGM said it would be keeping a minimum of employees for cleaning, building maintenance and security staff after shutting down, but even those employees have started a final two-week period as well.