Borgata lays off 50 table games employees

May 9, 2011 11:40:55 AM PDT
The Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa announced Monday it is laying off about 50 table game workers because of the continuing poor economy, fierce competition from neighboring states and new freedom to more easily adjust staffing levels.

A spokesman for Atlantic City's leading casino, Dave Coskey, said the layoffs represent less than 1 percent of the Borgata's work force.

"Whenever there are changes that affect our associates, we never take it lightly," Coskey said. "It's the increased regional competition and the continuing challenging economy. We continue to evolve the way we do business."

The cuts show that even Atlantic City's dominant casino has not been immune to the pressures rocking the nation's second-largest gambling market.

On a conference call to discuss first-quarter earnings last week, officials at the Borgata's parent company, Boyd Gaming said the casino had its worst year-over-year comparisons in the first three months of this year.

The Borgata's first quarter net revenue was $169.1 million, down 3 percent from the $175.1 million it took in a year ago. Gross operating profits fell nearly 17 percent to $31.7 million. Part of the difficulty was attributed to an exceptionally lucky streak by the casino's table games customers, who won $4 million during that period.

Stepped-up competition from table games at Pennsylvania casinos, which began last July, accounted for an additional $2 million decline for the Borgata in the first quarter, company officials said during the conference call.

Legislation signed into law earlier this year by Gov. Chris Christie as part of an Atlantic City rescue plan gives the casinos more flexibility to cut payrolls or eliminate jobs such as pit bosses or supervisors that the gambling halls feel are not needed.

The measures are designed to help the casinos compete more effectively with casinos in neighboring states, particularly the 10 Pennsylvania casinos whose growth may soon relegate Atlantic City to the third-largest gambling market in America.

Coskey said the casino plans to add an unspecified number of jobs at some point in the future to offset part of the layoffs made on Monday.