Cutbacks at one Edmonton Canada casino force layoffs and
reduced hours of operation.
are getting hard in Edmonton, Alberta. Almost everyone is feeling the
crunch these days, in one way or another. The worst among them are
suddenly finding themselves without employment. Such was the reality
for an estimated 100 employees of the Grand
Villa Casino in recent weeks.
The owner, Gateway Casinos & Entertainment, blamed a “weak economy” for the controversial layoffs, as well as the new operating hours posted for the facility. With too few patrons so justify opening its doors, the casino is now operating just 4 days a week, and for only 13 hours at a time.
~100 FT/PT Layoffs at Edmonton Canada Casino
In late August, it was confirmed by union representatives that approximately 50 full time employees (union members) had been cut from the payroll at the Edmonton casino, cutting the full time staff from about 83 to 33 employees. An additional 50-60 part time employees were also terminated. Whether any management positions were effected is unknown.
a huge amount of frustration on the part of employees,” said union
representative Michael Hughes. “There’s a strong lack of trust.
They feel they’ve been doing their job and they’re waiting for
management to start doing theirs.”
Operating Hours Reduced by 63%
the layoffs, Grand Villa Casino reduced its hours of operation
tremendously. Prior to the cutbacks, the casino was open daily from
10AM to 3AM. Now, the operator only opens its doors four days a week,
Thursday through Sunday, from 12PM to 1AM. That’s an overall cutback
of 119 hours per week, to just 44 hours.
only exception to these new operating hours will come at the most
opportune moments, specifically when the Rogers Place arena, located
directly in front of the casino, hosts a major event, such as a live
concert or sporting event. The casino will open its doors to
accommodate guests at these times.
Owner Blames Traffic, Parking, and Economy
spokeswoman for the Gateway casino, located in Edmonton’s downtown
district, pinned the operation’s troubles on numerous faults – none
being their own, of course. After all, who can compete with
construction delays, traffic and a weak economy?
the past three years,” said Gateway PR Director Tanya Gabara, “the
lack of surface parking, delays in the residential and hospitality
projects in the downtown core, delays in the LRT completion and
ongoing road closures has made it extremely difficult for customers
to visit us. These factors along with a weak economy have resulted in
a need to change our operations.”
isn’t buying it, and neither are the former employees who are now
searching the help wanted section in the local news paper.
sounds like pointing fingers at everyone but yourself,” said the
union rep. “And now, embarking on a strategy to reduce your opening
hours to the public and make your service intermittent sounds like
making a bad situation a lot worse.”
Don’t Worry, It’s Only Temporary…?
is encouraging patience, claiming that the cutbacks are only
temporary, and that displaced staff will have a job waiting for them
– at full hourly operating capacity – once the downtown
developments are complete.
current volume of business at (Grand Villa Casino) means we need to
make this change while we wait for the downtown redevelopment to
reach its full potential,” said Gabara.
Hughes admits that his viewpoint is cynical, but says “it’s hard not to be” when Gateway is offering no evidence of a positive future. “(Gateway) haven’t indicated that it’s over,” he said. “They haven’t even indicated that this will be enough.”
Only time will tell if Gateway will honor its encouraging words once the ongoing redevelopment phase in downtown is complete. It wasn’t that long ago that the Edmonton, Canada casino was under construction itself. Grand Villa Casino first opened its doors in September of 2016. And this is not the start of a new problem for the company, either. By September 2017, word around the rumor mill was that Gateway desperately needed cash, and was looking to turn IPO, if not sell its business altogether.
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