Rhode Island Casino Workers Reassured About Jobs

Rhode Island-based Twin River Worldwide Holdings is assuring employees at its eight casinos that they will still have jobs after their coronavirus-mandated closing.

Twin River Worldwide Holdings (TRWH) is reassuring its employees that they will have jobs once the coronavirus crisis has passed. TRWH operates Rhode Island’s two casinos, plus one in Mississippi, one in Delaware, and three casinos and a horse racetrack in Colorado.

TRWH, based in Rhode Island, last week sent out a letter assuring investors that it has “sufficient liquidity” to meet all obligations. It will continue health coverage for its employees who work at the closed casinos during the shutdown and all salaried and hourly workers currently not working will have their jobs when they reopen.

In the letter the company wrote, “Twin River is also establishing a fund to provide financial assistance to employees who experience severe hardship during the shutdown period and is working diligently to bring employees back to work as soon as possible when permitted.”

The company first ordered its holdings closed for a week last week, and then the Rhode Island Department of Revenue, Lottery Division extended the closure to March 27. Marc Crisafulli, president of Twin River Casino Hotel and Tiverton Casino Hotel, commented, “We believe our temporary closure for an additional week is necessary to help ensure the health and safety of our employees, customers, and all residents of Rhode Island.”

When casino employees will return is not yet clear, according to company spokeswoman Patti Doyle. “It’s just a fluid, emerging situation. We should know a bit more in a couple of days,″ said Doyle, who was also unclear on how many employees have been laid off. Whenever the operations do reopen it will be to thoroughly sanitized casinos, especially the most-used “touchpoints” and including items such as chips.

The letter notes that the company recently funded $250 million in revolving credit and has $360 million on its balance sheet and is “carefully managing expenses to ensure that it has sufficient liquidity to last through these uncertain times″ and “is confident that it will have sufficient liquidity in excess of 12 months to meet all of its obligations including debt service, required capital expenditures and acquisitions.″

Gaming is the third largest source of revenue for the Ocean state’s government. Before the coronavirus interrupted operations, it anticipated collecting nearly $300 million from slots, $15 million from table games and $9.4 million from sportsbook.

The town of Tiverton also depends on casino money. At a city council meeting held remotely last week, Town Council President Patricia Hilton was unable to answer the question of whether the state would be paying the up to $3 million that the Tiverton Casino Hotel is committed to paying the town each year.

Since the casino is closed, that funding source is jeopardized, she admitted. “I don’t know, because it’s closed,” Hilton said. Councilwoman Donna Cook added, “This is unchartered territory.”