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Gateway Casinos Cuts Back Employee Working Hours at Palace and Baccarat Casinos

On March 12th, 2009, Mr. James Packer's Canadian casino collaboration with Macquarie Bank has asked employees at two of their 9 casino facilities to take unpaid leave and forced employees to cut back their work hours at 4 others. The cuts come after revenues at all 9 casino facilities slide down and as Crown casino studies the carrying value of its investments in Gateway Casinos and Entertainment. It paid $224 million for the value of the half-share at the top of the gaming market in November 2007. Up to ten percent of the three hundred staff at the Palace and Baccarat Casino facilities in Edmonton would be asked to take unpaid leave for two months.

Gateway spokesperson Al Wilson said that the cuts were influenced by a fifteen percent fall in gaming revenues since October 2008. Casino dealers, food staff and cashiers could also be targeterd for the cuts. The Vice President of casino operations, Jeff Pascoe said that the four Lake City Casino facilities would also cut back staff hours. Four months ago, Crown's Macau casino joint collaboration forced hundred of employees to take as much as 6 months of unpaid leave amid a financial downturn in the world's biggest casino gaming market. The only casino facilities to be deviating from the trend of sliding revenues worldwide are in the state state of Pennsylvania.

Overall gaming revenues at 7 Pennsylvania casinos improved by 21% to $145.6 million last month compared with the same period last year, according to the recent figures from the gaming authority. Crown Casino has an opportunity to acquire a Pennsylvania caino if its goes ahead with an agreement to buy a chain of US casinos. The $1.75 billion agreement was expected to have been finalized by now, but it has been hampered by regulatory clearance in Pennsylvania and a lawsuit by James Packer's sister Gretel, which the sellers say is only an attempt to renege out of the agreement on a legal technicality.

Crown casino insists that it is still comitted to the agreement. The Meadows racing track-casino in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is a good asset because there is few competition in the newly openend gaming market that only permitted casinos two years ago. Players are attracted to the new casino facilities and are playing close to hime rather than going to Atlantic City. Gaming revenues at the Meadows racetrack casino improved by 20% to $20.5 million last month compared with the same period last year.

The Meadows has 14% of the market and is the 3rd biggest player after Philadelphia Park and Harrah's Chester Downs. It leads in the state in terms of daily earnings received by its 1825 poker machines at $402.17 in February, $30 million above its nearest competitor.

Crown casino estimates that the Meadows will earn $15 million in the 2010 financial year. It will more than double the number of poker machines it is offering as soon as next month, when it moves to a brand new $175 million facility with 4,000 poker machines. The casino facility does not have any casino table games because they are not allowed in Pennsylvania. But it does have blackjack and poker games played with an electronic casino dealer.


04/06/2009 19:55 PM


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