Casino growth may be a thing of the past. Pechanga's layoffs have certainly sent a shiver down some spines of casino tribes this week.
An era of spectacular growth may be waning for area casinos as a rocky economy convinces more gamblers to stand pat.A maxim that the gambling industry is "recession-proof" now is being questioned following the announcement this week that the Pechanga Resort & Casino, the region's largest casino, would cut 400 employees in coming weeks.
Three moderately large casinos in North County indicated that they had no such plans, but several people in and close to the industry said that a lot of money is being taken off the table."It's obvious that it's a downturn," said Sheryl Sebastian, a spokeswoman for Harrah's Rincon casino in Valley Center. "You're talking about discretionary spending. When people's income gets cut, people's entertainment budget gets cut."A representative of Valley View Casino, owned by the San Pasqual Band of Mission Indians, declined to discuss revenue, but said the casino plans no layoffs.
An executive for Pala Casino Spa Resort said business was about as strong this summer as in prior years and planned no layoffs. "We're lean and we've always kept it that way," said Sue Welp, Pala's vice president of marketing. Leaders of the financially struggling Santa Ysabel tribe couldn't be reached for comment. The tribe opened a $27 million casino 30 miles east of Escondido last year but has missed several payments to the state and San Diego County governments since then.
OP: The state and its people NEED THAT MONEY.
In May, the tribe's leaders cited a weeklong closure during October's wildfires and a "critical cash-flow crisis" in asking its 700 members to forgo a total of $140,000 in profit distributions. Leaders of the Pauma tribe, whose casino is about four miles north of Rincon's, couldn't be reached late Wednesday.
See the article and comments here: NCTIMES