Whether 400 layoffs at the Pechanga Resort & Casino are an indicator of things to come at the region’s American Indian casinos is an intriguing question.
Management at casinos contacted by the Business Journal last week said they did not anticipate layoffs; some said they were reducing staff through attrition.
The Pechanga Development Corp. , which operates a casino just over the San Diego-Riverside county line, said July 22 that it planned to lay off as many as 400 of its 4,700 employees. High gas prices, a housing downturn that has hit Riverside County hard and other factors have hurt business, tribal leaders said.
A softening economy has affected people’s discretionary spending, said Robert Livingston, an executive with Harrah’s Rincon Casino & Resort near Valley Center.
“The market’s down in the casino business. It’s down in every sector you can think of, retail-wide,” Livingston said.
But he said his venue, which had 1,785 employees at the end of 2007, is not anticipating layoffs. “We run a tight ship,” Livingston said, saying he hopes for an economic turnaround by 2009.
He said Harrah’s has cut employment through attrition