Atlantic Club Casino Hotel laid off about 80 workers Tuesday and is closing two restaurants as Atlantic City’s gambling industry continues to struggle in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
Michael Frawley, Atlantic Club’s chief operating officer, said about three-quarters of the layoffs were seasonal workers who would have lost their jobs anyway. He noted that business declines caused by the hurricane accelerated plans for the job cuts.
“Sandy pushed the timeline more than we would have liked,” he said.
Most of the laid-off workers were food servers, cashiers and busboys in the Atlantic Club restaurants. Some janitors and housekeepers also lost their jobs, Frawley said.
With business levels continuing to decline since the Oct. 29 storm, Atlantic Club has decided to close its Ono Chinese Bistro and BB’s burger bar. Other Atlantic Club restaurants will go to a weekend-only schedule, although at least one will remain open on weekdays to always give customers a place to eat, Frawley said.
Atlantic Club hopes to reopen Ono and BB’s and return to a full-time schedule for the other restaurants in late January. Frawley said the timing will depend on business climbing back to normal levels.
“If customer demand goes up sooner than expected, we’ll react in a positive way. We don’t always have to react in a negative way,” he said.
Atlantic Club will also shut down its Chairman Club lounge for VIP customers, but Frawley said that closing is for repairs and upgrades. The club is scheduled to reopen on New Year’s Eve.
Cutbacks at the Atlantic Club follow layoffs and unpaid furloughs at the two Trump Entertainment Resorts Inc. casinos. Salaried employees at Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort and Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino must take one week of unpaid leave in a cost-cutting move to offset declining revenue. Trump’s hourly workers will not be allowed to use their vacation days to compensate them for lost time during Atlantic City's casino shutdown.
The city’s 12 casino hotels were closed from five to seven days in late October and early November during the hurricane and in its aftermath. In most cases, customers have been slow to return. Casino revenue plunged 20 percent in October for the entire industry.
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