Coronavirus: Temporary shuttering of Louisiana’s casino industry upsetting local economies

Published: April 23, 2020

By: Allison Kadlubar, LSU Manship School News Service

LAKE CHARLES — Lake Charles attracts visitors to its restaurants, events and outdoor adventures, but its luxury casino resorts dominate the city’s hospitality and tourism industry.

The novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, has shuttered these money-making machines for seven weeks, leaving the booming Lake Charles economically filled with uncertainties.

Tye Robinson, a bellhop at Golden Nugget Lake Charles, collected his last tips from Golden Nugget guests over a month ago.

“I would get a lot of tips, so I would use my cash on my bills and daily necessities,” he said.

Robinson was working at the casino when he learned of the closure due to COVID-19.

“I found out the day before we shut the operations down, and I found out from a news report,” he said. “It was news to me.”

Robinson and his co-workers lived in uncertainty for a week before the casino informed employees. Robinson received one month’s pay and immediately filed an unemployment claim.

“I’m thankful for unemployment for saving me,” he said.

Although the closing of the casino industry is impacting his life, it also is causing serious economic problems for the rest of the community and the state.

Gaming operations in the Lake Charles area amassed more than $906 million in revenue in 2018, distributing more than $36 million throughout Calcasieu Parish, according to a KPLC-TV report. The hospitality and tourism industry ranks No. 2 behind the petrochemical industry as an economic driver in the area.

Read more at the Daily Advertiser.

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