News Local

Casino cuts staff

By Roberta Bell, Orillia Packet & Times

Casino Rama has laid off 45 table game supervisors.

The casino has seen an increase in competition from places like Woodbine, Ajax and Georgian Downs over the past few years, said Jenna Hunter, a spokesperson for the casino.

"Now we're competing for direct gaming dollars in addition to people having less money to spend," she said, noting the recent state of the economy hasn't helped business.

A gaming regulation change allowed the casino to reduce the number of supervisors it must employ.

Table game supervisors - the people who work in the pits and keep an eye on the dealers - are now able to monitor four to six tables as opposed to the two to four they were before, Hunter said.

"These aren't mass layoffs and nothing of that nature is planned here," Hunter said, noting they were limited to "one department, one position."

The layoffs occurred over the course of three days, starting Tuesday and ending Thursday, Hunter said, noting they were based on job performance.

The employees were told they were being laid off when they showed up for their regular shifts. They were directed to a private area in Lombardi's restaurant - located in the casino on the gaming floor - and told the news one-on-one.

"I would say that it probably did come as a surprise," Hunter said.

The laid-off staff were offered "competitive severance packages," Hunter said, but wouldn't speak to specifics because she didn't want to infringe on their privacy.

The casino tried to make the layoffs as "private and as dignified as possible," Hunter said, adding shuttle buses and taxi cabs were available to every single person let go "at the moment they needed it."

Hunter said the casino is always looking to increase efficiency and took the opportunity to make cuts with the change to the gaming regulation.

Earlier this year, the casino offered voluntary resignation packages to "a number of staff on a voluntary basis." About 100 employees took buyouts equivalent to three weeks pay per year of service.

"This is the first that we've had a layoff this size in our 15-year history," Hunter said.

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