One of the smallest casinos, Bill’s Casino has laid off twenty-eight workers and eliminated its tables games for the time being. The casino will rely solely on slots revenue which brings in more than table games anyway. Still its cause to worry. Layoffs during the height of the lake Tahoe tourism season show how deep the issues go. The state has announced that tourism in general is up five percent. However more people are visiting but they don’t seem to be spending as much based on the higher costs to get to Tahoe. Despite the numbers many businesses are finding the spending to be down.
The casino counters with the fact that it is just so small, even compared to other Tahoe casinos at only eighteen thousand square feet. Two other casinos, Horizon and MontBleu, are in Chapter 11 bankruptcy already. Tahoe casinos have to compete against the big tribal casinos in Northern California where another is set to open this fall. The casino named after founder Bill Harrah has struggled for some time to compete with other casinos in the area. Harrah’s Tahoe is almost three times the square footage, and Harvey’s is seven times the square footage.
At a time where the economy is struggling perhaps Bill’s is too small of a fish in too large of a pond. Hopefully the switch to slots only will increase the revenue and prevent further cuts.