Churchill Downs, Inc. (NASDAQ:CHDN) announced this week that it intends to furlough its employees from ten of its locations, including both racetracks and casinos. Though the furlough is intended to be temporary, the workers will receive no pay during the period. The press release announcing the cost-cutting measure says it is being taken in response to a government shutdown of the venues to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 coronavirus.
The furloughed workers will continue to receive insurance coverage from Churchill Downs, with health insurance, vision, dental, and life insurance plans maintained to "limit the impact" of the furlough. The affected casinos include the Calder, Harlow's, Lady Luck Nemacolin, Ocean Downs, Oxford, Presque Isle Downs, and Riverwalk casinos, plus Fair Grounds Slots in New Orleans and Derby City Gaming. One racetrack, Arlington International Racecourse, is also included.
The rest of Churchill Downs' "team members," ranging from ordinary employees to senior executives and management, will have their salaries reduced on a percentage basis. Top-tier employees will see the biggest pay cuts, and regular workers the smallest.
The news comes after Churchill Downs ran its spring races spectator-free, then postponed the world-famous Kentucky Derby and other Triple Crown races until autumn, as COVID-19 became widespread in many regions of the USA. The company can't yet say when the ten locations will reopen and employees return from furlough, since local state health officials will make the decision.
CEO Bill Carstanjen added, "We look forward to welcoming our team members and customers back when we are able to reopen our properties and return to normal operations."