The operator of the Sioux City Argosy Riverboat Casino has started sending out layoff notices to employees. Penn National Gaming spokesperson Karen Bailey says federal law requires a 60-day notification before a large layoff.
The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission voted April 17th to set July 1st as the shutdown date for the riverboat casino. A different company is building a new Hard Rock Casino in downtown Sioux City to replace the riverboat.
Riverboat operations manager, Zach Rosenbaum, says he’s preparing to sell his house and move as he doubts he will be hired by the new company. “Hard Rock appears to be hiring some of the entry-level help and frontline staff. It looks like most of the management staff and supervisory staff is going to be left jobless here in 60 days,” Rosenbaum says.
Rosenbaum is an Elk Point native who has work for the Argosy for around 10 years and on the various gambling boats in Sioux City for 21 years. “I’ve got five children, all but one of them are in school right now. The thought of leaving the area — its’ gut wrenching it really is,” Rosenbaum says. “Working there at the casino, we’ve been holding on to hope that the courts, or someone would do something — I guess in my opinion — the right thing to do.” Penn National failed in an attempt in court to stop the construction of the new land-based casino.
Penn’s spokesperson, Karen Bailey says the layoff notices do not change the company’s plans to continue pursuing other legal matters surrounding the riverboat casino. Operators of the Hard Rock Casino have not responded to a request for an interview about their hiring plans.
(Reporting by Woody Gottburg, KSCJ, Sioux City)