Oregon Gov. Kate Brown’s plans to begin lifting restrictions on statewide businesses in mid-March couldn’t have come at a better time for the Oregon Lottery.
After seeing net profits decline by 49% in March, the Oregon Lottery cut $7.4 million from its budget on May 7, eliminating 60 jobs, or 13% of its total workforce.
Another 290 employees were laid off for at least a month. Furthermore, the rest of the staff will receive paychecks reduced by 10% over the next three months. The executive staff will take a 15% salary cut.
Brown’s March 17 stay-at-home order closed nonessential businesses and shuttered restaurants and bars, which are major Oregon Lottery retailers. Many businesses are limited to take-out and delivery.
The decision left Oregon Lottery’s video slot terminals, the agency’s largest moneymaker, sitting silently for nearly two months.
On the flip side, the recent cutbacks, combined with efforts undertaken in April to cut costs by $20 million, should help the Oregon Lottery weather the COVID-19 storm.
Lottery proceeds fund a number of essential state programs, including public schools, economic development, state parks and veteran services, among others.
No slots to play just yet
Gov. Brown held a press conference on May 8 to outline her reopening strategy.
Although many businesses will be able to reopen on May 15, the food and beverage industry will have to wait a little while longer.
Plans call for each of Oregon’s 36 counties to seek approval to reopen its hospitality sector on an individual basis. The state will assess the ability of each county to meet a set of public health criteria before allowing area restaurants and similar businesses to reopen.
Determining factors include a decline in new COVID-19 cases, adequate capacity in hospitals and quarantine facilities, among others.
Once a county receives authorization to reopen from the state, area restaurants and bars may begin welcoming guests again.
Oregon Lottery retailers that receive approval to reopen must follow a number of mandatory guidelines to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Patrons will be able to play Oregon Lottery video slots at least six feet away from adjacent players. Terminals will be disinfected between players. Restaurants and bars will be required to close by 10 p.m.
Gov. Brown warned Oregonians that former restrictions could return if there is a surge in infection rates. Brown added that social distancing measures will continue to be a part of daily life for some time.
Casinos reopen in Deadwood, South Dakota
Oregon is not the only state to lift its stay-at-home restrictions.
Deadwood, SD, became the first commercial casino market in the United States to reopen on May 7, after being the last to close when the gaming industry shut down in March.
The city authorized reopening plans after March figures showed a 20% decrease in gaming revenue compared with the same month in 2019.
Mandatory requirements are in place for employee screening and social distancing measures.
Guests must maintain a distance of two slot machines from adjacent players. There won’t be chairs at table games to maintain distancing requirements, limiting tables to two to four players.
Deadwood’s Tin Lizzie Gaming Resort and Cadillac Jack’s reported that approximately 70% of its workforce was back on May 7, while the remaining staff should return over the next two weeks.
Located near Black Hills National Forest in western South Dakota, Deadwood is known for its gold rush history and Wild West icons such as Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane.
Information, visitor and history centers will likely reopen by Memorial Day, while area museums plan to reopen by July 1.