JACK Entertainment Announces 92 Layoffs After Greektown Casino Sale

  • Greektown sold for $1 billion to Penn National and VICI
  • VICI owns Greektown real estate, Penn operates property
  • JACK Entertainment selling off casinos, doesn’t need as many employees
  • Affected employees can apply for jobs in company’s other business units
Exterior daytime view of Greektown Casino in Detroit.
JACK Entertainment has announced 92 layoffs in its home office after the completion of the sale of Greektown Casino. [Image: Shutterstock]

Reduction in home office

JACK Entertainment LLC has decided to lay off 92 employees, a byproduct of its sale of Detroit’s Greektown Casino-Hotel. The $1 billion Greektown deal closed in May 2019.

A WARN (Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification) notice, a required state filing, indicated that layoffs will begin in November.

According to Crain’s Detroit Business, employees are non-unionized and do not have bumping rights. Bumping would give a senior employee the right to replace a less-senior employee, provided the employee is qualified for the position.

Shared ownership of Greektown

JACK Entertainment announced the sale of Greektown to Penn National Gaming and VICI Properties in November 2018. Penn National acquired the operations of the casino for $300 million; VICI Properties bought the land and real estate for $700 million.

VICI then entered into a 15-year triple-net lease agreement with Penn National. Penn National will rent Greektown from VICI for $55.6 million per year. There are four five-year renewal options.

A triple-net lease contract means that the tenant is responsible for the building’s insurance, maintenance, and property taxes. This works for Penn National because its rent is lowered in exchange for handling the other expenses. VICI Properties benefits from a stable, long-term income stream without having to deal with said expenses.

Company shrinking gambling footprint

The layoffs come as JACK Entertainment owner Dan Gilbert, who also owns the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers, moves to shed many of his gaming properties.

the company heavily hinted that employees would be laid off

The company announced in April that it was selling the Turfway Park racetrack in Cincinnati to Hard Rock International and VICI Properties for $780 billion. Crain’s reported at the time that Gilbert “has signaled” that he will sell off all of his properties except for JACK Cleveland Casino and JACK Thistledown Racino.

When the sales were announced, the company heavily hinted that employees would be laid off.

In an e-mail to Crain’s, JACK Entertainment CEO Mark Dunkeson said that the company is “making changes to the home office as the operational responsibilities have been reduced.”

Employees can move within company

JACK Entertainment is based in Detroit and has 120 employees in its corporate office, as well as 4,000 employees in the company as a whole. It is part of the Rock Family of Companies, which includes Quicken Loans and Rocket Loans.

Dunkenson said that affected employees would be able to apply for roles at other JACK Entertainment properties or within the Rock Family of Companies. There was no indication that they would be guaranteed further employment.

120 employees in its corporate office, as well as 4,000 employees in the company as a whole

Penn National is North America’s largest regional gaming operator, operating 42 properties in 19 states. It has been extremely active in recent months as it expands its online gaming and sports betting footprint in the United States. Penn National did not discuss possible layoffs at Greektown immediately after the sale was finalized.

“Our No. 1 thing really is to get in, talk with all the different departments and learn from everyone there,” Penn National’s senior vice president, finance and treasurer Justin Sebastiano said in May.