Labor dispute closes Caesars Windsor
Caesars Windsor Hotel & Casino has temporarily closed due to a labor dispute, the establishment announced on its website Friday.
The sudden closure forced the cancellation of all hotel reservations booked between Friday and Thursday, April 12 and postponed a Johnny Reid concert that was scheduled for Friday night.
If the labor dispute causes further hotel cancellations beyond April 12, Caesars said it will notify guests via email in advance.
Alexander Calderone, of the Calderone Advisory Group based in Birmingham and an expert in casino gambling issues, said the strike is “certainly not unprecedented but it doesn’t happen frequently.”
Calderone, who was an integral part of the team that helped the Greektown Casino get through bankruptcy in 2008-10, said that the casino has experienced a “significant revenue contraction” over the past decade or more because of competition with Detroit’s three casinos.
Of the strike, he said, “I don’t think it’s a good thing for the casino and I don’t think it’s a good thing for the employees. The property is generating a fraction of the revenue that it did,” he said. “I don’t believe that this is a healthy financial operation."
Jake Miklojcik, an economic analyst who also specializes in casinos, doesn't believe the Caesar's strike would result in a large financial gain for Detroit's three casinos.
Still, it could open up a new customer base for the Detroit sites. Casinos benefit from cleanliness and loyalty, he said.
“So if you close, you not only risk that money perhaps that was going to be in there, but you’re having people test or retry other places.
“They may lose their loyalty," he said about Caesars Windsor. "And that would be my concern as with any casino. So it could help Detroit but probably fairly small.”
One benefit may come to the Ohio casinos, which are also smoke-free, Miklojcik said. Detroit casinos do allow smoking on the floor but there are non-smoking areas.
Caesar’s casino is unique, Calderone said, because it is smoke-free and has carved out a niche for itself in the market compared..
The smoking ban — which went into effect for Caesars Windsor when Ontario enacted a smoke-free act in 2006 — may also be partly responsible for lost revenue, since a high percentage of gamblers like to smoke, he said.
When Casino Windsor, the predecessor to Caesars Windsor, opened in May of 1994 it was Ontario's first casino. The casino was operational more than five years before the first Detroit casino opened. It was the only gaming attraction in the region; now that has changed, Calderone said.
“It’s my personal opinion that the Windsor property doesn’t have the strongest financial footing in the first place,” Calderone said.
Tickets for the Reid concert will be honored on the new show date which has yet to be determined. Any box office refunds will be made once the labor dispute is settled and the casino reopens.
Future show dates have not been affected so far.
"Once an agreement has been reached, we will be communicating our re-opening date on caesarswindsor.com, facebook.com/caesarswindsor and Twitter (@caesarswindsor)," Caesars said on its website. "We apologize for any inconvenience."