LAUGHLIN — The iconic Colorado Belle, part of Laughlin’s landscape for more than 30 years, will remain closed for the foreseeable future — likely remaining closed after the township’s other gaming properties reopen.
Golden Entertainment, owner of the Colorado Belle Hotel & Casino Resort, on Monday confirmed that it has extended the layoffs of the property’s 400 employees “indefinitely.”
Golden also owns the Aquarius Casino Resort and Edgewater Casino Resort in Laughlin. Monday’s announcement doesn’t directly affect either the Aquarius or the Edgewater, though Golden said that Colorado Belle employees could be considered for openings at its other properties, both in Laughlin and elsewhere.
The future of the Belle remains in doubt.
“Once we are allowed to open our other Nevada properties, we will have a better sense of the open positions available across the company,” Charles Protell, president and chief financial officer of Golden Entertainment, said in an email. “Future plans for the Colorado Belle will be highly dependent on the business volume at our other Laughlin properties and the Laughlin market in general. The significant economic impact from the governor’s ordered closure of our industry and continued uncertainty of when we will be allowed to fully resume operations has caused us to make the difficult decision to extend layoffs indefinitely for approximately 400 team members at the Colorado Belle in Laughlin.”
“Guests with reservations at the Colorado Belle will be accommodated at the Aquarius or the Edgewater, which won’t be affected by the Colorado Belle closure. The company is taking reservations at those properties.”
In a letter to employees late last week, Katherine Roden, vice president of human resources for Golden, said, “As we begin moving into this next phase of our operations, we anticipate reduced business levels which will last for an unknown period of time. Due to these challenging circumstances, the company has no current plans to reopen the Colorado Belle property and the layoffs currently in place will extend indefinitely.”
Gov. Steve Sisolak ordered Nevada’s casinos to close as part of a March 17 decree for the state’s efforts to confront the COVID-19 pandemic. Belle employees were notified April 3 of original layoffs.
In a statement, Protell said, “We will continue benefits coverage for affected team members through May and will try to place these team members with our other properties that may have open positions. This decision has not been made lightly, but unfortunately we see this as our only recourse to mitigate ongoing expenses and anticipated reduced business levels while facing competitive pressures from neighboring states allowing their casinos to reopen.”
The Colorado Belle opened July 1, 1987. Then valued at about $80 million, the 600-foot-long, six-deck hotel and casino was styled as a replica of a 19th century paddlewheel riverboat. The property has more than 1,100 hotel rooms, 65,000 square feet of casino space with hundreds of slot machines and 16 gaming tables, two restaurants, a lounge and a sports bar.