MISSION – Net profits in 2020 for Wildhorse Resort & Casino were nearly $10 million lower than expected, which is a result of a nearly three-month shutdown caused by COVID-19 earlier this year.
The Board of Trustees conducted a work session Oct. 21 to review a modified 2020 budget that saw projected net profit go from $36.9 million to $27.3 million. Revenue projections were listed at $128.9 million to start the year, but are now projected at $103.7 million.
“Given the current COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, Wildhorse has been shut down 74½ days and when we have been open, WRC has operated at limited capacity – even to this day,” CEO Gary George said in an e-mail to the CUJ. “We expect this trend to continue through June 2021. Being shut down for 2½ months and open with limited capacity has really impacted WRC business operations and WRC revenues. … I’m sure every business in our region has experienced significant revenue drops as well!”
BOT Chair Kat Brigham noted the loss is far less than anticipated and said Wildhorse is “working to make up the shortfall.”
In an e-mail statement to the CUJ, Brigham wrote:
“During the October 21st BOT meeting the BOT approved a resolution to modify the Wildhorse Resort & Casino budget based on the 2020 projection that is $20 million lower than the 2019 projections. Projected revenue is $20M less, but net profit is only $9.6M less and distributions is $4.5M less. The shortfall is based on 2 ½ months of closure and reduced hours of operations after reopening at WRC. It is also recognized that WRC is not the only business who has reduced budgets because of COVID-19; across the nation most business are being hit. The BOT is very pleased that under leadership of WRC management WRC has reopened and is working to make up some of the shortfall. Funds that were originally earmarked for WRC expansion costs were made available for CTUIR distribution to help offset the impact of a smaller distribution. The CEO is on the Incident Command Team and has established stricter guidelines than Oregon in many areas to make sure the WRC is a safe and friendly place to go.”
The BOT approved the modified budget, which cites the closure of the casino due to COVID-19.
On March 18, Wildhorse Resort & Casino closed following a positive test by an employee. It then re-opened May 23.