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Penn national casinos damaged by hurricane

September 02, 2005|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - Penn National Gaming employees affected by damage to at least two of the company's casinos in Mississippi caused by Hurricane Katrina will have the chance to take jobs at other facilities owned by the company, including Charles Town Races & Slots, a company spokesman said Thursday.

Penn National officials said Casino Magic-Bay St. Louis, Boomtown Biloxi and Casino Rouge were closed Sunday in anticipation of the hurricane.

Casino Magic-Bay St. Louis, in Bay St. Louis, Miss., and Boomtown Biloxi casino in Biloxi, Miss., remain closed and company officials are unable to provide an estimate on reopening dates for those properties, company officials said.

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Casino Rouge in Baton Rouge, La., reopened Tuesday, company officials said.

Although company officials say they only have preliminary reports on the conditions of the Casino Magic and Boomtown properties, it appears both have sustained severe damage, the company said in a news release.

The areas around the properties are too unsafe to conduct a damage estimate, Penn National spokesman Eric Schippers said Thursday afternoon.

"Our first priority is to help locate and provide immediate assistance to our nearly 2,000 employees and their families who are dealing with the aftermath of this catastrophic event," Peter M. Carlino, chief executive officer of Penn National, said in the release.

The company has set up a hotline where employees may call to check in with company officials and discuss issues relating to pay and benefits, Schippers said.

The company is holding all open positions at its sister properties, including Charles Town Races & Slots, for affected employees who would be interested in a move to take them, Schippers said.

The toll free number is 800-598-0756.

Schippers said the damage to the casinos will not affect operations at Charles Town.

Penn National carries comprehensive business interruption and property damage insurance for Casino Magic and Boomtown with an overall limit of $400 million, the press release said.

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