MASHANTUCKET, Conn. (AP) – The tribe that owns Foxwoods Resort Casino in eastern Connecticut says it has laid off less than 2 percent of its work force because of rising gas and food prices.

The Mashantucket Pequots say the layoffs of middle managers and some hourly employees are part of an organizational review that began in January.

The job cuts represent “considerably less” than 2 percent of the 10,000 casino employees, Lori Potter, a tribal spokeswoman, said Friday. She would not disclose the exact number of layoffs.

The workers let go Thursday will get two weeks severance pay for each year they were employed, up to 13 years, and health benefits.

“This has been a difficult week for all of us. It is always sad to see fellow employees lose their jobs,” Foxwoods President Barry Cregan said. “As organizations develop, they often grow more than necessary during a sustained period of economic success.

“The impact of rising fuel, food and payroll costs dictate that our organization must make adjustments,” he said. “These reductions will help position us competitively for the future, which is bright.”

The job cuts come just a month after Foxwoods opened its MGM Grand casino, which is not affected by the layoffs. The new casino helped Foxwoods boost its net slot win in May by nearly 8 percent from a year ago to nearly $73 million, reversing an eight-month decline.

David Cadden, a business management professor at Quinnipiac University in Hamden, said the job cuts show how much the weak economy is affecting consumer behavior.

“To me it’s an indication some of the hard core gamblers are curtailing their expenditures,” Cadden said.

Mohegan Sun, Connecticut’s other casino, has no plans to cut jobs, said Mitchell Etess, the casino’s chief executive officer. He said Mohegan Sun has reduced its work force of about 10,000 by a few hundred positions through attrition.

The job cuts at Foxwoods came as a Key Banc Capital Markets analyst trimmed his estimates on three casino operators Friday, saying customers are cutting back on gambling in Las Vegas due to high fuel prices and economic concerns.

Dennis Forst said spending is down in all U.S. gaming markets and will probably keep getting worse.

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