MGM Resorts Employee COVID Fund Receives Additional $2M from Kerkorian Estate

Posted on: August 13, 2020, 10:52h. 

Last updated on: August 13, 2020, 12:17h.

MGM Resorts said this week that the estate of its late founder, Kirk Kerkorian, has given an additional $2 million to the company’s Employee Emergency Grant Fund that is supporting workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

MGM Resorts Kirk Kerkorian estate
Kirk Kerkorian’s estate is continuing to assist MGM Resorts workers during the pandemic. (Image: Rhonda Churchill/Getty/

Kerkorian died in 2015 at the age of 98, but his legacy continues to impact the lives of Nevadans. The MGM Resorts Foundation is assisting employees who have been financially impacted by the coronavirus by providing them with relief payments for their rent or mortgage, utility bills, and medical and funeral expenses.

“We know that he would have wanted them to know how much he cared for them and their families, and would do what he could to help those affected by the devastating impact of this pandemic,” representative from his estate said.

It’s the second $2 million contribution from the estate. The first came in March, as the coronavirus invaded the US and Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) ordered all casinos to close.

MGM Resorts is Nevada’s largest employer. Prior to the coronavirus, the casino operator’s workforce totaled approximately 60,000 people in the state.

Much Needed Relief

MGM’s coronavirus relief fund has already provided more than $11 million in emergency assistance to employees and their families.

MGM initiated the fund with a $1 million deposit. Musician Bruno Mars matched it with another $1 million, and Kerkorian’s estate doubled it to $4 million. Numerous other celebrities made contributions, including David Copperfield, Jay Leno, Bill Maher, Brad Garrett, and Carrot Top.

MGM Resorts CEO Bill Hornbuckle donated $100,000.

“We are so grateful to Mr. Kerkorian’s estate for their generous contribution, which will greatly help our employees and their families during this unprecedented time,” said Hornbuckle. “This additional funding will enable the Foundation to continue to help many more employees in the coming weeks.”

Looking to Labor Day

Thousands of MGM Resorts employees remain furloughed. Las Vegas casinos are operating in reduced capacities, their gaming floors capped at 50 percent. Tourism has been slow since Sisolak allowed the gaming industry to reopen in early June.

Visitor volume totaled a little more than one million people in June, a 70.5 percent drop compared with June 2019. MGM has yet to reopen The Mirage and Park MGM. Combined, the two Strip resorts have more than 5,700 hotel rooms.

Hornbuckle said during MGM’s second-quarter earnings call that the company plans to reopen the resorts on August 27. He said the decision is due to strong reservation numbers for the Labor Day weekend.

The CEO revealed that occupancy rates are in the 30s during the week, and 50s on weekends. Hornbuckle added that September is “probably the busiest month” in Las Vegas.

“If kids aren’t back in school, it’s just the summer being extended,” he stated. “We know Labor Day will be fine. But I want to understand how people are thinking about school, no school, is the summer travel going to extend itself through September?”