Coronavirus

MGM Resorts Furloughs 140 Las Vegas Managers, But Hiring 400 Seasonal Pool Workers

MGM Resorts International has furloughed about 140 managers at its Las Vegas properties. That’s while it also is planning to hire 400 seasonal pool workers starting next month, according to local news reports.

The pool at the MGM Grand, seen last March. MGM Resorts will hire several hundred pool-related workers soon, as it also furloughs Las Vegas property managers. (Image: Las Vegas Review-Journal)

Since the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak began, close to  63,000 MGM employees were furloughed last year. Some 18,000 were laid off in August.

Still, MGM Resorts announced this week the company is hiring 400 seasonal workers for pool-related jobs. On Saturday, MGM will hold an online career fair to fill the positions. Jobs include attendants, lifeguards, receptionists, retail staff, and security officers.

The addition of the pool workers suggests that the company has confidence in the future, as COVID-19 vaccines become more available, according to gaming experts. And the company also looks forward to the rehiring of the laid-off managers.

We are optimistic that, with vaccine distribution and other developments, we will return to higher business levels and staffing soon,” MGM spokesman Brian Ahern told the Las Vegas Review-Journal in a recent statement.

The impacted managers were told about the furloughs on Wednesday. They come as Las Vegas visitor volume in November was 1.5 million. That represents a 57 percent decline when compared to November 2019, the Review-Journal said.

MGM Resorts Hiring Signals Optimism

“Clearly, MGM expects that the worst of the COVID virus will be over by June,” the Rev. Richard McGowan told Casino.org. He is a Boston College finance professor who closely follows the gambling sector.

Stephen M. Miller, director of UNLV’s Center for Business and Economic Research, said the hiring of 400 pool-related personnel “likely reflects MGM’s optimism about the recovery continuing.

That could auger well for other hires in other MGM operations,” Miller told Casino.org. “I think, however, that the jury is still out on MGM’s bet on the recovery.”

Miller points out that Las Vegas recovered, on average, about half of the economic activity that it lost in March and April.

On Wednesday, MGM announced Jonathan Halkyard is the company’s new chief financial officer. Halkyard, a Harvard Business School graduate, has worked in management at Caesars Entertainment, where he was both executive vice president and chief financial officer. Recently, he was president and CEO of Extended Stay America.

Layoffs, Furloughs at Other Casinos

Earlier this week, Penn National Gaming Inc.’s M Resort Spa Casino in Henderson, Nevada laid off 159 workers.

In addition, last week gaming properties operated by the Navajo Nation said they plan to furlough more than 1,100 workers, also because of the pandemic. The Native American tribe operates four casinos in Arizona and New Mexico.

Several Las Vegas properties have shuttered hotels during the middle of the week because of lower guest volume. Gaming floors continue to operate this week under a 25 percent occupancy cap in Nevada.

Ed Silverstein

Gaming Law, Tribal Gaming, Crime, Gaming Research----An award-winning journalist with credits ranging from the Associated Press to American Lawyer Media, Ed joined the Casino.org news team in 2019 with decades of legal reporting expertise under his belt. His past reporting and editing assignments include Cowles Business Media, Columbia University Press, the Connecticut Post, and Southern Connecticut Newspapers, Inc. Besides the law and its application to the gaming industry, Ed’s areas of expertise span business, courts, crime, politics, education, and state and local government. With an undergraduate degree from the University of Connecticut (where he now lives), and master’s degrees from Harvard and Yale, Ed’s professional awards include recognition from the New England Press Association and New England AP News Executives. Email: ed.silverstein@casino.org

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Ed Silverstein