MGM Resorts Cancels August Entertainment Events, Related Staff to Be ‘Separated’ From Company

Posted on: July 27, 2020, 11:49h. 

Last updated on: July 27, 2020, 02:52h.

With coronavirus cases flaring up across the country, MGM Resorts International said it will not restart live entertainment events prior to Aug. 31.

MGM Resorts Shows Canceled
Don’t expect much in the way of August shows at the Bellagio, or any other MGM venue for that matter, as the company is canceling all August entertainment because of COVID-19. (Image: Los Angeles Times)

The news was originally reported earlier today by the Vital Vegas blog, which obtained a copy of a letter penned by George Kilavkoff, president of entertainment & sports at MGM Resorts, to employees.

“When our properties closed in March, we were hopeful that our closure would be brief, and we would soon be back to entertaining our guests,” writes Kilavkoff.

Based on the health date we now have, we do not believe it will be safe to restart shows prior to August 31, 2020. As a result, we will be canceling the remainder of our August performances,” he continued.

The letter doesn’t mention specific cities or venues where concerts and shows will be canceled. It emerges just days after the operator instituted a mandatory mask policy at all of its domestic gaming properties.

Last Friday, the Bellagio operator announced that it will require masks for all guests and visitors inside public spaces at every MGM Resorts properties in the US. The Mandalay Bay operator added it’s “clear that the coronavirus still presents a significant public health threat, and masks have proven to be one of the best ways to curtail the spread.”

Expect Headcount Reductions

Operating at limited capacity following reopenings, gaming companies are scrambling to contend with a “new normal” that includes fewer visitors and limited amenities.

Due to still slack demand and regulations governing the availability of gaming machines, tables, entertainment, and restaurants, some operators are turning to lower staff counts to more efficiently do business in the current climate.

In the letter to employees, Kilavkoff notes that MGM staffers that aren’t recalled on or before Aug. 31 “will be separated from the company on that date,” adding that it now appears as though that directive will apply to a “large majority” of staffers in the entertainment and sports division.

Reduced staff count attributable to gaming companies comes at a time when states with deep ties to the industry are still contending with high unemployment. In June, Nevada had a jobless rate of 15 percent, while New Jersey’s was 16.6 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

MGM is the largest employer in the Silver State and the biggest operator on the Las Vegas Strip. Its Borgata on the Atlantic City Boardwalk is the top-grossing integrated resort in the Garden State.

More Bad News

MGM’s decision to do away with August concerts and shows comes just days after a poll conducted by research firm Macquarie confirms that many travelers are skittish about returning to Las Vegas until a coronavirus vaccine comes to market.

Compounding the woes for Strip operators is that, prior to the pandemic, non-gaming amenities, be it food and beverage or entertainment, were areas of growth for gaming companies. The Macquarie survey notes that in 2019, beverage, food, hotel rooms, shows, and other non-gaming sources accounted for roughly two-thirds of revenue generated in Sin City.