MGM Resorts Furloughs 140 Managers in Vegas as COVID-19 Unemployment Rate Soars

  • MGM Resorts said projected slump in business volumes for early 2021 was a factor
  • Statewide COVID-19 regulations on casino capacity “set to be in place until January 15”
  • Furloughs follow MGM Resorts’ renewed $11bn bid to acquire online gaming giant Entain
  • MGM furloughed almost 63,000 workers in 2020 in the wake of the pandemic
  • Among 51 metro areas in the US, Las Vegas now has the highest unemployment rate
View of the MGM Grand Lion and New York Hotel and Casino on the Las Vegas Strip
Citing poor early 2021 business forecasts, MGM Resorts has announced it will furlough 140 managers currently employed at its Las Vegas properties. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Managers received notice on January 6

Hotel and gaming operator MGM Resorts has announced it will furlough 140 managers from its various Las Vegas properties, effective January 11. The move comes as businesses operating in Sin City’s depressed tourism and entertainment industry look to contain the financial fallout caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

temporary reductions in staffing across our Las Vegas properties”

MGM Resorts spokesman Brian Ahern said that projected business volumes for the start of 2021 remain low because of COVID-19. The dip in business means MGM Resorts is “unfortunately requiring temporary reductions in staffing across our Las Vegas properties”, he added in an email statement. Ahern confirmed that the managers in question received notice of their furloughs on January 6.

On December 13, Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak extended by a month the current statewide pause in place since late November. Pause regulations limit casinos floors to 25% capacity, a business cut that restaurants and bars also have to endure. According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Gov. Sisolak’s order is “set to be in place until January 15.”

MGM cut staff while eyeing online expansion

The Review-Journal reported that furloughed managers who have MGM Resorts health plans will remain eligible for benefits. In addition, they can avail themselves of the company’s worker grant fund, training, and staff resources.

The announcement of the furloughs comes one week after MGM Resorts’ renewed $11bn bid for Entain, previously known as GVC Holdings. Entain’s portfolio includes over 30 gaming brands, with its significant pandemic-resistant online presence deemed a good fit for MGM Resorts’ own online expansion strategy.

MGM Resorts has introduced additional furloughs and layoffs since the outbreak of COVID-19. In August, it permanently laid off approximately 18,000 US workers. In October, MGM Grand and Park MGM, along with Tropicana, announced they would be laying off 1,172 workers. Altogether, MGM Resorts furloughed almost 63,000 workers in 2020.

Also in Nevada, on January 4 Penn National Gaming Inc.’s M Resort in Henderson let go 159 staff employees. Spokesman Jeff Morris said the company attributed the 2021 layoffs to a combination of COVID-19, operating restrictions, and a slump in business volumes. He highlighted the “very unfortunate reality of not knowing how long this global public health threat will last or when we’ll be able to resume full operations”.

Devastating ripple effect

The pandemic has made regular visitors to Sin City think twice before boarding a plane, which is having a devastating effect on the state’s tourism and entertainment industry.

Las Vegas currently tops the nation’s unemployment charts

The effects of COVID-19 reverberate in a new report by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, which on January 5 revealed that about 11.5% of the Las Vegas area workforce was jobless in November 2020. This means that, among large US metro areas with a minimum population of one million people, Las Vegas currently tops the nation’s unemployment charts.