MGM Resorts Will Lay Off 18,000 Workers As Business Still Lags From Pandemic

By Bruce Haring, Anita Bennett

MGM Grand Hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA (Photo Credit: Norbert Eisele-Hein/imageBROKER/Shutterstock)

UPDATE: MGM Resorts International said today it will lay off 18,000 employees nationwide, a total representing more than 25 percent of its US workforce.

The totals largely represent furloughed workers, who were notified back in late June that more permanent separation from the company was possible. The company is one of Nevada’s largest employers, and had a total of 83,000 worldwide workers prior to the pandemic.

The layoffs are yet another sign that Las Vegas is not recovering quickly from the closures wrought by the pandemic. MGM, the largest operator of casinos on the Las Vegas Strip, has not been able to fill its hotel rooms, and casino capacity has been restricted since Nevada began reopening in June. Restaurants and bars are still under capacity restraints, and the convention business has all but dried up for the tourist-driven town.

Two of MGM’s casinos, the Park MGM in Las Vegas and Empire City in New York, remain closed.

“While we have safely resumed operations at many of our properties and have returned tens of thousands of our colleagues to work, our industry — and country — continues to be impacted by the pandemic, and we have not returned to full operating capacity,” Chief Executive Officer Bill Hornbuckle said in a memo to staff.

Those laid off will still receive health care benefits through the end of September, and anyone recalled to work by December 2021 will maintain their seniority, Hornbuckle said.

Visitors to Las Vegas tumbled 61% to 1.44 million in July, the first full month Nevada casinos were reopened. The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority said overall Sin City hotel occupancy was just 43%, less than half what it was a year ago.

MARCH: MGM Resorts International, one of the largest employers in Nevada and a leading global casino company, will begin layoffs and furloughs next week after a significant slowdown in business amid coronavirus concerns.

Employees were notified Friday in a company-wide letter from MGM President and COO Bill Hornbuckle.

“As the nation grapples with the effort to contain the coronavirus, the travel industry has been challenged, and our company is no different,” Hornbuckle wrote. “Business demand has decreased significantly. In response, we will temporarily close MGM Northfield Park tonight and have suspended operations of all nightclubs and day clubs. Our spas and salons will suspend operations as of Monday.”

The company also plans to close about 150 food and beverage outlets, the letter said.

“We are working diligently to minimize the impact on our employees through furloughs and layoffs which will begin next week,” Hornbuckle wrote. “These decisions are never made lightly, and we deeply regret the hardship it will place on these individuals and their families.”

Laid off employees will maintain benefits through June 30, the letter said.

According to the MGM Resorts website, the company has 30 hotel and gaming destinations around the globe, and employs 83,000 people.

Hornbuckle said “several” of those employees have tested positive for coronavirus, although he did not say at which locations.

MGM’s announcement signals troubled times ahead for Las Vegas. The city’s conference and convention business has suffered a string of cancellations as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, and that means lost revenue across the city.

You can read Hornbuckle’s full letter here.

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