MGM lays off 18,000 staff across the US due to slow recovery

MGM Resorts International have announced even more layoffs amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

US casino giant MGM Resorts International will lay off 18,000 of its furloughed staff across the US due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

In addition to this, as part of MGM’s plan to downsize its US workforce, the MGM Grand Detroit venue will cut about 1,100 of its 2,800 workforce.

The news comes after the operator completed the reopening of its Mirage Resort on Thursday last week.

MGM lays off 18,000 staff

In a letter sent to employees, dated 28 August 2020, MGM CEO Bill Hornbuckle said he “understands the impact this will have on these employees and their families,” but the decision was necessary due to a drop in business as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Casinos in Nevada were permitted to reopen on 4 June as long as they followed guidelines set by the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB). These guidelines included operating at 50% capacity and setting player limits for table games in casinos.

It is not yet clear how many of MGM’s staff in Nevada will be laid off. Before the coronavirus pandemic, the casino operator employed about 52,000 staff in Las Vegas.

In the letter, Hornbuckle said: “For the protection of workers, federal law requires companies to provide a date of separation for furloughed employees who are not recalled within six months. Regrettably, Aug. 31 marks the date of separation for thousands of MGM Resorts employees whom we have not yet been able to bring back.”

Hornbuckle added: “While we 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.”

The operator said it is willing to take workers back on once business picks up in the future.

“The employees separated on Aug. 31 will remain on our recall list, and we’ve established a seamless system to bring them back based on business needs, position and seniority,” Hornbuckle said.

Staff who return by 31 December 2021 will retain their seniority status and be able to immediately resume their previous benefits.

The staff that have been laid off will remain still be eligible for financial support via the MGM Employee Emergency Grant Fund until 29 November. The operator noted that to date, more than $12m in emergency assistance has been paid out to affected MGM staff since the start of the pandemic.

Despite the news of the layoffs, Hornbuckle remains positive about the future of the casino resort sector.

In the letter, Hornbuckle added: “I truly believe that the challenges we face today are not permanent. The fundamentals of our industry, our company and our communities will not change. Concerts, sports and awe-inspiring entertainment remain on our horizon. Trust me, we will bounce back from this — strong and better than ever.”

More layoffs in the US casino industry

The coronavirus pandemic has had a devastating impact on the land-based casino industry, with several operators making thousands of staff redundant.

In late August, Best Western’s Casino Royale, which is located on the Las Vegas strip, announced plans to lay off 98 employees due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the property.

Wynn Las Vegas announced it would be laying off 252 employees as it closes its performance of “Le Reve – The Dream.” An additional 52 members of staff will be laid off as the restaurant chain Hakkasan revealed it will temporarily close its Searsucker Las Vegas Restaurant at Caesars Palace.

In early August, Penn National Gaming announced an additional 58 layoffs at its M Resort, which brought the total number of layoffs at the venue to 410.

Other casino operators including MGM Resorts and Caesars Entertainment have announced mass layoffs due to the hardships caused by the pandemic.

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