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 while it also is planning to hire 400 seasonal pool workers starting next month, according to local news reports.

MGM announced Jonathan Halkyard is the new chief financial officer
MGM announced Jonathan Halkyard is the new chief financial officer
The pool at the MGM Grand as 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)

The addition of the pool workers was seen as a suggestion 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 focused on bringing employees back to work when business levels recover,” MGM spokesman Brian Ahern told the Las Vegas Review-Journal in a recent statement. “We are optimistic that, with vaccine distribution and other developments, we will return to higher business levels and staffing soon.”

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.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak began, close to  63,000 MGM employees were furloughed last year, the Review-Journal said. 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.

The jobs include attendants, lifeguards, receptionists, retail staff, and security officers. If hired, the personnel can expect to begin their jobs as early as February and many will work through early November.

MGM Resorts Optimism Put in Perspective

“Clearly, MGM expects that the worst of the COVID virus will be over by June,” the Rev. Richard McGowan, a Boston College finance professor who closely follows the gambling sector, told when asked about the pool-related hiring.

It is a bit of a risky bet, but MGM needs to have its bricks and mortar operations to be fully functioning,” McGowan added.

“If patrons are at the pool, as a casino operator, you had best hope they will also be at your tables and slots,” McGowan explained. “So yes, it does indicate additional hiring.”

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 “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.

“The quick recovery occurred largely in May and June. Since summer, recovery has flattened and the rising COVID-19 cases endangers a second downturn,” Miller predicted.

“The vaccines provide a possible off ramp to the recession, but the actual delivery of the vaccines has not yet lived up to expectations.”

Also, on Wednesday, MGM announced Jonathan Halkyard is the company’s new chief financial officer. He is an industry veteran.

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.

Corey Sanders had the CFO job at MGM through last month. But he was named chief operating officer last month.

Lay Offs, Furloughs at Other Casino Companies, Tribal Properties

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.

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