MGM Resorts is a popular casino operator with properties in Las Vegas. Like many other land-based casino operators, it was heavily hit by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, as many casinos throughout Nevada had to shut their doors or operate at limited capacity.
MGM had to furlough more staff from its resorts in the Entertainment Capital of the World, making Las Vegas a city with a nation-high unemployment rate.
According to Reno Gazette-Journal,  140 managers at MGM’s Las Vegas properties will have to be furloughed starting Monday, January 11.
The spokesperson for MGM, Brian Ahern, stated that these “temporary reductions” were a result of projections that showed low business volume throughout the first part of 2021 due to the pandemic.
This is not the first time that MGM had to furlough its workers from the start of the pandemic. The first massive furloughs took part in spring 2020 when casinos in Nevada had to shut their doors completely for months. Back then, the operator had to furlough more than 18,000 of its staff, which made a total of 25% of its entire workforce.
But MGM wasn’t the only operator who had to make such cuts. In fact, many other gambling & entertainment businesses had to furlough their workers earlier this week due to the strict Covid-19 restrictions.
Unemployment Rate Soars in Vegas
The Bureau of Labor Statistics issued a report in November, which shows that the current unemployment rate in Las Vegas was 11.5%. Even though it’s not at the top of the list of all cities (El Centro, California has a reported unemployment rate of 16.4%), it’s still topping the metropolitan area list, where the population exceeds one million. The second place was occupied by New Orleans, which has an unemployment rate of 9.8%.
Vegas also topped the list of the year-on-year increase in the unemployment rate, as it gained 7.9 points from November 2019.
At this moment, it seems that the unemployment rate will only further increase in Sin City, and it will remain that way as long as casinos operate at a limited capacity.
The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority also released a report in November stating that approximately 1.51 million people visited Vegas during the 11th month of the year. This was a huge decrease compared to November 2019 — a total of 56.8%. Moreover, November was also down by 18.4% compared to October.
Hotel occupancy in November was 39.3%, which is 88.2% less compared to November 2019 and 7.6% less compared to October 2020. Midweek occupancy was only 32.4%, which is another huge decrease, or 84.8% less than in November 2019. This remained relatively low, even though the overall room rates were down by approximately 30%.
According to operators, most of the traffic comes from Nevada’s neighboring states, and most visitors come via drive-in traffic in contrast to millions of visitors that used to fly to Las Vegas every month for leisure or getaways before the pandemic.