When MGM Resorts warned in May that it anticipated a good chunk of its furloughed workers might not be recalled, employees in Atlantic City hoped they would escape the cull. Sadly, however, it has been announced that 2,295 employees of the Borgata will be laid off.
This news comes following MGM’s announcement to cut almost 19,000 furloughed staff. This has been a horrendous year for employees of Atlantic City resorts and this news is another painful blow.
There was some hope in early July that casinos would be back up and running again after reopening was approved. The restrictions on indoor dining, however, meant that the casinos weren’t back to normal. As a consequence, employees in Atlantic City weren’t able to return in the numbers they had hoped.
MGM Making Tough Cuts in Wake of Lost Sales
Employees in Atlantic City have been aware for some time of the possibility that a furlough may become permanent given the huge loss of sales in 2020. The group, in total, will layoff just over 18,000 staff throughout its resorts in Atlantic City, Las Vegas and Detroit. Speaking on the news, MGM President and CEO Bill Hornbuckle said the following:
“Nothing pains me more than delivering news like this,” said Hornbuckle in a letter to employees. These decisions are never made lightly, and we deeply regret the hardship it will place on these individuals and their families”
In what may come as some relief to those who have been cut, the CEO went on to add that those who are cut will receive health benefits until the end of the month:
“Many MGM employees still remain furloughed, rather than permanently separated from the company. They will continue to receive health benefits through this month. Those who are hired back to their previous positions by the end of the year will retain their seniority.”
The Changing Face of The Borgata
If this sounds like a high number of losses, that is because it very much is. The number constitutes 42% of the overall workforce at the Borgata. Employees at other establishments in Atlantic City are now worried that similar actions will be taken in their hotels.
The Borgata was the last hotel to be opened amid health and safety concerns and the future of the hotel looks challenging. Gov. Phil Murphy released a statement last week easing restrictions which will affect the hotels in positive ways. The hope, of course, is that business will pick up and some of those employees will get their jobs back.
We reported here what the new normal would look like at The Borgata. In just a month things appear infinitely different.
Hammer Blow For New CEO
Just two months ago we were discussing the appointment of the first female, black COO and future plans for the casino. The renaming of the Moneyline Bar, for example, was a clear indication that the Borgata was looking forward to reopening, as we covered here.
This news came at a time when the casino was partnering with the World Poker Tour, as reported here, to bring in further revenue.
It is unclear how much the new COO of the Borgata knew about this decision to clear out almost half of her staff. What is clear, however, is that MGM now faces a tough challenge as they attempt to bring visitors back to the casino. This will mean striking a fine balance between customers and ensuring that there is enough high quality staff on hand to provide the best service.
How Employees in Atlantic City Should Proceed
There is of course still a great deal of hope for the employees in Atlantic City that things will get back to some kind of normal. The encouragement by many to offer a Vegas style ‘work from Atlantic City’ program could bring visitors back to hotels. MGM in particular is doubling down on M Life rewards, as we discuss here. That, too, could entice people back.
Ultimately, this will be a tough waiting game, with the onus very much on the state government as officials decide when the time is right to fully reopen.