The Las Vegas lights just got dimmer as MGM announced the closure of their Las Vegas properties due to the coronavirus pandemic. MGM operates the Bellagio, Excalibur, Luxor, Mandalay Bay, The Mirage, MGM Grand, and several others.
Cards on the Table
The first cases of coronavirus to hit Las Vegas sent a shock wave over the casino industry. Following fears of a total shutdown like the casino closures in Macau, casino workers began diligently cleaning all common areas on gaming floors, food service areas, and hotel rooms.
Some casinos even sent out their chips to be sanitized at a boutique chip cleanser. But as schools are shutting down and events being canceled all over the world, some casinos just had to shut down.
But after several confirmed cases of coronavirus at Luxor, MGM CEO Jim Murren announced that all MGM Vegas resorts will be closed until further notice for employee and public safety.
“It is now apparent that this is a public health crisis that requires major collective action if we are to slow its progression,” Murren said. “We will plan to reopen our resorts as soon as it (is) safe to do so and we will continue to support our employees, guests, and communities in every way that we can during this period of closure.”
MGM is also closing several other casinos across the U.S., including resorts in Detroit, Maryland, and Massachusetts.
The casino closures are expected to last eight weeks or more, which will naturally cause financial difficulty for furloughed employees. However, Murren stated that they are negotiating with casino labor unions to assure staff that they will be taken care of in these difficult times.
Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak released a statement to the media that he supports any property’s decision to close or stay open. He said the state’s unemployment fund “is healthy for now.”
However, state unemployment benefits usually only pay 50-60% of an employee’s regular wage, so the casinos should really open up their coffers and dig deep to help their employees.
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