|The largest casino operator on the Las Vegas Strip, MGM Mirage, has announced plans to lay off 440 employees at both the property and corporate levels in response to the sluggish American economy and as part of a corporate belt-tightening programme begun last year.|
The news follows yesterday’s report that revenues for Nevada casinos had fallen by nearly four percent for February, which has seen a devaluation in stock values for some of the nation’s major gambling companies, some by as much as 20 percent. Falling stock prices and gambling profits are viewed as signs that the slowing economy is affecting the Las Vegas casino industry, once viewed as impervious to outside financial concerns.
Jim Murren, President and Chief Operating Officer for MGM Mirage, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal newspaper that the management and supervisory level staff reductions were part of a process that would save MGM Mirage about $75 million annually. He said although the layoffs were company-wide, the bulk of the redundancies would take place in Las Vegas where MGM Mirage operates ten resorts and is constructing the $8.4 billion CityCenter development.
'This is part of a company-wide programme that we actually began in September,' said Murren.
'The fact of the matter is that our business, week to week, is improving. This was something, irrespective of the economy, that we needed to do.'
In February, MGM Mirage reduced job hours or laid off around 150 employees at its Circus Circus property, one of several operators that took steps at the time to reduce hours or cut back its workforce.
Murren said the company has also cut back on contracts with outside consultants and vendors, a move that has saved it a significant amount.
'The management cutbacks were less than one-third of the total savings,' said Murren.
'We recognised late last year that this was something we had to do.'