MGM Resorts International has been one of the many casinos today that have been forced to lay off its employees as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. 18,000 employees who were previously furloughed were recently given the ax, effectively making job cuts permanent at least until the industry gets back on its feet.
Because of the pandemic, MGM’s Empire City in New York state, as well as Park MGM in Vegas, remain closed. Casinos in Vegas, which is where MGM has most of its operations, continue to struggle amidst a struggling tourism and travel sector. Casinos can only operate at a reduced capacity, and conferences and business travel is no longer a thing, which is further worsened the situation.
Hotel occupancy rates have plummeted to less than 40% even though the economy is slowly returning to normal as best as it can. There are still some people that are willing to travel, but that’s not nearly enough tourism to keep the staff on call fully. The good news is that MGM is doing its best to avoid further layoffs.
Case in point, it has come up with an innovative yet practical way to encourage more customers to travel to Vegas thanks to its work from home Vegas travel package. This initiative that was recently rolled out by MGM Resorts is designed to target business professionals with a travel package that has since been dubbed Viva Las Office.
The incentives included in this travel package include cheaper rooms, private pool access, and discounted jet service. To boot, guests even get to enjoy an executive assistant. The Resort has a 3-day minimum requirement for any guests looking to stay in Sin City while working.
The prices for the packages start at a measly $100. Although such unique offerings will help to attract some business, concerns are rife that these gimmicks will only do so much to remedy the situation. If MGM Resorts and other casinos for that matter want to survive, they must turn their attention to their online casinos and investments. That’s where the future lies.
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Gamblers have increasingly turned to online casinos
When the statewide shutdowns were enforced, gamblers who suddenly found themselves without options to gamble in person quickly migrated to internet casinos. At the time of the casino closures, just a handful of states offered internet gambling for casino games and poker. These states were namely Pennsylvania, Nevada, Delaware, and New Jersey gambling.
Soon after the lockdown, online gambling providers in these states started noticing a spike both in volume and revenue. These online casinos that saw an increase in business helped to tremendously make up for some of the lost revenue from brick and mortar casinos. This uptick in numbers has continued even after the return of sports, which is good news for any operator that’s thinking about investing in their online expansion as MGM has.
Since it was allowed in November 2013, internet gambling has taken off like nothing else, especially in New Jersey. As more states continue to embrace online betting and as the legislative process continues to become more streamlined, online gambling will continue growing and there is nothing anyone or anything can do to stop this growth, not even a little old pandemic.
So far, the Golden Nugget has proven to be the industry leader when it comes to internet gambling revenue. But other casinos like MGM are hoping to join the Nuggets’ ranks with this recent move to expand their online operations.
Online is where the party is at
The online gaming sphere has grown and continues to grow in unprecedented ways, even amid a pandemic. This sector has proven that it has what it takes to shape the future of entertainment as we know it, and it probably will.
In the past 5 years, online gaming has grown tremendously. By the end of 2016, the industry was worth a cool $41.78 billion. However, by the end of 2020, the industry is expected to hit the roof at a staggering $80 billion. Today, almost 11 % if not more of the internet traffic is thanks to online casino players, which proves that MGM is growing in the right direction, especially if it wants to survive the devastating effects of this pandemic.
When looking at the global gaming industry as a whole, it comes as no surprise that MGM has made this move. MGM’s decision to invest such a huge chunk of cash on its online expansion will allow it to not only improve its services but also its technology.
Technological advancements must be made if it wants to grow; it’s that straightforward. The better technology that MGM can offer its customers, the better the gaming experiences they will enjoy, which will translate to even more revenue generation. As connectivity improves and becomes more accessible, more and more people will opt to bet online than in-person, even in the absence of a pandemic.
With mobile gaming also becoming one of the fastest-growing platforms in the betting industry, MGM will also want to do everything that it possibly can to migrate from console to mobile betting. When you envision that the average better spends more than 30 hours each week glued to their mobile devices, it would be wise for MGM and other casinos that want to thrive to invest heavily in their mobile betting platforms.
Online gaming is going to keep getting more popular as time passes by. Without risks, without moving from the comfort and security of their homes, and offering a confounding array of gambling opportunities and options, why wouldn’t people prefer to gamble online?
MGM Resorts must take advantage of this increase in demand by launching a more enhanced customer experience if it wants to keep its head above water during this challenging period. MGM might have had to fire 18,000 employees to invest in its online expansion, but it will be worth it when it starts to record impressive numbers again.