Outdoor Casinos, Staff Payoffs and French Poker Numbers

A very mixed bag in this week’s industry roundup sees casino giants MGM Resorts getting rid of a quarter of its workers, France looking at some very decent online poker numbers and San Jose looking forward to some al fresco gambling!

By: Andrew Burnett

MGM Resorts lay off 18,000 workers

We’ll get the bad news out of the way first, with news that 18,000 of MGM Resorts’ 70,000 workforce are being axed in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

MGM had already furloughed roughly 63,000 of its employees after the mid-March closure affected every single one of its nationwide casinos.

Although many have since re-opened, including 8 out of 9 Vegas strip casinos, staff were informed in an internal memo this week that cuts were inevitable.

MGM Resorts CEO Bill Hornbuckle stated: “While we have safely resumed operations at many of our properties and have returned tens of thousands of our colleagues to work, our industry – and country – continues to be impacted by the pandemic, and we have not returned to full operating capacity.”

According to Bloomberg, July visitor numbers to Vegas  - the first full month since Nevada casinos were reopened - were ‘down 61% to 1.44 million.’ In addition, hotel occupancy has also plummeted to ‘just 43%, less than half what it was a year ago’.

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San Jose gets okay to gamble outdoors

The Californian city of San Jose received some interesting and welcome news this week when the City Council approved outdoor gambling.

That allowed Bay 101, one of only two legal cardrooms in the city, to finally offer their customers some action – a huge marquee tent set up in the parking lot.

It has been a long six months in the cold for card fans in the area, and the city’s other casino, Casino M8trix, is looking to join Bay 101 with an outdoor offering.

VP Robert Lindo told local reporters: “Anything Casino M8trix can do to get our employees back to work safely, to generate some much-needed tax revenue for the city of San Jose, and to provide outdoor entertainment and food and beverage to our amazing patrons, would be spectacular.”

Any business who chooses to take the outdoor route must still follow strict social distancing and health and hygiene guidelines.

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French online poker numbers double

That the lockdown has been a boon for online poker is well-reported, but numbers out of France show just how much the game has been worth to operators.

The ANJ, Autorité Nationale des Jeux, France’s new regulatory authority, revealed that locally licensed online poker revenue increased by 126% to €142m.

That was broken down as cash games being worth €39millionup 82% - and tournaments accounting for €103million - up a massive 149%.

Overall online gambling revenue in France fell in the 2nd quarter, with sportsbetting taking the biggest hit, although horseracing was another area in which revenue figures rose sharply.

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