MGM Resorts CEO says it is “not a real notion” for Springfield casino to employ 3.000 people

During a visit to Springfield, Massachusetts, with city officials, the President and CEO of MGM Resorts, Bill Hornbuckle, said it’s “not a real notion” to expect the casino to return to its originally promised number of 3,000 jobs. At present, the resort employs 1,440 employees, with 279 openings.

“[The] milestone ought to be like 2,000 employees, not [3,000],” he said, as reported by WAMC. “Let’s just come to an understanding here: If it’s [3,000], something dynamically has changed in this marketplace. It has to, in order to have that happen. Our original valuation of this market simply was off.”

When MGM Springfield opened in 2018, casino officials said the project would support about 3,000 permanent jobs. When the casino opened, it employed more than 2990 people, however, in the months that followed, the numbers dropped significantly.  Moreover, according to the latest reports, gambling revenues are about $22 million a month, also far off from MGM’s initial projections. 

MGM Springfield in Massachusetts.

According to Hornbuckle, the current staff numbers are in part due to the Covid-19 pandemic. However, he also said the company misread the Springfield market.

We thought there would be more business here than ultimately materialized — scale, scope, etc. And so, it is what it is. And so we’re pushing forward. We’re trying to make the very best of it,” he said, as reported by the above-mentioned media.

Hornbuckle’s visit to Springfield comes a few weeks after local officials questioned MGM’s commitment to the city. They pointed to a discrimination lawsuit filed by a former employee, who claimed the casino fudged its workforce diversity numbers.

While he declined to comment on the lawsuit, Hornbuckle did however point out that the company had kept its financial commitments to Springfield, with $107 million going to the city, and said he has a “deep, deep respect for this community.”

Asked about specific benchmarks MGM was looking for, Hornbuckle said he wanted the Springfield casino to “lean in more on community communications.” He said the company has forecasts and budgets, but no “economic benchmark, per se.”

Hornbuckle said he wants to bring MGM Springfield “back to life,” according to WBUR. He announced the reopening and expanded hours of some restaurants and non-gambling activities. He also said the casino expects to open for sports betting later this month.

For his part, Mayor Domenic Sarno commented: “We have to acknowledge how [the] COVID-19 pandemic has affected each and every one of us for the last two and a half years. But the message here is that things are being repurposed, retooled, and we’re still looking to get to those goals.”

That’s the whole thing with MGM and continued city projects, whether downtown or in our neighborhoods. So we’re not going to lose focus on that. We’re not going to give up,” he concluded.