MGM Resorts, owner of Tunica’s Gold Strike Casino, announces 1,000 jobs to be cut by June

n this Jan. 14, 2016, photo, cars drive into the MGM Grand hotel and casino in Las Vegas. Las Vegas-based casino company MGM Resorts International says it expects to cut about 1,000 jobs by June. The layoffs announced Monday, April 29, 2019, include 254 jobs the company said last week it would cut as it works to reduce costs and boost earnings. (AP Photo/John Locher, File)

LAS VEGAS — Las Vegas-based casino company MGM Resorts International says it expects to cut about 1,000 jobs by June.

The layoffs announced Monday include 254 jobs the company said last week it would cut as it works to reduce costs and boost earnings.

Chief Financial Officer Corey Sanders says 35 executives have already taken voluntary retirement as part of the MGM 2020 plan. It’s an effort to increase annual earnings by $300 million by 2021.

The company reported revenue was 12.6% higher during this year’s first quarter than for the same period in 2018 but that its cash flow in Las Vegas dropped by 10%.

MGM Chairman and CEO Jim Murren says the company’s regional properties reported improved performance.

MGM has not said where jobs will be cut, but it is sure to put workers in Tunica County, Mississippi on edge as MGM Resorts owns Gold Strike Casino Resort.

The area has been dealt blow after blow recently as one company after another announces closures of their casinos, laying off hundreds of people. Most recently Penn National Gaming announced it would close the Resorts Casino Tunica on June 30.

Tunica County boomed when gambling was legalized in 1992, becoming the only gambling destination for hundreds of miles. But employment at casinos peaked at 13,000 jobs in 2001, falling to less than 5,000 now, and revenues have been falling since 2006. Revenues in Tunica have shown an uptick in recent months since Mississippi legalized sports betting, but it’s unclear if that will be a long-term improvement.

Resorts was the smallest casino remaining in terms of slot machines and table games after Caesars Entertainment closed Tunica Roadhouse closed in January. Caesars closed the massive Harrah’s Tunica Hotel & Casino in 2014 when it was in bankruptcy.

Tunica has suffered in part because of increased gambling competition in Arkansas and other states. Arkansas voters earlier this month approved a referendum allowing four full-fledged casinos, including one at Southland Gaming & Racing in nearby West Memphis. Arkansas tax figures show Southland won $222 million from gamblers in the 12 months ended June 30, up more than 50 percent since 2014. Operator Delaware North announced a $250 million expansion of Southland in January.

The closures overall means less tax revenue for state and local governments. Tunica County has struggled with declining tax revenue, with county supervisors having to step in and subsidize a full-time fire department that protects the unincorporated area of the county that includes the casinos because property tax collections fell after Harrah’s closed. A private utility district also defaulted on its bonds after Harrah’s closed.

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