Casino execs ease fears of job attrition

Jul 20, 2004 6:02 AM

The mega-mergers that could create the world’s two largest gaming conglomerates have thousands of employees sweating — from the casino floors to the corporate offices.

But upper management has a message for them: Don’t sweat it.

If anything, the mergers would simplify applying for hotel and casino jobs, with more than one property getting a chance to review computer job applications, according to Alan Feldman, vice president of corporate communications for MGM Mirage.

"We still have the ability to share resumes, where one property can look up resumes for those seeking jobs at other properties," Feldman said, adding that occasionally, "We have (one-time) applicants who get job offers from two of those companies."

And just because someone got the axe at one property doesn’t necessarily mean they’re blackballed at other properties, Feldman said. "Of late, because of the (pending) merger, we have re-evaluated all our pre-existing no-hire cases."

Feldman added, however, that if someone’s previous layoff involved "a prior settlement or criminal matter in employment, a no-hire would appear to be proprietary and would be subject to review."

That’s been the case "for three years for those transferring between say, Treasure Island and Bellagio."

While consolidation of companies could mean consolidation of jobs, MGM Mirage would try to maintain the staffs of the various properties. For instance, Feldman said, mid-level company administrators, such as those in casino marketing, "have been folded into a single operation."

"Nobody left unless they wanted to or moved away," he said. "Marketing of individual resorts is still done by the individual properties."

Other companies involved in ongoing mergers will maintain their own hiring offices, at least for awhile.

"That’s the plan for Harrah’s," said company spokesman David Strow.

Both Feldman and Strow emphasized that their corporations might even share computer job applications through a central Internet database. But the database would be more of a convenience for job-seekers.

"The hiring decisions will still be made by the individual properties," Strow said.

The three most recent merger proposals involve close to 100,000 of the 896,000 jobs in and around Las Vegas. That’s one in 10 of the 1.1 million people drawing paychecks in Nevada

When MGM bought Steve Wynn’s Mirage Resorts, the $6.4 billion deal involved 34,600 "cast members." (About 2,600 of them were spun off by this year’s sale of the Golden Nugget.)

The latest merger, the pending $9.5 billion purchase of Caesars Entertainment, would bring close to 15,000 Las Vegas workers into Harrah’s fold. (Caesars has 54,000 employees in 27 properties in five countries.)

And the pending merger of Boyd Gaming and Coast Casinos could unite 16,000 employees under centrally-issued paychecks.

Boyd Gaming officials indicate hiring is still a matter for the individual properties.

"We don’t even have a central (computer) site for Boyd," said a human resources manager who asked not to be named. "Although, we expect one any day now."