Employees Now, Guests Next? MGM Resorts First Nevada Casino Operator To Require COVID-19 Vaccination

Posted By Marc Meltzer on August 17, 2021

MGM Resorts International is the first casino operator in Nevada to require a COVID-19 vaccination for all of its salaried employees and new hires who work on-site.

This policy will take effect beginning Oct. 15.

Additionally, all new hires at MGM Resorts properties — hourly and salary — who do not exclusively work from home must provide proof of vaccination before beginning work, beginning Aug. 30. The new policy will affect its Las Vegas casinos and properties throughout the United States.

MGM Resorts protecting guests and employees

In a memo first released to employees and subsequently obtained by PlayNevada, MGM Resorts CEO Bill Hornbuckle had the following to say about why the company is taking this step:

“(W)e know that COVID-19 vaccines are the best way to protect people from this deadly virus and the variants, such as Delta, that have emerged. We’ve expended tremendous effort to reduce barriers for vaccination and to provide a variety of incentives and support to get as many people vaccinated as possible. But more must now be done. Our guests and employees deserve to know that we are doing everything in our power to keep them safe.”

MGM Resorts operates the following casinos on the Vegas Strip:

  • Aria
  • Bellagio
  • Excalibur
  • Luxor
  • Mandalay Bay
  • The Mirage
  • MGM Grand
  • New York-New York
  • Park MGM

This doesn’t come as much of a surprise. Major corporations and some municipalities around the country are requiring employees to get a COVD-19 vaccine. According to Barrons, nearly 25% of the 30 Dow Industrial Average companies require a COVID-19 vaccine. MGM Resorts is joining companies like Walmart, Disney and McDonald’s in the vaccination requirement for its employees.

MGM Resorts will help make this a relatively easy process for its employees. The company will have on-site clinics and will supply information and support for any employees hesitant to get vaccinated.

Expect to see more Las Vegas casino operators follow the lead of MGM Resorts.

Vaccination not required for casino guests yet

Anyone visiting a Las Vegas casino must still wear a mask while indoors unless eating, drinking or smoking. Visitors to Las Vegas casinos may still enter the properties without being vaccinated.

In fact, no Las Vegas casino is requiring a vaccine for those who want to eat, drink or gamble. Harrah’s New Orleans is currently the only casino in the US casino requiring vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test.

Seeing a show inside of a Las Vegas casino might be a different story.

Live Nation venues will require proof of vaccination for guests

Starting Oct. 4, Live Nation venues in the US will require that all ticket-holders show proof that they have been vaccinated for COVID-19. In lieu of vaccination, the ticket holder must prove they have received a negative test for the virus.

“Vaccines are going to be your ticket back to shows,” said Michael Rapino, Live Nation Entertainment president and CEO, “and as of October 4, we will be following the model we developed for Lollapalooza and requiring this for artists, fans and employees at Live Nation venues and festivals everywhere possible in the US.”

House of Blues at Mandalay Bay and Brooklyn Bowl at The Linq are the only Live Nation venues in Las Vegas today.

AEG takes a different approach

Concert promoter and venue manager AEG will have a similar vaccination requirement for only some of its Las Vegas venues beginning Oct. 1.

The Theater at Virgin, The Theater at Resorts World and Las Vegas Festival Grounds (across the street from Sahara) will all require guests to show proof of vaccination or a negative test for events.

At this time, AEG will not have this requirement for the Park Theater at Park MGM or T-Mobile Arena.

The policy could change in the future, but if the NHL season started today, ticket-holders for Vegas Golden Knights games would not need to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test.

Photo by AP / John Locher
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Marc Meltzer

Marc grew up on the mean streets of the South Bronx. He's the rare combination of Yankees and Jets fan which explains his often contrarian point of view. Marc is a freelance writer and social media consultant. Writing about steak, booze, gambling and Las Vegas is a tough job but somebody has to do it.

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