MGM Resorts CEO Jim Murren has faced a number of challenges in his tenure as chief executive officer of one of the leading casino operators in the world but nothing compared to what he has had to deal with during the last 10 days.
MGM Resorts owns the Mandalay Bay Hotel which Stephen Paddock checked into and would later go onto carry out the worst shooting in U.S history from his room on the 32nd floor.
Murren has avoided the media during the past week and a half but made his first public appearance on October 10th at IMEX America.
IMEX is the largest meeting and convention industry gathering in the world and top executives from all of the major firms attend regularly. The meeting took place at the Venetian in Las Vegas and some of the executives in attendance included IMEX Group Chairman Ray Bloom, LVCVA President Rossi Ralenkotter and U.S. Travel Association President Roger Dow.
Jim Murren addressed the audience and called on convention organizers to keep their faith in Las Vegas and continue to hold meetings and conventions as thousands of Las Vegas casino employees and their families were depending on them bringing their business to Vegas.
In a statement, Murren said
The meetings and convention business is the backbone of this entire business model. Without that, everything else falls away.
There were concerns that Las Vegas and its casino industry could suffer due to the Mandalay Bay shootings as it would discourage both businesses and visitors from coming to the entertainment capital of the world. MGM will be especially concerned about this because its brand has been in the news for all the wrong reasons the last 10 days.
MGM Resorts has also invested millions of dollars into expanding and developing its convention and meeting facilities as a number of its Vegas properties. Just last year, MGM invested $70 million to upgrade the Mandalay Bay Convention Center and is in the process of completing a $150 million expansion to meeting space at the Aria Resort and Casino. MGM has also committed to investing $130 million to expand the convention space at MGM Grand.
Things don’t look that bad for MGM at the moment as American Health Care Association, International Spa and Tableau have all confirmed that they will proceed with their scheduled conventions at the Mandalay Bay.