MGM Resorts CEO on overcoming a $100 million cyberattack and avoiding a labor strike before the Formula One Las Vegas Grand Prix

It’s easy to think MGM Resorts is playing a game of financially troublesome whack-a-mole.

The company recovered from a massive cyberattack that sparked a $100 million loss only to then face a potential worker strike days before the biggest event to hit Sin City in decades: the Formula One Las Vegas Grand Prix.

But if anyone is sweating at MGM Resorts, it wasn’t apparent on a third-quarter investor call this week.

“Following the issues, we have seen incredible resiliency in our business to start the fourth quarter,” MGM Resorts CEO William Hornbuckle said on the call with investor analysts. “We’re coming out of this stronger as a team and as a culture with a focus on the culture of yes from both our guests and employees.”

Hornbuckle detailed the lengths the company went to protect its business during a recent cyberattack and data breach. The company adjusted certain systems to “mitigate risk to customer information” and then progressively restored those systems over the span of several weeks. MGM Resorts was finally back to being fully operational by the end of September, Hornbuckle said.

While that $100 million loss garnered headlines, the MGM Resorts CEO noted insurance will cover the losses incurred. But that’s not the only operational headache impacting MGM Resorts these days.

The Culinary and Bartenders Union, representing 35,000 hospitality workers in Las Vegas, threatened to go on strike on Friday if a deal wasn’t reached with major casino resort operators like MGM Resorts, Caesars Entertainment and Wynn Resorts. Caesars struck a deal earlier this week, and Hornbuckle indicated on Wednesday that MGM Resorts was on the cusp of announcing a deal of its own.

“We are literally in session as we speak, and I believe we will come to a deal today,” Hornbuckle said. “We know from listening to our employees that they are looking for a pay increase, to combat inflation, as well as reduced workloads, among other concerns. This deal, when announced, we’ll do just that and will result in the largest pay increase in the history of our negotiations with the culinary union.”

Late Thursday morning, a deal was struck for the 25,400 MGM Resorts employees who are members of the Culinary and Bartenders Union — meaning Wynn Resorts is the only major operator in Las Vegas left to strike a deal.

What Formula One means for MGM Resorts

Hornbuckle downplayed some sentiment that Formula One wouldn’t end up being the massive event it was initially billed as for Las Vegas.

“We are well prepared to welcome our guests for what promises to be an exciting and enduring tent-pole event,” he said.

MGM Resorts sold out its Bellagio Fountain Club and Grandstand seats directly on the course. Furthermore, the MGM Resorts CEO noted room rates are “several multiples” above what they were during the same week in prior years. Casino front money deposits — money customers deposit into a casino account to draw from during a stay — point to Formula One being an all-time record casino event for the company.

If you’re still looking to head to Las Vegas for Formula One, prepare to shell out a hefty amount: The average nightly rate at MGM Resorts during the event is more than $900, Hornbuckle said.

Still mum on Marriott details

Hornbuckle doubled down on what we already knew: The upcoming Marriott and MGM Resorts partnership won’t launch until early next year.

While the casino executive exuded optimism over the deal and how it would generate higher room rates from Marriott Bonvoy members, there still aren’t many details on what the full program will look like.

“We have launched the official landing page, and we’ll soon announce the exciting loyalty benefits we plan to offer to both MGM Rewards and Marriott Bonvoy members and its 180 million numbers,” Hornbuckle said.

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