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MGM: Operations back to normal; employees cite residual problems

Updated September 20, 2023 - 7:19 pm

MGM Resorts International officials said computer systems nationwide returned to normal Tuesday night, but some customers and employees said Wednesday that residual problems remain from the system hacking that took nine days to resolve.

The company, Nevada’s largest employer, posted on X late Tuesday that systems were back online. But company email accounts remain down and reservations to MGM Resorts must still be made by phone or through third-party websites.

Multiple MGM computer systems failed Sept. 10 and technology experts believe it was the work of a pair of Russian hacker gangs.

“We are pleased that all of our casinos, hotels, dining, entertainment, and resort services are operating normally, and are welcoming thousands of guests each day,” the company reported on X, formerly known as Twitter. “Our amazing employees are ready to help guests with any intermittent issues. We thank you for your patience and look forward to welcoming you soon.”

But a Las Vegas-based gaming industry analyst said the company cleared its first hurdle toward normal operations and the “task ahead for MGM Resorts is not easy.”

Brendan Bussmann of Las Vegas-based B Global said the calendar of special events on the horizon make it essential for MGM to get back to a level of high performance.

“While they have overcome the first hurdle of getting back operations to normal, there will still be some short- and long-term effects,” Bussmann said in an email. “They will have to evaluate how best to deal with their infrastructure going forward to evaluate vulnerability that may still exist and bring in the top cyber experts to address those concerns.”

Big events on horizon

With November’s Formula One Las Vegas Grand Prix, December’s National Finals Rodeo, January’s CES convention and February’s Super Bowl LVIII, Bussmann said it’s critical for MGM to perform well.

“You’ve got a busy schedule ahead over the next six months of MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions tourism), sports and other key events on the docket, so the runway is short to get back to everything running on all cylinders while continuing to evaluate how best to address what has occurred in the future,” he said. “While there still may be lingering effects behind the scenes, the show must go on and MGM Resorts will do what it takes to keep those things running.”

MGM on Wednesday declined an interview with the Las Vegas Review-Journal to discuss the cybersecurity issue. It may not be until the end of October or early November, when the company reports third-quarter earnings, that any additional information will be released.

“With only 10 days left in the quarter, we will have further insight into the effects on this with earnings coming up to see the initial impact,” Bussmann said. “As an industry though, we need to continue to be mindful of these events and take the necessary steps to stay on the cutting edge as we do with the guest experience in the sports and entertainment capital of the world.”

MGM appears to have gotten off to a mixed start.

Groceryshop underway

A sizable convention, Groceryshop, got off to good start Tuesday with several attendees saying their experience at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center went well.

Organizers of Groceryshop declined an interview with the Review-Journal, but some people attending the grocery and food retail convention that was expected to draw 5,000 people said there were no major problems.

Uros Berisavljevic traveled from Serbia to attend Groceryshop for the first time this year since he is the founder of Shopnosis.AI, an artificial intelligence company that can help stores improve their marketing and communication campaigns.

Berisavljevic said everything about attending the Groceryshop convention was “easy” and that he had no major problems or concerns getting information on the convention from its organizers or issues while at Mandalay Bay.

Anthony Fontanesi, a sales manager for Ridgefield Park, New Jersey-based Solum America Inc., which has an exhibit at Groceryshop, said there weren’t any issues in getting the exhibit going or attending the convention but the issues with MGM Resorts did cause disruptions for the company. Solum America makes electronic self-clips for grocery stores that can display grocery prices.

“A few meetings we had scheduled were canceled since there were concerns from the people we scheduled with about their information being accessed,” Fontanesi said.

Abby Greene, an account executive for New York City-based Flowcode, which makes QR codes and provides marketing analytics for retailers, said the convention is “the place to be” for the grocery retail and technology industry and enjoyed the experience.

Overall Greene had no issues with Groceryshop or MGM Resorts but she said a colleague had issues trying to book a room at Mandalay Bay due to the system issues experienced over the last week and needed to book at a different hotel.

Employee concerns

Meanwhile, people who identified themselves as MGM employees said systems still aren’t functioning properly.

“The systems are still down at all MGM properties,” a person identifying himself as an MGM employee who requested anonymity said in a social media message to the Review-Journal. “Us employees still haven’t gotten a work schedule and there is no way to take our vacation of any kind. It’s still a mess. It’s very stressful for us to deal with this without getting any help. We ask them questions and all we get is a runaround.”

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Contact Richard N. Velotta at rvelotta@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893. Follow @RickVelotta on X. Contact Sean Hemmersmeier at shemmersmeier@reviewjournal.com. Follow @seanhemmers34 on X.

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