MGM Resorts CEO Jim Murren had no qualms identifying the numerous ways in which the gaming industry is benefitting society as a whole across the United States and beyond.
In a commentary published by Fortune, the chief executive of Nevada’s largest employer said MGM and other Strip casino giants are as deeply committed to the impact they have on society as they are to their balance sheets.
“Las Vegas has a reputation for excess and non-stop entertainment. But Las Vegas Strip-based companies are increasingly stepping up as responsible global citizens,” Murren wrote.
This may be surprising to those who think of Las Vegas as ‘Sin City.’ But we are pioneering corporate cultures that embrace a commitment to society that extends beyond simply serving customers and growing bottom lines,” he added.
Murren joined MGM Resorts in 1998 after spending more than a decade on Wall Street as an analyst in the hotel and gaming industries. In 2017, he was honored with the Woodrow Wilson Award for Corporate Citizenship, a decoration bestowed on those who “have demonstrated a profound concern for the common good beyond the bottom line.”
People Over Profits
MGM, Las Vegas Sands, Caesars Entertainment, and Wynn Resorts are, respectively, the top four largest employers in Nevada. And while the gaming industry has become increasingly competitive, as commercial gambling continues to spread across the US, Murren says the Strip’s largest operators remain committed to providing a positive societal impact.
“Today, the Strip’s growing focus on social impact and sustainability is transforming Las Vegas into a fascinating paradox: A city known for frivolity and excess that is fueled by socially and environmentally conscious policies and programs,” Murren declared.
The MGM boss pointed to several recent accolades to prove his point.
Murren said that while Las Vegas sits in the Mojave Desert, the Strip’s sustainable water programs allow visitors to be wowed by the Bellagio Fountains, Caesars Palace fountains, and Venetian canals. The CEO explained that each casino’s commitment to water sustainability was one reason why the US Bureau of Reclamation recently called Nevada “a national leader in water conservation.”
Murren also noted the Strip’s embracing of renewable energy, citing that MGM, Wynn, and Caesars have all left the electrical grid. Casinos are additionally directing food scraps to local livestock farms, and sending unserved convention meals to area food banks.
As the casino companies expand outside Nevada to new markets, they are partnering with minority and women-owned local businesses. “This is our obligation, regardless of the impact on our stock price,” Murren said. “And aside from being the right thing to do, we see these policies as investments with major social, environmental, and economic returns.”
Less Controversial Editorial
Jim Murren’s praise for MGM Resorts and his fellow casino operators won’t cause much, if any, controversy. That wasn’t the case in 2016, when the CEO expressed his support for 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
Murren, a self-avowed lifelong Republican, said in his USA TODAY op-ed at the time, “I’ve crossed the aisle only a few times in elections past, and almost never at the presidential level. But this year it’s an easy choice.”
Murren cited then-candidate Donald Trump’s stance on immigration and potential travel ban on certain countries as part of his reasoning.