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Casino Regulators Say MGM Springfield Should Make More Employment Data Public

MGM Springfield held its grand opening parade on August 24, 2018. These are MGM Springfield employees in the parade.
Don Treeger
The Republican / masslive.com/photos
MGM Springfield held its grand opening parade on August 24, 2018. These are MGM Springfield employees in the parade.

Massachusetts casino regulators are pressing MGM to provide more detail about the diversity of the staff at the company's Springfield casino.

MGM presents employment data every three months to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, including how the company is doing on promised hiring targets for women, people of color, veterans and Springfield residents.

The most recent data showed MGM hitting each of those targets, except for women. With a goal of 50 percent, just over 45 percent of the resort's employees were women, as of December 31.

Commissioner Gayle Cameron told MGM at the February 28 commission meeting that she wants to know how many of those employees are higher up in the casino food chain.

"If you don't track it, sometimes you don't realize that there's an issue in a certain [level] — midlevel management or whatever it may be — with women and minorities, [or] veterans," Cameron said.

MGM lawyer Seth Stratton said the company is working with the commission to offer more information, but he wasn't promising all of it.

"We have really rich data. We have a lot of information internally, and we do look at a lot of different trends," Stratton replied to Cameron. "The dialogue we're having now is how much — as a private company — we're putting out there for the world to see."

MGM Springfield COO Mike Mathis in the meeting defended the company’s limited disclosures about its staff.

"You're right to have the instinct that evasiveness is sometimes a desire not to give you the information, because the information isn't good. In this case, that's not the issue," Mathis said, describing the complexity of the human resources data.

Mathis said he'd be willing to share MGM’s data in a "working session" with the regulators, before determining what should be in a public report.

Commissioner Bruce Stebbins told MGM executives not to wait until their next quarterly report. He said they should work with commission staff "in the immediate future" to get an expanded employment report sorted out.

Denying requests from media, city councilor

MGM has repeatedly denied media requests for more employment information, claiming the company has made public all that — at least so far — is required.

But there is a major gap in the public data. In the numbers MGM has provided showing what percentage of its staff are women, people of color, veterans and Springfield residents, the company included full-timers, part-timers and on-call staff.

MGM has not provided that demographic breakdown for just employees in full-time jobs, which are the only positions that come with health benefits.

NEPR first requested this information in July, before the casino opened, and many times since. An MGM spokesperson initially said the human resources department was too busy to make those calculations.

More recently, the spokesman, Saverio Mancini, was more straightforward in denying the request.

"We don't breakdown the numbers in that way," he wrote in an email. "What's available and requested by the MGC is what's available."

Asked for a further explanation, Mancini did not reply.

The Springfield city councilor who chairs the city's casino oversight committee, Michael Fenton, also said he requested more information from MGM about its full-time workforce. He said MGM would only provide him with the figures made public at the gaming commission meeting.

"In short, I have made the request and MGM has not produced the figures you are requesting," Fenton wrote to NEPR.

Disclosure: MGM has purchased underwriting from New England Public Radio publicizing the company's non-gambling activities. The NEPR newsroom operates independently of the station's development department, and editorial decisions are made without regard to any funding relationships.

Sam Hudzik has overseen local news coverage on New England Public Media since 2013. He oversees a team of about a dozen full- and part-time reporters and hosts.
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