Page 44 - BusinessWest March 17, 2021
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“Ultimately, that will be up to the state to determine,” he noted. “What we can do is make sure that we’re as prepared as possible for that day; we do discuss those things frequently, and we’re actively engaged in planning for the return of those amenities.”
Plenty of Wild Cards
Speaking of being prepared ... this is exactly what the casino is striving to do when it comes to another key focal point moving forward — sports betting.
New Hampshire became the 16th state to legalize such betting (there
are now 22) in July 2019, and officially went live in late December that year. Meanwhile, Connecticut has taken huge steps in this direction, although some complicated negotiations remain between the many parties involved when it comes to where venues will be located, how many there will be, and who will operate them.
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As for the Bay State, Kelley counts himself among those who believe it’s
a question of when — not if — sports betting gets the green light, and he obviously considers that step pivotal if the state’s casinos are going to going to tap the full potential of what has long been considered an attractive market.
But he stressed repeatedly that his focus is not simply on working with state legislators to pass a bill, but to create a playing field on which the state’s casino can effectively compete. And this is the consistent message he and others with MGM have been deliv- ering to state officials.
“We’re encouraged by the number of sports-betting bills that have already been introduced, and each of the bills that has been drafted has been tailored to the unique interests of the sponsor,” he explained. “So we’ve been focused on advising lawmakers on what our experience has shown us.”
Elaborating, he said this experi- ence has shown that the lower the tax rates are on sports-gambling revenues, the better one’s odds are of effectively
competing against what he called the “illegal markets,” and also against the growing number of neighboring states already in or soon to get in this game.
“We want to create a competitive operating model, and so a tax rate that is on the lower side is helpful in creat- ing the best payouts for the guests, and also helpful in competing against the illegal markets, and it’s helpful in com- peting against border states,” he went on. “And we believe that, ultimately,
it creates the best guest experience as well.”
He said the casino has a plan in place and has the ability to move “very quickly” when state legislators decide to pull the trigger.
“We’ve spent a lot of time looking at the property and where a sports book makes sense, and also at how to cre- ate an experience that would really be a market leader and that will benefit the community at the same time,” he explained, adding that there is a good deal of experience in this realm within the MGM corporation that he and his team can benefit from. “We’ll have
many resources to draw upon, and we’re excited about that.”
Reflecting again on those dark times that coincided with his arrival in Springfield, Kelley said those memories linger, even as many can see that pro- verbial light at the end of the tunnel. And they make him appreciate a return to something ‘normal’ even more.
“To see us moving back in the direction of offering those positive moments, those positive milestones, those positive experiences for our guests, is extraordinarily gratifying,
and part of what I love about this busi- ness,” he said, adding, again, that while question marks still dominate the land- scape, he remains optimistic about
not only turning back the clock to pre- COVID levels of revenue and progress, but setting the bar higher.
Ultimately, this story is still in the early chapters, he told BusinessWest, and the ones to come will hold plenty of intrigue. u
George O’Brien can be reached at [email protected]
  selves as allies to women of color at work, just 45% of black
women and 55% of Latinas say they have strong allies in the workplace. There is more work to be done to build relationships that drive trust and transforma- tion in the workplace, and more conversations need to confirm informal and formal sources of support.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
To help make a change in the workplace, educa- tional institutions, companies, and organizations continue to underscore the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion. While these efforts allow for some change, we need strategic approaches to sys- temic racism and inequities that address issues for companies and individuals. Many young profession- als, consumers, and communities are at the forefront of social justice, so shifts in social responsibility, outreach, and accountability could drive change on many levels.
Bay Path President Sandra Doran noted in her speech that she has been committed to the advance- ment of women and the power of education. “I embrace these beliefs because I come from a family of educators and strong women. I have witnessed first-hand the power of higher education for women. My grandmother attended Barnard, a women’s col- lege, and my mother returned to school to earn her degree at a women’s college as an adult learner. With such personal role models, I felt called to be the pres- ident of Bay Path.”
However, noting the effects of COVID-19, she noted that, “by now, we all know the burden of
the pandemic fell harder on women than on men. Women make up the majority of front-line workers in deeply affected industries like retail, food service, hospitality, and healthcare, and also picked up a dis- proportionate share of the additional loads of school- work, housework, and elderly care. Black women have faced the highest rate of unemployment among women at 8.9%, followed by Latinx women at 8.5%. This pandemic has uncovered the fragility of our sys- tems, from healthcare to daycare to education, and it is our calling, women — and men of substance — to
view them-
create change. And the pipeline of women in leader- ship positions has shrunk.”
Doran also referenced an IBM study that “noted how women on corporate boards and in C-suites around the world have made no progress since 2019, when IBM did its first study on the subject.”
Another report, the 2020 Women in the Workplace study, conducted in partnership with Lean In and McKinsey, tracked the progress of women in corpo- rate America. The data set reflects contributions from 317 companies that participated in the study and more than 40,000 people. According to the report, “the boundaries between work and home have blurred, and women, in particular, have been nega- tively impacted.”
In the study, women of color were noted as par- ticularly impacted by COVID. “Women — especially women of color — are more likely to have been laid off or furloughed during the COVID-19 crisis, stalling their careers and jeopardizing their financial security. Meanwhile, black women already faced more barri- ers to advancement than most other employees. This is an emergency for corporate America. Companies risk losing women in leadership — and future women leaders — and unwinding years of painstaking prog- ress toward gender diversity.”
Adverse Impact on Black Women and Latinas
While many black women and Latinas have made strides and found success in corporations and orga- nizations, far too many remain underutilized, left behind, not included, and overlooked for opportu- nities. The numbers document their trajectory in a world where, in most cases, they are paid less than everyone else. Also, according to a report by CNBC, “employment for black women is 9.7% lower than it was in February 2020. Employment for white men, white women, and black men is down 5%, 5.4%, and 5.9%, respectively.”
A report by Lean In also confirms the experiences of black women in the workplace, noting that black women are significantly underrepresented in leader- ship roles, much less likely to be promoted to man- ager (and their representation dwindles from there),
more likely to see their successes discounted, and less likely to get the support and access they need to advance. In addition, black women face more day-to- day discrimination at work. They want to lead — and they are motivated to improve their workplaces — but often find themselves unfairly penalized for being ambitious.
These findings should cause us all to pause and revisit our workplace policies, practices, and proce- dures. While not every black woman may have these experiences, other personal scenarios that they face result in negative trends. Most of all, these findings should prompt us to think about how everyone is treated in the workplace and how we treat each other. Most of all, we should consider how we can under- stand what others feel and find ways to communi- cate. If we were all treating each other as ourselves, we would not have these trends.
LGBTQIA+ Equality
While many communities and individuals expe- rience an uncertain landscape in the workplace,
we must continue to stay vigilant about trends that impact inclusion. For LGBTQIA+ (lesbian, gay, bisexu- al, pansexual, transgender, genderqueer, queer, inter- sex, agender, asexual, and other queer-identifying) communities, the journey to equality continues to “ebb and flow,” as Kathleen Martin of Springfield Col- lege and her wife, Andrea Hickson Martin of Bay Path University, noted:
“There is no doubt that there have been tremen- dous strides over the past decade for LGBTQIA+ equality. In 2012, the Obama administration support- ed marriage equality. In 2015, in the Supreme Court of the United States case Obergefell v. Hodges, mar- riage equality was made federal law, paving the way for our marriage in 2017. In 2019, Congress approved a comprehensive LGBTQIA+ civil-rights bill, provid- ing non-discrimination protections for the LGBTQIA+ community in employment, housing, public spaces, education, jury service, credit, and federal funding. During the Trump administration, however, LGBTQ- IA+ rights were
rolled back Women
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