'Undercover Boss' Bets on Head of MGM Grand Las Vegas [Video]

Undercover Boss Las Vegas gamblers are a tough crowd. Not only do they get visibly irritated when the dealer is green and inexperienced, but they become downright verbally abusive when a wig is so bad it distracts them. These were but a few of the challenges faced by Scott Sibella, president and COO of the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, when he went undercover at the second-largest hotel in the world.

Sibella took it all in stride. He said he was just glad he didn't have to put on tights to perform upside down in the MGM Grand's Cirque du Soleil show, 'KA.' "That was considered," he confided to AOL Jobs.

The MGM Grand stretches across 126 acres of prime real estate on the Las Vegas strip, has 7,000 rooms, 170,000 square feet of casino space, 9,000 employees and more than 50,000 visitors a day. Sibella had only been running the massive property for a few months. Just a few months ago he'd transferred from one of the company's other 13 properties on the strip, the Mirage, which is smaller, with "only" 3,000 rooms.


The Strip stripped down

Although new to his position, Sibella was happy to go undercover because he was anxious to see how the recession was affecting the hard-hit workers of Las Vegas. "Three years ago we couldn't find enough people to fill all our staff positions," he said. "Now when a position becomes available, we have many applicants and it's very competitive." Sibella knew that the high unemployment and high foreclosure rates were extremely hard on the city he'd lived in since he was 2 years old.

AOL Jobs Asks
Undercover Boss Scott Sibella
5 Quick Questions

1. What was your first job? Dish washer in a Las Vegas cafe.

2. What inspires you? Success

3. What is the most important trait needed to succeed? Integrity

4. What is your biggest challenge? Communication -- getting the right message across clearly to all 9,000 employees.

5. What is the best career advice you ever received? If it's not broken, break it! Meaning never be satisfied with the status quo. Change is good -- be proactive, not reactive.

And he sure got a taste of that as he tried the various hotel and casino jobs the 'Undercover Boss' crew had set up for him. His first duty was to work with a black jack dealer named Eddie. The gregarious dealer did his best to explain his job's intricacies, but Sibella had a hard time catching on. The rowdy players gave him an extremely hard time, but ended up winning (possibly because of Sibella's goofs), so at least they were happy.

Eddie seemed like a generally happy guy as well, working hard to raise five boys. Eddie told Sibella they enjoyed watching UFC matches together. Eddie was elated when, after Sibella's reveal, he was informed that the president of the league would fly Eddie and his boys on his private jet to see a match. Sibella also gave Eddie $10,000 to help raise his family.


Going back -- way back

Sibella's second job was a blast from the past. He worked with a front desk agent named Angelina doing some of the same duties he'd done during his first year of college at the University of Nevada Las Vegas, where he studied hotel administration. But he found the new computer system made things far more sophisticated -- and complicated than they had been so many years ago. He was a little frustrated to find out that the brand new system took so long, and that the one it replaced was faster.

His frustration only grew when he found out that Angelina took smoking breaks in the valet area where customers can see her in uniform, kicking back. She knew it was taboo, but she said that area was closer and quicker.

She was admonished for her public smoking in the end, but she was also told that the computer system would be fixed so that it would be faster and more user friendly. He also told Angelina that she was a hard worker, and good at what she did, so he was giving her a real break -- he'd send her and her husband on a paid, romantic vacation of their choosing, all expenses paid.


Playing with the players

It was back to the casino for Sibella's third job, with a roulette dealer named Donn who had been with the casino since it opened in 1993. Roulette is an extremely complicated game, and Sibella confessed it was tough to get a good spin and to remember all the players' payouts.

And the players weren't exactly patient with him. Comments like "Nice rug!" referring to the uncomfortable undercover disguise he was wearing, were among his challenges. Donn said there are worse things to watch out for, like the cigarette smoke dealers are exposed to. Sibella realized this is a difficult issue because smoking and drinking are so often a big part of gambling to many customers.

But he also realized the importance of seeing what could be done about the second-hand smoke the dealers face, so when he met with Donn sans disguise, he told him they were going to install small fans on all the tables so all the dealers would be more comfortable. While they worked together, Donn had mentioned he was a big football fan and was active in a veterans support group. So Sibella promised to fly Donn's brothers in for a big football game, and also pledged $5,000 to be given, in Donn's name, to the veterans group.


Service beyond the casino

The fourth job was a tough one that not everyone is aware of. Sibella worked with Sandy as a guest service representative in the slot machine area, making sure everything is clean and signing up guests for Players' Cards, which allow them to earn free buffet dinners and tickets to shows at the hotel. Sibella found that getting players to sign up for the bonus program was not as easy as it looked -- he couldn't even describe the program correctly.

When Sandy was finished with work, she asked Sibella if he'd like to come with her on a little charity errand -- it seems she delivers flowers every week to a senior citizens facility. Sibella was so moved by this he told his family about it, and in the end, offered to come along with Sandy each week and bring his two teenage children along to help. The MGM Grand provided more flowers, and also donated $5,000 in Sandy's name to the charity of her choice. The icing on the cake was sending Sandy and her husband on a cruise.

In less than two weeks on 'Undercover Boss,' Sibella learned almost as much about the lives of workers at a gambling resort as he had in an entire lifetime in Las Vegas. "I worked with some great individuals, and it was so touching to see what they're going through," he said. "Sometimes you forget what it's like, when you reach my level, but this reinforces how much our employees -- and our customers -- mean to us."

Next: Cincinnati's Mark Mallory is First Mayor of 'Undercover Boss' [Video]



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149 Comments

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Smoke Weed

roll up or roll out.

March 22 2011 at 5:53 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Scott

He put his hands in his pocket while he was a dealer. Which could have gotten him fired, it is something the dealers are not allowed to do because they could be stealing the chips (money) right off the table and pocketing it.

March 22 2011 at 4:04 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Steve

So what was it he did that would "have gotten most other employees fired" ? I didn`t see that mentioned in the article

March 22 2011 at 3:15 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Steve's comment
Dave

He put his hand in his pocket while at a table. Way too easy to start palming chips.

March 22 2011 at 4:02 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Maurice !

I love this show but i watch when i get home from work ,another show ran into its time slot and my DVR did not know the difference show i missed this one .
I am sure it was good as most of the others have been.
Maurice

March 22 2011 at 3:08 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
arctixice

Keep in mind any front line employee with less the 6 years with MGM does not have any benefits . And never will get them. MGM Resorts international will no longer have any new FTE's ( full time employees)

March 22 2011 at 2:54 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
itsjbagby

Seen the type , if it ain't broke fix it . Most don't care what it costs to change a tried & true method.
Gotta change, It's just their Ego, If i was owner,,, i would fire him first. They are so Typical.

March 22 2011 at 2:01 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
karinkdf82

Corporate propaganda.

You want to make some changes? Stop being greedy scumbags... pay your employees a living wage, don't work them around the clock likeabused farm animal; either offer health care and pensions or get the hell out of the way and stop trying to undermine social security and publically-funded health care. Oh, yeah, and pay your freakin' taxes like the rest of us.

Until then, this is all for show... an effort to rebrand the wealthiest corporations as "caring." So they hand out a bit of corporate swag to carefully chosen employees (and I wonder how realistic this actually is) and call themselves the good guys. Meanwhile, they hook up with the Chamber of Commerce and start a war to undermine American workers.

Anyone who watches this show believing that these greedy swine give a fig about their employess needs a psychiatric evaluation. This show is corporate advertising, nothing more.

March 22 2011 at 1:37 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to karinkdf82's comment
obamaliesppldie

waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah

March 22 2011 at 1:59 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
LUVBP33

GOOD JOB DONE,FOR WHAT WAS DONE FOR THE EMPLOYIES,DON'T FORGET U TO COULD BE IN THERE SHOES,ONE OF THEM COULD BE UR BOSS AND NOT DO U THE SAME WAY AS U DID THEM.AND WHERE U CAME FROM,U HAVE TO START SOMEWHERE SOMEDAY......

March 22 2011 at 1:32 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
DOROTHY ABBOTT

I JUST LOVE THIS UNDERCOVER BOSS ST LEAST THEY GET A CHANCE TO REALLY SEE WHAT THE EMPLOYEE REALLY HAVE TO ENDJRE. BUT AT THE END IT IS SO TOUCHING AND HEART FELT.

March 22 2011 at 12:50 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
fordgarye

So the boss played "employee" and claims to understand how the other half lives and deals with the financial mess this country is in. Bogus! So he plays serf for a few days and claims to have new understanding of how the "peons" live - meanwhile he returns to his penthouse/mansion. Is he one of those CEO's whose salary is 1000 times the amount paid to the average worker in his company? And with his new found knowledge about the lives of his employees, does he make any real lasting change in how they are treated? Oh hell no - maybe a few people got temporary gifts so the boss could feel better about himself. Nothing more. This show is a complete "load" of poop -

March 22 2011 at 12:33 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to fordgarye's comment
realrambo

Watch the show then talk

March 22 2011 at 1:14 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
mwdesigns21

actually, DON'T watch the show......turn the channel stupid!!!!!
I would be glad to have the head boss try to understand my job.......and get a nice gift......
He doesn't owe you (or his employees) anything more than what they earn.......

March 22 2011 at 1:31 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

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