On September 22, the San Manuel Gaming and Hospitality Authority (SMGHA) announced that Cynthia Kiser Murphey has been named general manager of the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas.
SMGHA Nevada LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the SMGHA, is in the process of acquiring the Palms from Red Rock Resorts Inc.
Following the close of the transaction, Kiser Murphey will be responsible for the operation of the Palms. The resort, which has been closed for more than a year, includes approximately 700 hotel rooms and suites, multiple casual and upscale dining options, meeting and convention space, a 2,500-seat theater, pool and spa and the Palms Place condominiums.
SMGHA Chairwoman Latisha Casas said, “In Southern California, our tribe is well known for being a successful casino operator and recognized as a community leader and an employer of choice. … It was important to our board that we find a leader for the Palms who shares our values, personifies our commitment to diversity and exhibits a leadership style that puts people first. Upon meeting Cynthia, it was clear that she has all three and more. With decades of experience in the gaming industry, she has excelled both in operations and human resources, creating dynamic teams that deliver memorable guest experiences, something that will be important to Las Vegas locals and our loyal guests from San Manuel Casino.”
Kiser Murphey is the former president and COO of the New York-New York Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, and held multiple leadership positions at MGM Resorts International from 1992 to 2008, including a tenure as senior vice president of HR at MGM Mirage.
“I am humbled to be chosen to lead this exciting endeavor as the SMGHA becomes the first Native American owner and operator of a Las Vegas casino,” she said. “The Palms is an iconic property with a rich connection to the community. I look forward to strengthening those ties while working with the team to create a wholly unique experience for Team Members and customers that reflects the SMGHA’s values and culture.”
Kiser Murphey holds a bachelor’s degree in hotel and restaurant management and a master’s in hotel administration, both from UNLV. She was previously a part-time faculty and adjunct professor at the university, where she was also a former classmate of MGM Resorts President and CEO Bill Hornbuckle, according to a 2017 UNLV profile on her.
“Cindy has a way of getting people involved,” Hornbuckle told UNLV at the time. “Still does.”