Cherokee Nation Reveals Study on New Russellville Casino

Arkansas’ casino industry is growing rapidly. Since 2018, Class III gambling venues have been able to operate here. The state’s Native American tribes have been preparing to open new casinos in the state ever since. This week, the Cherokee Nation revealed a new study that shows how much revenue the new Russellville casino will generate.Arkansas

It’s a great time to be a casino fan in Arkansas. Several new gaming venues are scheduled to open here over the next few years. Today, we’re going to look at how much money a casino-resort in Russellville could generate.

Let’s get into it!

Arkansas Finally Expands Its Gambling Industry

Arkansas hasn’t always been a gambling hub. In fact, most traditional forms of gambling were banned here until fairly recently. Finally, in 2018, lawmakers in this state decided it was time to make a change.

A bill was passed that year that allows four Class III casinos to open in the state. These venues will be operated by Native American tribes. Not long after this bill was passed, tribes began coming up with casino plans.

Arkansas also now allows sports betting. In July of 2019, the first legal sports wager was placed here.

There are now several popular gaming venues in this state. One that’s beginning to generate serious revenue is the Southland Casino. Recently, this casino began offering its first sports betting options just in time for the Super Bowl.

More casinos are scheduled to open here over the next few years. The Cherokee Nation has worked hard to have plans for a new Russellville casino approved. This week, the tribe released information about how much revenue this new casino could generate for the state.

The New Russellville Casino Will Generate Billions

Arkansas is shaping up to be a major new casino market. All of the casinos that open here are likely to be successful. According to the Cherokee Nation, the new Russellville casino will be a serious revenue generator.

The tribe released a study that indicates this casino will generate billions of dollars. An economic impact of more than $3 billion is expected over the first 10 years of operating. This study was made by the Economic Impact Group, which used information from six different counties to form these statistics.

Chuck Garrett, CEO of Cherokee Nation Businesses, commented on the report to the media this week.

“In forming our plans for Legends Resort & Casino, we turned to a network of experts to help us understand how this project would impact the region’s economy,” he said. “It was fitting for us to engage this research through Dr. Russell Evans and EIG who are already very familiar with current CNB operations.”

The study also claims that more than 1,700 jobs will become available once the casino is up and running. Lawmakers are likely to see these figures and should give the green light to begin construction within a couple of months.

Casinos Already Generate Millions in Tax Money for Arkansas

Most analysts predicted that Arkansas would become a hot casino market. These predictions seem to be correct. Since casinos began opening here, revenue from this industry has been skyrocketing.

In October of 2019, a revenue record was set. Casinos in the state brought in an incredible $554.4 million. That beat the state’s forecast by $36.8 million. With sports betting now up and running, revenue earnings are increasing even more.

The new Russellville casino will be a major revenue generator for the state, as well. If the estimates are correct, it will bring in billions to the state within a decade.

As of now, only four casinos are allowed to open here. That may change in the future. As time goes now, state officials may decide to allow more gambling venues to start operating.

We’ll need to wait for the state to approve the Cherokee Nation’s new gaming venue. Stay tuned for updates over the next few months!

What’s Happening in Vegas? February 16 – 22

All the exciting events taking place in Las Vegas this week:

With each passing week of February, the weather in Las Vegas gets a little bit better. Pool season is just around the corner, yet for now, most visitors prefer to check out the city’s exciting indoor activities. Fortunately, there are some great ones taking place in Las Vegas this week.

There is an exciting mix of sporting events, concerts, and comedy shows scheduled to take place over the next few days. Both tourists and locals here have a lot of fun Las Vegas events to choose from.

What's Happening in Vegas Banner

Here are five of the most exciting events you can attend in Las Vegas this week.

Sunday, February 16th

Jeff Dunham

All of the best comedians in the world regularly perform in Las Vegas. On Sunday, Jeff Dunham takes his legendary act to the Colosseum inside Caesars Palace. Dunham is one of the few comedians still capable of pulling off a ventriloquist act, which seems to get better every year.

The Colosseum is one of the best venues in the city to see a comedy performance. Incredibly, tickets for this show are still available, with prices starting at just $76.

Tuesday, February 18th

UNLV vs. Colorado State

Just last week, UNLV took on UNR in an intense state rivalry game. The Vegas-based team lost that match, and are looking for redemption this Tuesday against Colorado State. The game takes place inside the Thomas and Mack Center, on the University of Nevada campus.

Both of these teams are looking to climb up the rankings right now. With UNLV’s recent loss, you can expect them to play with serious intensity. Basketball fans can attend this week’s game for just $10.

Thursday, February 20th

Golden Knights vs. Tampa Bay

There are more than just collegiate sporting events happening in Las Vegas this week. On Thursday, the LV Golden Knights take on the Tampa Bay Lightning inside the T-Mobile Arena. The game begins at 7 pm.

The NHL postseason is now less than two months away, meaning every game played has serious playoff implications. Tickets to see the Golden Knights are still available for just $78. Even those unfamiliar with ice hockey can enjoy the exciting atmosphere inside one of Las Vegas’ best sporting venues.

Friday, February 21st

Zedd

This weekend, Las Vegas becomes a music fan’s dream. On Friday, Zedd is set to perform inside Omnia Nightclub at Caesars Palace. Zedd is one of the world’s best EDM artists with major hits such as Beautiful Now, Clarity, and Stay.

There’s nothing quite like seeing a world-class artist perform in a major Las Vegas nightclub. By all accounts, Zedd puts on a show for the ages every single time he gets on stage. Tickets for this fun Las Vegas event are still available with prices starting at only $25.

Saturday, February 22nd

Migos

On Saturday, the beat changes as Migos hits Drai’s Nightclub. The world-renowned rap trio is considered pioneers in the mumble rap game, producing several major hits over the years like Bad and Boujee and Offset. The group’s show at Drai’s should produce fireworks.

Migos are still working on their new album, and in the meantime are performing around the country. This may be the last chance to see them get out their old hits on stage. Prices for this show are set at $40.

As you can see, there is a wide variety of exciting Las Vegas events happening this week. Whether you’re a hardcore sports fan or a music lover, there’s something in this city for you.

Enjoy your stay!

MGM Springfield Continues to Disappoint

In August of 2018, MGM Springfield officially opened its doors to the public. Since that time, the Springfield, Massachusetts gambling venue has struggled to generate revenue. Officials within MGM Resorts International spoke about the low revenue figures to the media this week.MGM Springfield

This venue has been a major disappointment for one of the country’s biggest casino operators. Today, we’re going to talk about why this is. We’ll also discuss what steps MGM may take to change this downward trend.

Let’s get into it!

Massachusetts Proves to Be a Difficult Casino Market

For many years, lawmakers in Massachusetts banned all forms of casino gambling. In 2011, the state finally agreed to a set of laws that allows three new land-based casinos to open. In 2018, MGM Resorts International opened the state’s first gambling venue in the city of Springfield.

Expectations for this venue were high. Many considered Massachusetts to be one of the most lucrative new casino markets in the country. By the time MGM Springfield opened up, almost everyone agreed it would be extremely successful.

For a time, these theories were correct. MGM Springfield drew in many visitors early on and began generating serious revenue. As time went on, however, these earnings began to drop. One reason for this was the opening of Wynn Resorts’ Encore Boston Harbor casino-resort.

This new casino instantly captured a huge portion of the MA casino market. Many gamblers who previously gambled inside MGM Springfield began making the switch to the Encore. It was a tough break for MGM Resorts International, who didn’t anticipate their market to be taken over so quickly.

Despite the company’s best efforts, things don’t seem to be improving for MGM Resorts. A company official spoke about this disappointing performance to the media this week.

MGM Springfield Still Struggles to Generate Revenue

MGM Resorts International has been undergoing some massive changes in recent months. Last year, the company sold some of its biggest properties in Las Vegas. Just last week, CEO Jim Murren announced he’s stepping down.

There’s a lot to juggle here. Murren is continuing to run the company until a replacement is chosen. This week, Murren commented on the MGM Springfield property and doesn’t seem pleased with the venue’s performance.

“MGM Springfield has admittedly performed below our expectations, and we’ve recently made some changes there to better position the property,” he said. 

It’s surprising for some to hear that MGM continues to invest in this venue. Many expected the company to sell it and simply take the losses. That does not appear to be the case.

For now, MGM Resorts International wants to continue running its only Massachusetts property. With some changes, perhaps this venue can once again capture the state’s market.

Massachusetts isn’t the only area that MGM is continuing to invest in.

Macau May Soon Become Profitable Again For MGM Resorts

Macau is one of the world’s largest gaming markets. Many of the world’s top casino companies invest in property here, including MGM Resorts. Unfortunately, revenue from this territory has been dropping for more than a year.

Throughout 2019, tourism in Macau was down. The US-Chinese trade war had taken a toll on China’s economy, causing fewer nationals here to gamble. Macau relies on Chinese high rollers and as less began visiting here, revenue started to tumble.

Recently, the coronavirus has hurt this territory. As the 2019-nCoV virus spreads throughout China, less people are able to travel into Macau. Recently, officials in this territory decided to shut down all the casinos in order to prevent infections.

This casino shutdown is costing companies millions of dollars a day. It finally seems as if infection rates are beginning to even out and Macau may finally become a profitable casino market once again. Several investment groups have recommended people buy stock in MGM Resorts as the Macau situation improves.

2020 will be an important year for MGM Resorts. Hopefully, the company’s new CEO can be even more successful than Jim Murren.

Stay tuned for more casino news over the next few months!

MGM Resorts in Osaka Now Seems Highly Likely

In mid-2018, lawmakers in Japan shocked the world by passing a bill to legalize casino gambling. It was a huge change, as Japan previously banned virtually all forms of gambling. Since the bill was passed, every single major US casino company has pushed to obtain a casino license here. Now, it appears that MGM Resorts in Osaka is on the horizon.MGM Resorts Logo

New reports indicate that this company is the favorite to obtain a casino license in this city. It’s fantastic news for the Las Vegas-based gaming operator. Today, we’re going to talk about this company’s move into Japan.

Let’s get into it!

Japan Shaping Up to Be One of the World’s Biggest Casino Markets

For decades, Japan was considered one of the least-friendly gambling countries in the world. Government officials here banned just about all forms of gambling shortly after World War Two. Pachinko, a sort of slot-machine style game, is the only form of gambling allowed in this country.

This is beginning to change now. In 2018, officials here finally decided it was time to earn revenue from the gambling industry. The government approved a bill to legalize three casino-resorts in the country.

That doesn’t mean casinos became immediately available here. The government is taking its time coming up with a specific set of laws to regulate this new industry. Lawmakers are also working to decide which companies should be allowed to operate gambling venues in the country.

Analysts predict that Japan will quickly become one of the largest casino markets in the world. There are a huge number of individuals here that will gamble and casinos will help to bring in gambling tourists from many nearby countries. Unsurprisingly, just about every single major casino operator has pushed to obtain a casino license here.

This includes MGM Resorts International. This company has looked to operate a gambling venue in Osaka for years. Now, it appears that MGM Resorts in Osaka is becoming a reality.

MGM Resorts in Osaka Might be Just Around the Corner

Osaka is one of the biggest cities in Japan. It’s expected to be one of the three casinos chosen to host a casino-resort. MGM Resorts International has repeatedly stated that it wants to operate a venue here.

News is new coming out that MGM Resorts is the lead bidder to obtain a casino license in Osaka. The Las Vegas-based casino operator is teaming up with Japan’s Orix Corp to build and run this new property. MGM is willing to invest billions into a new casino-resort in Osaka.

MGM Resorts in Osaka is not a guarantee, though. For now, the company is only the lead bidder. The local government will officially decide on which company will receive a license this June.

It seems highly likely that MGM will be chosen, though. Not long ago, Wynn Resorts announced it was no longer interested in opening a gambling venue here. Las Vegas Sands and Melco Resorts & Entertainment have also withdrawn from this city.

Osaka is expected to be the first city that grants a casino license. A casino here would greatly expand MGM Resorts International’s portfolio.

That’s not the only interesting thing happening with this casino company.

Jim Murren’s Departure From MGM Drops Share Prices

Since 2008, Jim Murren has been the CEO of MGM Resorts International. During his tenure as company leader, he’s helped to significantly expand the company’s portfolio. He’s also credited with saving the company from bankruptcy during the recession of 2008 and 2009.

This week, Murren announced that he’s stepping down as CEO. His contract was set to expire soon, yet it appears he’s ready to call it a day a little early. The company is currently searching for a replacement. In the meantime, Murren is remaining as CEO.

Shortly after Murren’s announcement, MGM Resorts’ share prices began to plummet. After the markets closed on Wednesday, the company’s stock fell by 5.5%. Several analysts have questioned what the company’s next strategy will be.

It’s clear that overseas expansion is in the works. MGM Resorts in Osaka seems inevitable. There’s also a chance that this company begins pushing into new countries in Asia, as well.

MGM is likely to announce its new CEO over the next few weeks. There are plenty of options to choose from. Whoever steps into the position has some big shoes to fill.

Stay tuned for more news on MGM Resorts International over the next few weeks!

14 Illegal Gambling Operations in Michigan Get Shut Down by State

Poker Cards Laid Out, Stacked Casino Chips
Outside of licensed casinos, slot machines are illegal to operate in the state of Michigan. While redemption games are legal in the state, investigators found that 14 businesses were claiming to offer redemption games when they were in fact casino-style video slot machines.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel’s office and the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) joined forces in 2019 to issue cease-and-desist orders to businesses throughout the state that were offering illegal slot games.

Rather than potentially facing criminal charges, each business decided to close. Should the businesses have chosen to remain open, they could have faced some serious charges. Unlicensed gambling business operators could be dealt a 10-year felony charge.

Two of the 14 businesses have reopened since closing down.

“Illegal gambling can lead to money laundering and other crimes that impact the safety and security of Michigan communities,” said Richard S. Kalm, MGCB executive director, in a press release. “Legal gambling is taxed and regulated, and taxes go back into the community as funding for K-12 education. An illegal gambling operation doesn’t support the community but instead siphons funds away from it.”

Redemption Games Versus Casino-Style Slots

The biggest defining factor between casino-style slots and redemption games is that casino-style slots are based on chance, while redemption games are based on skill.

Redemption machines feature rolls of computerized cannisters that are spun. When the final row comes on the screen, players can either “nudge” it to a win or a loss. Players of skill redemption games say that the machine gives broad hints on how to nudge their final row of play.

Another big different is that redemption games don’t pay the players in cash, but instead print out tickets that the player can redeem for gift cards or merchandise.

“Whether they are a skill-based game is subject to interpretation,” said Andrea Brancato of the Michigan Lottery. “They have not officially been determined to be illegal.”

The 14 Locations Given Cease-And-Desist Orders

  • Atlantis Internet Café, 759 East St., Lapeer.
  • Bingo City, 4443 Dixie Highway, Waterford. Operation has since reopened.
  • Burton Redemption Center, 5515 Davison Road, Burton.
  • Fortunes Skilled Gaming Lounge, 1777 South Cedar St., Imlay City.
  • Jackpot Island Café, 700 S. Main St., Lapeer.
  • Jewlz Haven, 66783 Gratiot, Richmond.
  • Lucky’s 7160 Highland Road, Waterford.
  • Lucky’s Skill Game Café, 66830 Van Dyke, Washington Township.
  • Monte Carlo Café, 723 South State Road, Davison
  • Oakland County
  • Spinners 777, 43648 Schoenherr, Sterling Heights.
  • Stoney Creek Internet Café, 2040 Whittaker Road, Ypsilanti.
  • The Nudgemaster Café, 3514 Plainfield Ave., Grand Rapids. Cafe reopened in January.
  • Waterford Redemption Center, 3687 Highland Road, Waterford.
  • X-Tech Internet Café, 290 South Telegraph, Pontiac.

State of Gambling in Michigan

While on-site gambling is legal and plentiful in the state of Michigan, online sports betting has currently been delayed until what lawmakers are estimating a debut date of 2021. The delay is due to the development of online rules that would adequately govern it, for the industries of online poker, online casino games, sports betting, and fantasy sports.

Sports Betting in South Dakota Takes a Step Forward

Basketball Going Through Net
On February 11, the Senate Joint Resolution passed the Senate in a 24-10 vote, pushing South Dakota further toward legalization.

Senate Joint Resolution 501 was first introduced on Jan. 30, 2020: 20 of the states 30 Republicans votes in its favor, with four out of five Democrats also in favor. With the passing vote, it has been sent to the state House for consideration.

If sports betting becomes legalized, the earliest the state could see it come to fruition would be Summer 2021. This would be dependent on the approval of the House and votes, of course. Mike Rodman, executive director of the Deadwood Gaming Association, believes sports betting could add a vital $4 million market to the city of Deadwood alone.

“We certainly think it is important to have sports wagering as another tool in our toolbox here in Deadwood, across the county sports wagering is kind of the rage, and we want to have that here to keep Deadwood a competitive destination with other gaming destinations,” said Mike Rodman, executive director of the Deadwood Gaming Association.”

Gambling in the State

Legal Gambling

On-site gambling is permissible in the state of South Dakota, and they are home to over 45 casinos statewide. The state also operates tribal venues alongside commercial gambling properties within the state. The city of Deadwood is a casino gambling hub in the area.

There are some restrictions on existing gaming laws, including what games venues are allowed to host. Currently, permissible venues can host slots, live poker, blackjack games, and casino-style poker games.

Smaller businesses, including bars and clubs, are permitted to operate “limited-stakes” card games and slot machines. Charitable gaming and race betting are also allowed, under certain conditions.

Illegal Gambling

Currently, online gambling is explicitly illegal in the state of South Dakota.

There have several laws addressing online gaming, specifically Chapter 22025A, titled “Internet Gambling”:

“For the purposes of this chapter, the term, bet or wager, means to directly or indirectly take, receive, or accept money or any valuable thing with the understanding or agreement that the money or valuable thing will be paid or delivered to a person if the payment or delivery is contingent upon the result of a race, contest, or game or upon the happening of an event not known to be certain. Bet or wager does not include the purchase, sale, or trade of securities or commodities under state or federal law.”

What’s more, is that any bet that’s illegally accepted in real money online casinos or sportsbooks will result in individual violations for the perpetrator, as outlined in Code 22-25A-9:

“Each bet a separate violation. A violation of § 22-25A-7 or 22-25A-8 occurs if the violation originates or terminates, or both, in this state. Each individual bet or wager offered in violation of § 22-25A-7 or from a location or site that violates § 22-25A-8 constitutes a separate violation.”

Rodman, who says that illegal betting has already been happening in the state, is excited for the opportunity for a new, legal option to become available.

Atlantic City’s Starting Year Casino Revenue up 23% From Last Year

View of Atlantic City
In an impressive 20-month streak, gaming revenue has been on the rise for Atlantic City casinos, with January being the seventh consecutive month of double-digit growth.

“2020 is off to a promising start for Atlantic City,” said Steve Callender, president of the Casino Association of New Jersey and senior vice president of Eastern regional operations for Tropicana Atlantic City’s parent company, Eldorado Resorts. “The city continues to see increased sports betting and tourism, two important economic drivers. I look forward to a year of continued progress in 2020.”

And all nine of the city’s casinos are feeling the growth.

According to Ocean Casino Resort CEO Terry Glebocki, their slot revenues were especially impressive, increasing a whopping 87% since last January. Glebocki says they will continue investing in their property with the addition of the new high limit slot parlor, Asian gaming salon, and VIP lounge.

Atlantic City’s newest properties, Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City and Ocean Casino Resort, are to thank for much of the city’s booming revenue increase. They ranked third and sixth in the market in their total revenue from tables and slots. That’s a 36% increase compared with 2019’s levels. Altogether, the city saw their tables and slots revenue go up 8.3%.

According to data released Wednesday by the state Division of Gaming Enforcement, casinos reported a total gaming revenue of $270.5 million last month. That’s a 22.6% increase, or $50 million, from last January.

James Plousis, Casino Control Commission Chairman, said “revenue from slots, table games, internet waging, and sports wagering all grew.” Adding that:

“Internet and sports wagering did particularly well, bolstering the industry’s performance in the middle of the traditional offseason.”

Online Revenue is Booming

In a series of firsts, Internet gaming revenue passed the $55 million mark in January. There has been a 64% increase in revenue last year, which is over a $21 million jump.

Of that $55 million, close to half of that amount came from Golden Nugget alone, with them dominating $21.2 million of the online gaming pie.

Exciting even still, is that, according to industry experts, online casino gaming has yet to hit its “sweet spot” in the state.

According to Eric Ramsey, gaming analyst for PlayNJ.com, if current revenue patterns continue, hitting $700 million is “within reach in 2020, which would have been inconceivable just a few years ago.”

Sports Betting is Largely to Thank

“The industry’s ability to find new areas of growth, along with the symbiotic relationship that exists with online sports betting, will keep online casino gambling moving forward,” Ramsey said.

It’s no secret. Sports betting is huge money in the world of wagering, and Atlantic City is cashing in on it. The city’s sports betting revenues are up 139.9%, resulting in a $23.4 million increase in revenue for the city’s casinos and their online/mobile partners.

Sports wagering even brings in gamblers who end up staying for additional gaming experiences. According to Plousis:

“Guests who came to wager on sports events took the opportunity to explore Atlantic City’s abundant gaming and non-gaming option. Casino executives I’ve spoken with were very pleased that customers stayed longer to enjoy the city’s diverse dining and entertainment offerings. Making investments that lead to positive customer experiences can provide strong competitive advantage for Atlantic City.”

New Jersey Could Possibly Out-Rank Nevada

That numbers for last month saw $540 million legally wagered on sports, thanks to the wide variety of highly-anticipated, annual NFL sporting events going on at the time, including the NFL playoffs and college football championship games.

With the current trajectory of gaming earnings in the state, betting experts believe that New Jersey won’t only go toe-to-toe with Nevada, the nation’s top-earning gambling state, but that it will surpass it in time. While January saw New Jersey earn over $500 million in revenue, Nevada, which earned $497.5 million in January 2019, has yet to surpass the $500 million mark.

“New Jersey could very well top Nevada, not just in January, but for the foreseeable future,” said Dustin Gouker, another lead analyst for PlayNJ.com. “And assuming that happens, we could be seeing the beginning of New Jersey’s more permanent place as the top market in the country.”

Jim Murren Stepping Down As CEO Of MGM Resorts International

Jim Murren has been a part of MGM Resorts International for decades. He entered the company as chief financial officer and was named CEO ten years later. This week, news broke of Jim Murren stepping down from his leadership position in the company.Jim Murren

It’s an interesting development that many didn’t see coming. Murren has been a hugely important part of MGM since the 90s. Today, we’ll look back at some of Murren’s achievements and discuss his reasons for leaving the company.

Let’s get into it!

Changes to MGM Resorts Under CEO Jim Murren

It didn’t take long for Jim Murren to start leading MGM Resorts International (at that time called MGM Mirage). He entered the company as CFO back in 1998. Before long, he was promoted to COO and just a couple of years after that was named CEO. Since that time, the company has undergone some major changes.

After becoming CEO, Murren announced a major restructuring of the company that resulted in annual savings of $500 million. This decision helped to save the company from disaster during the recession of 2008 and 2009. It significantly improved his standing in the company and secured his status as chief executive officer.

Jim Murren also engaged in several sales over the years. The first major Las Vegas property sale came in December of 2018. That month, MGM Resorts sold Treasure Island Hotel & Casino to Phil Ruffin.

MGM Resorts has continued to expand over the years. The company has worked hard to break into the newly-emerging US sports betting industry. Today, MGM has partnerships with several major sports leagues and operates its own sports betting application available in select states.

It’s clear that Jim Murren has been a major part of this company. His work saved MGM Resorts International from bankruptcy and expanded the company more in the US and internationally. Hopefully, Jim Murren stepping down as CEO won’t affect the company in a negative way.

Why is Jim Murren Stepping Down as CEO Right Now?

There’s no rest for the weary when you’re CEO of a major casino company. Jim Murren worked hard for decades and it appears he’s ready for something new. Murren’s contract was set to end soon. It seems he’s calling it a day just a little earlier than many initially thought.

He will continue to serve as CEO until a new successor is appointed. MGM Resorts’ Board Of Directors is currently working to find a suitable replacement. Board member Roland Hernandez released a statement today thanking Murren for his time as CEO.

“On behalf of the entire MGM Resorts Board of Directors, I want to thank Jim for his years of dedication to the company and the community,” he said. “Jim has led [MGM Resorts] through growth, transforming it into a global entertainment company with a worldwide footprint and creating value for MGM Resorts shareholders.”

Jim Murren spoke about his decision to step down, as well.

“Leading MGM Resorts has been the most rewarding and fulfilling experience in my professional career,” Murren said in a statement. “It has been an honor to work with such a talented group of men and women who provide millions of guests with memorable life experiences every day all over the world. We have a solid leadership team in place, and I am confident that they will work with my successor to continue the company’s trajectory of growth and expansion.”

Jim Murren stepping down might not be ideal right now, yet MGM likely has a room full of suitable replacements.

MGM Resorts’ Stock Price Fluctuates

MGM Resorts International is one of the biggest and most successful casino companies in the world. It’s based in Las Vegas and has property in various countries around the world. It’s not uncommon to see MGM’s stock price rise and fall.

Not long after the news of Jim Murren stepping down broke, MGM Resorts International’s stock price rose by 7%. Part of this is also due to the coronavirus infection rates starting to level out. This is expected to open up the casinos currently shut down in Macau.

The company’s Q4 revenue figures did not hit estimates, though. MGM Resorts announced quarterly earnings of $0.08 per share at the end of 2019. That’s significantly less than the Zacks Consensus Estimate at $0.24 per share.

There’s no real cause for concern, though. MGM Resorts remains a highly successful company. It’s also begun generating serious revenue from more Las Vegas property sales. With Macau operations set to begin again, 2020 should be a great year for this company.

Jim Murren stepping down makes sense. The company will now look to get a smart, experienced leader in the CEO position. Stay tuned for updates over the next few months!

Lucky Gambler Hits $1.7 Million Jackpot on Wheel of Fortune Slots at Wynn

Casino Wheel of Fortune Slot Machine
On Monday evening, one lucky gambler hit big at the Wynn Las Vegas. When we say big, we mean $1.7 million big. They won off a $10 wager.

The gambler hit the jackpot on a Wheel of Fortune slot machine around 6:30 p.m. The exact payout was $1,734,677.19

The Wheel of Fortune slot machines have pumped out two other major wins in the valley over the last few months. Most recently in January, a gambler won $5.4 million on its machines at The Excalibur. Last November, a gambler won $2.2 million in November on its machines at The Mirage.

Other Wins This Month

  • A Wisconsin visitor won a $100,000 jackpot at a slot machine at Paris Las Vegas.
  • A Louisiana visitor, Katherine C. of Louisiana, celebrated her birthday with a $100,000 royal flush win at the Three Card Poker table at the Rio.
  • A California visitor, Preston, won $15,497 at a slots machine at the California Hotel.
  • A gambler won $13,794.90 at a progressive slot at Binion’s.
  • A Blackjack bet on a 21+3 table won a player $9,372 at Downtown Grand.
  • A video keno player earned $7,000 from a 7-spot hit at Fremont.

Information About Wheel of Fortune Slot Machines

The Wheel of Fortune slot machine has been a staple on casino floors since it first launched in 1995. Modeled after the popular, long-standing American TV game show, Wheel of Fortune, it’s a slot that’s hard to miss with its colorfully large, and recognizable spinning wheel that sits atop of the slot.

The machines are often standard three-reel machines, with a spot on the wheel typically being worth between 20 and 1000 credits. Special multipliers are attained when more than three spin symbols activate a game.

Since its arrival, the Wheel of Fortune slot machines have reportedly awarded more than $2.9 billion.

The Encore and Wynn Las Vegas Get Bumped up to 5 Star Forbes Rating

The Wynn Las Vegas, Encore Las Vegas
Forbes Travel Guide announced on Wednesday that two famous hotels on the Las Vegas Strip, the Encore and Wynn Las Vegas, earned an extra star on their rating, bumping them up to a perfect 5-star Forbes rating. Both properties were upgraded from their former four-star rating.

In an even more impressive feat, Wynn Resorts Ltd. stated that the Encore and Wynn Las Vegas now serve as the largest and second-largest resorts to earn a coveted Forbes 5-star rating globally.

The ratings come during Forbes Travel Guide’s annual Star Rating Awards, but this year saw Forbes giving a record number of five-star designations to numerous new properties, as a part of their global expansion.

107 awards were announced, with 70 of those awards going to hotels. As compared with 2019’s ratings, which only saw 21 hotels get added to the five-star rating list.

According to Amanda Frasier, head of rating for Forbes Travel Guide, the new five-star additions “really help propel (Las Vegas) to one of the strongest performing five-star cities and states in the USA,” adding that “Nevada as a state is so strong.”

Currently, as far as greatest number of five-star hotels in the U.S. goes, Nevada ranks fourth. For highest number of five-star spas and five-star restaurants, Nevada sits pretty in third place.

Other 5 Star Rated Hotels, Spas, and Restaurants in Las Vegas

Las Vegas has been awarded with six five-star hotels, six five-star restaurant, and four five-star spas. Here’s a list of the current five-star winners:

Hotels

  • ARIA Sky Suites
  • Encore at Wynn Las Vegas
  • Encore Tower Suites
  • Skylofts at MGM Grand
  • Wynn Las Vegas
  • Wynn Tower Suites

Restaurants

  • Joël Robuchon, fine French fare at MGM Grand
  • Le Cirque Las Vegas, fine dining under Bellagio’s circus-tent themed dining room
  • Picasso, Las Vegas’ most “artistic restaurant,” located at Bellagio
  • Restaurant Guy Savor, exquisite French fare in the Augustus Tower at Caesars Palace
  • Twist by Pierre Gagnaire, fine French flair on the 23rd floor of Waldorf Astoria Las Vegas
  • Wing Lei at Wynn Las Vegas, high-end Chinese cuisine

Spa

  • The Spa & Salon at ARIA
  • The Spa at Encore Las Vegas
  • The Spa at Vdara
  • The Spa at Wynn Las Vegas

What Earns a 5 Star Rating?

Forbes Travel Guide’s expert inspectors anonymously test properties against up to 900 rigorous standards. According to their website, here’s a glimpse into the standards they look for when giving their five-star rating:

  • Top-notch room service
  • Beautiful beds
  • Distinctive drinks
  • Supreme service
  • Memorable meals
  • Thoughtful turndown
  • Helpful housekeeping
  • Genuine interest
  • Exceeding expectations

And Forbes Travel Guide inspectors need to be sharp on their game to dish out the proper rating designation. On average, inspectors travel around 260 days per year, are contractually bound to not have any social media presence and fill out hefty inspection reports that take over 10 hours to complete.

“We need them to not only pay attention to the details after a long flight from one side of the country to the other or one side of the world other, but we need them to submit a really high-quality report,” Amanda Frasier, head of ratings, told USA TODAY. The inspectors go through rigorous training and need to understand cultural nuance.

“We know that cultural nuance and geographical location play a part in how service is delivered, and we want to make sure that comes through in the way that we conduct our evaluation and in the reports that these hotels end up reading.”

About Forbes Travel Guide

Forbes is the global authority on luxury verification. First launching in 1958, they began as a guidebook for US motorists, originally known as “Mobil Travel Guide.” Since their inception, their expert team of inspectors have traveled the world to anonymously assess hotels, restaurants, and spas in more than 70 countries against their rigorous luxury standards.

Inspectors stay as anonymous guests at each property they visit, allowing for a truly  independent and objective Star Rating process.

According to their website:

“While we assess both service and facility, our Star Rating system emphasizes service because your experience at a hotel, restaurant, or spa goes beyond looks — how it makes you feel is what you will remember most.”

“For us, it is all about how does the hotel make the guest feel?” Filip Boyen, CEO of Forbes Travel Guide, told USA TODAY.