ParkMGM to Reopen as the Strip’s First Non-Smoking Casino Resort

Las Vegas Park MGM Building
The Las Vegas Strip will have its first smoke-free casino at the end of the month.

MGM Resorts International announced on Monday that Park MGM will be a smoke-free facility when it reopens on September 30, 2020. The tobacco smoking ban covers the entire property, including the NoMad Las Vegas boutique hotel located at the upper floors of the resort building. The 5,200-seat Park Theater, which remains closed due to the COVID-19 ban on public gatherings, will also be a no smoking area when it opens its doors again in the future. Smoking areas will be provided outside Park MGM, and tobacco smoking is permitted at nearby MGM Properties like New York-New York and Aria.

Park MGM President Anton Nikodemus says that while it is the first in the Strip, it is not the first of MGM’s properties to be smoke-free. He noted that properties in other states like MGM Springfield in Massachusetts and MGM National Harbor in Maryland also ban smoking. Added Nikodemus:

“We’re making the facility completely non-smoking because of continued guest requests. We believe there is a high level of pent-up demand to have a non-smoking casino, especially here in Las Vegas.”

A Milestone, Not A Gamble

MGM’s move is seen as a milestone and not a gamble.The move is a turning point in a city known for its bright lights and heavy smoking, especially on the gaming floors. Before the pandemic struck, visitors could find ashtrays on every gambling table and and servers parading across the gaming area peddling cigars and cigarettes.

In the past, smoking and second-hand smoking have sparked political debates and even lawsuits. But the pandemic has forced the world to rethink a lot of things. For Sin City, this is one of them. There has been an increasing demand to have non-smoking casinos on the Strip. It’s but fitting that the biggest operator in the city is the first to provide that.

New Slogan

The Park MGM is the property that used to be the Monte Carlo casino-hotel. It has 2,993 rooms and several restaurant’s including Las Vegas’ only Eataly. It has been closed since March when casinos and hotels were shutdown by the government to help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus. It is the last of MGM Resorts International’s 29 U.S properties to reopen.

Earlier in the summer, there were rumors that the property on New York-New York and City Center would ban smoking. These stories floated when MGM and other companies started reopening their doors. There were whispers that Park MGM would be the first smoke-free casino in the Strip. On Monday moning, the resort’s website was updated with a new homepage that read: “Let’s Clean the Air: Park MGM is Smoke-Free.”

Two IAC Top Execs Added to MGM Board

MGM Resorts International LogoCasino giant MGM Resorts International named two top officers from the InterActiveCorp. (IAC) to its Board of Directors following the latter’s $1B investment in MGM.

In an August 20 release MGM Resorts said that IAC Chairman and Senior Executive Barry Miller and CEO JOey Levin have joined MGM’s board., which now consists of 14 members.

Said MGM Chairman of the Board of Directors Paul Salem:

“We couldn’t be more excited to welcome Barry and Joey to our board and to benefit from their collaboration as MGM Resorts continues developing innovative products and elevating our leadership in digital experience. IAC’s significant investment, expertise and support come at a pivotal time and will play a key role in MGM’s strategy to seize emerging opportunities and lead the industry with unparalleled in-person and digital experiences.”

Experienced Executives

Diller served as the Chairman and CEO of IAC from 1995-2010. He boasts of a vast experience across several senior executive positions at the likes of Fox, Paramount Pictures, and Prime Time Television. He is also the Chairman and CEO of Expedia, serves on the Board of The Coca-Cola Company, and is a member of The Business Council.

Meanwhile, Levin joined the IAC in 2003 and he previously served as director of numerous publicly traded consumer technology companies like The Action Network, Groupon, and LendingTree. Levin is also the Chairman of the Board at ANGI Homeservices and MatchGroup. He also sits on the board of Turo, a privately held peer-to-peer car-sharing service.

IAC Had Eyes on BetMGM

IAC bought a 12% stake of the Casino Operator worth $1B with its eyes on MGM’s online gambling app BetMGM. Diller had long wanted to join the online gambling industry and he felt that BetMGM has the “immense potential” to emerge as a top plyer in the billion-dollar online betting business despite its small contribution to the overall revenue figure of MGM.

MGM President and CEO Bill Hornbuckle recently told analysts that its sports betting and online gambling platform is projected to earn $130M this year which is a very negligible amount compared to MGM’s casino earnings of $6.5B for the year 2019.

But MGM has become the premier sports betting outfit since sports wagering was legalized in 2018 in the United States. BetMGM, which was established with the collaboration of GVC holdings, is expected to pick up with the influx of funds from IAC. With the coronavirus pandemic also forcing brick and mortar casinos to close or operate at limited capacity, the online gambling industry is expected to rise this year.

Mirage Set To Reopen on Aug. 27

Mirage
MGM announced on Friday that The Mirage will reopen on August 27th.

The opening comes ahead of the long labor day weekend and the integrated resort is eyeing to capitalize on the expected traffic during that three-day break. Labor day 2020 will be on September 7, 2020. 

The Mirage has been closed since March of this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. When Nevada allowed casino gaming to return last June 4, MGM Resorts said that it would open its Las Vegas properties in phases, and as the travel demand returns.

Said MGM CEO Bill Hornbuckle:

“As we have slowly and thoughtfully reintroduced our properties across the country, we have placed the health and safety of our guests and employees first at all times. Reopening The Mirage allows us to bring many more of our employees back to work, which is critical in the recovery of our community.”

One of the Last To Reopen

The Mirage Casino resort ushered the transformation of the Las Vegas Stip when it debuted in 1989. The 3,044-room resort is part of casino giant MGM Resorts International and is well-known for its iconic volcanic show. It was also the longtime home for world famous magicians Siegfried and Roy. The Mirage has also hosted the popular Cirque du Soleil show “The Beatles LOVE” for years.

Like the other MGM hotels, The Mirage will have complimentary self-service parking by no valet parking. MGM’s health and safety protocols will also be in place. These include the wearing of face masks, use of plexiglass barriers, and the strict implementation of social distancing.

The first MGM hotels to open in the state were Bellagio, New York-New York, and MGM Grand. Aria, Vdara, Mandalay Bay, the Signature at the MGM Grand, Delano Las Vegas, Excalibur, and Luxor followed. The Mirage is one of the last of MGM’s 13 hotels to reopen. After August 27th, only Park MGM and NoMad, a boutique hotel inside Park MGM, will be the only two MGM hotels closed.

Good News

The Mirage did not mention how many employees will return for work during the reopening. However, gaming establishments all over the United States are operating at a decreased capacity as part of the health protocols imposed due to the pandemic, which means lower staff count.

Still, the announcement of the reopening of the Mirage is good news for the Silver state’s depleted economy. The Nevada Department of Employment, Training, and Rehabilitation reported a jobless rate of 15% last June, one of the highest in the entire country.

Last year, Mirage contributed a total of $615.17 in revenue to the Las Vegas economy, an increase of almost $20M from its 2018 income figures. The Mirage ranked fourth among Las Vegas Strip hotels and resorts in revenues, behind only Bellagio, MGM Grand, and Mandalay Bay.

 

Fox Founder Barry Diller Invests $1B in MGM

MGM Resorts International Logo
MGM Resorts International got a huge boost after Fox Broadcasting founder Barry Diller invested $1B in the gaming giant.

Diller’s IAC/Interactive said on Monday that it had bought a 12% stake in the MGM Resorts International. In a letter to the shareholders, Diller wrote that the gambling operator’s online gaming business was initially what attracted him. Said Diller:

“We believe MGM presented a ‘once in a decade’ opportunity for IAC to own a meaningful piece of a preeminent brand in a large category with great potential to move online.”

Interest In Online Gaming Business

Diller added that he has followed the online gaming business for a while and his company has been looking for a venue to enter the $450B industry. MGM’s online gaming business comprises just a small portion of its revenue but in his letter, Diller said that it is poised to thrive and develop.

“MGM also is an aspirational brand, which could be delivered with daily accessibility and offer gaming consumers (including the 34 million M-life Rewards members) a wider range of services, both physical and digital, than any competitor.”

MGM Resorts and the U.K. based sports betting giant GVC Holdings partnered to form Roar Digital in 2018, with each company investing $100M. Their product is the BetMGM app which is currently live in seven states and is expected to be available to a total of 11 by the end of 2020.

Last July MGM and GVC put in an additional investment totalling $250M. BetMGM’s progress has lagged but it is expected to accelerate, especially with IAC coming up with a $1B investment in MGM.

MGM’s Shares Soar

Diller’s purchase comes at a time when when the gambling industry has been severely affected by the government restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the people’s fears about mass gatherings.

MGM saw its entire U.S. fleet of two dozen resorts in six states close at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic last March. All of its regional casinos have reopened except Empire City in New York while only The Mirage and Park MGM in Las Vegas are still closed.

MGM shares, which are traded in the New York Stock Exchange, closed up $2.62, 13.8% on volume or more than two-and-a-half times the daily average on the news of the deal. It retreated by $20 cents, 0.9 percent to end at $21.45 per share. Early trading saw the shares peak at $23.76 per share.

IAC Background

IAC acquired more than 59 million shares of MGM Resorts International over a nine-week period starting from the start of June 2020. The $1B purchase took some 34 stock transactions to be complete.

The 78-year old Diller founded Fox Broadcasting Co. and USA Broadcasting. He is currently ranked 168 in the Forbes 400 list with a net worth of $3B. Diller founded IAC in 1995 and is also the chairman of online travel titan Expedia, which acquired its holding company Liberty Expedia in 2019 for $2.6B.

IAC is a New York-based investment company with vast experience in media and online commerce. The portfolio of IAC includes Vimeo, Dotdash, and Care.com. It also owns a majority stake in ANGI Homeservices whose products include HomeAdvisor, Handy, and Angie’s List.

Maryland’s Gaming Revenue Has Dropped Significantly in 2020

The past four months have been incredibly difficult for land-based casinos around the United States. Many of the country’s casinos have begun to reopen, yet nearly all of them are struggling to bring in players. New reports on Maryland’s gaming revenue have just been released that shows how tough of a year 2020 has been for the casinos in this state.Maryland Icon

Casino revenue is dropping in every single state. Today, we’re going to look at exactly how much money the gaming venues in Maryland managed to bring in so far this year. We’ll also discuss revenue figures in other parts of the country.

Let’s get into it!

The Casino Industry in Maryland is Now Up and Running

The state of Maryland is home to six major casinos. It wasn’t until 2012 that lawmakers began allowing table games to be played inside these gambling venues. This industry has been growing steadily since that time.

At the start of this year, things looked great for the casinos here. Revenue was increasing and some felt that Maryland was growing to become one of the new gambling hubs on the East Coast. It even looked like sports betting was set to become legal here. Unfortunately, all of the state’s casinos were forced to close down in March of this year.

State leaders were initially unwilling to say when the casinos here would be allowed to reopen. New cases of Covid-19 have been fairly low here but many remain extremely cautious to get things back on track. Early last month, Governor Larry Hogan told the media that casinos would be allowed to reopen on June 19th.

All of the state’s casinos have now reopened with safety measures set in place. That includes social distancing measures and limiting contact between players. If cases begin to spike in Maryland, there’s a chance Governor Hogan will require the state’s casinos to close once again.

It’s been an incredibly difficult time for the companies operating these casinos. These companies are now working hard to attract new players. New revenue reports are beginning to come out here that show the toll the global pandemic has taken on this industry.

Maryland’s Gaming Revenue Has Already Dropped by 27% This Year

We’re only just beginning to see how badly the US casino industry is being affected by the events happening around the world. Even the casinos that have completely reopened are finding it difficult to generate revenue. As more regulations are set in place at these casinos, fewer people are choosing to gamble.

According to new reports from state gaming and lottery officials, Maryland’s gaming revenue has dropped by an incredible 27% so far this fiscal year. Over the fiscal year, casinos here generated $1.28 billion. Obviously, the majority of this money was made prior to the casino shutdowns in March. It’s still unclear how much money has been over the past few weeks.

MGM National Harbor, arguably the biggest and most popular casino in the state reopened on June 26th and generated $8 million over the next five days. Live! Casino & Hotel reopened on June 19th and made $15.9 million that month. Horseshoe Casino opened back up to the public on June 28th and managed to bring in $2.6 million over the next two days.

In total, Maryland’s gaming revenue for June came out to $34.9 million. $14.6 million of that went directly to the state in taxes.

Most analysts predict that casino revenue will be significantly lower this calendar year than it was in 2019. Some believe the US casino industry will never look the same way it did just a few months ago. We’ll continue to offer updates on the amount of revenue earned here as the year goes on.

Nevada’s Casino Revenue Was Almost Non-Existent in May

Just a few days ago, we reported on the revenue figures for the state of Nevada in May. Incredibly, revenue here dropped by 99.4% that month. It’s not very surprising when you consider the fact that all the casinos here were closed for the entire month.

The only money generated here came from the state’s regulated online gambling options. Las Vegas Strip casinos managed to bring in $3.8 million in May. Fortunately, things are guaranteed to be better in June.

Many of the top casino-resorts in Las Vegas opened back up on June 4th. Guests have been visiting and gambling inside these venues, albeit with major restrictions set in place. Plexiglass barriers separate players and wearing a mask is now mandatory inside all casinos here.

It’s difficult to predict how much money was earned last month. It will be a major indicator for how the rest of the year will go. In fact, June may prove to be the most successful month for the casinos here after reopening.

Maryland’s gaming revenue in fiscal 2020 dropped sharply. We’ll need to see if things improve over the next few weeks.

Have you visited any land-based casinos since March? How was your gambling experience? Let us know in the comments section below!

MGM Grand to Host The Hunger Games: The Exhibition

MGM Grand Hotel & Casino Las Vegas will host an exciting exhibition in May which is based on a popular movie/book franchise called The Hunger Games. The name of the exhibition is The Hunger Games: The Exhibition, and it offers a fully-immersive experience from the movie, including archery training, and many other interesting interactives, costumes, props, and more. The exhibition is actually on tour and has already visited Australia, San Francisco, Louisville, and New York. Las Vegas is the next stop, and it is going to be one of the best exhibition in this city, especially for those who consider themselves fans of the movies and the books.

The Hunger Games is a three-part movie from Lionsgate that managed to gross over $3 billion worldwide. Moreover, it managed to gain a cult following, with thousands of people around the globe discussing the film and visiting conferences and exhibitions related to it. The exhibition is entirely family-friendly, and it is the second exhibition made by Cityneon Holding Limited company and Victory Hill Exhibitions, which is its subsidiary company.

Some of the interesting things you will be able to see during the exhibition include a couple of galleries devoted to the movie such as the Hall of Justice, the office that belongs to President Snow in the movie. Furthermore, visitors will be able to take a look at the Tribute Train, District 13, and other cool areas features in The Hunger Games.

The archery training ground is definitely the most important part of the exhibition as it will be set in a digital training lab that is interactive and 60-foot wide. This kind of exhibition is the first of its kind to take place on the Las Vegas Strip.

About The Hunger Games

The original story was written by Suzanne Collins, who is an American novelist. Suzanne managed to inspire the filmmakers who turned her novels into a feature film that consist of three parts: The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and Mockingjay.

The genre of the film is a dystopian science fiction which follows the life of a young woman called Katniss Everdeen who lives in a post-apocalyptic nation called Panem that is located in present-day North America. The people of this nation are divided into districts, all of which are heavily supervised by a couple of people in power, much like in Orwell’s 1984. Every year, a couple of young people are selected to take part in the Hunger Games, which is an event that takes place in The Capitol, the city that basically has all the power over the districts.

However, things get quite interesting as Katniss turns out to be quite a rebel who managed to stand up against such a corrupted system and shake the foundation of Panem, making a lot of other districts stand up to fight for themselves in their struggle to achieve equality and destroy the evil empire that rules over them.

All three books and movies are a great homage to many legendary dystopian novels such as “1984” by Orwell and “Brave New World” by Aldous Huxley. Therefore, if you are interested in dystopian fiction and enjoy good action movies set in the future, make sure to check out The Hunger Games trilogy and then check out this amazing exhibition that will take place in MGM Grand.

Welby Altidor, who is the Group Chief Creative Office of Cityneon Holdings and Victory Hill Exhibitions stated that they were thrilled to collaborate with Lionsgate and to expand their portfolio to Las Vegas as well.