MGM Casino Lifts Ban on Photos & Videos for Table Game Players

MGM is amending its policy regarding photos/videos/live streaming for table game players. From now on, the casino will issue permits to some players, enabling them to record their gambling exploits during the game, as long as it’s not affecting other gamblers.

The new policy is expected to take effect within the next couple of days, with all MGM Casinos in Nevada set to comply with it. As a reminder, the company operates nine casino resorts in the state, including iconic Vegas properties such as MGM Grand, Bellagio, and Mandalay Bay.

New MGM Rules for Table Games Explained

As per the new rules, patrons will be allowed to take photos and videos while playing table games, as long as it doesn’t hold up the game. However, they are not allowed to record other patrons without their explicit permission nor take photos/videos of MGM employees.

Further, they’re not allowed to play music or audio that would impact the play. They’re also prohibited from recording audio of the game.

When it comes to live streaming, it’s going to become possible but only in certain situations. MGM Casino staff will issue special permits to streamers who wish to go live at the table.

The decision to amend its photo/video/live streaming policy has been welcomed by influencers on social media, but there are also some who’ve raised their voices against it. Many Twitter users have commented negatively, saying that the new policy could have a negative effect on the players’ privacy. Further, some believe that the use of smartphones on the table may open Pandora’s box, potentially enabling cheaters to use gambling AI or other nefarious methods.

Grant Mahon

Grant is the self-professed casino madman and reporter that brought this eclectic team of dedicated and talented writers together from around the world to proudly build an humble empire of authentic casino news.

Las Vegas Gets Its First Smoke-Free Casino on September 30

Once it reopens on the last day of September, the Park MGM Casino on the Las Vegas Strip is going to become the first smoking-free casino in the area. No other casino in this part of the United States has ever made such a decision, even after Las Vegas came out of the COVID-19 shutdown.

In other parts of the country, casinos did have to ban smoking temporarily as per the state orders. The decision to banish smoking out of the casino was not forced to the Park MGM casino by anyone. Instead, the casino management decided on this step following “guest demand.”

Casino Patrons Want Non-Smoking Environment

According to the president of MGM Resorts’ Las Vegas Portfolio, Anton Nikodemus, the reason behind this decision lies in “recurring guest demand for a fully non-smoking casino resort on The Strip.”

Nikodemus insists that this thought has been on the casino executives’ mind since the casino resort opened in 2018. The COVID-19 pandemic just confirmed that a non-smoking Las Vegas casino would be a good idea.

Anti-smoking advocates have been calling for an indoor smoking ban in Las Vegas casinos after the COVID-19 shutdown. The main reason cited was the fact that smoking simply doesn’t go together with the face mask rule. One can’t smoke and weak a face mask at the same time.

Nevertheless, all the Las Vegas casinos that have reopened do allow indoor smoking, while still requiring the patrons to wear face masks inside the venues. This includes all the other MGM-owned casinos in Nevada, including the MGM Grand Las Vegas, The Mirage, and Mandalay Bay.

Las Vegas Entering a New Era

Smoking in casinos has been the imagery associated with Las Vegas since its early days. The author of 11 books on Las Vegas, David G. Schwartz, agrees, but also adds that times are changing in Sin City. One of the sins that the city might get rid of in the future is smoking.

According to him, banning indoor smoking in Las Vegas casinos is something several companies have tried in the past. It’s needless to say that all of them failed in the endeavor. An example he points out is the old Silver City Casino, which went smoking-free in 1991 but decided to give up on that decision after only a couple of months. The reason to back down was a drastic decrease in the number of visitors.

Almost two decades later, smoking is no longer trendy, but many casino patrons still seem to indulge in it. For many of them, smoking is something they do only when on vacation, following the mantra of “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.”

Still, recent experiences have shown that smoking is not as an essential part of the casino experience as previously believed. The anti-COVID-19 measures set up in many states have banished indoor smoking in casinos, something which most patrons did not mind.

Smoking Is Back in Atlantic City Casinos

Atlantic City casinos reopened just before the 4th of July weekend, but in the first two months after the shutdown, they had to do business differently. Until early September, the AC casinos had to work at 25% capacity, as well as banish drinking, dining, and smoking out of the premises. However, starting Friday, September 4, those bans are lifted.

Indoor smoking is officially back in casinos in Atlantic City, but the same is not the case in other parts of the US. Commercial casinos in New York have returned to business earlier this month but will have to fulfill certain anti-COVID-19 conditions in order to remain open. One of those conditions is the smoking ban.

Grant Mahon

Grant is the self-professed casino madman and reporter that brought this eclectic team of dedicated and talented writers together from around the world to proudly build an humble empire of authentic casino news.

BetMGM Online Casino Goes Live in West Virginia

  • BetMGM has launched its WV online casino on Thursday, August 28, 2020
  • The launch comes just six weeks after the birth of West Virginia’s online gaming industry
  • BetMGM also plans to launch an online casino in Michigan in the fall

BetMGM online casino has launched earlier this week in West Virginia, doubling the internet gaming offer available to gamblers from the Mountain State. Less than two months after the launch of the first online gambling platform in WV, players from this state have two online casinos at their disposal.

The first WV internet casino to launch was DraftKings Casino. BetMGM followed, and so should two more casinos. Their launch should happen by the end of the year.

What do the WV Gamblers Get from the BetMGM Online Casino?

BetMGM is a gambling company owned by two companies – MGM Resorts and GVC Holdings. The role of GVC is to provide software solutions to the online casino. MGM Resorts provides funding, as well as the basis for the operating license of the WV BetMGM online casino. Without the MGM-owned land-based casino in West Virginia, the BetMGM online operation would not be possible.

Basically, the casino that’s launched on Thursday is an online version of Greenbrier Casino, a brick-and-mortar business owned by MGM. The internet casino has a pretty similar gaming offer as its real-life counterpart. We’re talking table games like blackjack and roulette, as well as a large number of slot titles.

Speaking of online slots, BetMGM is currently the only online casino that has a progressive jackpot game in its offer. The main prize of this slot will keep growing until a lucky player hits the jackpot. Depending on how long it goes, the winner might hit a jackpot worth millions of dollars.

Second Online Casino in West Virginia

At the moment, West Virginians can play progressive slots only at BetMGM. However, that’s likely to change in the last couple of months. It could happen if the only other operational internet casino in West Virginia, DraftKings Casino, decides to include such a game in its game library.

If DraftKings doesn’t do it, other casinos might. There are at least two more online casinos ready for launch in this state. The cooperation between FanDuel and Betfair is expected to produce a new WV online casino by the end of the year. PokerStars Casino WV should also get viral in the upcoming months.

BetMGM Online Casino to Launch in Michigan This Fall

With MGM Resorts suffering huge financial losses in the retail casino industry due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the company seems to be looking for other sources of income. That’s why it’s not surprising that the BetMGM online casino has turned into such an ambitious project.

Apart from being available in West Virginia, the online casino also operates in New Jersey. It’s also working on a launch in Pennsylvania, as well as Michigan, the state that’s only recently signed a bill that makes online gaming legal.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer did sign the bill a few months ago, but there still aren’t any online casinos in this state. The casino that’s expected to launch first is BetMGM online casino. The cooperation between GVC and MGM Grand Detroit is supposed to go online in November 2020.

Grant Mahon

Grant is the self-professed casino madman and reporter that brought this eclectic team of dedicated and talented writers together from around the world to proudly build an humble empire of authentic casino news.

MGM Appoints Bill Hornbuckle as the Permanent CEO

Bill Hornbuckle has been appointed as the permanent CEO of MGM, after being in the role of the interim CEO for more than four months. MGM Resorts International announced their decision this week, saying that they expect Hornbuckle to continue doing a good job.

Hornbuckle stepped in as the interim boss of MGM in March, after the former CEO Jim Murren retired. The interim CEO had been given a very tough challenge, but he’s managed to see the company sail safely through an unprecedented crisis. As a result of a good job done during the COVID-19 pandemic, MGM awarded Hornbuckle with a permanent contract.

Who is Bill Hornbuckle?

A graduate of UNLV, William J. Hornbuckle IV has more than 30 years of experience working in Las Vegas. His first major breakthrough in the ranks of MGM Resorts International came in 2012 when he led the company to develop the $800 million-worth resort MGM Springfield.

When Jim Murren decided to retire in March 2020, Hornbuckle was appointed the interim CEO. At first, the idea was that he’d stay in the role until a more experienced CEO was found. However, the COVID-19 pandemic happened then.

Being able to lead the company through the hardest times in its history made MGM realize Hornbuckle was the right man for the job. In the official statement, the company spokesperson praised his handling of the crisis, saying:

“There are few tests of leadership greater than what Bill has faced… (His) steady hand has provided reassurance and confidence to our employees, partners, guests, and shareholders…”

Even though Hornbuckle did a fine job to guide the company through the crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic did cause huge losses to MGM Resorts International.

COVID-19 Ruins MGM’s Revenue

The same day MGM announced their decision to appoint Hornbuckle as the permanent CEO, the company also released revenue figures for the period before June 30.

As it turns out, MGM’s total revenue generated from April to the end of June was only $289.8m. We say “only” because that’s a 91% drop compared to the same period last year.

In Las Vegas, which is one of the company’s main sources of revenue, the profits have dropped by 90%. Things would be even worse if it weren’t for the fact that Las Vegas casinos returned back to business on June 4.

Over in Macau, MGM China saw a revenue drop of 95%. The company’s three-month revenue was only $33 million, the main reason being the COVID-19 travel restrictions imposed in Macau. As a result of it, visitors from China and Hong Kong haven’t be able to come to Macau for the last couple of months.

MGM Casinos Reopening Around the US

The worst seems to have passed for MGM, as most of the company’s properties are back in business. There is a total of 18 casinos within the United States that are owned by MGM, 14 of which have already reopened after the COVID-19 hiatus.

MGM Grand Detroit should be the next one to reopen as Michigan governor has okayed the casino return in this state. If everything goes according to the plan, MGM’s casino will reopen on August 7. MGM Empire City would be the one to follow next, although much still remains unclear with the COVID-19 situation in New York, whose governor still hasn’t announced the exact reopening dates.

Mirage and Park MGM in Las Vegas, however, will probably remain closed until next year, as suggested by Hornbuckle. The reason for this decision is that the reopening at 50% capacity would not bring desired profits, while potentially cannibalizing other casinos on the strip, including MGM Grand.

Grant Mahon

Grant is the self-professed casino madman and reporter that brought this eclectic team of dedicated and talented writers together from around the world to proudly build an humble empire of authentic casino news.

MGM to Add $300m in Profits by 2021

  • MGM to Boost Revenue by $300 million
  • Layoffs and technological diversity part of the plan
  • MGM intends to expand in New York which may soon legalize sports betting

MGM Resorts International has kickstarted its efficiency program extending well into 2020 and 2021. The casino will seek to rev up its revenue by $300 million before 2021 is out.

MGM Carries on with Vision 2020 Plan

International casino & hotel brand MGM is now shifting into a higher corporate gear in a bid to add $300 million in profits by 2021. This is an ambitious plan outlined under the MGM 2020 initiative looking into ways to improve the overall profitability of the company.

Apart from revenue growth, MGM is planning to leverage new technologies to boost engagement, win new customers, and expand into new markets. The brand has successfully partnered with all but one major sporting bodies, including:

MGM is planning to boost the majority of its revenue by the end of 2020, with $200 million more in its coffers. Another $100 million will be added by the end of 2021, for the commutative amount of $300 million.

To achieve these ambitious goals MGM will most likely have to lay off people, as the company has already confirmed. MGM explained that 25% of the revenue will come from “shifting functions and responsibilities” whereas another 25% will be obtained through optimization of the revenue channels.

MGM considers that what the company is doing right now is to optimize its corporate structure and “solidify” what’s been build over the past few years, MGM Chairman Jim Murren explained.

We are building on the strong foundation that we have solidified over the past few years, to deepen our efficiencies and achieve sustained growth and margin enhancement.

According to Murren, the latest Vision 2020 is part of another initiative dating back to 2015 and called the Profit Growth Plan which has already achieved its pre-determined goals.

Caesars and Oneida Indian Nation Partner in New York

Mr. Murren will also oversee the relocation of fuds to specific technology-driven initiatives, which are expected to pay off in the long-term.

We had a solid finish to the year in 2018, and as we look to 2019 and beyond, we remain confident in the ramp of our newly opened properties MGM COTAI, MGM Springfield, Park MGM and NoMad Las Vegas

On the matter of new markets, Mr. Murren explained that New York and Ontario are the two new anticipated markets for the casino. In fact, New York can be a particularly tempting prospect at this time as the state is considering to push ahead with its own sports betting legislation, which is another important source of revenue for casinos, including flagship brands such as MGM.

Mr. Murren highlighted the important milestones achieved in 2018, including the multiple partnerships with the major sporting bodies in the United States. The National Football League (NFL) recently signed with Caesars, a move welcomed by the American Gaming Association (AGA)

Carmen Thompson

Carmen is our residential reporter always on the move and hunting down the latest scoops and rumours to explore. Nothing gets past her keen nose, especially when it comes to some serious Jelly Bean poker tournaments.

MLB Inks US, Japan Gambling Deal With MGM

MGM Resorts International has recently entered into a new partnership and endorsement of the Major League Baseball, a move that is expected to significantly improve its sportsbook game. The partnership deal between the two will encompass gambling rights between in both the United States and Japan and will see MGM Resorts International become the official sponsor of the NBA, the MLB, and WNBA as well as the NHL. With all these partnerships, MGM Resorts International now boasts of official sponsorships of three out of the five major sports leagues in the US. As it stands, the only pro sports league that has been left out is the National Football League but even they have given their individual teams the liberty to choose to get sponsorships.

However, of all the professional sports leagues in the United States, the Major League Baseball has been the most vocal when it comes to the issues of sports betting challenging the integrity of sporting activities. This is very understandable considering the fact the MLB has been the scene of two of the biggest gambling scandals in US history – they naturally have to be wary. As such, when inking the sponsorship with MGM, the league was very open about its plans to ensure the integrity of the sports, something that they hope to achieve by asking MGM to include additional integrity management measures into the sponsorship deal.

What the Deal Entails

As per the terms of the agreement, MGM Resorts International will be allowed to promote itself with the MLB network and the MLB teams. In addition to that, the gambling operator will also be allowed to set up shops at stadiums as well as MGM properties which promote baseball and demonstrate baseball technique. To facilitate most of these plans, the company has plans of launching small pop-up sites that will be offering pitching techniques, batting practice, baserunning practice as well as practice with other important fundamentals of the game.

MGM Resorts will also be running its commercials on the MLB network and the MLB’s At Batt app while branding itself as the MLB’s authorized gaming company. The gaming company will also be highly represented at major events in the league’s events including the All-Star Game and playoffs – this will also be the same for such events as the League of Championships, the Division Series, and the World Series.

One thing that is hard to dismiss is the fact that the new deal with the MLB effectively gives MGM Resorts International a near monopoly on league sponsorships in the United States. In fact, the company has reportedly been in talks with some NFL teams and we should, therefore, expect news of newer partnerships or sponsorships in the near future.

Grant Mahon

Grant is the self-professed casino madman and reporter that brought this eclectic team of dedicated and talented writers together from around the world to proudly build an humble empire of authentic casino news.

NBA, MGM and GVC Join Forces in Sports Betting Market

The sports betting market has seen some major developments this week. In addition to MGM and GVC entering into a $200 million joint venture, NBA has entered into the mix by naming MGM as its official gaming partner.

Bringing International Operators into the US Market

To start out the week, MGM and GVC (operator of leading UK betting brands, Ladbrokes and Coral) announced that they would each be contributing $100 million to a joint venture. Together, the two companies aim to develop innovative sports betting products for players across the United States.

Currently, sports betting licenses are only available to casino operators that are located within the United States. The market is not open to international operators, but MGM has welcomed the first UK betting operator into the country. They will be working together to develop a sports betting platform that will be available to players in states where sports betting becomes legal. Reports state that here is a 25-year commitment as part of the deal. After ten years of working together, MGM and GVC will have the option of buying the other one.

Sports betting will be brand new to American gaming operators, so they will certainly need help from companies that have experience in the market. This is why it is important for local brands to team up with international companies, as they will be able to offer insight about creating successful sports betting platforms that will attract American players.

NBA Enters the Game

Days later, the NBA announced that MGM would be its official gaming partner. This is a huge deal for the sports betting market, as the NBA has never worked with a gaming operator before and MGM has never partnered with a major sports league. Together, they will generate increasing interest in sports betting across the country.

MGM will feature NBA branding on its land-based and online sports betting products. For example, odds boards at MGM casinos will feature logos from NBA teams as well as the league itself. Another important part of the partnership will see the two companies working together to protect the integrity of sports. They will develop data sharing systems that will allow them to ensure that players are able to stay safe while engaging in sports betting activities.

This is a very exciting time for gaming in America. The online sports betting market is developing very quickly with many states jumping on board the trend. Nevada, Mississippi, Delware and New Jersey have already legalized the activity New York, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania and West Virginia have recently passed sports betting bills. With brands like MGM and the NBA promoting the activity, we are sure that many more states will be seriously considering the option of legalizing sports betting.

Grant Mahon

Grant is the self-professed casino madman and reporter that brought this eclectic team of dedicated and talented writers together from around the world to proudly build an humble empire of authentic casino news.