There was a lot of Vegas news that I’d like to discuss from last week, so let’s just hop into it.
MGM Resorts Bringing Entertainment To Las Vegas
The news really begins two weeks ago. MGM Resorts International released their quarterly earnings. Last week I shared my notes and thoughts on MGM Resorts International’s quarterly earnings. They were very good and revealed a lot of useful information on what to expect in 2017. You should read the article.
One of the major focuses for MGM Resorts in 2017 will be to increase the number of events at their venues. Across all of their properties, they’re expecting to host 5 times as many events in 2017 as they did in 2016. In Las Vegas, they’ll have a full year operating T-Mobile Arena and the Park Theater at Monte Carlo. The former didn’t open until April of this year.
Well, MGM Resorts is off to quite a start for 2015. They previously announced a partnership that will bring Bruno Mars (Vegas News 10/16) and a residency that will bring Cher to the Park Theater (Vegas News 10/23). This MGM Resorts announced that George Strait will return to T-Mobile Arena for shows on April 7-8, July 28-29, September 1-2 and December 8-9, 2017 and that Ricky Martin will be taking up a residency at The Park Theater with shows in April, June, July, and September.
Further, rumors continue to swirl that a Lady Gaga residency at the Park Theater will be announced before the year is over. Oh yeah, the Las Vegas NHL team will begin play at T-Mobile Arena next fall too. It’s not too difficult to imagine that MGM Resorts will host 5 times the number of events when you include new venues at the Borgata in Atlantic City and MGM National Harbor.
Lucky Dragon Opening Early
I was stoked when I learned that Lucky Dragon was having a soft opening and preview after Thanksgiving. I got a room so I could explore the casino and hotel before the grand opening on December 3. Well, low and behold Lucky Dragon decided to open even earlier. By the time you read this, Lucky Dragon will have begun their soft opening. I have a slew of articles planned for TravelZork around the opening so keep your eyes peeled.
In The Casino
The Venetian Adds Stadium Blackjack
The Venetian recently added Stadium Blackjack in the casino near the poker room and sports book. They’re the only casino that offers Stadium Blackjack at this time. The “stadium” has 44 seats with a minimum wager of $5. This game plays differently than traditional blackjack. All players are dealt the same hand. Each player then makes their own play against the dealer. If you’re dealt blackjack you’ll be paid 6:5 like most games at The Venetian. If you’re turned off by the 6:5 payout, you can still find the Dealers Angels games that pay 3:2 when you’re dealt blackjack on the casino floor.
Wagering on eSports Now Available in Nevada
William Hill sports books, in partnership with the Downtown Grand, received approval from the Nevada Gaming Control Board to accept wagers on this past weekend’s IEM Oakland eSports event featuring the video game League of Legends. You can now wager on eSports events through any William Hill sports book (they have over 100 throughout the state of Nevada) or with their mobile app.
Downtown Grand has been the Las Vegas casino to really embrace the world of eSports, beyond just hosting major events. They were the first William Hill sports book to take a wager on eSports. William Hill is the first sports book operator in Las Vegas to take wagers on eSports but they won’t be the last. I’m expecting to see another sports book start taking eSports wagers in 2017.
Perhaps MGM Resorts International will begin taking eSports wagers when The Evolution Championship Series (Evo) returns to the Mandalay Bay Convention Center on July 14-16. ESports isn’t going away and the players and fans aren’t getting younger. I’m not sure I’ll ever understand why people enjoy watching other people play video games, but I know that there are plenty of people who do. William Hill and Downtown Grand are really just the beginning for eSports in Las Vegas.
Skill-Based Games In Atlantic City (This will matter for Las Vegas)
ESports are a big deal for Las Vegas because they represent one segment of millennials who they hope will someday become regular visitors. However, like every other generation, there isn’t one type of millennial. Millennial “bros” also need something to do when visiting in Las Vegas.
In the August 21 edition of Sunday News I mentioned that MGM Grand was replacing the Rainforest Cafe area with a “millennial gaming area.” Well, Eater has uncovered some plans for the space. The name of this part of MGM Grand will be Level Up Las Vegas and it Hakkasan will oversee the space.
Full details for Level Up haven’t been revealed yet but I’m expecting a space that’s similar to a combination of O’Sheas and the Cosmopolitan sports book. This will give customers traditional gambling, bars, music, beer pong and bar games like billiards and shuffleboard. Level Up is located about 30 seconds from the sports book. In August, Murren said the space will be ready by December. Well, that’s just a few days away…
More On Millennial Gambling
Somewhere in between the video game millennial and millennial bro might be the gambling millennial looking for something new. Skill-based gambling consoles are supposed to attract a younger gambler that doesn’t want to play a traditional slot machine. Atlantic City is the first market to test the games, which won’t reach Las Vegas until next year sometime. ( Harrah’s Atlantic City Slots )
The hope for skill-based games was that someone with skill could turn the games into entertainment with a positive expected value. This video from NBC Philadelphia states that they game will only return 90%. That’s somewhere between penny slots and quarter slots. Those looking for a skill-based game with the potential for positive returns will have to continue looking elsewhere.
Casinos Should Stop Squeezing Gamblers – I first wrote about this over a year ago. I had a miserable time gambling on the Vegas Strip during my summer vacation. I thought gambling had lost its thrill. The Las Vegas Sun tackles the subject. I now hear this complaint weekly from friends online and IRL. Maybe the casino operators will listen to print media.
WSOP Winner Taxes – Now that the World Series of Poker is complete paying taxes is a reality for the winners. This fascinates me because the laws are different everywhere. Some winners pay over 50% of their earnings to the government, while others don’t pay a cent. PokerNews.com breaks the info down.
Ice Skating Returns To The Cosmopolitan – If ice skating with a view of the Vegas Strip doesn’t sound appealing, just head to the bar and enjoy cocktails and smores. You can find more information here.
Hard Rock Cafe At Hard Rock Casino To Close – As I tweeted the other day, I’ve been to the Hard Rock hundreds of times and never thought about going into the cafe outside of the casino. Well, it’s closing at the end of the year. The Hard Rock Cafe on the Vegas Strip will remain open.
The Chicago Cubs Return To Las Vegas On March 25 and 26 – They’ll play the Cincinnati Reds during Big League Weekend at Cashman Field in Downtown Las Vegas. Individual tickets aren’t on sale yet but they will sell out. You can find more information here.
Last But Not Least, EDC Returns To Las Vegas Jun 16-18. Hotel rooms all over town will be sold out or close to it. Prepare now.
Okay, this is really last. It’s certainly the least. Just before my final edit, I noticed @VitalVegas tweet that the Stratosphere is now charging $5 to use their elevator. Seriously, kinda. Read the tweet.
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