Vegas News (+ Vegas Rumors) February 16, 2020
This week in Las Vegas was dominated by one story. No, it wasn’t MGM Resorts announcing new sustainable sourcing goals for eggs and chickens. Just prior to reporting earnings, MGM Resorts sent out a press release that Jim Murren, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, informed the Company’s Board of Directors that he will step down from his positions before his contract expires.
We’ll go over the MGM Resorts earnings call here but won’t dive too deep into Murren’s stint at the company. There will be a separate post for Jimbo. While we’re on the subject, let’s dive into it.
MGM Resorts Earnings
MGM Resorts reported fourth quarter and 2019’s full year earnings this week. As previously mentioned, the big news from MGM Resorts happened before the call when the company announced its CEO will be leaving the company. If you care about how much money a stranger makes, the Las Vegas Review-Journal says Murren’s exit package is worth nearly $32 million.
The announcement of Murren leaving was shocking but not entirely surprising. Looking back, the writing was on the wall once a group of activist investors forced the formation of an ad hoc committee to explore real estate sales. The recent sales of Bellagio, Circus Circus, Mandalay Bay, and MGM Grand happened, in part, because of this committee. During the earnings call, MGM Resorts reps said the company is still considering previous plans to sell all or part of its REIT, MGM Growth Partners (MGP), MGM Springfield, and CityCenter.
Related: The sale of Mandalay Bay and MGM Grand became official this week.
Low Baccarat Revenue
Similar to Wynn Las Vegas, MGM Resorts gaming was crushed by low baccarat revenue last year. It was so bad, that they referred to baccarat being down repeatedly throughout the call. This game was seemingly to blame for all negative revenue. Having said that, combined revenue for the quarter and year were up from 2018 (see page 11).
MGM Resorts plans to have limited capital expenditure now that the Park MGM renovation is complete. Additionally, the company likes what they own in Las Vegas and doesn’t see any acquisitions this year. This is sad news for those of us that like seeing new things in Las Vegas.
The company seems to think Park MGM is hitting its stride even though occupancy was only 88% for the year. That’s among the lowest of MGM Resorts’ properties in Las Vegas. For comparison, New York-New York had a 94.6% occupancy rate last year.
On A Positive Note
On a positive note, the average daily room rate at Park MGM during the fourth quarter jumped from $133 per night in 2018 to $155 last year. This isn’t a surprise since the casino is no longer a construction zone. Park MGM fits right in the middle of hotel revenue for the company.
Sports bettors in Las Vegas should get ready for a new platform. The BetMGM app will be released this week (2/19 to be exact). This has been available in New Jersey for a while. I’m not sure what changes this means for Las Vegas besides a new app. Keep your eyes peeled. I should have an update next week. (I just received this email while formatting this post.)
MGM Resorts said that the first quarter group and convention bookings are at an all-time high. The Con Agg Expo in March will provide a bump in business from last year. Wynn and Caesars both opening convention spaces will also help provide an increase in business as they’ll help bring more people to Las Vegas.
Like I said, there wasn’t all that much Vegas news during this MGM Resorts earnings call. The presentation is easier to read than the press release if you’d like more information.
BUFFALOOOOOOOO Bar Now At Rampart Casino
Rampart Casino opened “Buffalo Bar” this week. The space was once used as a sports book. Most recently it’s been a dark bar filled with random slot machines. The Buffalo Bar space is now outfitted with just about every variation of Buffalo slot machine on the market. The bartop itself has the Winner’s World video poker/keno/slot machines we told you about last year. There are also a few other slot machines from Aristocrat, makers of Buffalo.
This is a smart use of the room that just felt like a dark room full of random slot machines. It’s a fun concept but I prefer hanging out in the new non-smoking area at Rampart near the sports book. Despite guests with an average age of 87, Rampart can get very smoky. Even the non-smoking area gets some second-hand smoke from the sportsbook bar. Yeah, for some reason the bar at the non-smoking sports book and slot areas allows smoking.
Anyway, if you’re in the area and love BUFFALOOOOOOOO, this could be a fun place to visit. You can read more about the Buffalo Bar here.
Sports News in Vegas
There was a bunch of random sports news in Las Vegas so I’ll group them all together in short easy to read capsules (AKA Quick Hits).
- It seems as though there have been people questioning why Las Vegas would want the Super Bowl when hotels on that weekend are already packed. Well, there’s a simple rea$on.
- Overall, room rates for the Super Bowl in the Miami area were through the roof. The average daily room rate in Miami during the Big Game was $616.91. That’s more than double the normal price of rooms in the area. Hotel News Now has lots more information on this topic if you’re curious.
- Last week we told you that the new Vegas Golden Knights minor league team would be playing its home games at the Orleans Arena. That’s only partially true. The team will play there for two years while an arena is being built in Henderson. The Las Vegas Sun has all the details on the new team and venue.
- The D Las Vegas just announced its March Madness watch parties. Read more here.
- A few weeks ago, I mentioned that the AEW (All Elite Wrestling) would be returning to Las Vegas for the Double or Nothing Pay Per View in May. Well, tickets for the matches are on sale now. This event sold out last year so rasslin fans might want to act soon. I’d care more about this if they had Orange Cassidy in the promo. Read more about Double or Nothing here.
- The LVCVA received approval to spend $2.4 million on the NFL Draft this year. According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, that’s less than half of what Memphis spent on the draft last year. Why so cheap? MGM Resorts and Caesars are chipping in to cover some of the expenses. Additionally, parking during the draft will be free at the Las Vegas Convention Center – you’ll just need to cough up loot for transportation to Caesars Forum or Bellagio.
- It appears as though a soccer match between Barcelona and Real Madrid might be the first sports event at Allegiant Stadium. People love Messi (he plays with Barcelona). Read more here.
J Lo Signs Exclusive Deal with Live Nation
This week Jennifer Lopez signed an exclusive touring deal with Live Nation. As usual, there’s a link to Las Vegas. Last week we shared a rumor that she, along with Celine Dion and Katy Perry might be doing residencies at Resorts World Las Vegas when it opens. Some of this might be true but it’s not likely that all of this is true.
Concert venues in Las Vegas are typically booked by one promotion company. Celine is promoted by AEG while J Lo and Katy Perry are with Live Nation. It’s unlikely all three will do a residency at the same venue.
Resorts World has yet to release details on which company will be promoting the theater at the property. For reference, House of Blues at Mandalay Bay and The Foundry at SAHARA Las Vegas are Live Nation venues. Encore Theater at Wynn and Allegiant Stadium are promoted by AEG. We should know more once we learn which promotor will be working with Resorts World.
Would you rather see Celine back in Vegas or a combo of J Lo and Katy Perry?
- Someone, please check on Mr. TravelZork. There’s going to be a movie made about a baccarat player! Read more here.
- 100,000 people have taken Self-Driving Lyft rides in Las Vegas. Read more here.
- Jokesters is moving to Oyo. Read more here.
- The Great Beer Festival is returning to Las Vegas in April. Read more here.
- Vegas Vacation was released in theaters this week in 1997. There should be a national holiday commemorating this!
- The new poker room at SAHARA Las Vegas softly opened this week. It will open grandly next week. Read more here.
- EDC has shuttles! Read more here.