Things are changing quite rapidly right now in the casino industry. The pandemic has put a wrench in many things, staffing challenges abound, but somehow many properties are making excellent profits for the companies that own them.
That’s led to some interesting changes happening. Bally’s, the company formerly known as Twin River, has been buying properties as well as rolling out a national rebrand. Both MGM and Caesars are at various points in the process of selling a property in Las Vegas. New operators are getting their feet into Las Vegas:
- Hard Rock International is buying the operations of Mirage
- Palms will soon reopen under the ownership of the San Manuel Tribe from California
- Tropicana is in the process of being bought by Bally’s
- Mohegan Sun is running the casino for Virgin Las Vegas
Bally’s has rolled out their new national players card and Hard Rock will roll one out in 2022. MGM Rewards will replace Mlife with more perks with distinct dollar values.
That’s a lot of change, but what does this mean for all of us players?
In the short term, this looks like a very positive development. More companies vying for a share of our gambling and spending dollars will likely mean more offers to come try the new properties and leverage comps earned elsewhere, while the incumbents put up a fight to keep the loyalty of the players they serve.
MGM’s update of the rewards program they offer to include more guaranteed benefits is well timed to fend back some of the competition. Many of the ideas they lifted came straight from Caesars, when they had successfully been competing against Caesars for years without them (MGM was not hurting for customers in Las Vegas).
But why now? It’s clear the larger landscape changes have warranted getting more aggressive. MGM has taken all sorts of hits for its cost cutting over the years, through things like its Profit Growth Plans, so for them to expand the perks instead of cut them is a curious decision in isolation, but makes sense when looking at the broader landscape.
Hard Rock is a strong operator that invests heavily into providing modern properties that convey a lot of energy. It’s a distinct look and feel compared to what MGM provides across its properties, and from a competitive standpoint allows them to stand out.
Bally’s still remains to be seen – the Bally’s in AC has been seeing investments in stages, and a room renovation underway should go a long way to livening up that property. But whether that’s step one of a larger national overhaul, or if their acquired properties overall tend to maintain what they had before, remains to be seen.
One of the biggest things is that this means for many players more feeder properties to a Vegas property. Those of us who lived near casinos that had a hook in Las Vegas would have offers to check out, even if you had never been, based on your play in another market. So for instance, if you played at a Caesars property in Atlantic City, there was the possibility of a room or an offer available to you to check out Las Vegas.
With more companies with national ties, this simply opens the door to more options. When Mohegan Sun in Las Vegas opened, I began getting invites with free rooms to check out the property. They also tier matched me based on my Connecticut tier. Once I visited there, they began sending me offers outright.
If you live in New England, you have a number of properties with ties to Vegas:
- MGM (MGM Springfield)
- Wynn (Encore Boston Harbor)
- M Resort and for now Tropicana (Plainridge Park)
- Virgin (Mohegan Sun)
- And soon, Bally’s with Tropicana (Twin River and Tiverton)
If we add in Atlantic City you have:
- Caesars (Tropicana, Harrah’s and Caesars)
- Golden Nugget (Golden Nugget)
- MGM (Borgata)
- Soon, Bally’s with Tropicana (Bally’s)
- And soon, Mirage (Hard Rock)
This is just one region, and players who might have favored a local-owned casino at home and a national-owned casino in Vegas, for instance, has a bit more to think about as to how they want to play to maximize their benefits.
Concentrating in one program can mean higher status and better perks for the same gambling dollar. If you are playing and earning to the same program both home and away, that can mean helpful perks such as a universal comp bucket to tap wherever you are.
On the other hand, you may like the amenities of a certain property and so splitting your spend simply makes sense to get what you want.
Regardless, it’s a very unique time in the space, with so many properties changing hands, linking together into larger programs while competition heats up during a very profitable time. This should bode well for us as players for now while they fight for our attention.
In the meantime, it doesn’t hurt to see what has changed in your local area. so you can be sure you’re making the most advantage of the opportunities available to you.