MGM Springfield – Random Thoughts & Good Tips

MGM Springfield

I have stayed over at MGM Springfield the last three Tuesdays, in three different rooms on three different floors. You might have heard how I spent one Wednesday morning if you have heard the Art In The Game podcast by Christopher DiMauro. Here is the link for that podcast – more about the podcast at a later date.

CASINO & GAMBLING ETIQUETTE WITH ROBIN OF NETIME GAMBLING.COM

Today’s post all about MGM Springfield – the good and the disappointing.  Included here are many thoughts and tips i have found over the past three weeks.

MGM Changes for the Good

First, here are changes that MGM has made by listening to their most important people – their guests.

1. Hired more cocktail waitresses to serve you better while you are gaming. (It does seem there is a higher degree of beverage service, kudos)

2. Improved traffic flow through the garage during peak hours of operation – so you can get in and out faster.

3. Doubling the number of video poker machines on the casino floor. (Now, if only the paytables would be improved)

4. Added Top Dollar Slot machines into High Limit, per your request.(Nice addition.  This is a fun game – probably $5 denomination. Great game for community slot play with a group of players pooling their bucks)

5. Added more $10 Blackjack and Roulette tables to the gaming floor so everyone can get in on the action. (Again, Kudos)

6. Added Let it Ride Poker plus more War games to the gaming floor, because you asked for them. (Do people really still play Let It Ride?  Next they will be introducing more Caribbean Stud, too.)

7. Reduced scooter rental pricing to better accommodate our guests. (Just what is needed – more scooters in a tight slot area)

8. Lowered short-term valet prices for a more convenient experience. (Smart move, but it’s still expensive)

9. Expanded the hours of operation of our casual dining venues to better serve you.

10. More logo-inventory and cigars are now available at Essentials. (But only logo-inventory items can be bought with Express Comps)

Good Tips

The main kiosks by Tap and the Valet/Self Park doors are very busy most of the day.  Try the other kiosks around the casino.  If you’re checking in, use the kiosk outside the hotel lobby.

The hotel coffee nook has a great selection of tea as well as Starbucks coffee brewed while you wait the way you like it.  Only problem – it’s only on the 2nd floor, but can be used by all hotel guests.

The ceilings on the 3-6 floors are lower than the 2nd floor. If you want the feeling of more space, ask for 2nd floor.  Room sizes are still the same though.

Due to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission emphasis on responsible gaming, not only are the ATM’s off the casino floor, but Cash Advance it not available at ATMs or at the Cashier cage.  You can only get an advance through a debit card or check. Annoying to some, but commendable.

FYI – Resort Fees are $22.69 included even on comped rooms.

In the little store “Essentials,” which is the everything you might need store, including logo apparel, you can’t use your points to pay for anything except for MGM logo items.

Video Poker

Beware of the Triple Play Video Poker machines.  The Royal flush only pays 1500 with 5 credits played on each line instead of the standard 4000.

The new VP machines near the poker room all include a game not seen much – Triple triple Bonus poker.  It’s a 7/5 paytable with only 2 credits for 3 of a kind (typically seen in Triple Double Bonus also) which makes it a very volatile machine, but with bonuses including 4Aces w/kicker, four 2,3,4’s with an Ace kicker both equaling 4000 credits like the Royal, it might be interesting to try.

Playing Video Poker in the Commonwealth Bar has a nice touch.  But unless you are a millennial,  you’ll have to flag the female bartenders down, as I watched the guy to my left and to my right walk up after I was playing get their orders taken before me.  I guess some players become invisible – beware!

The chairs at the long bar are attached to the bar.  If you enjoy standing at times while playing the bartops, go to the Commonwealth.

Random Thoughts

Would it really be so bad to offer a bank of  Video Poker with the new machines that with 8/5 JOB?

I wonder how well the hotel rooms are really put together.  The handle for my 5th floor toilet was hanging out of the side.  Didn’t work in the morning!  This place is only three months old right?

The two self-service areas for beverages always seems to be out of something, no ice, or not working. This needs to better, especially during busy times.

The shower soaps have been downgraded in size by about 50%.  Is this another MGM “nickel & diming” moment, or just hotel service error?

The king beds all seem to have this weird pillow with half a face – kinda creepy, in an artsy sort of way.

Binbin

 

 

 

 

Northeast Casino Saturation – Here We Go Again

“Northeast casino saturation looms in the background of MGM Springfield opening.”

That’s according to Howard Stutz, Executive Editor, CDC Gaming Reports. In his article on  August 21, 2018 he goes on to write, “See if this sounds familiar. At a gaming conference in Atlantic City, a panel debated the casino saturation point for the Northeast U.S. gaming market.  “There’s a finite amount of gaming revenue out there,” said one panelist. “We are in a very volatile time and we’re in a frenzy of gaming expansion. It needs to stop.”

“Those comments were made three years ago.”

We have heard this since Maine opened a second casino, and wanted a third.  It was said by opposition to the Massachusetts Casino Law.  The demise of 5 casinos in Atlantic City started saturation talk as Pennsylvania added numerous casinos.  The Massachusetts Gaming Commission is still considering keeping only three casinos instead of the original four, worried that the the additional southeast Mass. license would cannibalize Encore Boston Harbor and Plainridge Park patronage. Rhode Island’s legislators are also concerned about the impact on Rhode Island’s Twin River and Tiverton Casinos.

Stutz writes “MGM expects to draw business from Massachusetts communities – Springfield is 90 miles west of Boston. At the same time, the property will try and poach business from Connecticut’s two large Indian casinos, Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun. Springfield is just 26 miles north of Hartford, Connecticut, and roughly 70 miles from the two casinos……The whole Northeast has been on a casino development streak since long before Massachusetts passed its gaming legalization plan, with casinos opening in Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, New York, and Rhode Island.”

Since 2015, the following has happened:

MGM National Harbor

  • MGM National Harbor opened in Maryland
  • Resorts World Catskills opened (80 miles northwest of New York City.)
  • Plainridge Park Racetrack, & MGM Springfield opened
  • Oxford Casino, Maine opened its hotel with casino expansion
  • Twin River Casino will open its hotel and has already moved the Newport Grand operation to the MA/RI state border battle lines with their new Tiverton Casino & Hotel
  • Pennsylvania approved the addition of “mini-casinos” to the 12 brick-and-mortar casinos which are raking in record gaming revenue from their existing operations.
  • New York State has added three casinos, but have under-performed so far.\
  • Resurgence and growth in Atlantic City with Ocean Casino Resort & The Hard Rock Cafe Casino Resort opening in place of the closed Revel and Taj Mahal, respectively.

Will Encore Boston Harbor, a true destination resort, with table games and other expanded amenities, be considered the final straw in the New England Camel’s saturated back?

Connecticut’s two immense resorts, Mohegan Sun Resort Casino & Foxwoods Resort Casino, are expected to feel the brunt of all this expansion. Revenues dipped in September with the opening of MGM Springfield, but no where near what was expected. Michael Pollock, managing director of casino industry consultant Spectrum Gaming Group doesn’t believe Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun will succumb to the new competition.

“The existing properties [in CT] are not without their arsenal,” Pollock told the Hartford Courant. “Both … have made significant capital investments in their properties. They have their own databases covering a huge swath of New England. They are going to be leveraging that.”  After visiting and staying at MGM Springfield, I truly feel the MGM name and its vast MLife members will be what keeps it on the cusp of being called a “destination casino.”  Next year when MGM completes its acquisition of Empire Casino and Yonkers Raceway in New York – just 15 miles north of Times Square and the heart of Manhattan – we could be discussing the “S” word again.

And then there are always the improbable, but still breathing, additions of:

First Light

First Light Resort Casino, Wampanoag Tribe, Taunton

  • Mashpee First Light in Massachusetts (although it seems to be on it’s last leg)
  • The 4th SouthEast MGC casino license in MA (delayed by MGC)
  • The MMCT joint venture for an East Windsor casino by Mohegan & Foxwoods tribes (which received a huge blow by federal court)
  • THE MGM BRIDGEPORT RESORT (CT’s gambling laws would have to be rewritten, with the state losing all of its revenue from the tribes)

A related posts you might find interesting is

“CASINO SATURATION IN THE NORTHEAST 2017” by NETG  and

“Northeast’s casino landscape growing crowded” by

Brian Hallenbeck

In Martin Derbyshire’s fascinating post for PLAYUSA.com, entitled “ARE NORTHEAST CASINOS REACHING A TIPPING POINT?” he writes, “So many casinos have been built across the Northeast, market saturation looks like its right around the corner.”

After seeing 150,000 enter the MGM Springfield opening, I don’t see the corner yet.

Binbin – “Embrace the math in Gambling, not the myth!” 

Recent New England Casino News

MGM Springfield Opens to 150,000 people

Over 3 days

There was so much hoopla over the opening of MGM Springfield, you would have though it was the second coming of Caesars Palace in Vegas.  To be honest, so many hopes and dreams of Springfield’s residents do rely on its success.  Instead of re-inventing our coverage, I will just list our posts for your perusal.

Everything You Need To Know About MGM Springfield & “Industrial Chic,”  

MGM SPRINGFIELD – Entertainment, MassMutual Center & Symphony Hall;  

MGM Springfield Kept Community History in Casino Consideration; 

MGM Springfield Trip Report 

But there was more happening on the New England Landscape besides MGM Springfield…….


TIVERTON CASINO HOTEL & CASINO OPENS

Tiverton, Rhode Island

Twin River Moves Newport Grand to Tiverton

We also covered the opening of the casino that is supposed to take Newport Grand’s place and put more competitive pressure on Massachusetts & Connecticut for the Twin River Management Group.  Here’s our coverage:   Tiverton Casino Hotel – Our Last Summer Trip Report


Mohegan selected to oversee Canada gaming, entertainment venues

Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment (MGE), which oversees the company and its subsidiary casinos in Connecticut and Pennsylvania, announced Monday it has been selected by the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. (OLG) to assume daily operations of its Fallsview Casino Resort, Casino Niagara, and 5,000-seat Niagara Falls Entertainment Centre, which is currently being built.  OLG will assist in managing the casinos, known as the Niagara Gaming Bundle, including approvals for operational changes.  Fallsview Casino spans over 2.5 million square feet, with 200,000 square feet of gaming space and more than 3,000 slot machines and 100 gaming tables. Casino Niagara, meantime, has a 95,000-square-foot gaming floor with 1,500 slot machines and more than 40 table games.  All this taking place while managing Resort in AC, building a $5 billion resort at Incheon International Airport in South Korea, the opening of ilani on 152 acres near La Center, Washington with the Cowlitz Tribe, opening Paragon resort Casino in the heart of Louisiana, and preparing the huge plot of land across the Thames River from its flagship property in Preston, CT.  Mohegan Sun News – Plans for Norwich Hospital Site and Mohegan Expo Center It’s obvious Mohegan Sun is not sitting still while Massachusetts continues to add casinos. Oh, and did we mention Mohegan Sun announced Momentum partnerships with MSC Cruises, the world’s largest privately owned cruise line, and with Samuel Adams, the Boston brewery; the Boston Bruins of the National Hockey League; Blue Back Square, a shopping and live entertainment destination in West Hartford; and Hartford Stage, a theater?


Maine’s top court – could a tribe run a casino on tribal land without state permission

Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians Tribal Offices

The House last month approved Rep. Henry Bear’s order asking the Maine Supreme Judicial Court to consider whether a U.S. Supreme Court decision would allow the Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians to conduct gambling on tribal trust land. Efforts to allow tribal casinos in Maine have long failed. A third casino in Maine is still being sought, if not by business men and politicians, now by Maine’s tribes. The Maliseets do run Bingo events weekly.


It’s Not All Great News at MGM Springfield when it comes to underage gambling

Inside MGM casino

Casino.Org’s Katie Barlowe reported that “MGM casino executives admit that they’ve had issues with minors finding their way onto the gaming floor, which is not exactly the most comforting news to area residents.” Mathis described the casino as “a very mixed-use, downtown, porous design” which has “created an unexpected challenge: difficulty in ensuring that underage patrons don’t have access to the gaming floor. MGM Springfield officials told regulators that there was a mix of intentional non-gaming areas in the venue, and inadvertent violations by visitors who don’t understand the exact age limits or where children are allowed to be was causing the problems.”  It seems that simple 4-ft barriers along the edge of the casino would help, similar to the Fox Casino at Foxwoods (ironically built by MGM in their joint venture with Foxwoods years ago).  Trouble is, there is no space to spare.

Mathis outlined some of the steps that MGM Springfield was taking to correct the underage access problem. Unattended minors are now banned from the venue, with anyone under 16 considered to be a minor for those purposes. In addition, there is now a midnight curfew for the resort. After midnight, only those 21 or older or those who are hotel guests are allowed in the complex.

Binbin

When you gamble, embrace the Math, not the Myth.