MLife Starts Today (Updated)

MGM Resorts M Life Players Club
M Life

MGM’s new players club, Mlife, starts today in Las Vegas with a slew of contests.

I can’t find any information on how to enter the contests, so check the Mlife site for details.  For further info, you can check the Mlife youtube channel.

***UPDATE: Enter here. Thanks Mac71830

I hope to do a little gambling at MGM properties in the near future to see how Mlife actually works.

MLife: Think Club Grazie 2009

MGM Resorts M Life Players Club
M Life

MGM(RI) is making a big public push for MLife, which comes to Las Vegas in the next couple weeks.  It will replace Players Club as there errr, players club.  They’re doing a huge PR push this week and there’s news everywhere, like this article in the Las Vegas Sun today.

Las Vegas casinos pioneered the concept of comps — freebies, discounts or special treatment for gamblers to soften the blow of gambling losses and make regular folk feel like VIPs. As loyalty programs spread to nearly every corner of the consumer products landscape, Las Vegas and the gaming industry have been behind the curve in including all forms of spending in the reward equation, however.

And today, with 60 percent of Strip revenue derived from nongambling activities, tracking a customer’s spending off the casino floor has become vital to a rewards program.

Yes, I can mock MGM for taking 2 years to do something they should have already done, but kudos to MGM for catching up with the competition.  This seems to be no different from what the other properties started doing a few years ago when Sands reskinned Club Grazie.

MGM owns half the properties on the strip, so this is a welcome addition.  Just remember that comp rooms aren’t free when a resort fee is involved!

Thoughts On Cosmopolitan

I wanted to share some thoughts now that Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas has been opened for a couple weeks.  Let me say this, in general, as someone with a marketing background I usually try to avoid all of the grand opening hype.  Most people will report nothing but the good at that point.

I prefer to let other people break in a property for a few days before I grace it with my presence.  I did the same with CityCenter last year (which I need to look back at 1 year later).  I’ll have more thoughts moving forward, but I’ll break my thoughts on the Cosmo today down like this:

Tall, Skinny, Ugly on the outside but Pretty Inside

I’m not enamored by the way the building looks on the outside.  However, once I looked inside of the building I saw lots to like.  There are plenty of modern features and beautiful, shiny crystals and chromes.  The Cosmo is bright inside, but not in a bad way.  Think the opposite of Aria.

The furnishings are things I’d love in my house, but I can never seem to find affordable, comfortable modern furnishings.  I guess that’s what $4 billion can do.

The profile of the building(s) are very tall and very narrow.  Every time I’ve walked through the place looked and felt crowded.  There were a lot of people just looking around and not gambling or eating or shopping so I’ll look into this again in 6 months after the curious people are gone.

It would be great if Cosmo remains crowded but with people spending money.  She’s pretty today, but we’ll see what happens after a little wear and tear.

Casino and Sportsbook

As I mention above, the casino is narrow and feels crowded but upon further inspection those were just people looking.  Maybe the feeling of being crowded will lessen with time as people quit gawking and/or hit the tables.

Each visit I’ve seen the tables and machines have all been fairly quiet.  Maybe 1 player per table on average.  Tables are pretty good for a strip casino: blackjack minimums are as low as $10 with 3:2 payouts for blackjack on all except double deck games.  As per Vegas Tripping the video poker pay tables are slightly above other strip casinos.

The sportsbook is TINY.  I could never see myself hanging out watching games here.  It feels more like a lounge than a sportsbook.  Planet Hollywood has a tiny sportsbook, but at least they have Blondies and the PBR bars in the Miracle Mile shops for overflow.

They also have a stage in the sportsbook with free concerts, that’s pretty nice but it will definitely get in the way of the gamblers.  I’m stoked for the free shows, but I wonder how the two will work together.

I’ve walked by the sportsbook about 4 or 6 times and only noticed sports on the TV’s once.  I’m not sure that’s always the case, but that’s what I noticed.

Lastly, there is no poker room.  I’m pretty sure this will change in time.  There’s really no reason not to have one except for differentiation.

Restaurants & Shopping

The restaurants and shopping are on the second and third floors. There are a lot of restaurants that seem as if they’ll be good.  My first dining experience was great!

Some friends and I split a bunch of small plates & appetizers at Holsteins.  Everything was fantastic.  In fact, this was one of the best meals I’ve had in Vegas in a while!  The beer list was huge and the prices weren’t insane like most casino restaurants.  I cannot wait for a return trip.

On another trip I tried Comme Ca.  It was ok.  Not priced too bad for a casino, but there wasn’t anything amazing about my meal.  I’m looking forward to trying the others – specifically the pizza place, China Pablano and Scarpetta.

Continue reading “Thoughts On Cosmopolitan”

Seven Stars Insider – January Edition

Here’s the latest edition of Seven Stars Insider.  This is an easy read and an excellent resource for Harrah’s players.  Head over to Seven Stars Insider to sign up for the newsletter.  There is lots of new and useful information in this edition, so read on for all the goods.

Seven Stars Insider – January 2011

NOTE: While this newsletter was originally designed exclusively for Seven Stars members, there is useful information for anyone who has a Total Rewards® player’s card and/or plays/stays at a Caesars property.  Please feel free to pass this on to your friends.

Review-Journal Back In Gift Shops
Not sure when it happened, but the Las Vegas Review-Journal is once again for sale in the gift shops at Caesars’ properties.  The paper had been banned when then-Harrah’s officials were unhappy with some of the newspaper’s reporting, according to anonymous sources in Gaming Today.

Review-Journal Slams KGB
After its not-so-favorable review of Kerry Simon’s KGB, the Review-Journal may be back off the shelves at Harrah’s in Las Vegas.  In her December 3 review, critic Heidi Knapp Rinella wrote, “the restaurant has some problems that could threaten its future.”  Whoever wrote the headline didn’t help much either – “Culinary Confusion: Sloppy Service, Average Dishes Dash High Hopes For KGB At Harrah’s.”  Read the full review online (For her review of Harrah’s Buffet of Buffets)

Keurigs Now In Forum Tower
Add the Forum Tower to Augustus and Palace if you’re staying at Caesars Palace and need that early morning coffee fix.  I’d be curious how sales of the expensive coffee pod packs are going.  Most people I’ve heard from either don’t use the machines, bring their own pods from home or, if they’re staying in the Augustus Tower, just wait until 8 a.m. and pour themselves a free cup either at Seven Stars or Diamond Registration.

Staffing Cutbacks Continue
The four Caesars-owned casinos in Atlantic City eliminated several hosts.  (Reports ranged from up to five at each property, at least one of whom had worked at Harrah’s Resort for more than 20 years.)  In addition, several managers were let go, leaving those remaining to take on additional responsibilities at another casino, as well.  [Trump’s casinos in Atlantic City made similar cuts.]  Meanwhile, out in Las Vegas, one reader reported that breakfast service two days at Harrah’s Café was “horrendous”.  “When I asked our nice waitress about it, she said Harrah’s had expanded the number of tables she covers from four to eight last month.  This is terrible.  It took us an hour for breakfast!  Further, on a trip in October it took a slot attendant almost 30 minutes to come to my friend’s aid.  The EZ-Pay ticket stock was depleted and he couldn’t cash out.  The attendant told us that he had half the casino.  This was around 9 p.m. on a Sunday night.” Continue reading “Seven Stars Insider – January Edition”

Cosmopolitan Doesn’t Care About Money

While I’ve spoken about how much I enjoy the marketing of the Cosmopolitan Las Vegas, they’ve glaringly avoided talking about gambling which has stuck me as strange.

This article shows that gaming makes up almost 75% of Sands worldwide business and while that number may be a little less in the US, it’s certainly not a number to throw away.

As I mentioned I like a lot of what the Cosmo is doing with their marketing, but their avoidance of gambling has had me puzzled.  Even though their target audience is younger than the average gambler (Vegas Gang #55) it’s surprising they would eschew this market 100% in the public.

I’ve seen nothing to the contrary but I’m sure this will change with time.

No Resort Fees at Cosmopolitan!

Cosmopolitan continues to not follow trends of other strip properties in awesome ways.  This time we see that they’re not going to have resort fees and don’t plan on it.

“I’ve been playing around in that (resort fee) arena for 15 years,” veteran hotelier and Cosmopolitan CEO John Unwin said in a recent interview. Though hotels often tack on resort fees to offset plummeting hotel rates, “we’re not doing that because people don’t like it,” Unwin said

I didn’t realize that resort fees have been around for 15 years.  I’ve never paid a resort fee until the past couple years in Las Vegas.  Regardless, this is a nice move by the Cosmo.  I wonder if they’re gonna hire a model to tell people this move…

Ca$h In Your Chips!

Check your pockets for leftover $25,000 chips!  Bellagio is recalling (by April 22, 2011) and discontinuing all use of $25,000 chips as many were taken during a robbery a few weeks ago.

This makes sense and outside of wanting to mess around with the photo editor on my mac there really wasn’t much point to posting this.  Happy New Year!

Gambling on the Strip

I’m just off of a long weekend on the strip in Las Vegas.  We stayed at Planet Hollywood and the hotel, itself, was more of the same.  I love the hotel, but everything inside the room leaves something to be desired.  You can see the highs and lows on Vegas Chatter.

I gamble differently when I’m alone then when I’m with friends.  When I’m alone I mostly play video poker and slots, but when I’m with friends I’ll be a little more social with my gambling and play much more blackjack and table games.  This group of friends strictly played blackjack so when we were together, which was most of the time, I played blacjkack.

I played anywhere from $10 minimums to $25 minimums.  Unfortunately I never won enough in a row to get my progressive bets over $75.  That’s where the real money is won!

We played at Planet Hollywood both in and out of the Pleasure Pit and I won both ways.  We also played some double deck blackjack in the Heart Bar at Planet Hollywood.  This was also considered the Pleasure Pit so we only got paid 6:5 for blackjack, not that I saw many blackjacks this weekend.  We also played at Aira, Caesars Palace and Hard Rock.

I was a winner everywhere except Aria where their CSM dealt me almost the same hand every time.

10+ > low card > 10+

Even though the odds say don’t I’d rather play 6:5 single, double or shoe games than CSM because I get some kind of rhythm for the cards.  By calculation each Grey Goose and soda at Aria cost me $100, but they were 3 good drinks!  Once again no blackjack games under $25 were shoe Aria. This ensures that I will not be staying at Aria or any other CityCenter properties.  It also gives me no real reason to return to Aria to gamble.

The night before we had one of the greatest runs of blackjack at the Hard Rock where we played until they kicked us out at 5:30am.  We all won.  The size depended on how much we bet.  The smallest winner walked away with $150 and the biggest walked away with over $1,000 in profits.  I played small and drank heavy.  Since I don’t frequent the Hard Rock I wasn’t worried about accumulating any points for comps so I only won only a portion of that I could have. I also made a death defying recovery from my last bet to plus $200-300!

One of my friends didn’t speak for the last hour we played at Hard Rock.  We later realized he wasn’t just in a zone, but he was way to drunk.  At least I’m smart enough to cut my Grey Goose with club soda.

I’m leaving the horrible tales of the worst payouts ever at the Pussy Cat Dolls Lounge at Caesars Palace for my friends over at Vegas Chatter.  I walked away even, but I was the only one.  At least there were PLENTY of good looking girls.

The only other tale of gambling is that I saw someone playing my special 9/5 3-play Jacks or Better video poker machine at Planet Hollywood.  Previous to this sighting the machine had ALWAYS returned at least even money.  After the old man touched it I couldn’t win.  This took any winnings I may have had in sports betting and blackjack.

Overall this was a negative trip, but I only needed one days worth of my bankroll for all four days.  I will call this a success!

Nevada Helps Legal Online Sports Betting Move Forward

If you read ECG regularly, you know I love sports betting.  I’m a sports geek and love it, so it’s fun to have a little action in the game.  This week there was a major decision that could help online sports betting become legal in the USA, but it all starts in Nevada.

The Nevada Gaming Commission recently came to a crucial decision that will make online sports gambling in the state legal in the near future. The Commission rendered its approval of a project developed by the Leroy Group. The “Leroy App”, as the program is being called, will permit Nevada residents to post sports wagers from their cellular phones.

This is a major point of action as it sets a precedent for legal online sports betting.  I don’t see anything happening quickly in other states, but this is the first step in that happening.

Thankfully, I’m in Nevada now and get bet on sports online legally with Station Sports Connection whenever I want.  I can also grab lunch and play video poker and make my bets at Red Rock Casino, which is right down the road.

Power Company Inc Will No Longer Hide Your Sins

If you’ve every been to the Crazy Horse Too in Las Vegas you may remember that the drinks you charged were not charged to the club, but to Power Company, Inc.  This was an amazing way to expense drinks (or whatever) without the shameful stamp of “strip club” on your report.  Well, Crazy Horse Too is being auctioned by the government, so you won’t be able to hide behind Power Company again.

Proceeds from the sale are supposed to go toward paying off the millions of dollars its convicted former owner, Rick Rizzolo, owes the government in back taxes and fines, as well as a $10 million legal settlement for a Kansas man, Kirk Henry, who was paralyzed in a fight over his bar tab at the club in 2001.

Crazy Horse Too has been closed for a while now, so something was going to happen with the property.  If you’ve ever wanted to own a strip club, here’s your chance!

Photo: Flickr: pony.rojo