Online casino gaming continues to figure prominently in the general news coming from the casino industry. Sometimes this gives the impression that land based casinos are losing customers to online casinos and that the day of the big land based casinos may be numbered. This concern is based on many factors that favor online casinos such as the many casino bonuses players can access, the large number of games, and the unlimited free play.
This short blog seeks to put these fears to rest as we will cover some news coming from the world of land based casinos.
The new MGM Springfield casino, which cost a cool billion dollars to build and equip, opened this past weekend to rave reviews. Over 150,000 people visited the casino over the weekend. Gamers waited in long lines just to get in to the casino. They seemed unconcerned that with so many people, many would not find a slot or video poker machine available nor would there be enough room at the blackjack tables or around the roulette and craps tables.
The throngs that came to the three day opening came primarily to look around.
While every one of the 150,000 patrons at the opening of MGM Springfield could play at home on their desktop or mobile device, and many already do, the big land based casino has one major advantage over online gaming that it will never relinquish: atmosphere. 150,000 people came to a very crowded new land based casino in their midst for the atmosphere.
Destination Style Casino
There is already a crowded land based casino industry in New England and the nearby Mid-Atlantic states. A new term—destination style casino—is being used to describe both the MGM Springfield and another casino set to open in Boston in 2019. The idea behind a destination style casino is that it offers far more than a normal casino and hotel complex.
The MGM Springfield features a unique hotel in which each room is architecturally different than all the other rooms and the interior designs are all different as well. The idea is that the hotel should feature unique accommodations, not the cookie cutter type of accommodations people get at most motels and hotels.
The overall impression customers to the hotel will get is of a nineteenth century hotel with luxurious twenty first century amenities. MGM put a lot of thought into the paintings and other decorations they put on the walls not only in the rooms but throughout the casino.
Loyalty to the Past
MGM chose to use the architecture of Springfield as its starting point in designing the hotel and casino. While the casino looks very much like a casino from the inside, visitors to Springfield will see a building that looks like it might have been built 150 years ago and had simply undergone some renovation.
The MGM Springfield also has some of the qualities of an Integrated Resort. First, the casino hotel complex has several restaurants and bars. The complex also features a bowling alley, an indoor golf driving range, an indoor spa with all-season pool, and an 8000 seat theater. A movie theater is scheduled to open soon.
Many people drive through Springfield to and from the Berkshires in western Massachusetts. The NBA Hall of Fame is also located here and draws many visitors yearly. By making the hotel a separate entity from the casino, MGM expects to attract tourists and families that have no intention to enter the casino. This is exactly the idea behind the Integrated Resort in which the casino is merely one attraction among many.
That the land based casino market is far from exhausted can be seen by the news from Athens, Greece that a big, modern casino is planned for one of Europe’s prime cities and vacation destinations. The Hellenic Gaming Commission is charged with choosing from five major international casino and resort corporations that are interested in building an Integrated Resort for Athens.
The five companies vying for the license to build the resort are Caesars Entertainment, Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment, Melco Resorts and Entertainment, Hard Rock International, and Las Vegas Sands. These five major industry players see the Integrated Resort idea for Athens as a big future winner even though other Greek land based casinos have seen a dip in revenues.
The commission released a statement in which it specifically mentioned an Integrated Resort “as an important part of the Hellinikon, a project destined to transform the wider area of Athens and improve the lives of millions of residents and visitors of our capital city, enhance the Greek tourism product, and become a growth engine for the Greek economy.”
The vision the Hellenic Gaming Commission has is of a full-fledged Integrated Resort in which the casino will be a powerful attraction but by far not the only one. The resort would have facilities for conventions and exhibitions; gourmet restaurants; a theater for stage entertainment; family friendly themed entertainment; shopping; hotels with luxury rooms plus suites for families; and much more. The casino would attract gamers and also people who had come as tourists to see the many attractions of three thousand year old Athens.
As a tourist attraction, the resort is expected to increase annual tourist visits by fully one million; will reduce the seasonal nature of tourism in Athens as it presently obtains; and will increase the number of nights tourists stay in Athens. The benefit to the economies of both Athens and Greece generally are obvious.
Two new casinos recently opened in Atlantic City, the Ocean Resort and the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. Together they demonstrate big money confidence in Atlantic City gaming despite the competition from further north, in New England and New York State.
Land based casino operators are showing confidence in their casinos and in the continuing support they will get from the gaming public. Despite the many inroads felt in the industry by online casinos, land based casinos continue to thrive as evidenced by these news items.