MGM Resorts says no new Vegas casinos, but mobile sports betting on the way

mgm-resorts-rock-in-rioMGM Resorts CEO Jim Murren says his firm is done building new casinos in Las Vegas.

Speaking to the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s Howard Stutz, Murren said that it’s “not my expectation during my career here that we will build another casino resort in Las Vegas.” Murren says he doesn’t “see the value proposition, the need and the business case that could be made” for spending billions on another Vegas casino.

MGM boasts more properties on the Las Vegas Strip than any other casino operator, but Murren believes “the era of expanding casino floors is over.” With gaming’s share of overall Strip revenue currently down to a little more than one-third, Murren believes “the evolution of the casino floor will be to shrink them.”

This new vision is being driven by younger Vegas visitors, who have shown little appetite for parking themselves in front of a slot machine for hours at a stretch. Most of these visitors have casinos in their home states, and Murren believes they come to Vegas seeking “one-of-a-kind experiences” they can’t get back home.

Murren says MGM’s focus was on “developing the type of environments that will make our buildings more popular and profitable.” These environments are non-gaming in nature, like the $66m expansion of the Mandalay Bay Convention Center, the Park outdoor retail and dining district, and the two outdoor festival grounds that can accommodate gigs like last month’s Rock In Rio extravaganza, which drew 160k attendees – only 15% of whom were local residents.

Murren also has high hopes for the 20k-seat arena being developed in partnership with AEG. Murren said he’s 80% to 90% sure that the National Hockey League will approve an expansion franchise for the venue, but even if he loses that bet, Murren insists the arena would be “occupied every single weekend.”

Meanwhile, MGM is reportedly putting the finishing touches on its long-awaited mobile sports betting product. MGM’s sportsbooks have yet to join crosstown rivals William Hill, CG Technology, Boyd Gaming, Station Casinos and South Point in allowing wagering on the go, but ESPN’s David Purdum reported that MGM hopes to have their new mobile app ready to go by November.

MGM is also planning to overhaul its sportsbook’s core system to expand its product range. MGM VP of race and sports Jay Rood said the company had been discussing potential partnerships with European sports data providers in order to provide a wide range of in-play wagers on “a lot of soccer and some basketball from different areas and different leagues.”