In Effort to Lure High Rollers, MGM Springfield Will Replace Starbucks With VIP Area

Posted on: June 30, 2019, 05:00h. 

Last updated on: July 4, 2019, 08:11h.

As part of its plan to bolster gross gaming revenue (GGR) that is falling short of expectations, MGM Springfield will replace a famous coffeehouse with a dedicated gaming area for high-rollers.

MGM Springfield closed its Starbucks location in favor of a high-rollers lounge aimed at increasing revenue. (Image: TripAdvisor)

Thursday, June 27 was the last day of business for the Starbucks in MGM Springfield’s lobby, which will be replaced with a lounge aimed at luring high-stakes bettors. Starbucks is the world’s largest operator of coffee shops.

The Massachusetts casino — an almost $1 billion integrated resort that opened in August 2018 — is struggling to meet the minimum of $416 million in year one GGR it forecast prior to the venue’s debut. As reported in mid-June, MGM’s lone Massachusetts property posted GGR of $212.5 million in its first 10 months of business.

The venue had May GGR of $22.28 million, a modest increase over the $21.8 million won in April. To get to the $416 million projection, MGM Springfield would need to average monthly GGR of $34.6 million.

Disappointment And Increased Competition

Previously, MGM executives appeared confident in public about the Springfield casino’s trajectory, but more recently have started expressing concerns.

In May, high-level MGM managers “said they’ve been disappointed in their ability to draw high-roller gamblers to Springfield,” reports Mass Live.

MGM Springfield President Michael Mathis said the venue’s customers have shown more willingness to enjoy the resort’s bars and restaurants than they have to try their luck at high-limit tables.

Since the integrated resort opened last August, gaming managers there have reportedly changed the venue’s composition of slot machines and table games in an effort to juice revenue. MGM Springfield has 125,000 square feet of gaming space, 2,500 slot machines, 93 table games and 23 poker tables, according to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC).

The planned lounge for big money players is the latest sign of tinkering at MGM Springfield and comes amid an emerging competitive threat in the form of Wynn Resorts’ recently opened Encore Boston Harbor.

That $2.6 billion integrated resort, located just a few miles from Boston’s Logan International Airport, opened Sunday, June 23 and is the first casino located in a major US metropolitan area.

Some analysts believe that once Encore Boston Harbor fully ramps up, it will be the dominant gaming destination in New England and one of the top regional casino properties in the US.

Prior to the opening of that Wynn venue, MGM Springfield could lay claim to having the Bay State’s largest wagering area, but Encore Boston Harbor offers 210,000 square feet of gaming space. That makes the property larger than Wynn’s two Las Vegas casinos combined.

Fighting For VIPs

Gaming companies are always looking for new ways to lure and keep big bettors. Encore Boston Harbor is pulling out stops, including offering VIPs prime seating at Boston Bruins and Celtics games as well as skyboxes at storied Fenway Park for Red Sox games.

Earlier this year, MGM Springfield signed a marketing deal with the defending World Series champion Red Sox to become the team’s official casino resort, replacing Connecticut’s Foxwoods, a tribal gaming venue.

Data suggest MGM has been adept at attracting visitors from various parts of New England, but less so at gaining customers from Eastern Massachusetts, one of the most affluent regions in the US. Encore Boston Harbor is located in the eastern part of the state.