MGM Springfield Opens Stadium Casino in Attempt to Lure Younger Patrons
Posted on: August 26, 2019, 10:22h.
Last updated on: August 26, 2019, 11:36h.
The fiscally troubled MGM Springfield has opened a new casino space, one that the $960 million Massachusetts property hopes will attract younger gamblers.
The integrated casino resort celebrated its one-year anniversary over the weekend with a star-studded affair headlined by Aerosmith and attended by MGM CEO Jim Murren. The event also commenced the opening of MGM Springfield’s new “stadium casino” area, which allows gamblers to simultaneously play blackjack, roulette, and two variations of baccarat on computer screens featuring live dealers facilitating the games.
The stadium casino has 24 positions, meaning if each seat is occupied and every gambler plays all four games simultaneously, the area can operate 96 games at once.
Anything you can do from a live table you can do here,” MGM Springfield VP of Gaming Operations Robert Westerfield said. “You get more action in.”
According to MGM, the stadium terminals allow the games to run quicker. That’s desirable to MGM, as the casino looks to improve gaming revenues, which have largely disappointed over its first 12 months in business.
Disappointing Year One
MGM Springfield told state gaming regulators prior to opening that its casino floor would win $412 million in its first year in operation. But from August 23, 2018 through the end of July 2019, the casino has reported gross gaming revenue (GGR) of only $252.8 million – more than $159 million short of pre-opening forecasts.
Company executives have said they misjudged the competition in Connecticut, where the Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun casinos have long dominated the New England market.
“This market has some really strong competitors that have been in the market for 20-plus years,” MGM Springfield President Mike Mathis said recently. “So, I think we under-estimated that level of loyalty and what it would take for those customers to give us a shot.”
Comments posted on MassLive reveal disgruntlement with the MGM property.
One post regarding the new stadium games states, “It sounds to me like a desperate/Hail Mary attempt to draw attention to the casino’s failing operation. The people have spoken loudly in the first year as to what they think of the casino overall. Using the overall disappointing revenues as the criterion and it will go only downhill from here!”
Another blamed MGM for failing to cater to some gamblers’ preference for lower minimums.
“Is it better to drop an empty $25 blackjack table down to $10 or $15 and maybe put some people in the seats rather than have the dealer just stand there?” one asked. “So far, they don’t get it.”
Casinos across the country continue to search for ways to lure in the much sought-after millennial. Now accounting for the largest percentage of workers in the US labor force, those born roughly between 1981 to 1996 don’t seem to fancy slot machines nearly as much as older generations.
In neighboring Connecticut, Foxwoods recently unveiled a social gaming room designed with the millennial in mind.
“Millennials want to be more engaged and empowered. But when you replace ‘millennial’ and just say ‘customers,’ these things are describing the changing attitudes in general,” Foxwoods VP of brand marketing Anika Howard told Casino.org earlier this year. “We see it (as) less of a millennial problem, and more of the customer’s expectations are changing in general.”
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