Kirk Kerkorian, founder of the company known today as MGM Resorts, died at the age of 98 this week. The pioneer of the Las Vegas Strip was the largest shareholder in MGM Resorts at the time of his death. He opened several Las Vegas Strip casinos – including today’s MGM Grand and the previous MGM, now known as Bally’s. MGM Resorts also acquired Mirage Resorts and Mandalay Bay Resorts under his direction. Las Vegas may not have been what it is today without Kerkorian’s vision.
The poker room at Westgate Las Vegas became the latest to close. The casino, previously known as the Las Vegas Hilton and LVH, is now managed by Paragon Gaming. The company decided to remove its three-table poker room from the sportsbook. Paragon made a similar decision when it took the reins at Riviera, closing its poker room within weeks of taking over management duties.
A proposal by the Internal Revenue Service to lower the slot jackpot reporting threshold from $1,200 to $600 drew numerous opponents to a hearing this week. Geoff Freeman, President of the American Gaming Association, was among casino interests that described a situation where gamblers would be turned away. This included proposals to use player loyalty cards as tracking devices to prevent machines from locking up. More than 3,000 people left comments, mostly in opposition, to the IRS proposal.
South Dakota dealers have completed preparations for expanded gambling in the state. Deadwood and South Dakota tribal gaming may spread craps and roulette starting on July 1. Dealers must complete a six week course. This includes 120 hours of simulated craps dealing and 60 hours at roulette, according to the Black Hills Pioneer. Keno will also be permitted when July 1 comes around. Craps rules, including odds and whether the Field bet will pay triple on 12, are not yet available.
The gaming market in New Jersey continues to struggle. May revenue for Atlantic City was down nine percent in May. The casinos still in business when the four shuttered in 2014 are removed were up five percent in May. Online gaming was up nearly 10 percent. Online casino games were up 28 percent, while online poker was down by the same amount.