MGM Resorts started out as a division of the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film production company. The company entered the gaming industry through the direction of Kirk Kerkorian, the same man who built the property best known as the Las Vegas Hilton.
The first casino built by MGM Resorts was opened in Las Vegas in 1973 and was called the MGM Grand. It is not the same MGM Grand as today, however. Bally’s is now located on the property that was originally built to be the home of MGM Grand. It built a second MGM Grand casino in Reno, Nevada in 1978.
The current MGM Grand Las Vegas property is located on the intersection of Tropicana Avenue and Las Vegas Blvd. This property opened in December 1993 at a cost of $1 billion with a theme based on the Wizard of Oz, and an emphasis on a movie studio feel. The company later built New York New York in Las Vegas, which opened in January of 1997.
After opening several successfull casinos in Las Vegas and Reno, MGM Resorts then acquired the three casinos in Primm, NV through a related merger. It also entered the Detroit market around the same time. The Primm casinos were later sold, however.
MGM Resorts, still known as MGM Grand at the time, acquired Mirage Resorts for $6.4 billion in May of 2000. This added Mirage, Bellagio, Treasure Island, Boardwalk, Golden Nugget and Laughlin, as well as Beau Rivage in Biloxi. This is also where MGM acquired a 50% stake in Borgata Atlantic City. The company’s name was changed to MGM Mirage at this time.
MGM’s acquisition plan was not finished yet. In 2004, Mandalay Resorts agreed to a $7.9 billion deal. This acquisition of Mandalay Resorts added Excalibur, Luxor, Mandalay Bay, and Circus Circus to the portfolio. The deal also included two casinos in Jean, NV; Nevada Landing and Goldstrike. Nevada Landing closed in 2007 and was torn down shortly after, while Goldstrike was sold in 2014.
CityCenter is located on the southwest corner of Las Vegas Blvd and Harmon Avenue. Most notably, it is home to Aria Resort & Casino but there are four other towers here that are not casinos; Veer, Crystals, Vdara and Mandarin Oriental.
There was also a fifth tower known as the Harmon, but construction defects plagued the project and it was mothballed. After a lengthy lawsuit with the developer, the shell of the Harmon Tower was deconstructed in 2014. Unlike other properties in Las Vegas that are imploded, Harmon had to be torn down piece-by-piece due to the close proximity of other structures.
CityCenter ran into financial difficulties as the economic meltdown of 2008 struck Las Vegas. The $8 billion project stopped paying its note to Dubai World. An agreement allowed Dubai World to convert debt into equity, infusing the project with cash to allow it to finish and it finally opened on December 16, 2009.
MGM Resorts owns a property in the gambling enclave of Macau. It is called MGM Macau and is a joint venture with Pansy Ho, the daughter of the founder of Macau Gaming.
The M Life Rewards Program is the players card used by most MGM properties in Las Vegas. The only exceptions are Circus Circus and Slots A Fun, which each have their own cards. Other resorts outside of Las Vegas that use M Life include MGM Grand Detroit, Goldstrike Tunica, and Beau Rivage.
M Life Rewards is a comp program where players earn points when they play or spend money at an MGM property. Gamblers earn 1 point for every $3 in slot play or $10 in video poker action. Each point is worth $.01 in comps or free play. Free play must be redeemed in $5 increments with a minimum of $10. Table games are rated based on the house edge, speed, and in the case of blackjack, player skill.
M Life Rewards members will receive comped hotel stays and free play mailers based on their tier level and past action. The program has five different tiers; Sapphire, Pearl, Gold, Platinum, and Noir. Noir is the top tier and is given to players on an invite-only basis.