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 man that built the property best known as the Las Vegas Hilton.
The first MGM casino was built in Las Vegas in 1973. It was called the MGM Grand. It is not the same MGM Grand as today. Bally’s is now located on the property that was originally built as the MGM Grand. It built a second MGM Grand in Reno in 1978.
The current MGM Grand property located at Tropicana Avenue and Las Vegas Blvd opened in December 1993 at a cost of $1 billion. It was based on the Wizard of Oz theme with an emphasis on a movie studio feel. The company built New York New York in January 1997. It then acquired the three casinos in Primm, NV through a related merger. It also entered the Detroit market. The Primm casinos were later sold.
MGM Resorts, still known as MGM Grand at the time, acquired Mirage Resorts for $6.4 billion in May 2000. This added Mirage, Bellagio, Treasure Island, Boardwalk, Golden Nugget in Las Vegas and Laughlin, as well as Beau Rivage in Biloxi. This is also where the 50% stake in Borgata in Atlantic City was acquired. 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, 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. Goldstrike was sold in 2014.
CityCenter is located on the southwest corner of Las Vegas Blvd and Harmon Avenue. It includes Aria, which offers a casino. There are four towers that are not casinos; Veer, Crystals, Vdara and Mandarin Oriental.
There was also a fifth tower known as the Harmon. 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 struck Las Vegas. The $8 billion project stopped paying its note to Dubai World. An agreement allowed Dubai World to convert debt into equity and infuse the project with cash to allow it to finish. 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.
MLife is the players card used by most MGM properties in Las Vegas. The exceptions are Circus Circus and Slots A Fun, which have their own card. The only other resorts outside of Las Vegas that use MLife are MGM Grand Detroit, Goldstrike Tunica, and Beau Rivage.
MLife is a comp program where players earn rewards on play and spending. One point is earned for every $3 in slot play and $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.
MLife members will receive free hotel and free play mailers based on the earned tier level and past action. There are five tiers; Sapphire, Pearl, Gold, Platinum, and Noir. Noir is the top tier and is invite-only.