Casinos around America make lots of money, we know. They also have shown they know how to lose a lot, too -- to hackers, scammers, bad investments and triple-zero roulette. Casino workers can only keep their fake smiles on for so long.
Here’s your semi-regular casino news roundup about changes going on in the casino world:
Remember how we were telling you that Caesars and MGM essentially presented a comparative case study about two ways to handle a major hack attack? Now that MGM is (mostly) back and operational people are questioning Caesars’ willingness to pay Russian cyberthugs a ransom. (The Street)
But the blowback could go even further. Some are suggesting this sort of move harkens back to the days of mob bosses taking a skim for “protection” -- the exact kinda thing gaming regulators in Nevada are supposed to snuff out. (The Nevada Independent)
More than 3,500 casino workers in Detroit are following in Nevada’s ready-to-march footsteps. This weekend, The Teamsters and four other unions voted 99% in favor of authorizing a strike at MGM Grand Detroit, Hollywood at Greektown, and MotorCity casinos if corporate leaders don’t pony up fair contracts by Oct. 16.
Workers say they had to forego raises during the pandemic and now are shouldering heavier workloads. They’re demanding wage increases, retirement security, and tech protection. This comes as the casino industry rakes in record profits, with MGM Resorts International and PENN Entertainment splurging billions on stock buybacks. (Teamster.org)
Meanwhile, labor talks are ongoing in Las Vegas, with the unions setting a date of Oct. 6 for the earliest they could go on strike if workers don’t get a better deal. (Reuters)
And what might you ask is “tech protection”? It’s a promise to casino workers that they would receive new training before losing their job to artificial intelligence or some other technology. Like what they’re championing at the Ameristar casino (a Boyd Gaming property) in St. Charles, Missouri.
Roll in & Out will be a convenience store, essentially, that uses biometrics to eliminate the need for cashiers. Customers simply place their hand on a kiosk to enter, and from there they can grab whatever they want and walk out with it – Amazon will know exactly how much to charge you. Just don’t be surprised when you get home if your phone suddenly wants to start selling you small bottles of Captain Morgan’s, breath mints, and keychains with a pair of mini-dice under the phrase “Winner!” (KSDK)
In Virginia, citizens are considering a fourth casino in the state -- the Richmond Grand Resort & Casino. Voters will decide in November. A previous attempt to get voter approval for the casino failed in 2021. Part of the pitch was that through NASDAQ-listed Urban One, this casino would be a Black-owned business. This time, however, a lot has changed, particularly with the involvement of Churchill Downs, based in Louisville, Kentucky. And voters might not even care, if they just want a new casino. (RVA Mag)
A few months ago, the much maligned off-Strip Rio All-Suites Resort & Casino looked practically abandoned. With new owners officially taking over the operations on Sunday and starting in earnest on $350 million in renovations, the former home of the World Series of Poker will lose that desolate, post-apocalyptic vibe. Though perhaps sadly, those $7 room rates also are gone now.
Dreamscape, a New York-based real estate investor, bought the property in 2019, but Caesars was still running the hotel and casino. Now Caesars is fully and officially out. And with that the Rio has launched its own Rewards program. (Rio Las Vegas)