US Lawmakers Race to Help Economy Hit Hard by Coronavirus - Voice of America

US Lawmakers Race to Help Economy Hit Hard by Coronavirus - Voice of AmericaUS Lawmakers Race to Help Economy Hit Hard by Coronavirus - Voice of AmericaPosted: 23 Mar 2020 09:41 AM PDTWASHINGTON - U.S. lawmakers are racing to enact a massive rescue package to prop up an American economy increasingly paralyzed by efforts to contain the novel coronavirus.Stock markets plunged last week — wiping out nearly all gains recorded during Donald Trump's presidency — as activity in public places across the country ground to a halt.  With factories, businesses, restaurants and schools shutting down and entire industries in shambles, workers are facing layoffs, cutbacks in hours or having to make the difficult choice of working while ill if they lack paid sick leave.  Despite positive test results for lawmakers in both chambers that have forced self-quarantining measures, Democratic and Republican leaders say lawmakers must stay in Washington to finish work on an economic stimulus package.  &q…

“MGM Resorts completes $825M sale of Circus Circus to Ruffin - Las Vegas Review-Journal” plus 2 more

“MGM Resorts completes $825M sale of Circus Circus to Ruffin - Las Vegas Review-Journal” plus 2 more

MGM Resorts completes $825M sale of Circus Circus to Ruffin - Las Vegas Review-Journal

Posted: 20 Dec 2019 02:27 PM PST

MGM Resorts International announced Friday that it has closed the sale of Circus Circus to TI-owner Phil Ruffin for $825 million.

Ruffin now owns the 3,700-room resort-casino, along with 37 adjacent acres. The purchase price includes $662.5 million in cash and a $162.5 million note due 2024. The Nevada Gaming Commission approved the deal Thursday.

MGM confirmed Oct. 15 that Ruffin was buying the property, which opened in 1968. The Review-Journal reported the deal in September.

MGM said in a Friday press release that the sale was part of the company's "asset-light" strategy, which is "designed to focus on MGM Resorts' core business and maximize value for its shareholders." The company plans to utilize the proceeds from this sale to "further its capital allocation strategy and enhance its strategic and operational flexibility."

This is Ruffin's second purchase from MGM. In December 2008, he purchased TI — then known as Treasure Island — from the company for $775 million. He also owns the 200,000-square-foot Casino Miami in Florida and about 50 percent of Trump International in Las Vegas.

Ruffin told the Nevada Gaming Commission earlier this week that he has big plans for Circus Circus.

He's working to get "The Illusionists," a Cirque du Soleil show playing in New York, to move to the property. He said the show would be housed in a new 2,000-seat, $11 million theater.

Visitors can also expect an updated casino with a stadium-style gaming area, according to Ruffin. And the property's 10 acre RV lot — the only one of its kind on the Strip — is set to be replaced with a sand-beach pool with a wave machine.

But not everything will change under Ruffin. The 5-acre Adventuredome and popular steakhouse will stay, and Ruffin intends to rehire nearly all of the existing employees.

Contact Bailey Schulz at or 702-383-0233. Follow @bailey_schulz on Twitter.

MGM Resorts International Hits Royal Flush With East Coast Poker Tour - PRNewswire

Posted: 19 Dec 2019 01:07 PM PST

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J., Dec. 19, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- MGM Resorts International today announced details of its first-ever MGM Resorts East Coast Poker Tour (ECPT), featuring events at MGM National Harbor, MGM Springfield and Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City. The co-branded tournament series will take place throughout 2020; kicking off on February 5-17 with MGM National Harbor's Potomac Winter Poker Open and culminating November 15-20 with Borgata's Fall Poker Open $2 Million Guaranteed Championship.

"MGM Resorts offers players the best poker product on the East Coast," said Jorge Perez, Portfolio President. "Our East Coast Poker Tour is a great way for us to showcase three of our industry-leading properties while creating an exciting tournament series for our guests and poker enthusiasts."

The MGM Resorts East Coast Poker Tour will feature five co-branded events and one co-branded championship. Events include one tournament at MGM Springfield (The Armory Classic), two at MGM National Harbor (Potomac Poker Open(s): February / July), and three, including the championship, at Borgata (Spring Poker Open, Summer Poker Open & Fall Poker Open Championship).

Players can qualify for the MGM Resorts ECPT leaderboard between February 5, 2020 and August 24, 2020 by registering in any of the five tournaments prior to the championship. A minimum of 100 players, including the five winners of the tour's previous tournaments, five randomly selected participants (one from each tournament), and the top 90 participants on the leaderboard will receive a complimentary two-night stay at Borgata and entry into the Borgata Fall Poker Open / MGM Resorts East Coast Poker Tour $2 Million Guaranteed Championship November 15-20, 2020. Additional prizes include a $500 MGM Resorts gift card, $250 hotel credit at Borgata, and a Cartier watch. Participants must be M life cardholders to qualify.

2020 MGM Resorts ECPT Schedule:


February 5 – 17, 2020

            * featuring guaranteed $500,000 championship ($3,000 buy-in)


April 7 – 24, 2020

            * featuring guaranteed $1 million championship ($2,700 buy-in)


July 7 – 24, 2020

            * featuring guaranteed $1 million championship ($2,700 buy-in)


July 22 – August 3, 2020

            * featuring guaranteed $1 million championship ($3,500 buy-in)


August 12 – 24, 2020


November 15 – 20, 2020

            * featuring guaranteed $2 million championship ($3,500 buy-in)

To view the event schedule or for more information visit

About MGM Resorts International
MGM Resorts International (NYSE: MGM) is an S&P 500® global entertainment company with national and international locations featuring best-in-class hotels and casinos, state-of-the-art meetings and conference spaces, incredible live and theatrical entertainment experiences, and an extensive array of restaurant, nightlife and retail offerings. MGM Resorts creates immersive, iconic experiences through its suite of Las Vegas-inspired brands. The MGM Resorts portfolio encompasses 30 unique hotel and destination gaming offerings including some of the most recognizable resort brands in the industry. Expanding throughout the U.S. and around the world, the company recently acquired the operations of Empire City Casino in New York and MGM Northfield Park. In 2018, MGM Resorts opened MGM Springfield in Massachusetts, MGM COTAI in Macau, and the first Bellagio-branded hotel in Shanghai. The 82,000 global employees of MGM Resorts are proud of their company for being recognized as one of FORTUNE® Magazine's World's Most Admired Companies®. For more information visit us at

About Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa
Located in Atlantic City's Marina District, Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa features 2,000 guest rooms and suites; 106,000 square feet of event space; 161,000 square feet of gaming; 187 table games; 2,825 slot machines; a 75+ table poker room; a race and sports book; 11 retail boutiques; 5 acclaimed fine dining restaurants by renowned chefs; 10 casual dining options; a 54,000 square foot spa; 20,000 square foot indoor/outdoor pool and garden; 32,000 square foot outdoor pool; 4 signature nightlife experiences; and parking for 7,100 cars. The market-leading resort also features Atlantic City's first cosmopolitan hotel experience, The Water Club at Borgata, with 800 guest rooms and suites; a 36,000 square foot spa; 6 designer retail boutiques; and 5 heated indoor and outdoor pools. Borgata offers online gaming within the state of New Jersey through its real-money gaming sites,,, and Borgata is an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of MGM Resorts International (NYSE: MGM). For more information about Borgata, please visit or follow Borgata on Facebook and Twitter.

About MGM National Harbor
Located in an unrivaled setting, MGM National Harbor offers stunning panoramic views of the eastern shore of the Potomac River in Maryland. The $1.4 billion LEED® Gold Certified resort sits a short distance from Washington, D.C. to the north and historic sites, including George Washington's Mount Vernon estate across the river in Virginia. The 24-story, 308-room resort features premier amenities and experiences for locals as well as visitors from around the world including a dynamic two-level casino with over 160,000 square feet of space that includes slots, table games and poker; a world-class spa and salon; an entertainment theater with flexible seating for up to 3,000; high-end branded retail; 50,000 square feet of meeting space; and restaurants from renowned local, national and international chefs. MGM National Harbor is owned by MGM Resorts International (NYSE: MGM). For more information, visit or follow on Facebook and Twitter.

About MGM Springfield
MGM Springfield covers three city blocks in the heart of downtown Springfield, Mass. As the world's first LEED™ Platinum-certified gaming resort, MGM Springfield ignites a cultural and economic renaissance in a historic New England city by seamlessly blending new design with restored historic buildings. The resort offers more than 125,000 square feet of gaming space, a 250-room boutique hotel on Main Street, superior spa services, diverse retail and inspired dining headlined by award-winning Chef Michael Mina's Cal Mare. MGM Springfield also features a seven-screen Regal luxury cinema complex, bowling lanes, a seasonal skating rink and outdoor marketplace displaying local art, events and talent. The property opened on August 24, 2018. For additional information, please visit

Please direct media inquiries to Liza Costandino (609.317.7759; and Brian Brennan (609.317.7160;

SOURCE MGM Resorts International

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TPG’s guide to Las Vegas casino loyalty programs - The Points Guy

Posted: 01 Dec 2019 12:00 AM PST

Whether you're looking for an inexpensive getaway with your friends, heading to a convention or just scored tickets to the hottest concert of the season, there's always something happening in Las Vegas. We'll tell you how to get there on miles and points, where to stay, the best times to plan a trip and what to do while you're there. Remember, there's plenty to do in Sin City besides gamble.

Las Vegas is a city of status. We're not talking about hotel status, though that can be very helpful here too. We're talking about VIP lines for everything from taxis to top-notch shows and nightclubs. Perks count in Vegas — for discounts on shopping, free parking and waived resort fees.

So what's the best status to earn? That depends on what's most important to you — you won't find a benefit like waived resort fees in every casino loyalty program. That's why we're exploring the top-tier loyalty programs in Las Vegas, as well as a few others you may find useful in Sin City.

For more TPG news delivered each morning to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

MGM Resorts — M Life

MGM owns and operates some of the most popular casinos in Las Vegas, as well as in other locations around the U.S. In Las Vegas, this means the popular MGM Grand, Bellagio, Mirage and Mandalay Bay resorts are part of the M Life program. All MGM Resorts in Las Vegas participate in the program, which has five levels.

The MGM Grand Hotel (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
The MGM Grand Hotel (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Each level requires a certain number of tier credits to qualify for status. Tier credits can be earned on all gaming activities as well as through spending on hotel rooms, dining, entertainment and spa services. Earning levels vary by property.

M Life members can also earn eight Tier Credits per dollar for room and incidental charges at most Hyatt hotels. The M Life "elite calendar" runs from Oct. 1 to Sept. 30 of the following year. You'll need to earn the required Tier Credits for each level in that time period.

You can also earn free hotel rooms, show tickets and other prizes at MGM Resorts by playing the MyVegas app.


This is the M Life status level you receive just for signing up. As entry-level status, the most valuable benefit is probably the 10% discount on room rates at participating MGM properties. You'll also enjoy a 5% discount on shopping at participating shops and early access to tickets for select events at MGM Resorts nationwide.


Pearl status is awarded after you earn 35,000 Tier Credits in a program year. World of Hyatt Discoverist members can also match their status to M Life Pearl (learn more about how to rock Vegas with status matches).

Along with the benefits of Sapphire status, Pearl members enjoy a 10% bonus on points-earning from slot play and on earning Express Comps. They also receive an additional six months of expiration time, invitation to members-only events as well as a 10% discount on shopping at participating stores. Pearl members also have self-parking fees waived, which can add up if you have a rental car for your Vegas vacation.


Gold status is for a more serious level of gambler or those who spend a whole lot on hotel rooms and dining. It requires 75,000 Tier Credits per program year to obtain or retain, but also comes with all the perks of Pearl status and quite a few more. World of Hyatt Explorist and Globalist members can match their status to M Life Gold.

Caesars Palace and The Belagio. (Photo by Toms Auzins/robertharding/Getty Images)
The Bellagio (Photo by Toms Auzins/robertharding/Getty Images)

In addition to all the benefits of Pearl status, Gold members earn a 20% bonus on slot play and Express Comps. They have access to priority check-in lines and room upgrades (excluding suites) for hotel stays. Gold members also enjoy priority reservations at restaurants as well as VIP lines for buffets and select nightclubs in Las Vegas. Gold status also includes free valet parking. Finally, MGM's partnership with Royal Caribbean affords Gold members some modest benefits on Royal Caribbean and Celebrity cruises, including a $125 onboard credit on each cruise.


Platinum members need to amass 200,000 Tier Credits during a program year. In addition to all the benefits of Gold status, Platinum members receive one free cruise per program year on Royal Caribbean or Celebrity in the Bahamas or the Caribbean in an Oceanview Stateroom. The length of the cruise is either three, four or five nights, depending on your gambling history. Platinum members also receive a $200 onboard credit on all cruises.

Platinum members also earn a 30% bonus on slots play and Express Comps as well as a 15% discount at participating shops. They also receive a Platinum Experience upon check-in. These vary, but past choices have included complimentary passes to the Shark Reef Aquarium, Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art, Big Apple Roller Coaster and Siegfried & Roy's Secret Garden.

Platinum members also receive priority access to pool, cabana and spa reservations, as well as valet and taxi services.


Noir status is the highest advertised level in the M Life program and it's invitation-only. There are rumors of needing to spend at least $250,000 per year in MGM casinos, though those are unconfirmed.

Noir members receive a seven-night Royal Caribbean or Celebrity Bahamas or Caribbean cruise in a Balcony Stateroom.

Additionally, they earn a 40% bonus on slots play and Express Comps and they have a higher limit on the number of Express Comps they can earn. Noir members have access to VIP check-in services that include a private lounge in most MGM resorts. They're also guaranteed hotel reservations and restaurant reservations under certain circumstances and receive complimentary limo service to and from the airport to the hotel.

Related: The best starter travel credit cards

Caesars Rewards

Caesars Rewards is the other top-tier loyalty program in Las Vegas, especially when it comes to the number of participating properties, including Caesars Palace, Flamingo, Bally's and Harrah's. Caesars has plenty of properties, but they tend to be a notch or two below the best MGM properties in Las Vegas.

Caesars Palace. (Photo by Evan Semones - cosmophotograhy/Getty Images
Caesars Palace (Photo by Evan Semones – cosmophotograhy/Getty Images

Caesars Rewards has four elite levels. Qualification involves earning Tier Credits during a calendar year and earning rates vary on Tier Credits. Slot play earns one Tier Credit for every $5 of play, while video poker earns one Tier Credit for every $10 of play. You'll also earn five Tier Credits for every dollar spent on room rates and resort fees and one Tier Credit per dollar spent on pretty much everything else (dining, spa services, shopping, pool, etc).

You can also earn Caesars Rewards Credits through partners like and by playing their Facebook game.


Gold status is the entry level of the Caesars Rewards program. You'll be eligible for free or discounted hotel stays, subject to your level of play. And, for every 5,000 Tier Credits you earn, you'll be eligible for a free hotel night in Las Vegas or Atlantic City. Gold members also get access to special pricing at participating restaurants and early access to tickets for certain shows as well as discounted rates at Atlantis, Paradise Island in the Bahamas.


Platinum status requires 5,000 Tier Credits in a calendar year. Additionally, Wyndham Platinum members are eligible for a status match to Platinum in the Caesars Rewards program. Platinum members receive all the benefits of Gold status, plus a 15% discount at casino gift shops and free valet and self-parking at most casino locations. Platinum members and above can also enjoy a complimentary three-night stay at Atlantis.

All Platinum members can request a status match to Wyndham Platinum status, which entitles you to some moderate benefits with Wyndham such as accelerated points-earning and late checkout (subject to availability). Platinum members can also give 5,000 Reward Credits to a friend and receive a 10% discount on select Norwegian Cruise Line vacations.


Diamond status requires 15,000 Tier credits in a calendar year. Wyndham Diamond members are also eligible for a status match to Caesars Diamond, which can be very rewarding. On top of all the benefits of Platinum status, Diamond members received a handful of valuable benefits — for example, you won't pay resort fees at any Caesars property. Considering resort fees have started edging up as high as $50 per night at some properties, these savings can add up quickly.

Diamond members are also entitled to a 15% discount on certain hotel room and suite rates, two free nights at Caesars Bluewaters Dubai and guaranteed rooms in Las Vegas and Atlantic City with 72 hours' notice. As a Diamond member, you'll also receive a $100 dining credit for a Celebration Dinner when earning Diamond status (even via status match) and a 20% discount at casino gift shops.

The Flamingo Las Vegas Hotel. (Photo by Torresigner/Getty Images)
The Flamingo Las Vegas Hotel (Photo by Torresigner/Getty Images)

Other key benefits of Diamond status include access to VIP Laurel Lounges located in most casinos, priority lines for restaurants and priority or VIP check-in at hotels. Diamond members also earn a four-night stay at Atlantis (room type dependent on gaming history), as well as a 20% discount on select Norwegian Cruise Line vacations. All Diamond members have the opportunity to match their Caesars status to Wyndham Diamond. In addition to accelerated points-earning and late checkout (subject to availability), Wyndham Diamond members are entitled to suite upgrades, a welcome amenity at check-in and the ability to give Gold status to someone.

Seven Stars

Seven Stars is the highest published level of the Caesars Rewards program. It requires 10 times as many Tier Credits as Diamond: a whopping 150,000 per calendar year. But for the serious gambler, the perks may be worth staying loyal to Caesars.

In addition to all the benefits of Diamond status, Seven Stars members are entitled to a room upgrade at check-in, complimentary early check-in and late check-out, a $500 Celebration Dinner and a 25% discount at gift shops.

Seven Stars members also receive $1,200 in airfare to fly to any Caesars Rewards destination and a $500 dining credit when they arrive. They can share their status with a companion and they get access to Signature Events (based on their Tier Score). Previous examples have included complimentary hotel stays accompanied by free dinners, lake cruises and free events where players can earn prizes.

Seven Stars members earn a free four-night stay at Atlantis with perks like a resort credit for restaurants as well as slot play and other amenities. And they receive a free Congratulatory Voyage on Norwegian Cruise Line.

Related: How to get to Las Vegas with points and miles

Other programs

M Life and Caesars Rewards are, by far, the biggest loyalty programs in Las Vegas but they're not the only ones. Some other popular casinos have loyalty programs too. As with airline and hotel loyalty programs, we always recommend signing up for the program just in case. You never know when a valuable offer may come your way. Here's a look at some of the smaller programs:

Station Casinos MyBoardingPass

Station Casinos used to be known as the casinos where locals did their gambling. With 18 casinos in Las Vegas, you are never that far from one wherever you live. Casinos such as Sunset Station and Santa Fe Station have hotels and restaurants but also cater to locals. The vast majority of Station Casinos have affordable buffets and lower table limits. However, Green Valley Ranch and Red Rock Casino both represent a dramatic step up in quality.

These off-Strip casinos rarely charge for parking and other perks, so the benefits of MyBoardingPass focus more on discounts at buffets and restaurants, as well as private parking and access to special concerts and events. However, serious gamblers or spenders can earn free Princess Cruises vacation and other VIP benefits like limousine service.

Venetian and Palazzo Grazie

The Venetian and Palazzo casinos are run by the Las Vegas Sands Corp. Both participate in the Grazie program, which offers similar benefits to M Life and Caesars on a smaller scale. Perks include a partnership with Canyon Ranch Spa for discounts on spa services and the ability to get VIP access to Tao Beach & Nightclub. Grazie members can also transfer their Slot Reward points for IHG Rewards Club points, redeemable for IHG hotel stays worldwide.

Gondola rides at the Venetian Hotel. (Photo by Eddie Brady/Getty Images)
Gondola rides at The Venetian (Photo by Eddie Brady/Getty Images)

Wynn and Encore Red Card Club

Wynn and Encore are two connected resorts at the north end of the Las Vegas Strip. The Red Card Club program is deliberately vague about how you earn benefits and the benefits are more aligned with gifts than discounts on various services. That's probably a nod to the clientele at those casinos who may be less price-conscious (room rates at both are some of the highest on the Strip). One of the benefits to the Red Card is the ability to earn points and benefits at the new Encore Boston Harbor and Wynn Macau.

Bottom line

Las Vegas is a land of limitless attractions, whether gambling, dining or zip-lining over the casinos. The occasional visitor can have plenty of fun but you'll probably see VIP lines and hear about special events you think are closed to you. When Vegas was all about gambling, that may have been the case. But these loyalty programs all generally award points (and status) for your dining, shopping and spa services, a clear indication that the definition of loyalty in Las Vegas has shifted.

The bigger programs, such as M Life and Caesars Rewards, give travelers the ability to visit a host of different casinos (and restaurants, shops and spas) while amassing points and loyalty currency in a single program. And the benefits and experiences in the larger programs also seem to have spawned others. Specifically, the Princess Cruises benefit at Station Casinos appears to be a competitive answer to M Life and Caesars Rewards. With competition, customers can reap rewards. Don't leave those benefits on the table.

Featured photo by nicola tolin/Unsplash.


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