MGM Resorts to reopen Bellagio, New York-New York, MGM Grand in Las Vegas - USA TODAY

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MGM Resorts to reopen Bellagio, New York-New York, MGM Grand in Las Vegas - USA TODAYMGM Resorts to reopen Bellagio, New York-New York, MGM Grand in Las Vegas - USA TODAYPlanning a visit to Las Vegas when hotels, casinos reopen June 4? Here are the rules you need to know - USA TODAYMGM Resorts Unveils Reopening Plan for Las Vegas Casinos, Hotels - Hollywood ReporterMGM Resorts to reopen Bellagio, New York-New York, MGM Grand in Las Vegas - USA TODAYPosted: 27 May 2020 01:52 PM PDTCLOSE Yes, dice will roll, cards will be dealt and slot machines will beckon. But poker rooms? Closed. Tourists returning to Las Vegas will see changes since gambling stopped in mid-March because of the coronavirus pandemic. (May 22) AP Entertainment LAS VEGAS – MGM Resorts will reopen four properties on June 4: Bellagio, New York-New York, MGM Grand and The Signature.In the wake of the unprecedented coronavirus pandemic shutdown, the long-awaited return of the resorts will come during phase two of Nevada's…

“MGM Resorts hack: Personal information of more than 10 million hotel guests leaked, reports say - AZCentral” plus 1 more

“MGM Resorts hack: Personal information of more than 10 million hotel guests leaked, reports say - AZCentral” plus 1 more


MGM Resorts hack: Personal information of more than 10 million hotel guests leaked, reports say - AZCentral

Posted: 20 Feb 2020 12:00 AM PST

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Over the last few years, billions of people have fallen victim to the biggest data breaches in history. USA TODAY

The personal information of hotel guests who stayed on MGM Resorts properties was posted online this week.

MGM Resorts spokesperson Debra DeShong confirmed to USA TODAY the company was hacked and a "limited amount of information for certain previous guests" was obtained. 

NBC News and BBC report that the breach affected over 10.6 million guests. MGM declined to confirm the number of people impacted. .

The data theft, which was first reported by the tech site ZDNet, occurred last summer but news of the leak circulated online this week. Victims appear to include celebrities, government officials and prominent CEOs and tech company employees, among other guests. Justin Bieber and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey were among the names reported. Twitter representative Giovanna Falbo declined to comment on Dorsey's behalf. USA TODAY has also reached out to Bieber's representative.

Names, addresses, birth dates, email addresses and phone numbers were affected, but not financial information. Because the information falls under the category of "phonebook data" – information that can be found in a phonebook or an online search, only certain states required MGM to notify affected customers.

"We are confident that no financial, payment card or password data was involved in this matter," DeShong said in a statement. "MGM Resorts promptly notified guests potentially impacted by this incident in accordance with applicable state laws."

After discovering the breach of its cloud server, MGM worked with two "leading cybersecurity forensics firms" to investigate and fix the situation.

"At MGM Resorts, we take our responsibility to protect guest data very seriously, and we have strengthened and enhanced the security of our network to prevent this from happening again," DeShong added. 

Last week, Jim Murren, the head of MGM Resorts International since 2008, announced plans to step down as chairman and chief executive as soon as the company finds a successor. In a corporate statement, the company said he intends to leave before his contract expires next year but did not specify a reason for his departure.

"Jim has led the company through growth, transforming it into a global entertainment company with a worldwide footprint and creating value for MGM Resorts shareholders," board member Roland Hernandez said in the statement.

In the statement, Murren called it "an honor to work with such a talented group of men and women who provide millions of guests with memorable life experiences every day all over the world."

Publicly traded MGM Resorts has about 80,000 employees at 29 casinos and hotels. The company is the largest employer in Nevada, with several Las Vegas Strip properties.

In recent months it sold its Bellagio, MGM Grand and Mandalay Bay resorts to a joint venture including private-equity and real estate company Blackstone Group and MGM Growth Properties LLC. MGM Resorts continues to manage the properties under a leaseback agreement.

In November 2018, Marriott International was involved in a massive hacking of a reservations database that it originally believed impacted 500 million customer records before revising that number to 383 million in January 2019.

Contributing: The Associated Press

Marriott data breach: Class-action suit filed; experts ask why it wasn't caught earlier

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2 Las Vegas Strip hotels upgraded to 5 stars by Forbes - Las Vegas Review-Journal

Posted: 12 Feb 2020 12:00 AM PST

On Feb. 12, Forbes Travel Guide announced that two Las Vegas hotels — the Wynn Las Vegas and Encore — had been upgraded from a four-star rating to five stars.

This makes the two properties the largest and second-largest Forbes-rated five-star resorts in the world, according to a news release from Wynn Resorts Ltd.

Forbes now ranks Nevada fourth in the U.S. for the greatest number of five-star hotels, third for the number of five-star spas and third in the number of five-star restaurants. Experts say these ratings could be a boon to business and Las Vegas tourism as a whole.

"A lot of people just automatically go to those (review) sites, look at what that rating is," said Murray Mackenzie, an assistant professor in residence at UNLV's college of hospitality. "It's going to generate income for (the businesses), generate interest and make sure they have higher room occupancy, a higher amount of people coming to their restaurants."

Impact from ratings

Forbes Travel Guide, which started as the Mobil Travel Guide in 1958 and has inspected facilities in more than 70 countries, has awarded Las Vegas six five-star hotels, six five-star restaurants and four five-star spas.

The two five-star additions to the Forbes Travel Guide "really help propel (Las Vegas) to one of the strongest performing five-star cities and states in the USA," said Amanda Frasier, head of rating for Forbes Travel Guide. "Nevada as a state is so strong."

For the companies that are bestowed a five-star rating, Filip Boyen, CEO of Forbes Travel Guide, said it "means the world to them."

"Five-star hotels in their destination are the market leaders when it comes to average (room) rate and (revenue per available room)," he said. "Clients and travel trades recognize that a five-star Forbes hotel is without a doubt one of the best hotels in this destination."

One 2014 study from the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration found a 1 percent increase to a hotel's online reputation leads to a 0.99 percent increase in revenue per available room.

It "is clear that online reviews impact the performance of hotels and restaurants," said Ben Lawrence, an associate professor at Georgia State University who co-authored the Cornell report.

Lawrence said the word-of-mouth advertising from these ratings can convince consumers that the purchase is less risky by providing "credible and trustworthy information."

These top-notch rating can also save a company money on marketing since the review creates more credibility for the business, according to UNLV hospitality professor Mehmet Erdem .

"You don't have to prove yourself and depend on word-of-mouth," he said. "If a hotel is going through the burden of meeting five-star qualifications, it's assumed that it's a satisfactory guest experience. When guests are happy, they spend more money."

LVCVA spokeswoman Lori Nelson-Kraft said high ratings are able to not only elevate the profile of the property, but also Las Vegas as a whole.

"It's a badge of pride," she said. "It's good for all of Las Vegas to have resort products in those award winning categories. … Having reviews, having designations and awards is a big part of how visitors shop for their experience."

Where Las Vegas stands

Another popular review organization is AAA, which has been reviewing thousands of North American hotels and restaurants for its travel guide for more than 80 years.

The company gave five diamonds — its highest designation — to five Las Vegas restaurants and six Las Vegas hotels in 2020.

Shannon McCallum, the vice president of hotel operations for Aria, said accolades from organizations like Forbes and AAA validate the service the properties provide every day. The Aria and its Sky Suites both have AAA's five-diamond resignation.

"Both organizations have been around for decades as a trusted travel source and set the standards very high when it comes to earning the prestigious Five-Star Award or Five Diamond Rating," she said.

Sergio Avila, a spokesman for AAA Nevada, said a five-star rating is a "lofty goal" for most businesses. Only 0.2 percent of AAA-inspected restaurants and 0.4 percent of hotels are awarded five diamonds.

"Las Vegas has some of the best resorts in the world. Having that reputation really means that a lot of these properties try to go the extra mile for their guests," he said. "They have to keep up with their reputation."

Only one Nevada hotel, Skylofts at MGM Grand, was demoted to a four-diamond designation from a five-diamond designation in the AAA's latest report, which was released Wednesday.

Avila said AAA cannot disclose why a property would have gained or lost a diamond, but the company's website classifies five-diamond properties "world-class luxury" experiences with "amenities and indulgence for a once-in-a-lifetime experience," while four-diamond properties have "upscale style and amenities enhanced with the right touch of service."

Erdem said dropping from a four to five diamond rating "is not considered a devastating drop in service quality standards." He added that a drop from a five to three diamond designation would be a different story.

"Mainly, it means that the property is no longer enjoying the prestige of being among a very select few, but … still offers pretty impressive service and amenities," he said. "Such drops can be remedied after a period of time."

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

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