MGM Resorts Not Impressed With Chicago Casino License Process
MGM Resorts was expected to be one of the frontrunners to bid for an exclusive Chicago casino license. Chicago launched a Request for Proposal (RFP) earlier this month and invited casino operators to outline their plans for a casino resort in Chicago and how much they would potentially invest if they were to be granted a license.
Chicago is expected to have one of the hottest casino markets in the state and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot was keen to get the big players into the market to bid on the casino license. MGM Resorts was initially expected to be one of the top operators who would contend for a license in Chicago but not anymore.
Bill Hornbuckle, CEO for MGM made it clear that MGM was not keen on developing a casino resort in Chicago because the process and tax laws surrounding the casino were too complicated. Chicago is also yet to finalize a location for the proposed casino.
While casino developers prefer a location within the city, Mayor Lightfoot has said her preference is to look at the city outskirts and rural areas as a mega casino resort would help to economically revive these locations.
MGM will continue to set its sights on obtaining one of the three casino licenses in Japan. There casino operator also has its sights on Texas where there is a current push to get the Lonestar state to legalize casino gambling. MGM expects Texas to open up to casino gambling in the next two years and is very keen on bidding for a casino license in Texas.
While there are also discussions in Georgia about potential casino legislation, MGM is not focusing on Georgia for now as Hornbuckle does not believe that Georgia will legalize casino gambling in the next couple of years.
MGM Will Focus On Las Vegas Operations
MGM has decided that it will focus its attention on its Las Vegas casino operations for now. MGM like most land based casinos operators in Nevada has suffered significantly losses in the last 15 months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. MGM has suffered a 27 percent decline in net revenues bringing in just $1.6 billion when compared to the first quarter in 2020.
However, MGM is looking to bounce back and says that its convention business is picking up as the second half of 2021 is sold out and bookings for 2022 and 2023 are pretty similar to the booking registrations the operator experienced in 2019.