A groundbreaking move
MGM Resorts International announced that Park MGM and NoMad Las Vegas will be reopening on September 30, becoming the first fully smoke-free casino resort on the Las Vegas Strip and the last MGM property to reopen. The NoMad is a boutique hotel found on the resort building’s upper floors.
The company sent out a tweet about the news on September 14:
The facility has been closed since March as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The website for the resort has been updated, with the homepage reading: “Let’s Clear the Air: Park MGM is smoke-free.”
recurring guest demand for a fully non-smoking casino resort on The Strip”
MGM Resorts’ Las Vegas Portfolio president Anton Nikodemus said: “As we looked toward our reopening, we identified an opportunity to be responsive to recurring guest demand for a fully non-smoking casino resort on The Strip.”
Reaction to the change
Las Vegas casino resorts have been synonymous with smoking since the early days of the city, particularly on the gaming floors. This is why local historians are saying that going smoke-free is a big deal.
Historian David G. Schwartz spoke about how the change is a mark of the times. He said: “It shows how the casino gaming industry’s position on smoking is evolving.” Gaming industry journalist Howard Stutz echoed these feelings, noting that attempts to go smoke-free on gaming floors on the Strip in the past had only been done on a small scale.
Stutz believes the time is right for this move by Park MGM in line with the new COVID-19 health and safety guidelines, observing that many other gaming markets have already gone smoke-free. He does anticipate some blowback from smokers and smokers’ rights groups, but he believes that the policy is unlikely to change.
There had been rumors that Park MGM would be going smoke-free upon its reopening. A tweet in July showcasing a photo from inside the closed casino added fuel to these rumors:
Getting back to business
Park MGM is the newest resort on the Strip, finished at the end of 2018. Amenities will be limited initially after reopening because of pandemic restrictions.
As well as following the rules of Nevada’s public health authorities, Park MGM will also be complying with MGM Resorts’ Seven-Point Safety Plan. This is a set of procedures and protocols that were designed with scientific and medical experts to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19, protect workers and customers, and quickly respond to possible new cases.
As per data from the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, visitor traffic to the city was 70% lower year-on-year in June 2020 and 61% lower in July.