Three poker rooms in Las Vegas are reportedly closing permanently. A CardsChat report states that the poker rooms at The Mirage, Mandalay Bay, and Excalibur will not be reopening following their pandemic-forced closures in March.
Now it appears that the poker rooms will never reopen.
These MGM Resorts International-owned properties have been back operating with reduced capacities, but the poker rooms were still “temporarily closed.” Now it appears that the poker rooms will never reopen. According to Nevada Gaming Control Board figures, there were 34 card rooms operating in Clark County pre-pandemic; this number is now down to 21.
The three poker rooms were not especially large in terms of volume, but there is a lot of history attached to them, particularly at the Mirage, where many notable poker professionals developed their games early in their careers. A number of poker pros reacted to the news on Twitter, including Daniel Negreanu:
MGM Resorts has given no official information regarding these closures. Currently, poker rooms in the region are not operating at full capacity and require extensive safety protocols because of close player interaction.
Three freeroll tournaments
There is still outstanding bad beat jackpot money at each of the three poker rooms. Because the funds were contributed by players, they still must be paid out. MGM has decided to distribute the funds through three separate freeroll poker tournaments that will take place in the coming weeks at the MGM Grand. Registration for each event is free, but there is a limit on the total number of players.
The first of these freeroll events will be held on November 3 and is already sold out. Mandalay Bay’s $24,022 jackpot money will serve as the prize pool.
The second tournament, scheduled for November 17, will use the $69,804 in jackpot cash from the Mirage. Registration begins on November 11. The third and final freeroll will be on December 1, featuring the $27,837 prize pool from the Excalibur, with registration opening on November 25.
A struggling city
Las Vegas, the gambling capital of the United States, is struggling because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Casinos and poker rooms had to close from March 17 until June 4 as a result of Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak’s shutdown order. Since then, they have been operating at reduced capacities.
As there is still a reluctance among people to travel, visitor numbers to Las Vegas have dropped sharply. In September, there was a 61% year-on-year decline in air travel to the city’s McCarran International Airport. With a lack of conventions, midweek business travel has dried up. This has led to numerous properties cutting their opening hours, such as the Wynn Resorts-owned Encore, which is now only opening from Thursdays until noon on Mondays.
unemployment rate in Nevada was 12.6% in September
Due to the drop in visitors, some casino operators have been laying off workers. Last week, another 1,172 lay-offs were announced at the Tropicana, Park MGM, and MGM Grand. The total unemployment rate in Nevada was 12.6% in September, a rise of 8.9% from 2019 figures.