Earlier in March, the poker community woke up to a sad day when MGM Grand closed three of its poker rooms in Las Vegas due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Despite MGM’s promise to re-evaluate the temporary shutter, the same poker rooms in Mandala Bay, The Mirage, and Excalibur properties have now shut down permanently. The saddest news to players is that the poker rooms are shutting, leaving behind a six-figure bad beat jackpot that must be distributed to players.
Besides the poker rooms, Nevada’s largest gaming company might also shut down some of its iconic resorts across the country. Most of these resorts have hundreds of beds lying empty as tourism is also adversely hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. It is important to note that most of these tourists also visit the poker rooms to play. Places that will remain open in Las Vegas for live poker include Bellagio and Aria.
The Leftover Jackpot to Be Shared via Freerolls
Freeroll hunters can at least smile, despite the sad news as the jackpot money must be redistributed to the players since it isn’t MGM’s money. Players will now try their luck to get a share of the $121,663 prize pool via three upcoming freerolls. While the freerolls are free, there is limited space, which means that only a handful of players can participate. The Mirage’s prize pool is the largest, standing at $69,804. Excalibur’s leftover jackpot stands at $27,837, while Mandalay Bay has around $24,022 for grabs.
The freerolls will take place on different dates, starting with Mandalay Bay’s, which is scheduled for November 3. Mandalay Bay registration was open as early as October 28, and the seats are already full. Player’s interested in Mirage’s prize pool must register from November 11 to play on November 17. Excalibur’s freeroll goes down on December 1, with registration opening as early as November 25.
MGM’s Closure Is Bad News to Many Players in the Industry
Notable poker players spent their amateur days at Mirage, including Daniel Negreanu, who took to Twitter to express his disbelief. All Las Vegas poker legends who started playing in the early 2000s and late 1990s have exciting tales about the closed poker rooms. However, employees are the most affected by these closures as they have to start from zero and look for other employers. Given that the entire industry is ailing, these people will unlikely score new jobs within this last quarter.
American Gaming Association Intervenes for the Struggling Las Vegas
Evidently, the Las Vegas casino industry is straining to keep up with operational costs amidst an ailing economy. Most gamblers are locked from visiting the city due to ongoing global travel bans and restrictions. For instance, the MGM Grand registers a loss of about $14.4 million every day from more than 10 luxury casinos that it runs. The American Gaming Association (AMA) seeks to cushion the industry through tax relief for Las Vegas casinos.
It is important to note that casino closures generally affect the whole country’s economy as more than 1.8 million employees are forced to stay at home. Moreover, the government will likely miss taxes worth millions of dollars since the industry will unlikely generate even half of the $43.6 billion in revenue, as it did in 2019.