Open less than a month, the new M Resort in Las Vegas is adding 250 new employees

Las Vegas continues to show its vulnerability to the perils of today’s economic recession. Last year, gaming revenues plunged 9.9 percent. Las Vegas’ economy is more dependent on the convention business than it was in the 1990s, creating a vacuum in what had been a stalwart cornerstone for Las Vegas. This year, companies are cutting back on or altogether cutting out sending convention delegates, who so often in the past have arrived in the gaming capital armed with deep-pocket expense accounts.

Las Vegas is not the bargain it once was, and its ultralounges and top-tier entertainment ticket prices have scared off budget travelers who are finding cheaper pastures closer to home or who are just staying home.

And it’s well documented that those who are still coming to Las Vegas and the locals who fuel the neighborhood casinos are spending less.

But there are those who are finding ways to compete in this environment. Witness M Resort. It debuted March 1, at arguably the worst time ever for a billion-dollar resort to open its doors. However, M Resort Chairman and CEO Anthony Marnell III is confident his property – located 10 miles from the heart of the Las Vegas Strip – will carve its niche, reaching out to its main locals customer base and also to tourists traveling from Southern California. It is doing that by offering top-notch customer service and a quality product for an affordable price, Marnell has said.

“I’m used to $75 room rates and reasonably priced buffets,” he told the Las Vegas Review-Journal, recalling his family’s Rio resort, later sold to Harrah’s Entertainment. “That's the environment I grew up in,” Marnell said. “It forces you to be creative. You can't rely on the building to draw people in, and you can't rely on people walking by you on the street. You have to do something better and be creative to get the customer into the building.”

And while it’s only been a while since the opening, M Resort appears to be fulfilling its promise. Already the $1 billion resort is adding 250 employees to its 1,800-employee work force, owing to the hotel-casino’s strong showing in its first few days.

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With the May issue, International Gaming & Wagering Business Editor James Rutherford will move to Casino Journal, as BNP Media Gaming Group incorporates IGWB into this magazine. I will work closely with him as managing editor, while continuing as editor of Slot Manager. At the same time, this affords the opportunity to further sharpen the distinction between Casino Journal and Slot Manager, the only vertical business-to-business publication serving the slot industry.

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