MGM Expands Footprint On Las Vegas Strip With Acquisition Of The Cosmopolitan

Posted By Derek Helling on September 28, 2021

Barring anything unforeseen, visitors to the Las Vegas Strip will soon have another place to build up and use their M Life Rewards perks. The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas is set to become an MGM property early next year.

MGM announced an agreement to acquire the casino’s operations on Monday. Among other things, it means a change in the sports betting operations on-site and how players will interact with rewards programs on the property.

Details of the sale of The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas hotel and casino

According to a press release, MGM has agreed to pay $1.625 billion to the current operators and owners, Blackstone. MGM expects to assume control of the operations in the first quarter of 2022.

In exchange for the money, MGM gets the right to a 30-year lease of the property with renewal options each decade. Blackstone will stay involved as the property’s owner. MGM will pay Blackstone’s real estate arm annual rent of $200 million with annual increases of as much as 3%.

“We are proud to add The Cosmopolitan, a luxury resort and casino on the Las Vegas Strip, to our portfolio,” said MGM Resorts CEO & President Bill Hornbuckle in the release. “The Cosmopolitan brand is recognized around the world for its unique customer base and high-quality product and experiences, making it an ideal fit with our portfolio and furthering our vision to be the world’s premier gaming entertainment company. We look forward to welcoming The Cosmopolitan’s guests and employees to the MGM Resorts family.”

In exchange for all that money, MGM will be in control of its 14th Vegas property. This is actually the second attempt by MGM to acquire the casino, as a 2008 foreclosure on the property opened the doors for MGM to make a bid. That bid failed, however.

The property last went through a major renovation in 2018. At that time, the remodel focused on the two hotel towers.

Nearly 11 years after the property opened, it’s on the verge of ending up in MGM’s hands anyway. While MGM might not alter much of a business that generated $234 million of net revenue in the second quarter of this year, some changes seem inevitable.

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MGM’s casino rewards, sportsbook likely infiltrating Cosmopolitan

Currently, The Cosmopolitan employs its own Identity rewards program. MGM has not yet announced whether it will replace that with its own M Life Rewards, integrate Identity into M Life, or maintain the programs separately.

Casino patrons should expect more details about that as MGM’s takeover nears. Another place where change seems more likely is the sportsbook. Right now, William Hill Sportsbook takes care of that for The Cosmopolitan. While there have been no official announcements yet, expect MGM to re-brand that space with its own BetMGM Sportsbook platform. Again, though, it’s uncertain exactly when that change could take place.

Much of the rest of the casino’s operations, including the 110,000 square-foot casino on the first floor, should remain quite similar. MGM has thus far signaled no intention to alter the facility or its operations in a significant way. Besides the casino, that includes:

  • 3,032 hotel rooms
  • 26 bars and restaurants
  • The Chelsea theater
  • Marquee Nightclub
  • 243,000 square feet of meeting space
  • 21,000 square feet of leased retail space
  • a 40,000 square foot spa and fitness facility

Unless regulators or shareholders disapprove, this takeover is merely a matter of time. When it’s done, MGM’s already large presence in Las Vegas will grow even more robust.

Photo by Oskar Garcia / Associated Press
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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is a freelance journalist who resides in Chicago. He is a 2013 graduate of the University of Iowa and covers the intersections of sports with business and the law.

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