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MGM Resorts reaches marketing deal with Ameristar Casinos

17 Feb 2012

By Howard Stutz
LAS VEGAS, Nevada -- A gaming expert said a strategic marketing relationship announced Wednesday between MGM Resorts International and Ameristar Casinos to share player data systems signifies the wave of the future.

Under the agreement, customers of MGM Resorts, which has 10 casinos on the Strip, and customers of Ameristar, which operates regional casinos in six markets, can use their points and rewards at either companies' properties.

For example, a loyal customer at Ameristar Casino - St. Charles outside St. Louis could earn enough points and rewards to redeem for a few nights at CityCenter Aria Resort & Casino , the centerpiece of MGM Resorts' CityCenter development.

MGM's program is called M Life, while Ameristar operates the Star Awards/Plateau Players Club. The sharing program will begin in mid-March.

David G. Schwartz, director of the Center for Gaming Research at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, said the deal lets both companies expand their customer databases at low cost.

In the days before the recession, Schwartz said, MGM Resorts would have just acquired Ameristar.

"For MGM, it's cheap way of expanding their market," Schwartz said. "Rather than spending $3 billion to buy Ameristar, they have entered into a partnership. It's a smart approach."

Last year Wynn Resorts Ltd. entered a similar agreement with Pinnacle Entertainment to share customers databases and rewards programs.

Schwartz said other gaming companies would explore similar deals.

MGM Resorts has similar agreements with the Foxwoods Resort Casino & MGM Grand at Foxwoods in Connecticut, where a hotel is named MGM Grand Foxwoods, and with nightlife operator SBE Entertainment, which opened the Hyde Lounge in Bellagio on New Year's Eve.

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