MGM Resorts Announces Monte Carlo Casino’s Poker Room Will Close on April 25

Monte Carlo Poker Room Closes in Las Vegas

Poker players in the Monte Carlo kept playing cards as the fire raged in 2008.

The Monte Carlo Resort and Casino announced this week that it plans to shut down its poker room on April 25. The Monte Carlo’s poker room at the moment contains 8 tables.

The card room opened at the Monte Carlo in the late-1990s. Though it has never been one of the premier card rooms in the city, the closure is a sign of a trend on the Vegas Strip.

Vegas Strip Poker Room Closures

Closures of several poker rooms on the Las Vegas Strip since the rececession means that the Strip is down over 100 tables over the past few years. At the moment, the Las Vegas Strip has 19 operating poker rooms.

Many fans of the Monte Carlo Resort take the news as a good sign, though. The poker room closure is part of a $450 million renovation of the casino-resort property. The plan is to add two separate hotels on the complex, as part of a consolidation and rebranding effort.

MGM Park Casino

Monte Carlo Resort and Casino is owned by MGM Resorts International, which has the resources to make the next iteration of the casino a world class effort. The current hotel has 32 floors and features a 102,000 square foot gaming space. That gaming space is considered small for a Las Vegas Strip casino, as it has 1,400 slot machines and 60 gaming tables, minus the poker room.

On December 17, 2016, the Park Theater at the Monte Carlo opened. The Park Theater is a 5200-seat venue. The name “Park MGM” is a reference to the “The Park”, a nearby entertainment district which opened in April 2016.

NoMad Hotel and Eataly Restaurant

From late-2016 until 2018, the plan is to transform the property into the Park MGM. The upper floors of the Park MGM is going to contain the NoMad Las Vegas, a boutique hotel. The “NoMad” name invokes the Place du Casino in Monte Carlo and is going to feature neoclassical arches, gas-lit promenades, and chandeleir domes.

The NoMad Hotel will contain the Eataly restaurant. Eataly is the largest Italian marketplace in the world, founded by Oscar Farinetti. The original Eataly, opened in 2007 in Turin, Italy, include a variety of restaurants, a cook school, a bakery, food and beverage counters, and a retail store for cooking items. It is unknown what aspects of the Turin Eataly the Las Vegas version of the food retail chain is going to contain.

2008 Monte Carlo Hotel Fire

In 2008, the top floors of the Monte Carlo Hotel caught fire. When it first broke out, the fire reminded many old-timers of the 1980 MGM Grand fire which killed 87 people. Luckily, no one was killed in the 2008 fire, though the hotel was at 97% occupancy at the time. 950 hotel employees and over 5,000 guests left the building in an “immediate evacuation“, according to the MGM Mirage spokesman Alan Feldman.

Action movie actor Steven Seagal was staying on the 25th floor of the Monte Carlo that day. Seagal, known for films like Above the Law, Under Siege, and Machete, was not as sanguine about the fire as the officials were, saying, “It took them 20 minutes from the first alarm to say we should get out, but when I got out, three whole floors and half a wing were burning. I don’t know why they didn’t evacuate people earlier. It would have been nice if they’d said, ‘For your own safety, please leave your hotel room.”

Poker Players during the Monte Carlo Fire

Despite the fire, players in the Monte Carlo poker room kept gambling, even when live footage of the fire appeared on the wall televisions. Rich Vetterl, a poker player in the room that day, said of the fire-scare poker session, “It was strange playing poker and watching the building burn. It was almost like being on the Titanic as it was going down. It was surreal.

Cause of the 2008 Monte Carlo Fire

The Clark County Fire Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) investigated the causes of the fire. Though no definitive cause was named in the subsequent months, the likely cause of the fire was ” improper cutting and welding operations by contractors who were on the roof installing a steel catwalk as part of a window-washing apparatus”, according to the National Fire Prevention Agency.

1200 guest rooms were reopened on February 15, 2008. The remaining 1,300 rooms reopened a week later, on February 22. The total damage caused by the fire was an estimated $100 million.

The Monte Carlo in Film

The Monte Carlo resort appears in several films. The list includes Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story (2004), Get Carter (2000), and What Happens in Vegas (2008).

An episode of The X-Files, “Three of a Kind”, was filmed in the Monte Carlo. So was the season finale of Amazing Race 15, when teams had to count $1 million of poker chips.