MGM Executive Travis Lunn Named President & COO of Beau Rivage

BILOXI, Miss. — MGM Resorts International [NYSE: MGM] has announced the appointment of Travis Lunn as president and chief operating officer of Beau Rivage Resort & Casino in Biloxi, Miss., where he will oversee daily operations while providing strategic direction and leadership.

A 20-year veteran of the hospitality and gaming industry, Lunn most recently served as General Manager and Senior Vice President of Operations for MGM Grand Las Vegas.

He began his career at the Golden Nugget Las Vegas and prior to joining MGM Resorts, served as Vice President of Operations for the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas and General Manager of Hotel Operations for The Venetian and The Palazzo resorts.


Sports Wagering 101: Advice from the Expert

“You can lay a small amount of money to win a large amount of money in return.”

Jay Rood is MGM Resorts Vice President of Race & Sports Book Operations and provides strategic direction, management and oversight of daily operations for all Race & Sports Books across MGM Resorts properties that offer sports wagering. Jay began his career with MGM Resorts as a Sports Book Ticket Writer at MGM Grand Las Vegas on the resort’s opening day in 1993. He believes sports betting is a fun and engaging way for experts and newcomers alike to enjoy a game or sporting event. Matt Villano caught up with him to answer some of the basics of betting questions that are applicable to all skill levels.


Matt Villano: For first-timers, what’s the most important thing to know about a Race & Sports Book?
Jay Rood: The Sports Book can be intimidating, but it’s critical to remember that the staff is there to help you get comfortable. Don’t be afraid to come to the counter and ask a ticket writer for directions. If you have questions about how to make a bet, they can help.


MV: The odds board has a lot of numbers. How can novices make sense of it all?
JR: It’s just like looking at a newspaper in that it’s laid out in columns. In each column, the matchups are on the left, odds are on the right. Lines scroll through depending on the number of games each day. You can find the odds on the video display boards in the Sports Book. We also print hard-copy sheets with all the lines clearly labeled with headers; these are organized by sport. If you don’t see the sheet you are looking for, ask one of our friendly staff.


MV: What are some basic dos and don’ts at the betting window?
JR: It’s very helpful when bettors use the Bet Numbers associated with each wager listed on the odds boards. That makes the transaction both faster and clearer. The ticket writer knows exactly what you want to bet and there’s less confusion. It’s also important to be aware of what’s going on around you. If you come to the window at a busy time – thirty minutes before kick-off on an NFL Sunday – there are going to be longer lines of people trying to get a bet down before the game. That’s probably not an ideal time to ask detailed questions. But if you come up at noon on a Tuesday, you can ask all the questions in the world.


MV: What should bettors look for in placing bets?
JR: We usually say that bettors should seek “value” in bets, but everybody places value on different things. Someone might think a line at -7 is great value over an overrated opponent; someone else might think that line isn’t big enough. Look for what you like and the teams and odds that make you comfortable.


MV: What are the benefits of betting a parlay?
JR: People like parlays because of the compounding factor. You can lay a small amount of money to win a large amount of money in return. Are the odds against you? Absolutely. It’s hard enough picking one game correctly, much less multiple games. But if you hit, the payout can be substantial. For example, 12-teamers pay 2,000:1. Two- and three-team parlays are much more common. Those usually pay 13:5 and 6:1 [respectively].


MV: When a game ends, how should bettors go about cashing out?
JR: There aren’t any protocols for this; it all depends on your personal style. If you need to leave the book in a hurry, you want to be at the counter when the final score gets loaded into the computer – usually about three minutes after the game ends (though sometimes it’s a 10- or 15-minute wait, especially during big events). Otherwise, it’s fine to come back later in the day. There are a lot of people who enjoy the experience of waiting in line – everyone’s usually high-fiving and cheering a win. If you’re cashing a ticket, you’re happy. Why not soak that up? But be aware of the expiration date on your ticket. Make sure you collect your winnings before it expires.


MV: How can I cash my winning ticket if I am not in town to go to the window?
JR: If you’ve won a future bet you placed back before the start of the season or just had to race to catch a plane before the end of the game, we’re happy to cash your winning ticket by mail. Follow the instructions printed on the back of your ticket.


Want more? Jay Rood offers more insights from his 25 years of industry experience in his video series, #BehindTheBook. Follow @Jay_Rood on Twitter for an insider’s look at sports betting.


By Matt Villano

Midwest Gaming and Destinations Casino Dining Guide

Welcome to the featuring tasty eats and treats from some of the top casinos around the region. This years’ guide highlights from restaurants, bars and lounges that you should definitely add to your itinerary on your next casino adventure. Get ready to grab your fork and chow down on some of the tastiest casino grub around.


Treasure Island Resort & Casino – Welch, Michigan
1-800-222-7077 –

Food Finds: Tado Steakhouse (Fine Dining), Tradewinds Buffet, Currents Restaurant (Casual American Cuisine) Mongo Bay Grill (Café Style) Prime Thyme Sub Shop, Xtreme Café, Island Perk (Coffee Shop)

Treasure Island Resort & Casino offers an array of entertainment to pair with their top quality gaming action. For a fine dining experience, be sure to ignite your appetite with fine wine and fine dining including locally sourced 1881 Hereford Beef, seafood and bison specialty dishes. A customer favorite is the Signature Hereford Porterhouse which is a 24oz bone-in steak cooked just for you. For more of a casual affair, Tradewinds Buffet doesn’t disappoint. Choose from nine different buffet and with options that include rotisserie chicken, freshly made pizza, crepes, gelato, stir fry stations and the ever popular signature seafood buffet every Thursday. The property also offers quick and casual dining options with Currents Restaurant for breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as Mongo Bay Grill, an all-hours diner with quick, grab-and-go items like hot dogs, burgers, pizza, cookies, fries, onion rings, cheese curds, breakfast pastries and even freshly made omelets, we’ll get you in and out and back in the game fast.

Other Outlets: With six bars and lounges located throughout the property, every night is a good night at Treasure Island. Don’t miss the Cabana Bar offering exciting specialty brews, Rare Bar located within Tado Steakhouse, Barefoot Bar located in The Lagoon offering a swim up bar for adults located in The Lagoon, Emerald Bay Lounge, Barracudas Bar and Bongos Bar located in the middle of our action packed gaming floor. Plus, the Spirit of the Water is the properties 100-passenger cruise liner that offers tours down the Mississippi River while guests can enjoy breakfast, lunch or dinner options.



Greektown Casino – Hotel – Detroit, Michigan
1-313-223-2999 –

Food Finds: Prism (signature fine dining restaurant), Bistro 555 (Breakfast and lunch buffet), Monroe Market (food hall with six eateries), Noodle Art (Ramen noodle bar and restaurant), Stack’d (sandwich shop), Starbucks (coffee shop)

Greektown Casino-Hotel is AAA Four Diamond hotel property located in Detroit’s historic Greektown district. The property offers a wide variety of dining and entertainment offerings that make for a well-rounded casino visit. Their signature fine dining restaurant, PRISM, offers scenic views of the city and serves mouth-watering cuts of Angus beef, the freshest seafood, and Italian specialties and pasta. More casual options can be found at Monroe Market offering six distinct eateries in a contemporary space reminiscent of a dynamic street market. Noodle Art serves up traditional Japanese ramen with a Detroit twist. There is something for everyone at Bistro 555, which features a classic breakfast and lunch buffet.

Casual Cocktails: Bluff Bar and Rock Bar & Lounge are both video poker bars that are worth checking out. If you’re feeling traditional, go to Fringe for the sports bar atmosphere, and Trappers Bar for some ice-cold craft beer!

Other outlets: Synergy Table Games is an interactive arena-style gaming space that combines electronic table games, live dealer games, interconnected play, live-DJs, pulsating lights and music, social interaction and giant video displays.


Jack Casino Cleveland – Cleveland, Ohio
1-216-297-4777 –

Food Finds: Seven Chefs Buffet, Nonna Pazza (Italian), STACK’D (Casual fare with all day breakfast)

At JACK Cleveland Casino there is something for everyone. At Seven Chefs Buffet, guests can enjoy it all with specialty cuisine ranging from Italian to BBQ, and freshly made desserts. Those looking for a quick and delicious bite can enjoy STACK’D, serving handcrafted burgers, specialty sandwiches, and all-day breakfast. Also be sure to check out the build your own burger option or try the signature Moto burger, featuring a Jalapeno-infused burger with pepper jack cheese and siracha mayo. Another sure bet is Nonna Pazza where you will find made-to-order pasta and flat bread, featuring homemade sauces from the kitchen.

Casual Cocktails: Rock Bar and Lounge has electronic gaming and TVs for guests to kick back and relax, or check out Legends Bar for a high-energy vibe that is located right off the casino floor. If you’re looking for a more classic lounge, head over to Vintage 51 for premium cocktails and mingling.



Rhythm City Casino Resort – Davenport, Iowa
1-844-852-4386 –

Food Finds: Ruthie’s Steak & Seafood, Draft Day Sports Lounge (Casual fare), Robert’s Buffet, The Market (Quick bites)

Rhythm City Casino Resort is located in beautiful Davenport, Iowa and offers dining options that are out of this world delicious! The premium dining option, Ruthie’s Steak & Seafood, is located on the top floor of the property and offers lavish views of the Iowa landscape through the ‘wall of windows’. You can’t go wrong with the steak selection but don’t underestimate the duck, lamb or lobster mac entrées! And, no steakhouse is complete without an extensive wine list, and Ruthies has one of the best in the Quad Cities. More causal options include Robert’s Buffet, where guests will enjoy multiple food stations to satisfy any appetite. Serving high-quality ingredients and prepared in-house by Chef D’Cuisine, Richard, and his team, you know you are in for a treat on every visit. Crowd favorites include the prime rib, omelet bar and house-made gelato in 12 rotating flavors. Also enjoy a great selection of brews and pub food at Draft Day where you will find a 360-degree screen and 18 television screens to take in your favorite sporting events. Popular menu items include the lettuce wraps, pork nachos, pork sliders and a selection of burgers.

Casual Cocktails: Feature Bar (grab a drink, video poker available), Rhythm Room Lounge (Premium cocktails and live shows on Friday and Saturday nights)



Island Resort & Casino
1-800-682-6040 –

Food Finds: 5 Bridges Steak & Seafood House, 5 Bridges Pub, Firekeeper’s Restaurant, Coral Reef Grille, Signature Subs & Pizza, T. McC’s Sports Bar, Coffee & Custard Shop

Island Resort & Casino is home to six delicious dining experiences to satisfy any craving. Whether you are looking for premier steak and seafood, a quick and casual bite or something to satisfy your sweet tooth, you are sure to find it here.

Enjoy fine dining at 5 Bridges Steak & Seafood House or more casual dining at 5 Bridges Pub featuring 18 drafts and over 30 bottled beers to compliment a menu with plenty of variety. More casual dining can be found at Firekeeper’s Restaurant specializing in Midwest cuisine, or T. McC’s Sports Bar where you can watch your favorite games on your own personal viewing and audio area, or on any of the over 30 screens! Morning are also easy at the Island with the Coffee & Custard Shop, Coral Reef Grille and Firekeeper’s Restaurant.


Property Profile: Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort North Carolina’s Premier Poker Destination

Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort, located in scenic Cherokee, North Carolina, is rapidly gaining a reputation as one of the premier poker destinations in the South. The property opened its doors in 1997 with video gaming machines and has grown into a total resort destination offering over 3,000 slots and more than 150 table games, restaurants, headliner entertainment, shopping, nearby golf, a luxurious spa, nightlife and more. This gorgeous property is one of two casinos in North Carolina, owned by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and managed by Caesar’s Entertainment. The second smaller property, Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River Casino & Hotel is located in Murphy, NC. While there are many different games and amenities offered at the resort in Cherokee, a jewel of the property is their world-class WSOP poker event. (more…)

Poker: The Art of Card-Reading

Here is a big news flash that will catapult you immediately from an intermediate player to an expert if you are not there already. The most important skill any player can develop at the poker table is the ability to read other players’ personalities, betting patterns, and, ultimately, their cards.

It is a euphoric feeling for the beginner when she realizes that although each player is dealt two personal, private cards, it is sometimes possible to know with near certainty what someone’s two hidden cards are. It’s almost as though you can see through both the cards and into a player’s brain to gather the information you need to make a good call, a good fold, or a great bluff. To be effective in reading cards, one must watch patterns. Is he aggressive, raising at every opportunity, or is he quietly calling? Such information will reveal the cards to you just as surely as if he were playing with his hand face up. (more…)

Property Profile: Rhythm City Resort and Casino – Davenport, Iowa

Rhythm City Casino Resort is a must-visit gaming destination located in the picturesque city of Davenport, Iowa. The resort features over 1,000 different casino gaming options that includes slots, blackjack, craps, pai-gow, live and video poker and many more games of chance. Gaming options at the casino are substantial.

Rhythm City also shines as an excellent family vacation destination with top-tier restaurants, a 5-star full-service spa, and a wide array of activities for the entire family. If you are looking for a world-class casino experience, you don’t have to go all the way to Nevada. Rhythm City Casino creates a Vegas-like atmosphere without having to fly to the desert.