Vegas Entertainment: Trending Millennial

Move over blackjack. Take a seat Cirque. There’s a new entertainment option appearing in Las Vegas for attendees to enjoy, but you won’t see it advertised on giant marquees or featured in high-stakes cable shows. In fact, it’s as close to sinless as Sin City gets, and it’s being driven largely by 20- and 30- something millennials.

I’m speaking of arcades, with the kind of games kids and young adults enjoy playing at amusement parks and basement romper rooms, and these days in the break rooms of tech startups. And Vegas hotels and casinos are adapting to this new breed of visitor, along with their love of Pac-Man and air hockey.

It’s why the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino recently opened Level Up after a $2 million renovation at the site of the former Rainforest Café. The 12,000-square-foot upscale arcade features old standbys like pool tables, foosball and ping pong, as well as other low-tech offerings that include Jenga, Connect Four and an arm wrestling table. Beer pong, the drinking game that involves bouncing a ping pong ball into a cup of beer, is also a big draw.

On the high-tech and gaming side, the space features a mini-theater with digital versions of blackjack, poker, roulette, craps and baccarat, projected on a large video screen that can accommodate up to 40 players at a time. Golfstream Suite offers augmented-reality versions of famous golf courses, where groups can face off against each other in a game of laser golf while enjoying bottle service and an exclusive menu.

Typical of arcades, the games are pay-to-play, and come much cheaper than some of the city’s more famous entertainments, such as the many Cirque du Soleil shows or mega nightclubs like Hakkasan (and their $500 bottle service). Which is also part of what’s driving the trend. Millennials seem somewhat indifferent to the traditional Vegas entertainment offerings, and those often-hefty price tags certainly don’t help.

Beer Park at Paris Las Vegas

Other Millennial-friendly venue options include the Players Lounge at Encore Las Vegas, Beer Park in Paris Las Vegas and Beerhaus in The Park next to New York-New York Hotel & Casino. At Gold Spike in downtown Las Vegas, adults can let their inner kids play free on a 20,000-square-foot outdoor patio with activities like corn hole, Twister, roller skating, super-size chess and Lego blocks, and giant beer pong with rubber balls and garbage cans.

And in an explicit play for millennial gamers, an Esports arena, or “thE Arena” as it’s called, opened in early March. The 15,000-square-foot facility will host competitive video game tournaments, and features huge video screens, stands for up to 200, warm-up areas for players and dozens of gaming consoles.

Las Vegas is still one of the top destinations for meetings and conventions. And now with entertainment that includes pop-a-shot and Pac-Man, and lots of beer, your Millennial attendees will have a few more options to get them excited about that next Vegas meeting.

Photo credits: Arch image courtesy of Beer Park by Denise Truscello; seating at Beer Park by Anthony Mair. Foosball, Shutterstock.com

John Anderson

John Anderson

John Anderson is an award-winning journalist, travel writer and blogger based in San Jose, California. He has covered the meetings and hospitality industry extensively since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @jcax01

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