Friday, December 25, 2009

Another holiday snafu for MGM Mirage

[UPDATE #2: The snafu ended around 5:30 p.m. Friday, according to MGM Mirage spokesman Gordon Absher. Poster GoVegas33 at VegasTripping.Com, though, wrote at 5:20 p.m. that New York-New York continued experiencing problems.]

[UPDATE: @VegasRex reporting people at Monte Carlo are not able to cash out at slot machines. That goes beyond how Absher described the impact. He says he just lost the dollar he put in. But he was able to cash out OK at Aria. See VegasRex's pic of the "call attendant" readout at a slot machine at Monte Carlo.]

Poor MGM Mirage. They just don't get a break, not even on Christmas.

Today, an electrical outage at the main IT center for the company -- it's at an "undisclosed location," according to MGM Mirage spokesman Gordon Absher -- has led to widespread problems "at multiple properties." "The power outage knocked some systems offline. The generators kicked in and the systems are reloading and rebooting. It's a minor inconvenience for us at the operations level."

Absher said he's not sure what caused the outage, when it happened, which other resorts were affected or precisely what the impact has been. His understanding is that players are unable to cash out at kiosks and have to go to cages to do so. He said he's unlikely to be able to provide a fuller explanation until tomorrow.

I asked Absher if people sitting at the slots would have noticed anything had occurred until they went to the cash-out kiosks. He didn't know.

A source at Bellagio told me he was informed there was a car crash that precipitated the outage. Visitor Michael Howie, who Tweets at @mchl87, wrote at about 12:45 p.m. PT: "The slot ticketing system is down for Aria and Bellagio, maybe all MGM properties?" He followed that shortly thereafter with: "That means every slot play is a hand pay (slow and annoying) or if you do get a ticket out, you have to go to cashier."

In addition, blogger VegasRex Tweeted around the same time: "@Doh! The Aria Poker Room List Screen" This was his image:

Absher didn't know if Aria's poker-screen problem was related.

I asked VegasRex via DM on Twitter to let me know what he's seeing at Aria. He wrote back just now that the slots are working fine and he's going to check on the cashing-out process.

MGM Mirage seems to be particularly prone to these sorts of snafus. On Easter Sunday 2004, Bellagio suffered a massive blackout that lasted for four days. In October 2007, a problem with the Opera reservation system caused such huge problems for the internal room-booking system for five days that guests were being given keys to occupied or unclean rooms. And just this past January, another computer problem brought down the online reservations systems for all of their resorts for hours.

It's kind of amazing, really, that such a huge, sophisticated corporation would be so vulnerable. I don't recall ever hearing of such problems at any Harrah's resorts, for instance. It might be worth a closer look.


Anonymous said...

My understanding of MGM Mirage's IT operations, and this may not include slot ops, is that they have a primary data center at Bellagio and a secondary at TI (yes, even post sale - that's in the process of being changed). Even Beau Rivage and Macau are tied into this system.

Aria was built with its own data center, partly because they didn't know if CityCenter would even be part of MGM Mirage in the long run.

Aria's slot floor is another animal which is why it being included in this is interesting. If it was all the other properties, it would be one thing - since it includes Aria, makes me wonder about some of the more technical details.

No rest for the wicked.


mike_ch said...

"Undisclosed location" = Bellagio.

Just sayin', because I hate that worst kept secret stuff.

Anonymous said...

Gee, I dunno...could it be the work of restless spirits from the fallen construction workers that perished during the construction of City Center? Karma, ya know...

V.S. said...

About the Aria poker room list screen cap showing the Windows XP logo: Techies are always appalled at the mission critical uses an operating system like XP is put to. They often post pics of ATM's etc. displaying similar screens when down. I guess the poker list is not that critical, although I don't really know exactly what it lists. I wonder what OS the slots themselves use. One hopes it's not Windows,

Slot players don't look that happy on a regular day. I shudder to think what it must have been like on Christmas with dysfunctional machines. Cue TheStripPodcast outro theme.

Jeff in OKC said...

This probably happens all the time at Harrah's, but their Platinum members expectations are so low they don't notice, much less complain.

Rice said...

We were staying at the Mandalay on the 20th and a the had a "planned" power outage that night. 2/3rds of the slot floor was down and the power was out in all of the rooms.

No one told us this was going to happen when we were checking in.

V.S. said...

Above where I wrote, "Cue ... outro theme," I was confusing two songs. I was thinking of "Christmas in Las Vegas" not a song from Avenue Q which I realize now is the actual closing theme song. However, I know I've heard the kitschy, loungy "Christmas in Las Vegas" on the podcast, but now I'm wondering when and why it was played on the show. I must have heard it many times on the podcast too, because I clearly remember its tune and lyrics, and I don't think I ever heard them anywhere else. Is it a former theme song?


VS - we've played Richard Cheese's Christmas in Las Vegas many times over the years. We may have used it to end pre-Xmas shows in years past. We did play it on a couple of eps in recent months as bumper music but not outro music. So you're not crazy!

V.S. said...

Thanks for taking the time to clear that up for me, Steve.