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This profile was last updated on 3/11/14  and contains information from public web pages and contributions from the ZoomInfo community.

Vice President of Global Gaming D...

Local Address: Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
MGM
 
Background

Employment History

Education

  • law degree
    Georgetown University
  • Bachelor of Arts Degree , Economics and Asian Studies
    Dartmouth College
76 Total References
Web References
Mike Mathis Has Become the Face ...
www.wggb.com, 11 Mar 2014 [cached]
Mike Mathis Has Become the Face of MGM Springfield
COVER0314aART A year or so ago, Mike Mathis could walk the streets of downtown Springfield in relative anonymity.
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That's because Mathis is the face of the $800 million casino project proposed for Springfield's South End, and, increasingly, that face is being recognized, a development he doesn't mind at all.
Indeed, Mathis, whose business card now reads 'president, MGM Springfield,' likes talking with people about what could be called his project, although there is already a sizable team working on it. And more than that, he loves hearing from individuals about how this initiative could dramatically change things for the city and the region - and in positive ways.
'Transformative' was the word he said one state official used to describe the MGM Springfield project, and he's not at all shy about borrowing that term.
Actually, he's not shy about much of anything, a character trait he says is one of many necessitated by, and also honed by, life as the son of an Army officer who moved his family a number of times during his career.
"It was a wonderful childhood," Mathis told BusinessWest, listing stops in Atlanta, Monterey, Calif., Frankfurt, Germany, and Huntsville, Ala., among many others.
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Mike Mathis made frequent use of the word 'transformative' to describe the impact MGM's proposed casino will have on Springfield and the surrounding region.
By last fall - Nov. 4, to be exact, the day Palmer voters said 'no' to Mohegan Sun's plans to build a resort casino just off turnpike exit 8 - the MGM proposal was the proverbial last plan standing.
That phrase has been used quite extensively in the press, and Mathis doesn't like it at all. He told BusinessWest that it conveys the sense that MGM will win this license - if that's what happens - seemingly by default.
Instead, he said, MGM will have triumphed because it had the best plan, one that prevailed over Penn National's bid to build a gaming complex in Springfield's North End in what became the first stage of the license competition, and one he believes is a potentially groundbreaking concept for an urban gaming facility - what the company calls the 'inside-out casino.'
"I think this project is going to set the bar for any other opportunities that a gaming company has to develop in a downtown urban environment," he said, making reference to this plan's focus on melding with its surroundings and putting the emphasis on family entertainment, not gaming. "If all goes well, people will look back at what we did in Springfield as the standard."
For this issue and its focus on the casino era, BusinessWest talked at length with Mathis about everything from his career in this industry to the state of MGM's proposal to the nagging presence of a referendum initiative that could undo everything that's transpired since the gaming legislation was passed in the fall of 2011.
And in keeping with his character, he wasn't shy about speaking his mind.
In the Background
Mathis remembers that it was a dark February day, one when the mercury barely touched 20 degrees. Those were the conditions when he and his wife, Lisa, whom he met while both were pursuing law degrees at Georgetown, boarded a plane at New York's JFK airport to take up a fellow classmate's advice to explore job opportunities in Las Vegas.
"It was 75 and perfect when we landed," he said with a broad smile, adding that the weather was just one of many factors that would entice the couple to pack up and move roughly 2,500 miles west.
The bigger factor was that Las Vegas was at what would later be identified as the early stages of a massive building boom, one that this entrepreneurial couple wanted to be a part of.
MGM's planned 'inside-out' casino
Mike Mathis says MGM's planned 'inside-out' casino could set the standard when it comes to urban gaming facilities.
Backing up a bit, Mathis said his childhood spent moving from base to base, and the character traits it generated, definitely had an impact on his eventual career track and made it much easier to pick up and move across the country.
"My upbringing in a military family helps define my in a lot of ways," he explained. "It's not surprising to me that I've been attracted to hospitality and international development, because I'm very comfortable traveling, and I like experiencing new environments."
He saw many environments in his youth, starting with the desert in Arizona, where he was born. Over the next decade and a half, his father's work would take the family to the Southeast - Atlanta and Huntsville - and then to the West Coast and Monterey, a somewhat lengthier stint that was perhaps his favorite.
"We were there for four years," he recalled.
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Mathis probably couldn't have imagined just how much of the world he would eventually see when he was wrapping up his law degree at Georgetown. He did a clerkship with a firm in New Jersey and a summer internship with a large Wall Street firm, experiences that exposed him to trial work and sophisticated corporate practice, respectively.
He eventually opted to return to New Jersey and spend more time in the courts.
Meanwhile, Lisa, who was in the same class with him at Georgetown, took a job with a Wall Street firm. Their schedules didn't allow them to spend much time together, he said, and soon there was discussion about whether she would seek opportunities in New Jersey or he would do likewise in Manhattan.
Instead, they would both go to Las Vegas.
"We both got jobs with two of the top law firms in Las Vegas, who were happy to recruit some professionals from the East Coast because they were looking to broaden their practices," Mathis recalled, adding that, within that first year, they both represented clients in the gaming industry; he worked with Las Vegas Sands, and Lisa with Caesars. Those stints eventually led to offers for in-house positions, which they both accepted.
Mathis spent the six years working with Las Vegas Sands, which he called a great learning experience, one in which he worked on not only the Venetian and Palazzo resort casinos, but also an expansion into Macau and the process of taking the company public.
"It was a really intense period with a lot going on, and I was right in the middle of all of it as a junior lawyer," he explained. "It was just an incredible experience."
He later accepted an offer to join Boyd Gaming and be general counsel for its flagship development on the Las Vegas strip - Echelon Place, at the site of the historic Stardust casino. The $4 billion venture would have included four hotels, a 140,000-square-foot casino, and the 650,000-square-foot Las Vegas ExpoCenter, but construction was halted in August 2008, roughly a year after it started, just as the effects of the Great Recession, which would devastate the Las Vegas economy, were starting to be felt.
While work at the site never resumed, Mathis considered his time at Boyd another key learning experience.
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Mathis described the demise of Echelon Place as the low point in his career - "I had only experienced the boom" - but he stayed with the Boyd group until 2011, when he accepted a position with MGM as vice president of Global Gaming Development for MGM Hospitality.
In that capacity, he has been one of the key players in advancing MGM's latest developments - resort casinos in Macau, Delaware, and Springfield. And late last year, that focus was narrowed when he was made president of MGM Springfield.
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MGM has joined a coalition, which also includes other gaming companies, host communities, and backers of casino gambling, that was created to fight the repeal effort, which Mathis said could have a "chilling effect" on his company's plans for a few months until the matter is decided.
"If we're fortunate enough to win the license in May, to have the potential repeal hanging over our heads as an industry makes it difficult to do certain things," he said, listing as examples some of the early financial commitments related to construction and other capital-intensive expenditures. "And that's unfortunate; there will be a two-month window where we're going to have to watch and see what the court does. It's certainly not the way you want to kick off the project."
For the immediate future, the company will be an interested spectator as Penn National Gaming, the recently announced winner of the contest for the state's lone slots parlor license, decides how it will proceed with the repeal matter looming.
"The Commonwealth has invited our industry into this jurisdiction, and we've made a substantial investment in terms of time and money," Mathis said. "We have other lines of business, and MGM will survive if this is repealed,
MGM also released a statement ...
www.thereminder.com, 20 Feb 2014 [cached]
MGM also released a statement in which MGM Springfield incoming President Michael Mathis said, "Through this designation, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission has asked us to continue our conversation with the town of Longmeadow.
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Regarding the decision not to designate Hampden or Northampton, Mathis said, "We thank the Massachusetts Gaming Commission for its thoughtful process and are pleased that it agreed with our assessment of these communities in relation to our property.
In other casino-related news, incoming ...
www.masslive.com, 25 Feb 2014 [cached]
In other casino-related news, incoming MGM Springfield president Michael Mathis will sit down with The Republican/MassLive.com on Thursday to answer questions from the public. Questions for Mathis can be submitted via:
Email: Send your question by email to feedback@masslive.com with the subject line "MGM Springfield President Michael Mathis."
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Send in a question for our live video interview with incoming MGM Springfield President Michael Mathis
Michael Mathis, ...
www.mgmspringfield.com, 30 Dec 2013 [cached]
Michael Mathis, MGM Resorts Vice President of Global Gaming Development, said: "MGM is excited to submit our application to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission.
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Mathis said, "We have worked hard to develop the strong relationships necessary to create a world-class urban casino-resort proposal that will anchor a renaissance for an important Gateway City and the region around it.
Incoming MGM Springfield President ...
www.masslive.com, 17 Feb 2014 [cached]
Incoming MGM Springfield President Michael Mathis says $800 million casino project could change the city's luck and gaming industry's approach to urban communities | + | + comments | Incoming MGM Springfield President Michael Mathis says $800 million casino project could...
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Incoming MGM Springfield President Michael Mathis says $800 million casino project could change the city's luck and gaming industry's approach to urban communities | + | + comments | Incoming MGM Springfield President Michael Mathis says $800 million casino project could...
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Incoming MGM Springfield President Michael Mathis says $800 million casino project could change the city's luck and gaming industry's approach to urban communities Michael Mathis family Michael Mathis, the incoming MGM Springfield president/chief operating office, right, stands with his family in the company's office on Main Street.
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Should MGM get the Western Massachusetts gaming license, Michael Mathis will take over local operations. (Republican Staff Photo by Robert Rizzuto)
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SPRINGFIELD — MGM Springfield's incoming President Michael Mathis sees the emergence of the entertainment company's New England operations as a jumping off point for the City of Firsts to write a new chapter of 21st century prosperity.
Mathis, a 41-year-old married father of two young boys, said that when he was asked by the company to head to Springfield after stints in Japan and South Korea, it was undoubtedly a less exotic destination.
But considering he was primarily raised in New Jersey and attended law school in New York, he was actually excited to return to the East Coast climate he was once acclimated with. And it wasn't long, he said, until Springfield began appealing to him on a number of levels and he felt like a part of the community.
"I quickly got personally involved with what we in the company call the 'Springfield story,' which is not only to develop a world-class resort, which we're great at doing, but do it in an environment where we can help a community like this return to some of its prior greatness. This idea of a downtown, urban casino, which we've designed, I think is going to help change our industry," Mathis said during an interview in the company's local downtown office.
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And in MGM's case, Mathis is set to take the helm of the company's local operations should it land the license, as expected, in the spring from the Massachusetts Gaming Commission.
MGM's physical presence in the heart of the South End of Springfield makes it, arguably, the standout feature for locals and tourists alike. And for Mathis, incorporating the city's storied history into the project was and is important to recognize.
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We've gone out of our way to find three buildings we could compliment our design with," Mathis said. "There's others, and we respect the work of the historical commission... but there's a balance between what we need to do to have a functional resort and paying homage to that great architecture."
Mathis cites Springfield's historical significance as a point of reference for where he'd like to see the city after a few years of economic recovery.
"Some of the most fun parts of this project have been learning the history of Springfield and this region. This was the Silicon Valley of its day - a center for innovation and a huge draw for the middle class," Mathis said. "Springfield, Ill., was named after Springfield, Mass., because they wanted to replicate its success. It's what helped the city's name spread through the country and we'd love to play a part in returning it to that role."
Mathis, his wife Lisa, and their boys, 11-year-old Chase and 8-year-old Wyatt, currently call the greater Las Vegas area home, although that will change if MGM gets the Western Massachusetts gaming license.
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When asked where they would eventually settle, Mathis said the discussions are ongoing, and based on the same factors any family with children considering a move would weigh.
He insisted that a decision has yet to be made.
"I think there's a lot of great communities including Springfield, that I've visited. All of my friends are looking out for different listings and making their pitches about the communities they're in," Mathis said. "A lot of great choices.
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"It definitely is going to be great as a whole, but the outdoor plaza we're building feels like the most community-based part of the project where I could envision my family hanging out," Mathis said. "When I think about the project, I picture a beautiful summer day with the farmer's market on the weekend, or a great winter holiday season with the skating rink up and going."
In regards to the actual timeline of the project, Mathis said that it is of course up to the gaming commission to decide the issue of whether and when to grant the license, but from there, it is a short road to opening the doors to MGM Springfield.
"We would hope the license is granted by early summer. Because of all the prep work we've done on our design and by preparing permit packages, I think we could be working on the site by late summer," Mathis said. "And it's an approximate two-and-a-half year build out from there, so in late 2016 or early 2017 we'd look to open."
He said the MGM construction development team is used to building larger buildings in more challenging environments so the Springfield project would materialize relatively quickly.
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I'm proud of that effort," Mathis said. "It's really those communities who wanted to be reasonable about it and not try to make it a money grab, and just protect their residents. And hopefully as an incoming resident myself, I can respect that."
Mathis said the most satisfying part of being promoted to the president of MGM Springfield is being able to take the helm of a project he helped negotiate and, in all likelihood, steer to a successful groundbreaking.
"Throughout the campaign process as one of the development representatives who was making our pitch, there was definitely a few times where someone would tell me they heard everything we had to say, and that we had beautiful renderings, but who would be the guy to actually deliver? Mathis said. "For better or worse, I've been designated as that guy.
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Michael Mathis named president of MGM Springfield casino project
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Incoming MGM Springfield President Michael Mathis says $800 million casino project could change the city's luck and gaming industry's approach to urban communities
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