Gambling legend and long-time Las Vegas gaming executive Bobby Baldwin will soon be out at MGM, according to an announcement from the company late last week. The 1978 World Series of Poker Main Event champion and four-time bracelet winner has been with the company or one that was later acquired by it for about three decades.
The news of Baldwins departure was not originally announced by MGM Resorts International, but rather by the Las Vegas news and happenings blog, Vital Vegas. On early Thursday morning (like middle of the night Thursday morning), Vital Vegas tweeted, “Hear longtime casino executive Bobby Baldwin (Nugget, Mirage, Bellagio, etc.—all under Steve Wynn) departing MGM Resorts. Baldwin has quite a reputation, including as poker player. Won 1978 World Series of Poker Main Event.”
Later that day, Vital Vegas added some intrigued, tweeting, “Two words you won’t see in our local papers’ glowing stories about Bobby Baldwin and his MGM Resorts departure: Forced out.”
MGM did confirm the news on Thursday, after Vital Vegas broke it, putting out the short press release:
LAS VEGAS, Oct. 4, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — MGM Resorts International (NYSE: MGM) (“MGM Resorts”) today announced that Robert Baldwin, Chief Customer Development Officer of MGM Resorts and CEO and President of CityCenter, will be leaving his positions at both companies later this year. Few have played a more central role in the growth and transformation of the gaming industry than Bobby, and his contributions over more than three decades are immeasurable.
MGM Resorts thanks Bobby for all he has done for the company and all he has meant to this industry and wishes him the best for the future.
Now, we would never expect the company to expand upon the reasons why Baldwin is leaving and of course it said nothing about him being forced out, but it is certainly curious that a man that has generally been so highly regarded in the industry got such a brief sendoff. I won’t get into the rumors here, as I don’t want to get into anything about someone that I can’t confirm is true, but you can do some quick internet searching to find out.
Adding to the idea, though, that Baldwin’s exit has dubious reasons behind it is the rumor that the famous “Bobby’s Room” high stakes poker area at the Bellagio will soon be renamed. If it is, I think we know that something is up.
When Baldwin won the WSOP Main Event in 1978, he was just 28-years old, at the time the youngest ever to win that tournament. Despite his tournament success, he has not been a frequent tournament player in recent years, sticking to the nosebleed stakes cash games. Baldwin is also renowned as a masterful billiards player and reportedly made bank as a pool hustler back in the day.
Baldwin became a consultant for the Golden Nugget in 1982 and was named president of the casino two years later. In 1987, he took the top position at the Mirage and followed that up as president of the Bellagio in 1998. In 1999, he became CFO of Mirage Resorts, then CEO in 2000. As mentioned in the press release, he is currently Chief Customer Development Officer (CCDO?) of MGM Resorts and CEO and president of CityCenter.