Mirage Sees Atlantic City As Next Big Project
LAS VEGAS -
Gaming giant MGM Mirage will likely build a planned $1 billion-plus
Atlantic City casino as its next major project, its president said
on February 12.
Las Vegas-based MGM Mirage first announced plans for the Atlantic
City, New Jersey, project last year, but later backed off on detailing
a time table as opportunities emerged in the more-promising Macau
market near Hong Kong and in Chicago.
First week of February, however, the company failed to secure one
of three new gaming licenses awarded in Macau. Its Chicago plans
also fell into limbo after Illinois gaming regulators said the license
that MGM Mirage sought could not be transferred from its existing
"It's more than likely that Atlantic City will be our next
major project,'' MGM Mirage President and Chief Financial Officer
Jim Murren said at an investor gaming conference in Las Vegas.
The new, as-yet-to-be-named resort would be on land next to the
Borgata, a $1 billion joint venture casino between MGM Mirage and
Boyd Gaming Corporation in Atlantic City's emerging Marina district.
Murren said the Borgata is on schedule to open in the third quarter
"It would be nice to get that up and running ... and then have
something open (on the adjacent piece of land) a year and a half
or two years after that.''
Despite Atlantic City's status as a mature gaming market, analysts
and casino companies have been bullish on the area in recent months
after business there bounced back much more quickly after Sept.
11 than in Las Vegas.
Analysts and observers are also encouraged by the Borgata, the city's
first Las Vegas-style resort, which many feel could add an air of
excitement to a city that has not seen any new major casino developments
for a decade.
Still, Murren expressed disappointment at not being selected for
one of the three Macau licenses, two of which went to rivals Las
Vegas developer Steve Wynn and Las Vegas Sands Inc., owner and operator
of the Venetian
Hotel Casino in Las Vegas.
"Macau is an exciting and somewhat scary marketplace and one
that we would like to be in at some point,'' he said of the market,
which is seen as lucrative because of its proximity to Hong Kong,
Taiwan and mainland China.
Murren also said that despite recent media reports that a resolution
to the Chicago license issue could be near, MGM Mirage has not been
informed of any movement on the matter.
"It seems like there's no traction there,'' he said. "We're
on the sidelines waiting for the call. ... I'd be leading you astray
if I said we were any closer today (on a Chicago-area project) than
we were a year ago.''
Bets Are Off, Tiguas' Casino To Close This Week
TX - After about two years of court battles with the state
and more than eight years in business, Speaking
Rock Casino is expected to close its doors February 11,
leaving more than 700 people without jobs.
But tribal officials said their fight is far from over and
the casino that brought the tribe out of poverty with its
estimated $60 million a year income will open again.
"What we offer is legal, and we have the right to engage
in gaming activities," Tigua Gov. Albert Alvidrez said.
"We're going to continue with our restaurant facilities,
the Spirit Garden and entertainment."
Alvidrez said that if the tribe is unsuccessful in the courts,
it will turn to the Texas Legislature for relief.
Jane Shepperd, a spokeswoman for the Texas attorney general's
office, declined to comment. Officials with the Texas attorney
general's office have declined to comment since late January.
The closure follows a Jan. 17 opinion by the U.S. 5th Circuit
Court of Appeals upholding a lower court ruling that the gaming
operations violated state law. In that ruling, U.S. District
Judge Garnett Thomas Eisele ordered the casino to close.