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Gaming Guru

Arnold M. Knightly
 

Elad Group hires ex-MGM Mirage exec

28 August 2007

LAS VEGAS, Nevada -- Another out-of-state developer has tapped another former Strip casino executive to help guide its entry into the Las Vegas market.

The New York-based Elad Group announced Monday it is hiring former MGM Mirage executive and director Daniel Wade as chief operating officer of its $5.7 billion Plaza project on the 34.5-acre New Frontier site.

"I know the market," said Wade, 55, who stepped down as MGM Mirage's vice chairman in March 2006. "Bringing the Plaza to our great city is a tremendous opportunity."

Wade has held key positions in Nevada, New Jersey and Michigan as well as Australia and Macau.

David G. Schwartz, director of the Center for Gaming Research at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, said it is important for new developers in Nevada to have people in place that understand the gaming industry and the state's regulatory process.

"Running a casino is different than running any other kind of hospitality business," he said. "If they have someone who has a lot of experience in the industry it can only help. Especially for a $5 billion project, you don't want somebody learning through trial and error how to run a big casino."

Wade's hiring by an out-of-town developer entering the Strip market mirrors other similar moves.

Former Mandalay Resort Group President Glenn Schaeffer was hired by Miami-based developer Jeffrey Soffer as Fontainebleau Resorts chief executive officer. The company is building the $2.9 billion Fontainebleau on the Strip.

Navegante Group, owned by former MGM Grand executive Larry Woolf, was hired by a California partnership to operate the casino at the Sahara while Los Angeles-based SBE Entertainment and San Francisco-based Stockbridge Real Estate Funds tries to get a gaming license.

The Plaza project is owned by Elad IDB Las Vegas, a joint-venture between Elad and Property & Building Corp.

Miki Naftali, president of Elad IDB Las Vegas, said in a statement that Wade was hired on his record of "conceiving, developing and operating" gaming properties such as MGM Grand in Las Vegas and Detroit, and the New York-New York.

The New Frontier will be imploded this fall. Plaza Las Vegas is slated to open in 2011.

Wade said he will be the point person on the project. He said his experience, including helping to plan, build and operate the MGM Grand in the early 1990s, will be invaluable.

He started at MGM Grand in 1990 and rose to become co-chief executive officer of MGM Mirage in 1999.

After taking six months off "to chill" after leaving MGM Mirage, Wade consulted on various gaming projects.

Most recently he helped guide the Paramount project, proposed for the old Klondike on Las Vegas Boulevard west of McCarran International Airport.

Alan Feldman, MGM Mirage's senior vice president of public affairs, said Wade is a "terrific professional."

"He has an amazing ability to connect with people at all levels of a company," Feldman said. "Partially because his own story is one of working from entry level all the way up into the executive office."