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Gaming Guru

Richard N. Velotta

Deal Draws Mixed Reaction From Tourists, Casino Workers

16 June 2004

News of the biggest marriage Las Vegas has ever seen -- MGM MIRAGE's $7.9 billion buyout of Mandalay Resort Group -- drew mixed reactions from tourists and workers this morning.

While many anticipate bigger and better things in the future as the blended company takes hold, some expressed misgivings about one company having so much influence over Strip prices. Some worried about workers who might get squeezed out of their jobs when departments within the two companies are merged.

"People usually lose their jobs when big companies gobble up smaller ones," said Judith Horsley, who is vacationing from Northumberland, England, with her husband, Eric.

The Horsleys said they were impressed with Las Vegas in this, their first trip to the city, and expect that the buyout of Mandalay Resort Group could lead to bigger and better things on the Strip in the future.

Strolling between Mandalay Resort Group's Excalibur hotel-casino and MGM MIRAGE's New York-New York, the Horsleys wondered whether MGM MIRAGE would continue Mandalay's strategy of accommodating children.

"I think it's interesting that they seem to appeal to adults who have children (at Excalibur)," Judith Horsley said. "When you come here as a child, you'll probably want to come back as an adult."

Eric Horsley said he observed the difference in MGM MIRAGE's properties being more adult oriented, as advertisement's for New York-New York's Cirque du Soleil show "Zumanity" flashed on a marquee overhead.

"Overall, it's probably a good thing for the city," he said.

Others agreed.

"I think the product will be better overall with Mandalay Bay (Mandalay's flagship hotel-casino property) a part of it," said Christopher Geis, Warrensburg, Mo. "Both companies have really great hotels."

He added that he knows mergers have to happen for companies to stay competitive.

"I'm really hoping that it's going to bring a lot of people back to the south end of the Strip," said Betty Dolly, who works as a greeter for the Tahiti time share project in Las Vegas, which has an office in New York-New York. "This is such a show-off town, I just have a feeling that they (MGM MIRAGE) are going to build something new and exciting down here to bring attention back to the south end from the north end of the Strip."

But others weren't so sure that the deal was a good thing for the city.

"I hope a lot of people don't lose their jobs," said Mike Woods, a tourist from Chicago. "That's what often happens in a deal like this."

He added that he doesn't expect the blended companies would provide many good deals for visitors.

"I think it's bad for the market," added Velma Hodgen, visiting from Spanish Fort, Ala. "They about have a monopoly with what they'll own."

William and Sheila Screen of Gloucestershire, England, said the acquisition would reduce the choices tourists have.

"I think it would be better if they were separate," William Screen said. "Merging the companies together like this reduces some of the choices customers will have."

Deal Draws Mixed Reaction From Tourists, Casino Workers is republished from