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MGM Drops the Mirage (From its Name)

It used to be the MGM, named after Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and then shortened to the founder’s initials. Then they bought Steve Wynn’s Mirage and became MGM Mirage. That name, according to CEO Jim Murren has outlived its usefulness. The shareholders voted to change the company’s name to MGM Resorts International. If you’ve booked a week at one of their 16 properties in the United States or China, you won’t find much changed, though. According to Murren, the company will be revamping its loyalty program. Vacationers at the Detroit and Mississippi resorts will be the first to enjoy the new program, called M Life.

Even if you only vacation on the Vegas Strip, being on the M Life rewards plan is a good idea, since MGM Resorts International has stakes in ten properties on the Vegas Strip. These include the obvious like the MGM Grand Las Vegas and the Mirage, but also those that don’t bear the MGM label as loudly, like the Luxor and CityCenter which is a joint venture.

According to MGM’s management, when MGM bought out Steve Wynn’s Mirage, the name change was meant to inspire confidence for Mirage employees, making the move feel more like a merger than an acquisition. MGM changed the name to signal that they did not intend to make large changes in the Mirage properties. Since that was ten years ago, employees have gotten used to the idea of the acquisition and there is no need to keep the Mirage name in the company name. The Mirage Resort will probably keep its name, since it is well-recognized and liked by tourists.

Interestingly, despite the decline in land-based gambling in the United States in general and in Las Vegas specifically, MGM Resorts recently cooperated to bring the CityCenter project to life. According to many experts on the economic situation of land-based gambling in Las Vegas, casino-resorts are looking for ways to create more profits from their resorts in order to rely less on the casino side of the operation. This is logical, since tourists can easily stay home to gamble online, but spas, live shows, swimming pools, and amusement parks like those available on the Vegas Strip aren’t replaced by internet usage in the same manner. Moreover, bringing tourists in to the resorts for the resort experience increases the number of players on the casino floor. Despite the claims that gambling is a recession-proof business, many players suffering from economic hardship have at least lowered their stakes and are spending less on the casino floor. MGM Resorts seems to be meeting the current challenges well though.

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