Las Vegas tosses cold water on Miss America

December 24, 2001 9:19 AM
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Miss America is shopping for a new venue. But disputing widely circulating news reports, MGM Mirage says it is not actively courting the fabled pageant.

“It would be a shame if the pageant left Atlantic City,’’ said MGM Mirage spokesman Alan Feldman. “But even if they do, I doubt we’d pursue it.’’

The Miss America Organization has demanded that New Jersey pledge a $1 million guarantee to keep the pageant in the East Coast city. But the state has refused, and organizers have been making contacts in Connecticut, Florida and Nevada for a new home.

Wire stories reported last week that MGM Mirage had made a pitch for the pageant, but Feldman told GamingToday it was Miss America who made the overture. As of last Friday, he said no negotiations were under way.

“They want a lot of consideration. But it’s hard to be a priority here, where so much is going on,’’ Feldman noted.

A second, unidentified hotel-casino is said to be interested in landing the pageant.

But the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority said it isn’t in the loop and could not comment publicly.

The last time Las Vegas hosted a major beauty pageant was the 1996 Miss Universe competition at the Aladdin.