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Casino trade talks swirling

Sep 14, 2004 7:25 AM

Harrah’s Entertainment may take a shot at owning The Mirage and Treasure Island before all the smoke clears months from now.

Nothing would make more sense.

MGM Mirage Chairman Terry Lanni says the company "really hopes to keep all its present properties," but he concedes the best interests of shareholders may result in one or more properties being sold.

Mirage and Treasure Island are MGM Mirage properties. They are also the most likely to be sold, assuming sales are necessary to get regulator approval.

With the pending Harrah’s purchase of Caesars Palace (and other Caesars Entertainment properties), it’s difficult to image Harrah’s not having a very strong interest in all of the acreage and Strip frontage between Flamingo and Spring Mountain roads.

In the meantime, Colony Capital is interested in one or more of the Harrah’s Entertainment casinos. But so are several other buyers, companies such as the Golden Nugget and Penn National to name a couple.

Both Harrah’s and MGM Mirage have been having preliminary discussions with potential buyers, discussions that do not mean a thing until a sale is necessary.

But the time to have these talks is now because if you wait until you have to sell, the price goes down.

Elaine Wynn credited with theme

Steve Wynn credits his wife, Elaine, for coming up with the defining theme at Wynn Las Vegas.

That theme embodies a sense of mystery, a desire to explore whatever is on the other side of the "fence," in this case, a man-made mountain that will shield much of the resort from passing traffic on the Strip.

There will be no street-front entertainment at Wynn — no volcanoes, dancing waters or pirate battles. What there will be is the suggestion there’s a lot to enjoy on the other side of the mountain.

Wynn says the idea with the mountain is to create a sense of mystery and high expectations that will be satisfied only by a trip inside.

Wynn’s creative people have made that point via artwork at the south end of the property, where a variety of cartoon characters are depicted peering over the construction fence at all there is to see on the other side.

Boxmen still safe at Mirage resorts

People still call to discuss the Caesars Palace decision to terminate its boxmen and distribute their duties among others in a dice pit.

Mirage Resorts President Bobby Baldwin says his division’s resorts will not be following the Caesars’ lead. Baldwin says he understands the desire to save money. But getting rid of this level of security, supervision and service is not his idea of the way to go.

Baldwin’s thinking is interesting since the other half of his company — that would be the MGM casinos — did decide to eliminate boxmen about a year ago.

More Cirque, si vous plais

We ain’t seen nothing yet — maybe, in terms of the Cirque du Soleil influence on the Strip.

In just a few weeks, Mirage Resorts will announce a new Cirque show at The Mirage.

MGM Mirage already operates three Cirque shows — "Mystere" at Treasure Island, "O" at Bellagio and "Zumanity" at New York-New York.

An announcement about the new show was expected months ago but "getting several different groups of lawyers together on all the details has not been easy," according to a knowledgeable source.

Cirque will likely be given the chance to see what it can do with the main showroom at Mandalay Bay as well. This could not happen, of course, before MGM Mirage completes its purchase of the Mandalay Resort Group, probably early next year.

Rockin’ out at the Sahara

The character based on GamingToday’s Monti Rock is a hit in the "Saturday Night Fever" musical, which has landed at the Sahara from Broadway.

All right, so that requires a little explanation.

Rock, who pens an entertainment column for this newspaper, played the DJ in SNF the movie. But the role of the DJ has been enlarged in the musical, which came to Las Vegas from Broadway.

And Rock, who on any day of the week, has a hard time doing anything modest or soft spoken says, "The guy who plays me is very good."

As Rock himself might have told actor and alter ego Shea Rafferty, "It’s all a matter of attitude."

Rock has proven he has no shortage of that.