Here's this week's Strip Sense column, trying to make sense of last week's MGM-related events. Enjoy, and hat tip to Hunter at RateVegas.Com for letting me poach this headline.
When The Fun Stops
Is MGM Mirage Nevada's AIG or GM?
By STEVE FRIESS
“Pardon me for asking, but if a company is too big to fail, maybe—just maybe—it’s too big, period.” –Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich
Having evidently learned a little something from the hundreds of acrobats who perform astonishing death-defying feats nightly in its Vegas resorts, MGM Mirage last week leaped headlong into the open air, held the world in terrified suspense as it twisted and turned to avoid a hail of fiery spears and then, at the last possible moment, grabbed the bar and swung to relative, if momentary, safety.
Yet rather than supplying the raucous applause that greets such moments in the theater, the world just heaved a sigh of relief. Unlike the safe distance we feel watching, say, a Kà aerialist, where we know it’s only his neck that will be broken should he fall, the experience of last week wasn’t a mere spectator sport.
No, that wasn’t just a large casino company flying without a net in the face of oncoming doom, it was each and every Nevadan.
We came to realize with sobering clarity this week, in fact, that MGM Mirage in general and its $8.7 billion CityCenter development in particular are the closest things for this state to entities that are “too big to fail.” Nobody from MGM Mirage would use those four specific words because companies that are TBTF—AIG and GM are usually the ones mentioned—are so important that their significance is what justifies taxpayer-funded bailouts.
But just because a company’s not TBTF on a national level doesn’t mean it’s not TBTF in a local sense. And last week’s events were so frightening precisely because we were told repeatedly that CityCenter’s collapse would reverberate in the worst possible ways throughout the entire Silver State economy.
Read the rest at LasVegasWeekly.Com.