Jeff Simpson on How MGM Mirage Continues to Set the Pace on Diversity - Thursday 11th of May 2006

by Jeff Simpson

By Our Partners at the Las Vegas Sun

MGM Mirage on Wednesday will announce another year of success in its mission to diversify it workforce, suppliers and vendors. The company's success starts with Chairman Terry Lanni's absolute commitment to making steady progress, but company executives say that the entire management team buys into the concept.

An amazing 1,200 MGM leaders have completed the company's three-day Diversity Champions course, and executives say that they believe the commitment to diversity does more for MGM Mirage than allow it to claim it's doing the right thing.

The company is becoming a stronger business as it demonstrates its commitment to diversity, helping it to attract and retain great workers and lure customers who appreciate MGM's belief in making people of all kinds feel wanted, they say.

• • •

I've been paying extra close attention to the operations at the city's two newest and most expensive locals casinos, and, for the most part, I like what I see.

Station Casinos' $925 million Red Rock Resort opened less than three weeks ago and the place is already jumping. Its restaurants are superb, with its Salt Lick barbecue joint quickly becoming one of my favorite spots in town.

Boyd Gaming's Coast Casinos operating unit has its own new player, the $600 million South Coast, which opened in December. After a slow start due to lack of freeway access on Interstate 15 and construction disruptions from road work on South Las Vegas Boulevard, the South Coast keeps improving.

Both of these casinos were built ready to capitalize on the meteoric growth that surrounds them and you can bet that they'll do just that. Station's Fertitta family and Boyd's Bill Boyd and Michael Gaughan have once again struck gold in the nation's most lucrative market.

• • •

Don't expect Encore, Wynn Resorts newest project, to rest on Wynn Las Vegas' laurels. Although Steve Wynn's not publicly revealing design details about Encore's interiors, he did show me the look of Encore's standard hotel rooms in mockups at Wynn Las Vegas.

Although I agreed not to describe exactly what I saw, I can say that Encore will again raise the bar in terms of design and function, and that properties built at the end of the last century - think Venetian, Paris and Mandalay Bay - will be knocked another spot down the pecking order of great Las Vegas properties.

• • •

Aztar employees are sort of like the guy at the charity bachelor auction whose date is being hotly contested by two women.

One bidder is brilliant and beautiful.

Let's be nice and say just that the other is not.

While Aztar shareholders understandably want to maximize the sale price, employees want owners who know what they are doing.

Aztar employees should prefer Las Vegas-based Pinnacle Entertainment and its imaginative top executive Dan Lee to emerge as the winning bidder. Kentucky-based Columbia Sussex owns a collection of second-rate and castoff properties in its casino portfolio, while Pinnacle already has built the best property in Lake Charles, La. and will eventually operate the best properties in the St. Louis area.

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