Less than a year ago, the gaming industry used its political clout to crush UNLV’s plans for a new, on-campus, domed stadium because the university didn’t involve Nevada’s largest casino companies in the development. MGM Resorts International was particularly critical of the $900 million project, a partnership with Majestic Reality, saying the vision had “grown too expensive for our community to support” and that the company would back a stadium “that is appropriately configured and responsibly financed.”
A rebooted planning process certainly appears to be on track to achieve those goals. That was an unmistakable takeaway from the Review-Journal’s most recent Hashtags &Headlines policy luncheon, held Monday at Texas Station. During that discussion about local stadium and arena projects, Don Snyder, UNLV’s acting president, and MGM executive Rick Arpin sat next to each other and displayed the collegiality of allies. Both men are members of UNLV’s stadium authority board, which was created by the Legislature to put together a plan that has the support of the tourism industry.
The board, which includes three other gaming representatives, has worked together for five months and now has less than seven months to submit its recommendations to the Legislature. The scope of the project and how to pay for it haven’t been determined, but there is agreement about the need for a new, large venue to attract, retain and grow the special events that fill Strip hotel rooms with visitors.
It’s a 180-degree turn from a year ago. That’s great news for Southern Nevada’s economy.