Murren sets stage for debate on spending for tourism improvements

MGM Resorts International’s top executive on Friday set the stage for a citywide philosophical debate that could determine how resources will be spent for tourism infrastructure improvements in the years ahead.

Jim Murren, chairman and CEO of MGM, the state’s largest private employer, told an audience at the Las Vegas Metro Chamber of Commerce’s Preview Las Vegas forecasting event that he supports efforts to use room-tax revenue to expand and improve the Las Vegas Convention Center, even though it competes with the company’s various convention facilities.

That viewpoint conflicts directly with those of executives with Las Vegas Sands, who see the Convention Center as a direct competitor to private enterprise and the use of room-tax revenue as inappropriate.

The Review-Journal is owned by a limited liability corporation owned by the family of Sands chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson.

Sands officials have indicated they would support using room-tax money as part of the financing to build a $1 billion domed stadium. The company announced Thursday that it plans to build the 65,000-seat stadium on 42 acres just east of the MGM Grand at Tropicana Avenue and Koval Lane. Sands executives met with representatives of the Oakland Raiders on Friday in a bid to move the team to Las Vegas and share the stadium with the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, football team. Sands officials have said they plan to build the stadium with or without a National Football League team.

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority has proposed a $2.3 billion expansion and upgrade of the Las Vegas Convention Center that officials say is essential to stay competitive with cities trying to steal conventions and special events away from Las Vegas.

In an interview after his Preview presentation, Murren acknowledged that the stadium would compete for some events with MGM’s T-Mobile Arena that opens in April.

Murren said while he’d be interested in considering live entertainment tax revenue or a special tax district supporting the stadium, he’d be opposed to using room-tax funds.

“To me, the priorities are obvious,” Murren said. “It’s to expand and improve the Convention Center. And if we can find a fiscally responsible way to fund a stadium, MGM will be at the table as we always are, put money into it, support it, and I don’t give a hoot if it competes against us.

“If it’s good for Las Vegas,” he said, “we’re all for it, but it won’t be done to the detriment of the Convention Center. We would not be for that. Without that convention center improvement, we can forget about Las Vegas growth. Let’s go to the must-haves before we go to the nice-to-haves and if we can do both, I’m all for it.”

A Sands spokesman said Friday that the company considers a state-of-the-art stadium a must-have amenity “that far outweighs the need for additional convention facilities.”

Murren was the final speaker at Preview, the chamber’s largest annual networking event.

About 2,000 people attended the event, which combines a tradeshow atmosphere on the concourse of the Thomas & Mack Center with a series of speakers discussing trends in Southern Nevada’s economy.

Tourism issues dominate

Tourism issues took center stage in the early sessions with Robert Lang, executive director of Brookings Mountain West advocating a stronger presence in Washington and Carson City to convince national and state policymakers to empower local entities to make decisions on developing infrastructure that will benefit the tourism economy.

Lang specifically suggested that businesses support policy that would enable local leaders to keep and use the tax revenue it generates instead of sending it the government. He cited Orlando, Fla., one of Las Vegas’ chief tourism rivals, as a city that has a relatively low tax rate, but capitalizes on keeping revenue raised for local projects.

And Lang knows Southern Nevada is in need of local projects. He said to keep its competitive edge, Southern Nevada needs a light-rail transit system, a stadium with seating for more than 60,000 people and enhanced facilities at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Attendees also got a closer look at Faraday Future, the electric car company that is building a manufacturing plant at the Apex industrial park.

Dag Reckhorn, vice president of global manufacturing for Faraday, gave details of the company’s plans to build a $1 billion, 3 million-square-foot manufacturing plant on 900 acres at Apex.

The Preview presentation was similar to a Jan. 4 presentation when Faraday unveiled its FFZero1 concept car.

Reckhorn said Faraday’s Variable Platform Architecture will feature strings of batteries, which can be more easily replaced or changed than a single battery. On the platform, adding or reducing strings will enable the creation of vehicles of varying sizes with more power or greater range.

The architecture also incorporates motor configurations with one to three motor strings. That will enable the company to modify vehicle characteristics, including rear-, front- or all-wheel drive systems, extended range options and various outputs, all using the same chassis structure.

Travel themes surface

Convention and Visitors Authority President and CEO Rossi Ralenkotter also led a panel that included Mike Boyd, president of Boyd Group International, Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association, and Warren Eales, port director for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection at McCarran International Airport.

They discussed a variety of travel-related issues, from potential international markets for Las Vegas to Project Time Off, an initiative to encourage workers to take all the vacation time they’re entitled to.

Boyd said Las Vegas needs to be prepared to make international visitors comfortable when they visit with appropriate signage and a knowledge of the traveler’s customs and expectations. He said visitation provides the biggest opportunity for growth.

Panelists encouraged attendees to contact their congressional delegation to lobby for enough staffing for Eales to process international arrivals as McCarran moves toward expanding the number of gates it has available for arrivals from foreign countries.

Contact reporter Richard N. Velotta at rvelotta@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893. Find @RickVelotta on Twitter.

Business Videos
Las Vegas Convention Center expansion taking shape
Renderings and actual footage show how the Las Vegas Convention Center is evolving.
Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz at Las Vegas convention
Former Starbucks CEO and potential presidential candidate Howard Schultz spoke at the Epicor Insights user conference at Mandalay Bay Convention Center Wednesday, April 17, 2019. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Drew Las Vegas to open in the second quarter of 2022
The 67-story Drew Las Vegas is slated to open in the second quarter of 2022 at the north end of the Las Vegas Strip. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
NAB Day 1 (Time Lapse)
NAB kicked off at the Las Vegas Convention Center on Monday, April 8, 2019. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
National Association of Broadcasters Show shows 1mm thick 8K TV with 22.2 channel digital sound
Japan’s NHK Science & Technology Research Laboratories booth featured a 1mm thick 8K TV system used in conjunction with a 22.2 channel digital sound system at the National Association of Broadcasters Show at the Las Vegas Convention Center. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Nevada shoppers react to Smith’s no longer accepting Visa credit cards
On March 1, Smith’s announced that it would no longer be accepting Visa credit cards at any of its 142 supermarkets, including the 45 in Nevada.
Massachusetts Gaming Commission asks how long Wynn executives knew about misconduct
Business reporter Rick Velotta gives an update on the adjudicatory hearing on the suitability of Wynn Resorts to retain its gaming license in Massachusetts.
Henderson app developer part of Startup in Residence
Henderson based developers of the app On Point Barricade are taking part in Startup in Residence, a North America program dedicated to pairing tech companies with governments. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Sam's Town employees and customers talk of their love for the iconic casino
Longtime Sam's Town employees and customers love each other and love their casino. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Las Vegas apartments rents
Las Vegas’ apartment market has accelerated in recent years. Developers are packing the suburbs with projects, landlords are on a buying spree, and tenants have filled buildings.
William Boyd talks about the birth of Sam's Town
On the eve of the 40th anniversary of Sam's Town, William Boyd, executive chairman of Boyd Gaming and son of hotel namesake Sam Boyd, talks about how the casino became one of the first local properties in Las Vegas. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
High Roller observation wheel turns five
The world’s tallest observation wheel celebrates it’s fifth year on Sunday, March 31, 2019. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @Vegas88s
Escape Room Industry Growing In Las Vegas
Escapology employees discuss the growing escape room industry in the U.S. and Las Vegas. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Impact of parking fees on visiting the Las Vegas Strip
There are no data showing a relationship between Strip resort and parking fees and the number of out-of-state visitors to Las Vegas. But there are data showing a relationship between Strip parking fees and the number of local visitors to the the Strip. ‘’As a local, I find myself picking hotels I visit for dinner or entertainment, based on whether they charge for parking or not,”’ said David Perisset, the owner of Exotics Racing. ‘’It is not a matter of money, more of principle.’’ A 2018 survey by the Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance found 36.9 percent of Clark County residents reported avoiding parking at Strip casinos that charge for parking. 29.1 percent reported avoiding using any services from a Strip casino that charges for parking.
MGM's sports betting deals
MGM Resorts International signed a sports betting sponsorship agreement with the NBA in July It was the first professional sports league to have official ties with a legal sports betting house. The deal came just two months after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a law prohibiting sports betting in most states. In October, MGM became the first gaming company to sign a sports betting partnership with the NHL. In November, MGM became the first gaming company to sign a sports betting partnership with the MLB. Financial terms of Tuesday’s deal and earlier partnerships have not been announced.
Faraday puts Las Vegas land on the market
Nearly two years after Faraday Future bailed on its North Las Vegas auto factory, the company has put its land up for sale. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
El Cortez owner Kenny Epstein on running the iconic property
Kenny Epstein, owner of the El Cortez Hotel in downtown Las Vegas, talks about Jackie Gaughan mentorship and answers rumors about bodies in the basement at the mob-era casino. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
LVCVA recommends construction of underground people mover
The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority announced the recommendation for an underground people mover for the convention center. The system would have the potential to expand and connect Downtown and the resort corridor all the way to McCarran. (Michael Quine/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
LVCVA/Boring Company Press Conference
The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority announced a collaboration with Elon Musk's The Boring Company to develop and operate an autonomous people mover system for the Las Vegas Convention Center District.
International Pizza Expo includes green and gluten free
The International Pizza Expo at Las Vegas Convention Center included companies focused on vegan and gluten free, and plant-based pizza boxes. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
International Pizza Expo kicks off in Las Vegas
The first day of the International Pizza Expo at Las Vegas Convention Center is everything Pizza. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
T-Mobile program aids guests with sensory needs
A program at T-Mobile Arena is designed to provide a more sensory friendly experience for guests.
Photo Booth Expo
Danielle May talks about how Simple Booth transformed her Volkswagen bus into a business.
Nevada Gaming Commission's highest fines
The highest fines assessed by the Nevada Gaming Commission, according to commission Chairman Tony Alamo: 1) Wynn Resorts Ltd., $20 million, 2019 2) CG Technology (then known as Cantor G&W Holdings), $5.5 million, 2014 3) The Mirage, $5 million ($3 million fine, $2 million compensatory payment), 2003 4) Stardust, $3 million, 1985 5) Santa Fe Station, $2.2 million ($1.5 million fine, $700,000 compensatory payment), 2005 6) Las Vegas Sands, $2 million, 2016 7) CG Technology, $1.75 million, 2018 8) CG Technology, $1.5 million (also $25,000 in escrow for underpaid patrons), 2016 9) Caesars Entertainment, $1.5 million, 2015 10) Imperial Palace, $1.5 million, 1989 11) Peppermill Casinos, $1 million, 2014
Tiny Pipe Home vs Shipping Crate
A Tiny pipe home was displayed at the International Builders Show this week in Las Vegas.
Auto repair shortage affects Las Vegas
The auto repair industry is facing a national shortage of workers.
Franchising industry booming
Experts say Las Vegas is a hotbed for the franchise industry.
Africa Love owner talks about his store in Las Vegas
Mara Diakhate, owner of Africa Love, gift and decor store, talks about his store in Las Vegas. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/ Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Developer gets approval to build homes at Bonnie Springs
The Clark County Planning Commission has approved a plan to build 20 homes on the site of Bonnie Springs Ranch. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Dig This opens new location In Las Vegas
Remember when you were a kid and played with construction toys in the sand box? Dig This Las Vegas has the same idea, except instead of toy bulldozers, you get to play with the real thing. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
TOP NEWS
Home Front Page Footer Listing