Dubai World are hoping its multi billion dollar investment in a 67 acre hotel, restaurant, shops and casino complex in the Las Vegas strip will bear fruit as its businesses begin trading tomorrow.
Dubai World recently sent shudders across world markets after they effectively defaulted on their $60 billion debt by asking creditors for a six-month extension on their re-payments. In this particular venture Dubai World had teamed up with MGM Mirage for the $8.5 billion CityCenter resort project, but both companies have been suffering financially of late and the stakes couldn’t be higher.
The development has been going on since 2006 but in the meantime Las Vegas has witnessed a sharp fall in visitors and revenue as the recession continues to bite. Nevada Gaming Commissioner Tony Alamo commenting on the development said:
“We’re in a 12-round fight. The first six rounds, you guys got beat up. We’re putting all our eggs in the `grow-the-market’ basket. I would be lying to you if I wasn’t concerned — that’s a reality.This is not just the company, it’s the state.”
Kansas billionaire Phil Ruffin, owner of nearby Treasure Island casino-resort echoed the general feeling of trepidation when he said, “It’s going to be bloody out there. We wish them all the success in the world because it would help the whole city of Las Vegas, but I can’t think of a worse time to open up 7,000 rooms.”
Ruffin, like many businessmen, believe that the woes which have befallen Vegas will only subside after unemployment drops nationally thus bringing in more tourists, but conversely as the CityCenter development approaches completion 10,000 labourers will be added to the national unemployment statistics.
Despite the level of skepticism in the air preceeding tomorrows opening, MGM Mirage CEO Jim Murren appeared upbeat and struck an all together different take on the whole project:
“We’re at the eve of opening up something that was unimaginable this year,” he said. “ That will have a profoundly positive impact on our cash flows, our cross-marketing opportunities for our other properties, and on visitation and revenue to all of Las Vegas. I believe that it couldn’t happen at a better time now that we’ve survived the first six rounds of the fight.”