Mirage: Who's Your Daddy?
Nearly every major casino in Las Vegas has its time in the sun. That magical time when all eyes and the zeitgeist are fixed on a single property. At first and apocryphally, it was the Flamingo. As we've seen with Grandissimo, Caesars Palace was a cultural touchstone that is still benefiting from that time in the spotlight. Bellagio set the tone for the Las Vegas of the new millennium.
And then there's Mirage. Obviously, it's historic contributions will never be forgotten. It heralded the modern Las Vegas and made Steve Wynn a household name. Talk to dealers who've been with the property since opening and you'll hear stories of a casino that was so busy you could only walk in after 9:00 p.m. if you were a guest of the hotel. There were Friday nights so busy that you couldn't find a blackjack table with a limit lower than $100. If you had a line of credit, you had better damn well have had a line larger than $1,000,000; if you didn't, you were pond scum and would be lucky if you got a free buffet. The hotel was the stuff of legend.
That, however, was 1990 and this is 2014. On a recent stay at the property, all I saw were $10 6:5 blackjack tables, Terry Fator, a Kardashian Khaos, and villas--still the envy of Las Vegas--that sat empty on New Year's Eve; with only glimmers of a Mirage that sees a place for itself in the Las Vegas of the next ten years in Heritage Steak and the limited villa renovations.
Granted, those lamentable things come with age. They happened at the Sands and the Dunes, but those properties were heaped on the scrap pile of Las Vegas history. The Mirage is different; magical, even. It is seminal. It deserves better. It deserves an owner that cares about the property; someone who sees the beauty of the place and has a vision how it can still lead a segment of the Las Vegas market. That person isn't Jim Murren. It isn't Phil Ruffin. It isn't even Steve Wynn. However, Mirage needs a da-da.
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