The latest sign that Las Vegas gambling bosses want to diversify their portfolio is MGM Resorts International CEO Bill Hornbuckle's decision to put The Mirage up for sale.
"I mentioned in the past that we are happy with the amount of exposure we currently have in Las Vegas. As such, we are currently in the early stages of a process to sell the operations of the Mirage," Hornbuckle told investors Wednesday during an earnings call.
Hornbuckle also sent a letter to employees, according to local news Fox 5, saying the move is "best for the long-term success of both the property and MGM Resorts."
He said MGM is "committed to continuing to maintain and develop our existing Las Vegas portfolio with no plans for other changes on the Strip at this time."
MGM operates ten resorts in Vegas, including MGM Grand, Bellagio, Aria, Vdara, Excalibur, Luxor, Mandalay Bay, The Mirage, New York-New York, and Park MGM. Soon it will add The Cosmopolitan into its portfolio.
"We have enough of Las Vegas," Hornbuckle told investors Wednesday.
The selling of The Mirage would be the latest in a series of real estate transactions this year in Sin City as casino bosses capitalize on asset price inflation thanks to the Federal Reserve's unorthodox monetary policies.
While MGM is selling a property, it also plans to purchase another. MGM is buying The Cosmopolitan casino and hotel from America's largest commercial and residential real estate landlord, Blackstone, for a whopping $5.65 billion. Earlier this year, Las Vegas Sands reached an agreement to sell The Venetian Resort Las Vegas and the Sands Expo and Convention Center to Apollo Global Management and VICI Properties Inc.
On Tuesday, Caesars Entertainment CEO Tom Reeg said the company is preparing to offload one of its Vegas properties. He said that should be "put into motion in the early part of (2022)," he told investors Tuesday.
This year, Las Vegas tourism has been solid, climbing back steadily despite earlier concerns over the Delta variant. More than 3.3 million people visited Las Vegas in July, about 90% of pre-pandemic visitation for the same month in 2019. Casinos have brought back dining, including buffets, and entertainment, even as state officials restored an indoor mask mandate for areas with high rates of COVID transmission, including Las Vegas. That said, concerns over the pandemic are still damping the convention business, which drives much of the hospitality economy in Las Vegas.
So is the latest flurry of recent casino transactions and new listings a sign of a market top, or do casino bosses want to diversify away from The Strip to online gambling or even other states?