MGM, Boyd Gaming Donate to Las Vegas Airport Name Change, Funds Still Needed

Posted on: October 13, 2021, 01:10h. 

Last updated on: October 13, 2021, 02:08h.

The Clark County Commission has about half the private money needed to begin changing McCarran International Airport’s name to honor former US Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D), records show. Some major personalities in gaming have pledged money to the name change.

McCarran International Airport
Visitors walk past a welcome sign at McCarran International Airport. The airport is at the southeastern end of the Las Vegas Strip. (Image: Travel & Leisure)

Through Sept. 30, the County Commission received $2.13 million in donations, according to the agenda for the Oct. 19 commission meeting. The agenda was posted on the county website on Wednesday. Donations will be posted every quarter.

The cost to change signs at the airport and to perform other administrative functions is estimated at $7.2 million. The changeover can begin when $4.2 million in private donations come in, officials said. County commissioners have said the money for the name change will come from private donors, not taxpayers.

Big Names Back Name Change

On Sept. 1, William and Judy Boyd contributed $1 million. William Boyd, known as Bill Boyd, is cofounder of Boyd Gaming and co-executive chairman of the casino company’s board, according to the company website.

Several days later, on Sept. 8, the Murren Family Foundation donated $50,000. The foundation’s Jim Murren is a former CEO of MGM Resorts International.

The final contribution last month came on Sept. 23 from Brownstein Hall Faber Schreck. The lobbying and law firm donated $75,000. The firm’s partners include Frank Schreck, a Las Vegas gaming attorney who served on the Nevada Gaming Commission. 

Donations through the end of September include an Aug. 19 contribution of $1 million from William and Susan Walters. William Walters, known as Billy Walters, is a Las Vegas gambler convicted in 2017 of insider trading. Before leaving the White House, President Donald Trump pardoned Walters.

This summer, Commissioner Tick Segerblom, a former legislator who proposed the name change, predicted the changeover might occur in September. Former US Rep. Shelley Berkley (D) contributed $5,000. Her donation came two days before the Walters’ contribution.

Clookbeck Pledge Not Listed

In February, Stephen J. Cloobeck, founder of Diamond Resorts International, told KTNV-TV in Las Vegas he would start a nonprofit to raise money for the name change. He said he would give $1 million from the foundation.

Cloobeck, a philanthropist and Democratic donor, has said he considers the 81-year-old Reid a mentor. Cloobeck’s pledged donation does not show up in the October County Commission spreadsheet under “Airport Donations.”Cloobeck has been in the news lately regarding a legal dispute with a former girlfriend accused of taking nude selfies on his property to sell online.

Earlier this year, the County Commission voted unanimously to change the airport’s name to honor Reid. The airport now is named for Pat McCarran, a Democratic US senator who died in 1954. Though supportive of civil aviation and the creation of the US Air Force, he has been criticized for alleged racist and anti-Semitic rhetoric.