The October 1 Las Vegas mass shooting was the city’s most horrific day in its history, but MGM Resorts CEO Jim Murren says the valley’s response put its strength, unity, and resiliency on full display.
Speaking with CNBC this week, Murren said no one in Las Vegas expected tourists to comprehend that the region isn’t just a wild travel destination informally known as Sin City, but also a hometown community for more than two million.
The Other Vegas
“There’s been a perception of Las Vegas as a transient community or a place where people just visit,” the top executive of Nevada’s largest employer stated. “But I’ve known it now for two decades as a different kind of place. I coach little league, and yes, we have churches, mosques, and synagogues.”
“The outside world didn’t really know that, nor did we expect them to,” Murren continued. “But I do think the world saw that. They saw great acts of kindness, courage, and how the community rallied together.”
The Las Vegas shooting garnered 58 fatalities, and hundreds of wounded, all of whom were attending the Route 91 Harvest country music festival,
This week, Clark County Coroner John Fudenberg confirmed what we already knew: that all 58 homicides were the result of gunshot wounds. Twenty-one people were shot in the head, 36 died after being hit in the chest area, and one died by a bullet to the leg.
Shooter Stephen Paddock died by suicide after shooting himself in the mouth, Fudenberg noted in his report.
Getting Back in the Game
Murren said the healing process continues in Las Vegas, but added, “We’ve had a good couple months of recovery of our business.” Gaming and hospitality analysts have expressed the view that the Las Vegas shooting won’t have long-term financial impact on tourism.
Murren believes the addition of professional sports teams will further bring the community together. Having a team to root for, he says, “makes Vegas a hometown.”
The Vegas Golden Knights, an expansion franchise in the NHL, began playing at MGM’s half-owned T-Mobile Arena this fall. The team’s surprisingly strong play has them with the third-best record in the entire league.
The Golden Knights began the season with the longest odds (100-1) of winning the Stanley Cup of the NHL’s 31 teams. But today, that line has shrunk to 7-1 at Nevada sportsbooks.
Las Vegas will get its second professional sports team when the Aces begin play in the WNBA next year. MGM Resorts purchased the San Antonio Stars franchise this fall, but delayed the announcement by several weeks, due to the October 1 shooting.
“Sports is a common language. It certainly feels good that we’re going to have another opportunity to bring the community together,” Murren said, regarding the acquisition.
The soon-to-be-former Oakland Raiders are scheduled to relocate to Las Vegas for the start of the 2020 NFL season. The team’s $1.9 billion stadium is being constructed west of Mandalay Bay on a 62-acre plot.