Mandalay Bay to Spend $100 Million on Convention Center Refresh

Conventions are pretty much the most boring part of Las Vegas. Thankfully, you have us to make them slightly less boring! It’s called snark, all our fellow youths are doing it.

Mandalay Bay says it’s about to invest $100 million in an overhaul of its 2.1 million-square-foot convention center.

If you have difficulty wrapping your mind around those astronomical numbers, here’s a better visual: Mandalay Bay is about to step up to a roulette table and bet a $100 million chip on red.

If you’re forced to interact with your jackass boss, might as well do it in beautiful surroundings.

Why is such a massive investment a gamble? Well, because of a little thing called a pandemic.

The pandemic disrupted the convention business so much, it caused Sheldon Adelson to pass away and his family to sell off Venetian and Palazzo.

These are more broad strokes than “facts,” but like we said, we’re doing our best to make conventions interesting.

“Where is that $100 million going?” you asked naively. It’s Vegas. Everybody gets a piece of the action.

Seriously, though, Sands Corp. bailed on Vegas because it saw the writing on the wall. That writing said, “Even if convention business comes back to pre-COVID levels, it’s going to take forever, we’re out.”

Not only is convention business down (the amount varies by who you ask, but in July 2022, business was down 38% from the same month in 2019), there’s a lot more convention capacity in Las Vegas.

Caesars Entertainment, for example, build the Caesars Forum Conference Center for $375 million. The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority is spending $1 billion on its convention center expansion.

That means there’s far more capacity than demand, which means everyone would be freaking out, except people have lost their minds and are gambling much more than usual, so it’s distracting everyone from the reality convention business isn’t back and nobody’s sure when, or if, it will be.

That said, no matter what happens, Mandalay Bay has to stay competitive. Hence the move to invest this ungodly amount of money in upgrades.

Per the news release, “Reflecting the evolving needs and preferences of contemporary meetings, significant technology upgrades, dynamic digital signage and a fresh, new design complementing Mandalay Bay’s tropical ambiance highlight the remodel.”

Crazy coincidence. The name of our band in high school was Tropical Ambiance.

The best way to avoid breakout rooms is stop eating greasy foods.

Improvements will include “Technology Enhancements” (shout-out to Cat6A Ethernet cabling), “Redesigned Space” (shout-out to “bold floral patterns featuring cerulean and coral tones”) and “Fine Art” (shout-out to the Fertittas and ROI).

According to the resort, Mandalay Bay Convention Center will stay open and operational throughout the remodel.

The project is expected to be complete by the end of 2024.

At which time we will probably know whether Las Vegas is doomed or not.

Ha, ha. No, it’s not doomed. Just all the fancy restaurants where people pay with corporate credit cards are doomed. Not all of them, of course. Don’t be a Debbie Downer, if that’s still a thing.

There are a lot of unknowns on the horizon for Las Vegas, but we appreciate the can-do spirit and deep pockets of these big casino companies. We love new and shiny, even if it’s boring new and shiny. Especially if lanyards are involved. We love lanyards.

In Mandalay Bay’s news release, we’re also told Four Seasons will be remodeling all 424 of its rooms next year, Flanker Kitchen debuts in summer 2023 and Stripsteak gets a makeover in early 2023.

We’re pretty sure Mandalay Bay announced its convention center renovation just to make those other things more exciting by comparison. Mission accomplished!