Sports Outside the Beltway

NBA All-Star Game Bad For Business

Some took objection when I called the 2007 NBA All-Star Game a “Thug Convention” and criticized the general problems with NBA Players obeying the law. Well guess what, the Chief Executive of MGM Mirage Inc. doesn’t want the NBA All-Star Game in town again because all of the gang-bangers and thugs that came to the game (and ‘activities’ outside of the game) led to violence, scared other guests and in the end hurt their first quarter earnings.

MGM Mirage Inc.’s chief executive does not want the NBA All-Star Game to return to Las Vegas, saying Thursday that the casino’s first-quarter earnings were potentially hurt by the rowdy crowd that turned out for the league’s showcase game.

Terry Lanni made the comments after the company, which owns the most casinos of any operator on the Las Vegas Strip, reported first-quarter earnings that fell below analyst forecasts, sending MGM Mirage shares down more than 4 percent. They rebounded 2.4 percent in after-hours trading.

The company said the earnings shortfall was partially due to a partially problematic crowd that surrounded the All-Star Game in February, which fell on the same weekend as the Lunar New Year — a crucial period for bringing in high-rollers from Asia.

“The gang-bangers and others who came for purposes other than attending the game, they weren’t very good for Las Vegas,” Lanni told The Associated Press.

Lanni said there was little action on the gambling tables the day of the game.

“In talking to our casino hosts, a number of people stayed in their villas and suites. They felt uncomfortable,” he said.

Excluding Beau Rivage, which opened in Mississippi in August, quarterly casino revenues slipped 6 percent from a year ago, and table game revenue, including the baccarat game that Asian players favor, fell 7 percent.

There was a spike in arrests and complaints about rowdy behavior during NBA All-Star Weekend. Five people were shot, including three outside a strip club.

Say what you want about my opinions, but when the guy in charge of maximizing earnings and keeping the shareholders happy says that the criminal behavior associated with the NBA hurt their business it means something is wrong with the image of the league and the detrimental behaviors that league attracts.

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