As he does every August, Brian Greenspun is taking some time off and is turning over his Where I Stand column to others. Today’s guest columnist is Jim Murren, chairman and CEO of MGM Resorts International.
As Las Vegas continues to advance as the premier entertainment destination in the U.S. and the world, I’d like to take stock of where we’ve been, where we’re going — and why our community’s continued evolution is a success story for the entire country.
Two years ago, in this same column, I wrote about the most important opportunities ahead for Las Vegas. Now, many of those opportunities have become realities — part of our city’s ongoing effort to offer the greatest variety of world-class entertainment available anywhere.
We’ve only expanded our lead in the years since my last column, adding new experiences and investments that will bring more visitors, more jobs and more tax revenue. We’ve become a booming sports town: home to the Golden Knights, the Aces and the Raiders — and many of us remain hopeful for an NBA franchise. On infrastructure, the planned renovation of the Las Vegas Convention Center will maintain our status as the country’s top convention destination, while additional improvements will aid transit and mobility.
Looking ahead, the legalization of sports betting positions Las Vegas as a model for those outside Nevada wishing to define an exciting new form of entertainment within a framework of game integrity and strong consumer protections. And it creates yet another opportunity to evolve existing experiences and create new ones, while continuing to attract visitors, add jobs and drive economic growth.
The entire Las Vegas community has been engaged in this progress, and we remain undeterred by challenges both large and small. Together we have faced inconceivable tragedy and together we are moving through the important but sometimes terribly difficult steps toward recovery. I would like to thank all of you reading this who have provided support in so many crucial ways. Your acts make Las Vegas stronger, more dynamic and better prepared for its bright future.
Looking back on these past two years, perhaps I take the greatest pride in the fact that Las Vegas has played an important role in lifting communities around the United States. Certainly by our community’s example last October, but also because our special brand of entertainment — born here — continues to be exported and embraced elsewhere. Las Vegas and the industries it supports are creating strong jobs, powering local economies and driving positive corporate impact nationwide.
All of us in Southern Nevada should feel a measure of pride in being so closely connected to an industry that employs 8.8 million Americans, is a central pillar of the U.S. economy and has long been committed to operating in a way that positively impacts people, communities and the environment. Travel remains America’s largest service export and is vital for reducing the country’s trade deficit. But beyond those crucial contributions, the industry also shares a long track record and growing commitment to corporate responsibility and proactive corporate citizenship. MGM Resorts and so many of our Las Vegas-based competitors have worked to make this a hallmark of our respective strategies and to act as a model for others.
I am energized about our destination’s industry-leading positions and the prospects for our future growth. I am confident that we will continue to add many new innovations and attractions, creating more jobs and attracting more visitors than ever before. I remain a believer in the best of humanity because I see it in my hometown community every day.
Together, we will continue to make Las Vegas an unmatched destination, an economic powerhouse and an engine for positive change across the country.