MGM Mirage results have improved from the lows experienced in the three weeks that followed the Sept. 11 terror attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon.
But company executives don’t expect to see a return of international high-roller play to the MGM Grand, Bellagio and Mirage until the first quarter of next year.
The reason: Asian gamblers fear traveling to the United States as they read and hear numerous news stories of the latest anthrax find and terrorist alert.
Company executives attempted to spark international high-end play earlier this month with a pair of baccarat and golf tournaments. But the events were cancelled because MGM Mirage bosses decided the expected benefits didn’t warrant the cost.
High-end play generates less than 20 percent of the company’s business.
“The fear factor would be greater the greater the (distance) the person was from our properties,” said MGM Mirage Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Terry Lanni, who recently returned from a casino marketing trip to Asia. “You have the fear that people’s lives are in danger.”
The company’s top executive delivered his comments during a Tuesday morning conference call with investors, analysts and reporters to discuss MGM Mirage’s third-quarter results for the period ended Sept. 30.
The Strip casino giant reported earnings of 19 cents a share before one-time expenses, which was down from 45 cents a share in the third quarter of last year, with the results reflecting the substantial decline in domestic and international travel that followed the attacks.
The company was on pace for a strong quarter in the days leading to the Sept. 11 attacks. But the travel decline took an immediate toll as it “pretty much wiped out all the positive” numbers, said John Redmond, chief executive officer …