Two more of the Las Vegas Strip’s biggest casino resorts have been sold.
MGM Resorts International is selling MGM Grand and Mandalay Bay to a joint venture that includes private-equity and real estate giant Blackstone Group for $4.6 billion. The deal includes the Four Seasons inside Mandalay Bay and the three Signature condominium towers at MGM. Last year Blackstone bought Bellagio for $4.5 billion and also owns the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. While the deal is a blockbuster, it won’t have much if any effect on customers. The Blackstone purchases are on leaseback agreements, meaning that the current operating teams will remain in place and nothing is expected to change, at least in the near term.
Year of the Rat: The Lunar New Year exhibition at the Bellagio Conservatory and Botanical Garden has opened. It features more than 30,000 flowers, life-size Chinese figurines and hanging lanterns, a 32-foot replica of the Temple of Six Banyan Trees and stylized rodents in various sizes, shapes and colors. It will remain on display 24 hours a day through March 7. It’s free to view.
New poker: Going against the recent trend, the Sahara is opening a small seven-table poker room. It’s only the second poker room to open in Las Vegas in nearly three years: The Westgate closed its room in 2015, then reopened it in 2017. Las Vegas’ biggest poker rooms are at Bellagio (37 tables), Orleans (35) and Aria (22).
Crazy jackpot: Last week a player at Planet Hollywood hit for $965,000 by making a Crazy 4 Poker royal flush. It costs $5 per hand to qualify for the progressive jackpot.
Question: Are there any more places serving the giant ham steak and eggs where the ham covers the plate? There used to be lots of them, but it seems no longer.
Answer: The best of the remaining ham-and-eggs breakfasts that come with a giant slice of bone-in ham is served for $10.95 at Norm’s Diner. Norm’s has locations at 3945 S. Durango Dr. on the west side of town and 35 S. Gibson Road on the east. Make sure you ask for the “big ham.”
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