July 14, 2024

J. Terrence Lanni, Ex-Chief of MGM Mirage, Dies at 68

The cause was cancer, said Alan Feldman, a company spokesman.

By 2008, when Mr. Lanni retired as chairman and chief executive of MGM Mirage, as the company was called then, he had remade the company into the largest casino operator in Las Vegas and the second-largest casino company in the world. Its properties include the Bellagio, Mandalay Bay and MGM Grand.

He was part of a generation of casino executives who transformed their industry into one that operated not only casinos but also tourist-friendly luxury resorts. As he told The New York Times in 2000, Las Vegas should appeal to “the guy who’s got plenty of money, wants to show it, but can’t get into the country club, maybe because he’s in the scrap-iron business.”

Mr. Lanni was born on March 14, 1943, in Los Angeles. He graduated from the University of Southern California with a bachelor’s degree in business in 1965.

He joined Caesars World Inc. in 1977 and over 18 years rose to become its president and chief operating officer. In 1995, he moved to MGM Grand as chief executive and quickly added the chairman’s title, beginning a 13-year career at the company’s helm.

In 2000 he oversaw the purchase of Mirage Resorts, thus creating MGM Mirage, a casino industry powerhouse. At the time, Mr. Lanni called the transaction “a dream combination of assets and people.”

Four years later, along with Kirk Kerkorian, the billionaire financier and largest investor in MGM Resorts, Mr. Lanni helped engineer another big combination, MGM Mirage’s unsolicited and successful bid to buy a rival company, the Mandalay Resort Group. The purchase gave the company ownership stakes in several well-known casinos on the Las Vegas Strip, including the Luxor, Excalibur and Monte Carlo, in addition to Mandalay Bay. When the deal closed, the combined company owned half of the hotel rooms on the Strip.

In 2003, Mr. Lanni took the adventurous step of trying to move into the online casino business, but he decided to shut down the experiment because of legal and regulatory questions.

Mr. Lanni also helped oversee the planning for CityCenter, an $8.5 billion, 67-acre complex of hotels, casinos, retail and residential space on a site between the Monte Carlo and Bellagio hotels on the Strip. It is the largest privately financed construction project in United States history.

In 2007 he hosted a fund-raiser in Las Vegas for his friend Senator John McCain of Arizona when the McCain campaign for the Republican presidential nomination was flagging; the event pumped $400,000 into its coffers.

When Mr. Lanni retired in late 2008, the fortunes of Las Vegas had tumbled since his deal-making days. Revenue and tourism were suffering a steep decline, one from which the city has yet to recover. “Las Vegas is now as vulnerable as other communities,” he said at the time.

Mr. Lanni is survived by his wife, Debbie, and two sons, Sean, of Las Vegas, and Patrick, of San Francisco.

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=20a2a6a129667646c61d1510e55d35b5

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