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Nevada Gaming Revenues Down in October

LAS VEGAS, Nv -- Nevada gambling regulators have released October casino win figures, which show another decline.

Nevada gaming revenue was down 11.6 percent in October as compared to a year earlier. Total gaming revenues for the past year were $800.3 million as compared to nearly $905 million a year ago.

Casino taxes, along with sales and use taxes, account for about two-thirds of state revenues. For the fiscal year that began July 1, total collections are about $50 million short of projections that were used to set the state budget.

 

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Las Vegas Strip Gets New Fire Station

LAS VEGAS -- A new fire station is now open on the Las Vegas Strip.

MGM Mirage paid for the construction and will also pay the salaries of three fire inspectors. The goal is to help cut emergency response times on the Strip. The station is located at CityCenter but will serve all the surrounding areas as well.

MGM CEO Touts CityCenter's Importance to Las Vegas

LAS VEGAS -- The sobering economic news does not seem to be affecting the opening of CityCenter. Nearly everyone in the state hopes the $8.5 billion complex turns Nevada around.

As the glass cathedrals of commerce open their doors for the very first time, CityCenter has become the most buzz-worthy name in Las Vegas.

"I'm overwhelmed at how beautiful it is -- how exciting it is," said MGM Mirage CEO Jim Murren.

Murren says the December opening might not have happened at all. The project fought off a labor stoppage, high profile accidents and prolonged financial worries. "It was a very stressful time, and one that I never want to live through again," he said.

The economy was in free fall in the spring. Credit dried up and ten thousand jobs were at risk. Banks stopped negotiating, fearing government takeover. So Murren made the rare move to plead with the Nevada congressional delegation for help.

Aria President Looks Forward to Opening

Aria sits in the middle of CityCenter and will employ 75-percent of all the people working at the $8.5 billion resort.

The man responsible for building and running the 4,000 room hotel-casino says the project has been added to the must-see list for all tourists coming to Las Vegas.

"Everybody who is coming to Vegas is going to come see CityCenter. We will have an opportunity to touch almost the whole Las Vegas marketplace," said Aria President Bill McBeath.

Those are potential customers McBeath says MGM Mirage will not lose. He told the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority board that history has proven critics wrong when they say a new mega-resort is too big or too expensive, just like when the Mirage and Bellagio opened.

"We believe that it represents the revitalization of Las Vegas and it's going to give the consumer a reason to come back," he said.

Attracting new customers is the key according to McBeath.

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Mandarin Oriental Hotel Prepares for Public Opening

LAS VEGAS, Nv -- The Mandarin Oriental Hotel was the first property at CityCenter to be constructed and on Saturday it will open to the public.

It's a tall, rectangular building on the south end of CityCenter. It's also the only property at CityCenter that is a part of an international hotel chain. The 47-story non-gaming hotel has 392 guestrooms and suites and 227 exclusive residences.

SLIDESHOW: Images of the Mandarin Oriental

It has more than 12,000 square feet of meeting space, six restaurants and bars including a 23rd floor sky lobby, and a spa and pool.

Executives from MGM Mirage and Mandarin Oriental will cut the ribbon at 11 a.m. today. The event will include a feng shui ceremony and a traditional lion dance to inaugurate a bright future. It will officially open to the public Saturday.

Mock Nuclear Drill Called Off for Las Vegas

LAS VEGAS, Nv -- State leaders along with the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority have succeeded in getting a federal emergency preparedness drill in Las Vegas canceled. It would have involved a fake nuclear explosion.

I-Team political analyst Jon Ralston was the first to report the development. The drill was scheduled for next year but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, the convention authority and others felt such a drill would discourage tourism at a time when Southern Nevada can't afford to lose visitors.

The test was originally supposed to take place on the Las Vegas Strip. It was then moved to Sunset Park. Now it's off altogether for Las Vegas but it may be held in another location.

Crystals at CityCenter Celebrates Grand Opening

LAS VEGAS, Nv -- Despite the recession, a handful of new high-end luxury stores are now open. The ribbon was cut Thursday morning at the Crystals retail mall at CityCenter.

Crystals features luxury shops like Tiffany, Louis Vuitton and Versace. And shoppers can take a break to enjoy a meal at high-end restaurants run by world-renowned chef Wolfgang Puck and actress Eva Longoria.

But some wonder if the shopping center can survive without affordable stores for locals to shop in.

SLIDESHOW: Inside the Crystals at CityCenter

A small cut with scissors in front of the world's best known jewelry store opened Crystals. In the middle of the recession, MGM Mirage opened 500,000 square feet of retail space as their mall at CityCenter.