The MGM Grand Las Vegas is a hotel and casino located on the Las Vegas Strip in Paradise, Nevada. The MGM Grand is the largest single hotel in the United States with 6,852 rooms. It is also the third-largest hotel complex in the world by number of rooms and second-largest hotel resort complex in the United States behind the combined The Venetian and The Palazzo. When it opened in 1993, the MGM Grand was the largest hotel complex in the world.
The property was originally the site of the Golf Club Motel during the 1960s. In 1972, Tom Wiesner co-founded Southwest Securities Development Company, and later founded Wiesner Investment Company. In November 1973, Southwest Securities Development was planning the Airport Marina Hotel, to be built at the site of the 170-room Golf Club Motel, which was located near McCarran International Airport. Southwest planned to renovate the motel structure and add a 14-story addition with 518 rooms.
The 700-room Marina, located at 3805 South Las Vegas Boulevard, was built by Wiesner Investment Company and was opened in 1975. In 1989, Wiesner and his partners sold the Marina to Kirk Kerkorian, who also bought the Tropicana Country Club, located behind the Marina and across Tropicana Avenue from the Tropicana and San Rémo hotels to obtain the site that would become the home of the MGM Grand.
Kerkorian saw the Marina as a stable and solidly built resort, and decided not to destroy the hotel, but to build around it. During that time, the Marina was known as the MGM-Marina Hotel. The Marina closed on November 30, 1990, and ground was broken for the new casino hotel complex on October 7, 1991. The Marina hotel building still exists as the west wing of the main hotel building.
When the latest MGM Grand opened on December 18, 1993, it was owned by MGM Grand Inc. At that time it had an extensive Wizard of Oz theme, including the green Emerald City color of the building and the decorative use of Wizard of Oz memorabilia. After entering the casino’s main entrance, one would find themselves in the Oz Casino facing Emerald City. Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and the Cowardly Lion were seen in front of the city. The Emerald City attraction featured an elaborate yellow brick road walk-through, complete with the cornfield, apple orchard, and haunted forest, as well as audio-animatronic figures of Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, the Cowardly Lion, and the Wicked Witch of the West.
When the MGM Grand opened, the intention was to create a destination hotel in the Las Vegas area by including the MGM Grand Adventures Theme Park behind the casino. The plan was to make the Las Vegas Strip more family friendly by providing activities for those too young to linger inside the casino. The theme park performed poorly and did not reopen for the 2001 season. The site was redeveloped as a luxury condominium and hotel complex called The Signature at MGM Grand, opened in 2006.
The resort’s original entrance consisted of a giant lion head, made of fiberglass and blocky in appearance, with visitors entering through the lion’s mouth. The lion was a cartoon-like version of MGM’s logo, Leo the Lion. The MGM Grand performed unusually poorly with Asian gamblers in its first years of existence; a study by the management found that many Chinese patrons found it bad luck to walk through the jaws of a lion and avoided the hotel as a result, part of why the entrance was renovated to remove this feature.
On April 26, 2000, MGM opened a new satellite registration/hotel check-in center at McCarran International Airport. This was the first of its kind opened by a hotel company at any United States airport. However, this airport check-in center appears to have closed in late 2013. In 2005, MGM opened the West Wing, a renovation of the original Marina Hotel rooms.
In January 2020, MGM Resorts announced that it would sell the resort to a joint venture consisting of MGM Growth Properties and The Blackstone Group. MGM would own 50.1 percent of the joint venture, and Blackstone would own the remainder. The MGM Grand would be leased to MGM Resorts, which would continue to operate the resort. The deal was finalized a month later.
The MGM Grand was featured prominently in the 1996 boxing comedy The Great White Hype.
The MGM Grand was one of the casinos that Danny Ocean and his crew robbed in the 2001 film Ocean’s Eleven. A staged title unification match between heavyweight boxing champions Lennox Lewis and Wladimir Klitschko was prominently featured in the film.
Clark Griswold) and his family play a game of Keno in the final scenes of Vegas Vacation alongside a character played by Sid Caesar. Keno is no longer offered at the casino. The exterior shot of the casino featured the former lion head entrance as well.
The MGM Grand’s Wizard of Oz theme is referenced in the 1996 film Swingers as the friend of the waitress that Trent picks up works as “a Dorothy.
The MGM Grand, with its old entrance, was featured at the close of Casino as an example of the new Las Vegas.
The MGM Grand was featured in The Amazing Race 15 and The Amazing Race 24.
A parody of the MGM Grand was featured in the BMX video game Mat Hoffman’s Pro BMX 2. Leo the Lion was replaced with dragons. The MGM Grand was among many casinos at which the MIT Blackjack Team gambled in the book Bringing Down The House.
The MGM Grand is the home base of David Whele in Dominion. The MGM Grand is very well known to be the prior location of rapper Tupac Shakur before his assassination. He was reported to be watching the Bruce Seldon vs. Mike Tyson boxing match with his collective members including Suge Knight.
MGM Grand featured a glass-sided lion habitat inside the casino area, in which up to six lions were shown daily since 1999. A see-through tunnel ran through the habitat for close-up viewing, where the lions would frequently lounge on top of the glass, allowing visitors to walk under them. The lions were owned by Keith Evans, a trainer of exotic animals, and did not live at the habitat, but at his ranch 12 miles outside Las Vegas. The lion habitat closed permanently in February 2012 as part of MGM Grand’s renovation.
The Experience opened in the Studio Walk in September 2009. Here, guests try to solve one of three murder cases interactively, guided by touchscreen stations, cast member videos, and realistic recreated evidence. The first stop is a debriefing room where Gil Grissom introduces the new recruits to their assigned cases. After observing the evidence at the crime scene, visitors go to lab areas where they analyze the gathered evidence. They then present their findings in Grissom’s office, answering a test based on their analysis of the evidence. Finally, visitors receive a case summary and a CSI diploma.
The MGM Grand has one of the largest gaming floors in all of Las Vegas, measuring 171,500 square feet. There are more than 2,500 machines for gaming as well as 139 poker and table games. The slot machines at the MGM Grand range from 1¢ to $1,000 and include progressive slots, video poker, and multi-game machines. There is a special High Limit Slots area, featuring slot machines with payouts up to $500,000.
The race and sports book is a state of-the-art betting area that features thirty-six 60-inch plasma TVs, along with twenty-four 42-inch plasmas. Bets are offered on a range of sports including soccer, football, boxing, MMA and more. They are also the first room to offer what they call SkyBoxes. These boxes can hold up to ten guests and come with beverage servers and complimentary food.
The Signature at MGM Grand
The Signature at MGM Grand is a condo hotel project by MGM Mirage and Turnberry Associates, who teamed up to build the three currently open Signature at the MGM Grand towers. The 38-story, 475-foot tall structures have 576 all-suite units each and were priced from $450,000 to more than $2.0 million. Signature is located on the property where the MGM Grand Adventures Theme Park once stood. Each tower has its own private pool with cabanas as well as access to MGM Grand pools. Additional guest/owner amenities at The Signature include a Starbucks, meeting rooms, exercise room, bar and restaurant. Each tower is connected with walkways including moving walkways for the connection to the MGM Grand.
Brad Garrett’s Comedy Club – featuring Brad Garrett and other comedians.
David Copperfield Theater – nightly shows by the illusionist
Hakkasan – restaurant and nightclub
Jabbawockeez Theater – features Jreamz by the eponymous dance group, and Beacher’s Madhouse. Formerly home to the “Crazy Horse Paris.”
Kà Theatre – home to Cirque du Soleil’s production Kà. Formerly home to EFX.
MGM Grand Garden Arena – hosts major concerts and sporting events including the Latin Grammy Awards and Academy of Country Music Awards.
Wet Republic Ultra Pool – dayclub