DETROIT -- MGM Grand took another significant stride in its
initiative to expand beyond the Las Vegas Strip.
The firm formed a partnership with a group of Detroit community
and business leaders to pursue a license to own and operate a
To finance the construction here as well as at other
destinations, MGM announced that it received a credit line
increase from $600 million to $1 billion.
The partnership for the Detroit project will not complete plans
for the development until requests for proposals have been
MGM Grand said the Detroit property will be a first class gaming
and entertainment facility that will attract tourists from the
Midwest, Canada and throughout the world.
The local investment group consists of nine business and
In November, the city received the green light from statewide
voters to construct up to three gaming facilities.
The development of casinos is expected to be a boon for tourism,
according to the Metropolitan Detroit Convention & Visitors
New gaming and entertainment attractions will help the city
attract and retain the 5.8 million travelers who pass through
annually on their way to Canada to gamble, the bureau said.
Additionally, more than half of the estimated $115 million tax
on casino profits expected to be generated will be used for law
enforcement, economic development and community improvement
programs in Detroit.
The casino projects, coupled with a program to construct a new
domed stadium for the Detroit Lions football team, will enable the
city to create a major urban entertainment center and spur hotel
development, the bureau said.
Enhancing Detroit's appeal as a destination are several other
developments, including the opening of the Detroit Opera House in
spring of 1996, a revitalized theater district that ranks second in
size to New York's and the Museum of African-American History,
which opens this month.
In addition to its planned entrance into the Detroit market, MGM
Grand said that it is pursuing expansion at other destinations.
The firm set its sights on South Africa last year when it signed
an agreement with Tsogo Sun Gaming & Entertainment to act as
the exclusive project developer and manager for the company.
Tsogo Sun was named the preferred finalist for two of the three
gaming licenses in the Mpumalanga Province of northeastern South
The licenses are expected to be granted by the Mpumalanga Gaming
Board before the end of this month.
Temporary casinos would be established by mid-1997, with
permanent gaming facilities expected to open in mid-1998, according
The projects will be located in the cities of Witbank, 80 miles
northeast of Johannesburg, and Nelspruit, 220 miles northeast of
Johannesburg, near Kruger National Park.
Under MGM and Tsogo Sun's agreement, Tsogo Sun will apply for a
minimum of 15 casino gaming licenses in nine provinces in South
Africa, and MGM said plans continue to move forward on that
MGM will develop and manage all casino operations for Tsogo Sun,
which will provide all of the financing necessary.
In another expansion effort, MGM Grand unveiled plans last
summer to build a casino-resort in Atlantic City. The company said
it plans to invest more than $700 million to create the property on
land it acquired along the Atlantic City Boardwalk.
MGM Grand Atlantic City will be part of a development that will
include a 335,000-square-foot entertainment complex, to be built
and owned by Forest City Ratner Cos. under an agreement completed
by the two firms.