In Honor of the Year of the Pig


This is the Year of the Pig (in fact, its the Year of the Golden Pig due to some lunar cycle that only occurs every six hundred years or so), and so I thought this might be a little interesting.

The photos above are of the MGM Grand in Vegas.  The left is what it used to look like; the right hand side is what it looks like now.  Why the makeover (other than the fact that it looked ridiculous)?

Turns out that the casino was losing out on Chinese (mainly American) gamblers.  According to the New York Times, the weekend of Chinese New Year is the second best gambling weekend of the year-ahead of the Superbowl, but behind traditional new year.  However, more money is spent during the 15 days of Chinese New Year than any other time of year.

So, when gamblers were going elsewhere because they thought it bad luck to walk through a lion, the building had to change.  The Times writes:

Such nods to Asian culture came as hard-learned lessons for Las Vegas properties, which now employ feng shui masters to advise on design and building plans. When the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino opened in 1993, patrons walked through a main entrance built to resemble the mouth of a mammoth lion, MGM’s longtime corporate symbol. This incensed Asian gamblers, who complained — and stayed away — because the notion of walking into the mouth of a beast is considered unlucky. The company spent millions removing the lion and reconfiguring the entrance, said Alan Feldman, a spokesman for MGM Mirage.

“Everyone has stories about things like that,” Mr. Feldman said. “Over at the Mirage we built a high-limit gaming area that looked like a library. The Chinese word for book sounds like lose so books have an unlucky connotation. Those books were gone within the hour.”

Thursday, March 8, 2007

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