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The Mirage, Las Vegas, Nevada | by Ken Lund
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The Mirage, Las Vegas, Nevada

The Mirage is a 3,044 room hotel and casino resort located on the Las Vegas Strip in Paradise, Nevada (though like most hotels on the Strip, it uses a Las Vegas mailing address). The casino is owned by MGM Mirage.


The marquee in front of The Mirage is the largest free standing marquee in the world.


The Mirage was built by developer Steve Wynn and designed by Joel Bergman. It opened in November 1989 on the former grounds of the Castaways hotel and casino, and was owned by Wynn's company Mirage Resorts (later MGM Mirage).


The Mirage was the most expensive hotel/casino in history, with a construction cost of $630 million. The hotel's distinctive gold windows get their color from actual gold used in the tinting process. It was reported that the resort would have to bring in a million dollars a day to pay off a 7-year construction loan. But in fact The Mirage did so well, the loan was paid off in just 18 months.


Its construction is also considered very noteworthy in that Wynn had set a new standard for Vegas resorts, and is widely considered to be the father of today's Las Vegas. Prior to the Mirage's opening, the city was experiencing a decline in tourism that began in the 70s, especially around the time the state of New Jersey legalized gambling and tourists (in particular those on the East Coast) began to frequent the casinos of Atlantic City. Also, this was a time when Las Vegas was no longer considered a fashionable destination, so a new, high-profile, project was necessary to jump-start the ailing industry. When it opened, The Mirage was the first casino to use security cameras full time on all table games.


From 1990 through 2003, the Mirage was the venue for the Siegfried & Roy show. The two headliners combined magic and the use of wild animals. The closing of the popular attraction in 2003, after Roy Horn was injured by one of the white tigers used in the show, impacted the Mirage for a while.


In 1993, the Mirage hosted an extended run of the Cirque du Soleil show Nouvelle Experience in a tent in the Mirage parking lot. It was during this time that Steve Wynn decided to invite Cirque to create Mystere for the soon-to-be-built Treasure Island resort next door. Finally returning to where they began in Las Vegas, Cirque has a permanent production at the Mirage, LOVE.

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Taken on September 12, 2006