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MGM Resorts 1Q profit leaps on Macau strength

Rendering of MGM’s The Park, an eight-acre, tree-lined outdoor entertainment and dining district just off the Las Vegas Strip.

MGM Resorts International via AP

Rendering of MGM’s The Park, an eight-acre, tree-lined outdoor entertainment and dining district just off the Las Vegas Strip.

LAS VEGAS — MGM Resorts International’s first-quarter net income soared, bolstered by continued strength in Macau and improved room bookings on the Las Vegas Strip.

Chairman and chief executive Jim Murren said in a statement that MGM Resorts is increasing US convention business at its properties in the middle of the week and hosting a strong slate of events on weekends. Company officials said a $66 million expansion of the Mandalay Bay convention center disclosed last week is expected to help it attract larger events and capture more of the recovering meeting business.

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MGM is breaking ground Thursday on a $350 million arena on the Strip, and revealed details this week about ‘‘The Park,’’ an eight-acre, tree-lined outdoor entertainment and dining district in front of the venue. Murren said those projects, combined with new developments citywide and airport improvements, will help push Las Vegas’ annual visitation number up from 40 million to possibly 50 million in a few years.

At CityCenter — the massive development in Las Vegas that is owned jointly with Dubai World — revenue from resort operations edged up 2 percent to $313 million.

MGM China — which runs the MGM Macau casino-resort and is developing a new Cotai resort — reported that revenue rose 26 percent. Macau is the only place in China where gambling is legal. MGM Cotai is on pace to open in early 2016, and will have three times as many hotel rooms as the existing MGM Macau casino.

For the period, the casino operator earned $108.2 million, or 21 cents per share. A year earlier it earned $6.5 million, or 1 cent per share. Analysts expected earnings of 8 cents.

Revenue climbed 12 percent to $2.63 billion from $2.35 billion, topping Wall Street’s average estimate $2.57 billion.

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