Will the Mandalay Bay casino resort have to change its name after Las Vegas mass murder?

  • Gunman killed 59 and injured 527 from a hotel suite at the MGM-owned Mandalay Bay
  • Casino and hotel have reopened for business following Sunday’s mass shooting

The Mandalay Bay hotel and casino complex has reopened for business following Sunday’s mass shooting, in which 59 people were killed and 527 injured by a gunman who opened fire from the 32nd floor on a crowd attending an open air music festival.

The Mandalay Bay is an icon of Las Vegas, but it's name is now linked to a moment of pure horror.
The Mandalay Bay is an icon of Las Vegas, but it’s name is now linked to a moment of pure horror.

Stephen Paddock was found dead in his hotel suite after carrying out the massacre, which is the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history.

The Mandalay, which is owned by MGM Resorts International, has reopened for business, and the company has set up a hotline for anyone with concerns or questions about reservations.

The hotel guests who were booked in on Sunday night have been allowed to return to their rooms, and the restaurants and casino are operating as normal.

But MGM Resorts, which purchased the Mandalay Bay back in February 2005, now finds itself in the difficult position of owning a resort which will now forever be associated with one of the world’s most notorious mass killings.

Casino fire

The situation MGM finds itself in has some parallels with another notorious Las Vegas disaster.

On November 21, 1980, a fire broke out at what was then known as the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino in Vegas. The fire led to the deaths of 85 people, most through smoke inhalation, and it remains one of the deadliest hotel fires in US history.

In the wake of that tragedy, MGM took extensive measures to repair and improve the hotel, which included the addition of an automatic fire alarm system and sprinklers throughout the facility, but when MGM sold the property to Bally’s Entertainment, the new owners immediately changed its name to Bally’s Las Vegas.

It is likely that there will be a major review of security, not just at MGM, but at all Vegas resorts.

MGM went on to build a new MGM Grand at the northeast corner of Las Vegas Boulevard and Tropicana Avenue.

Renaming the Mandalay might be one option for MGM, but that would still leave the problem of what to do with the hotel suite from which Paddock carried out the massacre, not to mention the fact that the site of the mass shooting will be visible from many of the hotel’s rooms.

And the spirit of Las Vegas seems to be one of defiance, so changing the name might be considered an act of weakness when strength is needed.

As Las Vegas tries to come to terms with Sunday’s appalling events, MGM’s management team will face some difficult decisions in the weeks ahead.

And while security may be top of the list – the brand image will also surely be on the agenda of company bosses soon.

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