At the time of its opening in 1993, the MGM Grand Las Vegas, on the Las Vegas Strip, had the distinction of being the largest hotel in the world. Even today, the MGM Grand is the largest single hotel. Nowadays owned and operated by MGM Resorts International, the MGM Grand was built in 1991, as an extension to the existing Marina Hotel, which closed the previous year. Indeed, the original rooms of the Marina Hotel, subsequently renovated, were opened as the ‘West Wing’ of the MGM Grand in 2005.
The main building of the MGM Grand is 30 storeys, or 293 feet, high and boasts 6,852 rooms. The casino gaming floor, which is the largest in Clark County, covers 171,500 square feet and offers a wide selection of table games, notably including single-zero roulette, among many others and 2,300 gaming machines. A further 380,000 square feet are devoted to a convention centre and the building also houses numerous night clubs, restaurants and retail outlets.
Originally, the casino entrance featured a giant fibreglass lion’s head, based loosely on ‘Leo the Lion’, the mascot of the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) film studio. However, some superstitious visitors considered it unlucky to enter the casino through the lion’s mouth, as was originally the case. Consequently, MGM Grand opted to replace the original entrance with a huge bronze statue – 45 feet tall and weighing 100,000lb, or 50 tons – of a complete, seated lion.