- The Washington Times - Friday, February 8, 2008

LAS VEGAS (AP) — The city’s casino industry has long rolled out the red lanterns for high-rolling Asian gamblers on Chinese New Year. This year, MGM Mirage Inc. is literally giving them royal treatment with a feast up to now reserved for China’s official state guests.

To prepare the repast, the casino giant flew in nine chefs, three managers and nine young female performer-servers from the Daioyutai State Guesthouse, a revered institution that has served every U.S. president since Richard M. Nixon, and more than 1,300 heads of state.

The weeklong extravagance is a small expense for the holiday that regularly boosts Nevada’s baccarat action by half — last February it reached $1.03 billion, topping even blackjack, the king of card games.

With competition from other operators and the burgeoning market of Macau, MGM Mirage said it went to special lengths this year to have its Las Vegas offerings stand out.

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