Thursday, August 23, 2007

Like Vegas, without the gambling

I've often described Dubai as being like Las Vegas, but without the gambling. Now that World Dubai (a soveriegn wealth fund for Dubai's government, aka the Dubai ruling family) has bought a $5B stake in MGM Mirage -- in cash -- this may be less true.

I would have said that it will be interesting to see how this plays in the local press, since ostensibly Dubai is a muslim country and that is the only reason why they haven't built casinos there, but it's good to be King and neither of the major local english papers has any commentary on the deal.

A more interesting question is, why did Dubai World buy into MGM Mirage? To be honest, I think it's because it was big, shiny, and luxurious, and right now Dubai (by which I mean the ruling family, and the other rich families who are close to the ruling family) are in this delightfully old-fashioned competition to buy the biggest, best, and brightest of everything. Fiscal sense really does not come into it, it's for bragging rights, and the rest of us can enjoy this gauche excess by going skiing, buying an island or going up the world's tallest building.

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