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MGM Resorts Says Recent Picasso Paintings Auction Part of Its Diversification Plans for the Las Vegas Strip Properties

The American casino, hospitality and entertainment group MGM Resorts has reduced its collection by selling off 11 paintings of Pablo Picasso at a special Sotheby’s event on the Las Vegas Strip.

The sale brought more than $109 million in total to the casino operator but the auction was described as much more relevant than simply generating some funds by the Picasso painting’s disposal. The chief hospitality officer of MGM Resorts, Ari Kastrati, has revealed that the auction came as part of the company’s plan to diversify The Mirage casino resort that was once developed by Steve Wynn and is currently owned and operated by MGM Resorts International.

As the casino giant has previously revealed, the operator intends to restructure The Mirage in a way that would better suit the new image of its parent company for its properties on the Las Vegas Strip. Mr. Kastrati also revealed that MGM currently generates more than 70% of the group’s overall revenue from non-gambling activities, which is part of the reason why the company is now focussing on MGM’s transformation into an experiential company.

Eleven Picasso Paintings Sold at Special Sotheby’s Event for over $109 Million

The Sotheby’s Auction, which was held a few weeks ago, was quite unusual for several reasons. This has been the first time when Sotheby’s hosted an evening auction in the US outside New York City, while the fine arts company’s Chair, Oliver Barker, acted as the auctioneer. Actually, fine art sales of such scale are quite rarely held at the Las Vegas Strip, which easily makes the recent Sotheby’s event the biggest one there yet.

The names of the bidders and buyers who were present at the event were not officially unveiled but it is known that Hollywood star Leonardo di Caprio was present at the auction. Also, it remained unclear whether the auction’s organizers intentionally chose a date only two days before what would have been the 140th birthday of Pablo Picasso.

As mentioned above, a total of 11 Picasso works belonging to MGM Resorts, including an iconic portrait of the painter’s French muse Marie Thérèse Walter, who was also the mother of his daughter Maya, were sold at the auction at the total amount of more than $109 million. The famous work, called “Femme au béret rouge-orange”, estimated between $20 and $30 million, was sold for $40.47 million.

Two other iconic portraits that Picasso painted over the last few years of his life – “Homme et enfant” and “Buste d’homme” – were sold for $24.39 million and $9.45 million, respectively.

The Rise of Online Gambling and Covid-19 Crisis Threatens MGM’s Share in the Market

According to analysts, the move taken by MGM Resorts International towards diversification of the range of products and services has been fuelled not only by the change in the management’s vision for the company but also by the fact that the online casino industry has grown rapidly over the last few years.

After taking Mr. Ari Kastrati’s statement explaining that more than 70% of the MNC’s revenue is currently being generated by non-gambling assets of the operator, analysts noted that MGM could be losing ground in the gambling industry market. If we take the bigger picture into consideration, when one of the largest players in the gambling sector generates less than 30% of its revenues from a market that is already booming, then the business is most likely losing market share.

The rising popularity of the online gambling sector has become a global trend over the last few years, with technological progress and the coronavirus pandemic acting as major triggers. The prevalent unsafe conditions during the Covid-19 crisis that had been prevalent for a period of almost two years have made online casinos the only possible option for many gamblers on a global scale.

 Author: Harrison Young

Harrison Young is an experienced writer, who started his career almost 8 years ago. Prior to joining our team at CasinoGamesPro, he worked as an editor for a small magazine.