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Tiger Attack May Cost Mirage Huge Loss

October 7, 2003

LAS VEGAS (AP) _ The Mirage hotel-casino lost one of its biggest money-making shows when a tiger nearly killed Roy Horn of ``Siegfried and Roy.″ Now the resort has to figure a way to plug an annual revenue hole estimated in the tens of millions of dollars.

MGM Mirage officials say it’s too early to say who will replace the legendary headliners _ a mainstay at the Las Vegas Strip property since 1990.

The extent of Horn’s injuries hasn’t been revealed. The illusionist remained in critical condition Monday with a gaping wound to the neck. Doctors said Horn exhibited signs of improvement when he moved his feet and hands and gave the thumbs up sign late Sunday.

That’s the best news MGM Mirage executives have been able to offer since Horn was attacked by the 600-pound-plus white tiger on Friday night during a sold-out performance.

With the ``Siegfried and Roy″ show closed indefinitely, company executives will try to find a profitable replacement fast, but it won’t be easy. The duo put on what was arguably the most successful show in Las Vegas history, said John Mulkey, a Bear Stearns gambling analyst.

``It’s safe to say that acts like Siegfried and Roy don’t pop up overnight,″ Mulkey said.

Wall Street was still deciding Monday what effect the show’s cancellation will have on The Mirage’s bottom line.

The show generated about $44 million in annual revenue and attracted nearly 400,000 people a year, according to UBS Investment Research in New York.

David Anders, a gambling analyst with Merrill Lynch, wrote Monday that The Mirage will lose about $5 million a year in profits.

Mulkey said the casino could fill the pair’s theater with bands or other acts that are easy to book. MGM Mirage spokesman Alan Feldman said the tigers, lions and other exotic animals that live at the casino’s Secret Garden attraction will remain on display.

The 267 employees who worked on the show knew they had lost their livelihoods when Horn almost lost his life. The tiger’s bite just missed his carotid artery.

``It was horrifying,″ said Andrea Timbol, 30, a spotlight operator. ``We knew right away how grave it was. He lost a lot of blood at the theater.″

The 7-year-old white tiger named Montecore has been quarantined for 10 days to ensure it doesn’t have rabies.

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