The recession has made for strange bedfellows. Private equity guys running a casino? People who run racetracks and casinos in the Midwest taking over legendary properties on the Las Vegas Strip?
This is the post-recession Las Vegas, where the market for distressed properties has spread from the housing market to the very heart of Sin City.
For example, last year the private equity firm Blackstone Group bought the Cosmopolitan on the Strip for essentially half off. Deutsche Bank had poured $4 billion into the property after foreclosing on the original developer, and Blackstone took it off the bank's hands for $1.73 billion.
"We posted our first net income ever in the history of the operation in the second quarter," said Cosmopolitan CEO Bill McBeath, a Vegas veteran who started under the tutelage of Steve Wynn of Wynn Resorts. "So, yeah, I mean — that's the goal, to make money."