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Power-line failure forces an exodus from the Bellagio

SHARE Power-line failure forces an exodus from the Bellagio

LAS VEGAS — One of the biggest and priciest hotel-casinos on the Las Vegas Strip closed Monday after a main power line failed, forcing the property to relocate thousands of guests.

The Bellagio lost partial power about 2 a.m. Sunday when the line coming into the 3,000-room property failed, said Alan Feldman, a spokesman for MGM Mirage, which owns the pricey hotel.

"We don't know what happened and probably won't for some time," Feldman said during a Monday news conference inside the Bellagio.

Feldman said thousands of feet of cable would have to be replaced and the hotel would not reopen until Tuesday morning at the earliest.

The power failure caused surveillance cameras to shut down, but a priceless collection of Monet paintings on display was safe, Feldman said. There were no reports of any injuries or thefts.

A Nevada Power spokesman called the outage an internal problem at the megaresort. Both Nevada Power and hotel engineers were investigating.

"Everything is being monitored very carefully," he said.

Emergency power to the casino did come on, providing a glimmer of light throughout the massive building. Feldman said construction on the Bellagio's new hotel tower was uninterrupted.

Hotel officials hoped to clear out all guests by noon so they could try to turn the power back on.

"It's not as easy as flipping a switch," Feldman said.

Feldman said 800 guest rooms were occupied Sunday night and another 1,100 guest room arrivals were scheduled Monday. Visitors were being relocated to other properties.

It's not clear what financial effect the closure will have on MGM Mirage.

"Easter Sunday is also typically a slower day, and we would assume that the property has business interruption insurance," said Marc Falcone, a Deutsche Bank gambling analyst. "The overall strength of the Las Vegas market should also be able to make up for lost business throughout the remainder of (the second quarter)."

Hotel spokeswoman Jenn Michaels said the staff was trying to minimize the inconvenience for guests, who are accustomed to paying premium rates for luxury and pampering at the Strip's top-end hotel.

Some tourists, like Bob Raf, a teacher from Michigan, took the blackout in stride.

"I guess I'll have to go to another casino to lose money," he said.

But Bob Petersen, 59, a retiree from Washington, D.C., said he was frustrated.

"Why is there power across the street and there is no power here?" said Petersen, who added he was paying $350 a night at the Bellagio. "I can't understand in this day and age why there wasn't more backup."