Kirk Kerkorian

Kirk Kerkorian

Kirk Kerkorian was born in California in 1917. He started to work at the age of nine. When he was 13 he left school to become a window cleaner and then became interested in boxing. He also began to visit casinos where he became a very good poker player. During the Second World War he was a Royal Air Force Pilot and it is thought that it was during this period that he developed his combative spirit. After that he bought an aeroplane for $5000 and made flights into Las Vegas. He also used it to give flying lessons. Aware of the great economic potential of Las Vegas, he founded in 1947 a charter company, Trans International Airlines, to fly between Los Angeles and Las Vegas. He listed this company on the stock exchange and it rapidly increased in value because he sold it for 100 million dollars in 1967.

Kirk Kerkorian’s First Casinos

During the time that Kirk Kerkorian was flying into Las Vegas, he got to know the world of casinos. He was passionate about poker and craps in which he sometimes lost large amounts. However he always managed to resolve the situation. Once his charter company was well launched he decided to buy a site beside the Flamingo casino for a very good price. This site became very valuable because Caesar’s Palace, one of the city’s most beautiful casinos, was built on it. Kirk Kerkorian received 4 million dollars in rent and he gained 5 million more when he sold the site. Given that Trans International Airlines was listed on the stock exchange, he bought all the shares and became the sole owner.


He made an enormous profit because he bought the shares at 9 dollars and they rapidly reached 32 dollars. This unexpected cash income allowed him to fulfil his dream of building his own casino. In 1967 he bought a site close to the Paradise casino where he built the MGM Hotel casino. This was a huge success but due to an electrical fault the hotel burnt down and 85 people lost their lives. Not allowing himself to be deterred by this tragedy, Kirk Kerkorian built a new casino within eight months, The MGM Grand. The MGM casinos quickly became famous due to their implantation in cities such as Reno and Atlantic City. Kirk Kerkorian wanted to go even further and to become the greatest promoter in Las Vegas. So in 1993 he built an immense complex with 5000 rooms and an amusement park similar to Disneyland.

The CityCenter

Throughout his career, Kirk Kerkorian has proved that he was a real “quiet lion”. He is a leader in making huge very fruitful long term investments. His latest find is the CityCenter in Las Vegas which fulfils all the ecological norms. This complex is made up of two towers, two hotels, a theatre and two conference centres. It is run on renewable energy such as natural gas and uses 33% less energy than other casinos. CityCenter also has small casinos devoted to roulette, poker or blackjack. So even players on a budget can benefit from the luxury of Citycenter. Realising that not all players are at ease in immense casinos which are real labyrinths, Kirk Kerkorian wants each person to be able to gamble under the best conditions.


The CityCenter has created thousands of jobs in Las Vegas at a time when the largest casinos are being hit by the economic crisis. As well as being ecologically sound, this complex also has all the technological innovations such as SatNav. One can also combine tourism and gaming as there are buses to all the most beautiful avenues in Las Vegas. Kirk Kerkorian has succeeded in everything he has undertaken in sectors such as the automobile industry and luxury hotels but it is his investments in Las Vegas which have made this city famous all over the world.