Influential former Circus Circus CEO Mike Ensign dead at 79

The Las Vegas Strip. Moyan Brenn / Flickr / CC BY 2.0
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LAS VEGAS (AP) - Mike Ensign, a retired casino owner and executive whose influence and holdings grew along with Las Vegas Strip in the 1980s, and whose son resigned as U.S. senator amid scandal in 2011, has died in Las Vegas.

Tony Alamo Jr., his physician and close friend, said Thursday that Ensign died Wednesday in his sleep at home. He was 79.

David Schwartz, Center for Gaming Research director at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, tells the Las Vegas Review-Journal that Ensign was one of the pioneer architects of modern Las Vegas.

Ensign was CEO of Circus Circus Enterprises, which grew to become Mandalay Resort Group in 1999, with properties including Mandalay Bay, Luxor, Excalibur and Circus Circus.

MGM Resorts International acquired the company in 2005 for $7.9 billion.

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