Vice Media’s CEO blew $300,000 on dinner, and a Vegas casino boss blabbed about it

Bottom’s up.
Bottom’s up.
Image: AP/Andy Kropa/Invision
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What happens in Vegas…is apparently fair game for an earnings conference call.

MGM Resorts International unintentionally outed Vice Media CEO Shane Smith’s ridiculously expensive $300,000 dinner at the Bellagio casino’s Prime Steakhouse in January. Asked yesterday about spending levels at the company’s casinos, MGM CEO James Murren bragged about the tab to Nomura analyst Harry Curtis: “$300,000 for dinner at Prime. That’s a pretty good check. You would have liked the wine, Harry.”

Murren didn’t identify the person who ran up the six-figure bill, but Bloomberg reporters quickly connected the dinner to Smith, who at the time of the meal was in the midst of a hot run at the blackjack tables, which was apparently witnessed by the late New York Times media columnist David Carr:

The Times’ Dealbook blog later reported that Smith’s gambling winnings exceeded $1 million, citing anonymous people who attended the dinner.

With accounts of the guestlist ranging from 12 to 30, it’s hard to imagine how the outspoken Smith and his guests ran up such a stupendous tab without buying some monumentally expensive booze. A 28 oz. bone-in rib eye, Prime’s most expensive dish, sells for $85, pan-roasted Dover sole will run you $66, and a lobster tail goes for $62—but the steakhouse’s wine list includes bottles that sell for more than $20,000.

A Vice spokesman did not respond to requests for comment. The media company recently secured a $500 million funding round that values it at more than $2.5 billion.

Smith also has yet to comment on the dinner. Perhaps he thinks MGM has already said enough.