MGM Resorts and UNLV Partner on a Think Tank Led by Harry Reid and John Boehner

MGM Resorts International and the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV) announced a partnership today. The two are creating a think tank with the mission of finding bipartisan solutions to economic, workplace, social, and politica issues.

The new group is the MGM Resorts Public Policy Institute at UNLV. Former U.S. Senator Harry Reid (D-Nevada) and former U.S. Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) will co-chair the think tank. The two men and their colleagues’ focus will be “wide-ranging, substantive, and relevant“.

MGM Resorts Public Policy Institute at UNLV

Both national and international policy issues are going to be discussed and researched. The institute plans to focus on issues involving travel, tourism, hospitality, and gaming industries.

Pending approval by the Nevada System of Higher Education Board of Regents, work on the institute is set to proceed later in the year.

Speaker Boehner and Senator Reid released a joint statement on the announcement today, stating, “While our public opposition on issues may be more storied than our private friendship, we have successfully collaborated on complex problems and signature ideas and look forward to doing so again. As passionate and committed believers in the importance of public service, we are eager to work with MGM Resorts and UNLV to inspire a new generation to serve their country through public office.

Jim Murren on the UNLV Think Tank

Jim Murren, the CEO of MGM Resorts, said of the new UNLV institute, “I’m pleased to have a partnership with UNLV, a leading academic and research institution, and am deeply honored to have the guidance and involvement of Senator Reid and Speaker Boehner.”

The head of MGM Resorts, which owns world-famous gaming resorts like the MGM Grand, Bellagio, Mandalay Bay, and Borgata, said of the new think tank, “I’m excited about the possibilities the Institute offers to proactively explore issues and develop bipartisan policy solutions – especially on topics that matter to our workforce, our communities and the industries in which we play a leading role.”

UNLV School of Public Policy & Leadership

The MGM Resorts Public Policy Institute will be housed in Greenspun College of Urban Affairs inside the UNLV School of Public Policy and Leadership. The new research group is part of MGM Resorts International’s effort to lead on public policy issues in the global tourism, travel, and hospitality sector. UNLV is a leading institution when it comes to data collection and research on the gaming industry, so the new think tank is a way to continue its leadership in this field.

The UNLV president, Len Jessup, said of the public policy group, “Identifying solutions to complex public-policy issues can only be achieved through robust debate and our university – with its diverse expertise and capacity for community engagement — is a natural setting. We look forward to working with the leadership of MGM Resorts and the Institute co-chairs to further define a compelling research and policy agenda.”

John Boehner Bio

John Boehner served in the U.S. House of Representatives for nearly 25 years, spending time as House Minority Leader, House Majority Leader, and eventually Speaker of the House from 2011 to 2015. He was a member of the Gang of Seven which led to reforms in the early 1990s, and later was identified with Newt Gingrich’s Contract With America. Speaker Boehner led the Republicans in the early years of the Obama Administration, serving as a time when the Tea Party made leadership of the Congressional GOP complicated.

Though Boehner’s time as speaker is seen as a period of obstruction by the Republican Party, John Boehner made concerted efforts to work with President Obama on the 2012 “Grand Bargain” on the national debt. When the deal fell through at the last minute, both sides blamed the other one. In 2014, Boehner was asked by Jay Leno if he would run for president and the Speaker replied, “I like to play golf. I like to cut my own grass. I do drink red wine, I smoke cigarettes. And I’m not giving that up to be President of the United States.

In November 2015, John Boehner resigned as Speaker of the House after Pope Francis spoke before the Congress and Boehner (a Catholic) fought back tears — something for which he was famous. Paul Ryan succeeded Boeher as Speaker of the House. In retirement, John Boehner serves as a strategist for Squire Patton Boggs, arguably the most famous of all Washington D.C. lobbying firms.

Harry Reid Bio

Harry Reid served in the U.S. Senate for the state of Nevada for 30 years. He is the longest service senator in the history of Nevada. Over his time in the Senate, Harry Reid served as Senate Minority Whip, Senate Majority Whip, Senate Minority Leader, and Senate Majority Leader. He is one of only three people to have served at least 8 years as the Senate Majority Leader, a position he held from 2007 until 2015.

Over the decades, Sen. Reid was a strong advocate for Nevada, including the Las Vegas casino industry. Due to his position of power and influence among Senate Democrats, the state of Nevada received more influence in federal politics that the average senator could not confer. In 2015, Sen. Reid suffered a serious eye injury which led to Reid’s announcement that he would not seek a 6th term as US Senator from Nevada. He was succeeded by Catherine Cortez Masto, also a Democrat.

About Cliff Spiller

Cliff Spiller has been an online writer for 14 years. He worked for Small World Marketing for a decade, where he covered topics like gaming, sports, movies, and how-to guides. Since 2014, he has blogged about US and international gambling news on,, and

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