Las Vegas isn’t just a place to gamble. It’s brimming with ways to spend exorbitant amounts of money. Sources say Shane Smith, Chief Executive Officer of Vice Media Inc., did both last month. After experiencing a fantastic run at the blackjack tables, reports indicate he then treated a party of at least a dozen people to a lavish dinner at one the Sin City’s premier restaurants, spending $300,000 on the feast.
The person that revealed the story to Bloomberg Business news asked not to be identified. The source said that it was a private dinner, funded by Smith’s streak of good luck at the blackjack tables that night. It’s not known just how much Shane Smith collected while playing blackjack, but to spring for a $300,000 dinner, it had to be a substantial amount.
Co-founder of Vice Media, Inc., Smith was in Las Vegas during the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) that was held at the Las Vegas Convention Center from January 6-9. According to reports, the meal was served at Prime Steakhouse, one of the most affluent restaurants on the Las Vegas Strip, located inside The Bellagio.
The price of the feast was unknown until Wednesday, when the story was inadvertently corroborated by MGM Resorts International, owner of The Bellagio. During a regularly scheduled earnings call, a representative of MGM Resorts stated that an anonymous group of guests had spent $300,000 on a meal at the restaurant. Dan D’Arrigo, Chief Financial Officer for MGM, said that the dinner occurred during the same time frame as the 2015 CES.
When asked for additional information via email, Clark Dumont, a spokesperson from MGM, replied that there were 12 guests at the high-priced dinner table that night. However, the unidentified source who attended the dinner said that were closer to 25 people sharing in the feast.
Further evidence to support the story came from New York Times columnist David Carr, who posted on his Twitter feed January 6th, “No brainer quiz. What media co exec did I watch win $100k at blackjack last nite?” He followed that up with the comment, “Hint: gambling not his only vice.”
Ostensibly, David Carr—who sadly passed away last week after losing a hard-fought battle with lung cancer—was connecting the dots between Shane Smith’s position as the CEO and co-founder of Vice Media, with his potential “vice” for gambling at the blackjack tables.
About Shane Smith & Vice Media
In 1994, Shane Smith, Suroosh Alvi and Gavin McInnes started up Vice Media, Inc. as nothing more than a punk magazine called Voice of Montreal. In 1996, they change the name to Vice and, in 1999, moved their headquarters to New York. After expanding into digital media in 2006-07, the company launched its own VICE News channel in 2014.
According to Bloomberg, Vice Media Inc. has experienced most impressive expansion, growing from a “free, whiskey-stained Montreal monthly to a media titan.”
Upstart Business (@upstartbusiness) tweeted last week, “Shane Smith built a global media brand from basically nothing and he’s not finished yet.”
It was reported that, in connection with the launch of VICE News last year, A+E Networks and Technology Crossover Ventures each invested a whopping $250 million into Vice Media for a 10% stake in the company. After 20 years in the business, it may not be known whether Smith is a genuine prodigy at the blackjack tables or not, but he’s obviously got a great head for the media industry.