|By Benjamin Spillman, Las Vegas
Review-JournalMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Oct. 24, 2007 - When a work computer goes wonky, it's annoying.
When several thousand people are dependent on the malfunctioning machine to start their Las Vegas vacations, it's downright scary.
But that's exactly what workers faced this weekend when a computer glitch disrupted guest check-ins at seven MGM Mirage hotels, five on the Strip, one in Mississippi and another in Detroit.
The problem forced workers to manually register thousands of guests who checked in from Saturday until early Tuesday afternoon.
It also left visitors who could have been drinking, dining or gambling waiting around in hotel lobbies.
"It seems fairly ridiculous," said Allyn McMullin, 45, of Boulder, Colo., at the end of a 30-minute wait in the lobby of Bellagio on Tuesday.
McMullin was in Las Vegas for a computer conference along with Duane Casmey, 45, also of Boulder.
"They didn't do anything for us," said Casmey, when asked if Bellagio offered guests any compensation for the inconvenience. "We got a cookie and some water."
MGM Mirage spokesman Gordon Absher attributed the delays to a bug in the company's guest information management system called OPERA.
Although there are more than 200,000 OPERA systems in use in about 130 countries, the incident at MGM Mirage was the first time that particular bug caused a problem.
"We are lucky enough to be the ones who found it," Absher said.
The problems surfaced intermittently beginning Saturday night. When it became apparent it wasn't isolated at any one MGM Mirage property, company officials decided to process guests manually so workers could track down the source of the problem and fix it.
That meant calling in extra staff to gather customer information from guests at hotel front desks and relay it to other workers at computers with access to room inventory and other information.
Not all MGM Mirage properties were affected. The glitch did affect operations at Bellagio, New York-New York, The Mirage, Treasure Island, Signature at MGM Grand on the Strip; Beau Rivage in Mississippi and MGM Grand Detroit. Collectively those hotels have about 15,400 rooms.
In total, MGM Mirage has about 36,000 hotel rooms on the Strip.
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