MGM Mirage ( MGG) expects to close its acquisition of Mandalay Resort Group ( MBG) as early as Monday. The last remaining hurdle for the $7.90 billion deal is Illinois regulatory approval. The Illinois Gaming Board plans to hold a hearing Thursday, and MGM Mirage executives say they're confident the board will give the merger a thumbs-up at the hearing. The board will decide whether to allow the two casino companies to put Mandalay's Grand Victoria Casino in Elgin, Ill. into escrow while they await a new license for the property. It would take another two business days -- until Monday -- to close the merger, said the executives, who were speaking in MGM Mirage's first-quarter earnings call. Until last month, the Illinois Gaming Board lacked enough members to conduct business. MGM Mirage
announced strong results Tuesday.