The LV Review Journal reports that a weighted average of nine gaming stocks increased in July for the second month. Wall Street analysts are upbeat about the industry and Nevada. All eyes are on Las Vegas Sands which will report next week and on Wynn. Wynn said 2nd quarter results will be announced by August 9, but there will not be a conference call for analysts to ask questions of management.
In my opinion, Steve Wynn is his own worst enemy when it comes to Wall Street. He creates an antagonistic atmosphere when he appears less than forthcoming. Contrast this approach to MGM which always has open conference calls and takes all questions regardless of their significance.
To read more:
Casino Stock Index Increases
I'm working on an article of 'Las Vegas Secrets', the best-kept tidbits that the average visitor never knows. Time and money saving tips, interesting facts, that kind of thing.
As part of the process I want to poll my readers. If you have a Las Vegas secret, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Don't leave them in the comments - we don't want to spill the beans early!
It's been awhile but our faithful readers will remember that the last time we met we covered Caesars Palace, Harrah's, The Flamingo and the Imperial Palace.
Sorry for the delay loyal readers. Since we last me the blog has been redesigned and another blog author, detroit1051, has been added to help fill your need for Vegas dirt. In this installment we take a look at The Mirage, Treasure Island, The Venetian and Wynn Las Vegas - three of which were built by Steve Wynn.
Disclaimer: I own some stock in both Wynn Resorts and Las Vegas Sands (but not MGM MIRAGE)... I think that you'll find my reviews 'fair and balanced' but in the spirit of full disclosure...
STRIPPING continues after the jump...
Profit at the casino operator is up 34% post its merger with Mandalay Resort Group. Developing...
I stumbled across this interesting story that skewers both the Las Vegas Sun and Review Journal for their year 2000 coverage of the 'merger' between MGM Grand and Mirage Resorts.
Interesting perspective on this stuff that you don't usually get to see.
I scour the blogosphere to find interesting things for y'all to read.
Here's an article about how cheap rooms in Las Vegas are quickly becoming a thing of the past.
Beyond that, I'm halfway done with the next Stripping article, so stay tuned for that as well.
A quick look at some of the billionaires involved in gaming. From Steve Wynn to Sheldon Adelson to Kirk Kerkorian, a quick rundown.
Boyd Gaming's second quarter results were strong across the board, but it was good to see some positive news coming from downtown properties. Boyd's three downtown casinos, California Hotel, Main Street Station and Fremont did well. These hotels, especially the California, have long attracted Hawaiian tourists, both from the islands and California.
These results, new condo development and the World Market Center opening all may add to downtown's resurgence.
The Las Vegas Review Journal has complete information at
Boyd Finds Downtown To Liking
While slots have had elaborate computerized player tracking systems for years, the table games in Las Vegas casinos still determine comps by hand, a practice that can be a bit random at times.
Well, things are about to change for table players.
The Las Vegas Review Journal reports that progress is being made on a system developed jointly by IGT, Shuffle Master and Progressive Gaming, some of the biggest names in the business.
Read the article here: LVRJ: Tracking What's On The Table
So, what do you table games players think about this?
Personally, I'm all for it. I'm the type of player that falls through the cracks, sometimes losing enough to be comped but often a victim of the system. In terms of my dollar value to the casino, I'm simply being overlooked and I think this would change that quite a bit.
After months of speculation, it has been confirmed that Broadway musical Spamalot is heading to Wynn Las Vegas.
Clark County's Comprehensive Planning website contains an agenda item for last week's July 21, 2005 meeting. It describes general plans for the redevelopment of the north part of Tropicana's property. Tropicana has requested approval for 2,750 rooms, larger casino, public and back-of-house areas, and an increase in building height to 470 feet.
The request does not include the southern part of the property in which the Island Tower is located. There has been past speculation that the entire property would be developed in phases to include two separate casino/hotels or possibly a condo tower. When the meeting minutes of this public hearing are published, we will likely learn more.
To read more:
The Observer has a nice little profile on Kirk Kerkorian, the billionaire investor that owns a majority of shares in the Strip's largest casino conglomerate, MGM MIRAGE.
"Few investors have the capacity to confound convention and get away with it like Kirk Kerkorian. Last week, the legendary 88-year-old investor, said to be America's fourth richest man, was reported to have made $100 million in a little over a month on a highly counter-intuitive bet on General Motors shares."
In the May 16, 2005 Las Vegas Sun, Steve Wynn was quoted as being very critical of the Singapore government's direct involvement in designing Singapore's casino project. Wynn said, "Don't issue thunderbolts of wisdom from the top of Mount Olympus. Ultimately, this is not between me and the government, it's between me and the public."
I wondered at the time whether Wynn's outspokenness eliminated him from consideration. Today's Las Vegas Review Journal reports that Wall Street analysts question the wisdom of investing $3.5 billion in two Singapore casino projects. It may well be that Steve Wynn was the first to see the potential downside of Singapore.
Read the LV Review Journal article here:
Gaming Analysts Wonder If Singapore Plans Sensible
While considered useful by some, the monorail is generally seen as a disappointment.
This LVRJ article discusses the challenges ahead.
LVRJ: Monorail: Year 2
"There was no need to reserve a spot on the Las Vegas Monorail for its first birthday last week. There were plenty of empty seats to go around as the $650 million train line entered its second year seeking new riders and elusive profits."
The Tropicana's parent company, Aztar, reported the strongest quarter in history, driven by the Atlantic City Tropicana's expansion and new retail/restaurant complex, "The Quarter."
In the company's July 20th conference call, management did not give specific insights into plans to redevelop the Las Vegas Tropicana property. Some financial analysts expect Aztar to announce plans by the end of 2005.
Today's Las Vegas Review Journal provides detail on Aztar's performance and possible plans for the Tropicana's valuable 34 acre site on the southeast corner of the Strip and Tropicana.
The July 21 Las Vegas Review Journal anticipates second-quarter profits more than 50% higher than last year for the "Big Six." Included are Boyd Gaming, Harrah's Entertainment, Las Vegas Sands, MGM Mirage, Station Casinos and Wynn Resorts.
Wall Street analysts credit the opening of Wynn, the strong leisure market, both from locals and elsewhere, and Macau's contribution to Las Vegas Sands.
Deutsche Bank's Andrew Zarnett said of Las Vegas Sands, "The Venetian once stood at the end of the Strip. Now it stands at the center because Wynn is pulling thousands of people a day up to the new end of the Strip."
Zarnett also said visitation by retirees and baby boomers is driving growth.
UNLV history professor Hal Rothman sounded a note of caution that the strong earnings "may be a harbinger of a brighter future or just a reflection of the opening of Wynn Las Vegas in April."
It certainly seems that Las Vegas is hot, in more ways than one, this summer.
The Review Journal's comprehensive article may be read at:
LV Review Journal on Gaming Revenue
According to this USA Today article, Colony Capital is purchasing the Raffles Hotel Group.
Colony has been on a buying spree lately, picking up the Las Vegas Hilton among other properties. Raffles is one of the best known luxury hotel brands in the world.
This could have interesting implications for a Raffles in Las Vegas... I also believe that there was talk of Raffles running one of the properties in Las Vegas Sands' Cotai Strip development in Macau.
"Los Angeles-based Colony Capital said Monday it has agreed to buy the iconic Raffles Hotel in Singapore and 40 other properties owned by parent Raffles Holdings."
Dave is a historian at UNLV, fantastic author, and keeper of the infamous casino carpet gallery. If you don't know his work, be sure to read the linked interview and buy his book(s).
Some readers may know that part of our parent site, RateVegas.com, is a 'Reader Question' area where our guests can write in and ask their vacation questions for me to answer.
Over the course of the last five years we've answered thousands of these important queries, on topics from luxury to Luxor and hot dogs to hot streaks. Some questions are bizarre, others seem to be repeated weekly. All are a good read.
In this post I'll chronicle some of the more interesting items. If you want to read all of the questions completely uncensored, you can also head over to RateVegas.com Reader Questions and get the goods for yourself (or submit your own). I will probably make this a semi-regular column here on the blog.
The answers posted are the one I originally wrote when the question was asked. Keep reading after the jump.
The Las Vegas Sun reported today that Station Casinos plans to build at least three casinos in Reno. The company already has the upscale Red Rock Station under construction in Las Vegas' Summerlin area. It will open in Spring 2006.
Sometimes the blog seems like 'all Wynn all the time'... Well, with the hotel still so new, there's just a lot of news out there.
The Chicago Tribune weighs in on the Strip's newest casino.
According to an article in today's LVRJ, MGM MIRAGE is looking at the possibility of extending the Mandalay Bay-Excalibur people mover all the way to Treasure Island, with a stop at Harrah's owned Caesars Palace.
Plans to have a Mirage Resorts tram that ran from Bellagio to TI were discussed several times under the 'Wynn Administration' but never got off the ground.
This would be a direct blow to the floundering Las Vegas Monorail.
Detroit posted this in the comments but it looks like an important story to me.
This guy has been running Caesars for some time and the conventional wisdom was that he was going to Wynn.
The Travel section of the New York Times looks at Wynn Las Vegas:
Sounds like there is a very real possibility that the New Frontier will be demolished in 2006.
The Las Vegas Sun reports on comments by owner Phil Ruffin:
Las Vegas Sun: New Frontier Coming Down
Donald Trump broke ground on his Trump Tower Las Vegas project this morning. The condominium tower will be built on the New Frontier property, across the street from Wynn Las Vegas.
According to the latest figures from the Nevada Gaming Commission, Wynn Las Vegas helped push the monthly gaming win for May to record levels:
I sometimes forget that new readers may not be aware of all of the thousands of photos that we have cataloged...
So, as a reminder, please be sure to visit our Las Vegas photo gallery at Flickr.com:
This was previously posted in the comments but deserves front page status.
An article from the Las Vegas Sun on the progress of new casino construction in Macau, China.
Will Macau be the next Las Vegas? Wynn and Las Vegas Sands shareholders sure hope so!
For all the talk about Wynn Las Vegas, let's not forget what some folks regard as Steve Wynn's true masterpiece: Bellagio.
Fortunately, the LA Times hasn't as they compare it to Wynn's namesake. Read it: Bellagio Revisited
According to the Las Vegas Sun, one of the operators of the three 'boutique' hotels included in MGM MIRAGE's 'Project CityCenter' will be the famed Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group.
Mandarin currently has no presence in Las Vegas but they are known for their high end accommodations around the World.
Project CityCenter will be built on land between Bellagio and Monte Carlo that is currently occupied by the Boardwalk Hotel. CityCenter is scheduled to open in 2009.
According to LVRJ's Norm Clarke, Wynn Resorts is close to signing up the hit Broadway musical 'Spamalot' for their Las Vegas resort.
Hard to see how this would fit in with the rest of the resort's entertainment offerings.
'Avenue Q' is set to open in the Broadway Theater in September and Le Reve is running in the Wynn Theater, custom built to their specifications. While Steve Wynn is known to embrace change and fix things that don't work, backing away from Le Reve would be a major cost and a black mark for the resort.
Perhaps 'Q' will share the Broadway Theater with 'Spamalot'? Or perhaps this deal is for the upcoming Encore expansion, though that is still several years out.
Thanks to Detroit1051 for providing this.
Wine Spectator Feature on Wynn Las Vegas' Restaurants
The July 31 issue of Wine Spectator has its largest feature story on Wynn Las Vegas' restaurants, the on-site chefs and wine offerings.
The article is 15 pages of text and spectacular photography of the restaurants. The writer, Harvey Steiman, Editor at Large, interviewed the chefs before Wynn opened, and he followed up with visits two weeks after opening. Thus, it was written too early to provide reviews, but he explains in detail, Steve Wynn's and the chefs' concepts for each of their restaurants.
Wynn could not have bought better advertising for the property. Readers will want to visit the restaurants based on the word pictures and the photography. I have to assume the typical Wine Spectator reader is in the
demographic Steve wants to attract. Wine Spectator did a similar piece on Bellagio's restaurants shortly after it opened which must have been successful for both the magazine and Steve.
Although all the restaurants received favorable comments, it seemed to me the writer was most impressed with Bartolotta Ristorante di Mare for both the unique seafood and the cabana-style outdoor dining.
The only slightly less than positive comment in the article was the note that two weeks after opening, some of the restaurants had empty seats, raising the question as to whether Las Vegas can support the finest of fine dining. I don't believe that's an issue. Picasso at Bellagio and Alex Stratta's Renoir at The Mirage broke new ground, followed by other restaurants ar other properties.
The write noted a problem some of us have noticed, the traffic jam of people at the circular escalators which makes access difficult to SW Steakhouse and Daniel Boulud.
Investors in WYNN as well as food and wine lovers should be encouraged by this article. Subscribers received this issue last week. I bought it today at Barnes & Noble. The website, http://www.winespectator.com has not been updated with the new issue yet, and there is no certainty the article and
photos will be accessible online.
Some of you may remember the letter I sent after our first stay and the subsequent generic response.
Yesterday I received another letter from management. It addressed each of my issues specifically and offered to comp a return stay.
I'm not sure why the first letter even went out - this was the correct way to respond to a customer query.
Props to Wynn Las Vegas for getting a handle on customer service.