The Review Journal reports that when Boyd develops the Stardust property, the hotel will have at minimum 4,000 rooms and that a large convention center will be a key component. One analyst said some of the land could be sold for condos to help fund the redevelopment. Stardust sits on 63 acres. Interestingly, convention business in Las Vegas may increase by 3.5% per year through 2009, twice the rate of leisure travelers. The North Strip may well become the new, new Four Corners in Vegas in my opinion.
We're following Hurricane Katrina that pummeled the Gulf Coast through Monday.
For the most up to date info, check the Sun Herald.
Our hearts go out to the families in the affected communities.
As of now, MGM MIRAGE does not have information on the state of Beau Rivage. Building designs incorporated features to deal with massive onslaughts of water. It's not clear if these were helpful.
Reports indicate that the recently completed Hard Rock casino has been substantially damaged and will have to be rebuilt.
UPDATED: Beau Rivage still stands, though it has been significantly damaged. Many other Gulf Coast casinos were completely destroyed.
More after the jump...
Technorati Tags: mgm mirage
George Clooney's hotel project has been batted around for months... Seems like Brad Pitt is no longer attached, but this might be moving forward.
A long article that goes into some heavy detail about a stay at Wynn.
I don't agree with everything written but the experiences are well laid out.
Construction continues on MGM Mirage's new CityCenter being developed between Bellagio and Monte Carlo. Can Las Vegas support Wynn's proposed development on the golf course property in addition to this, especially when MGM has at least a three year lead on Wynn?
Don Marrandino, formerly of the Hard Rock Hotel, will head Harrah's Las Vegas and the Flamingo.
Before the opening of Wynn Las Vegas, Marrandino signed on as general manager, only to leave for Harrah's Tahoe.
According to Business Week, Starwood Hotels plans to expand it's 'W' hotel chain into Las Vegas in a big way.
To be located on the site of 'Ice Las Vegas' near the Hard Rock, the entire complex will feature 3,000 rooms, some of which double as condos and timeshares.
Starwood will operate the 'W Las Vegas' but will partner with Edge Resorts for many of the condo units and the a 75,000 square foot casino.
Starwood plans to compete with luxury hotel offerings such as the Four Seasons, Wynn Las Vegas, THEHotel and Bellagio.
This week's Las Vegas Business Press discusses some older Strip properties including Tropicana, Stardust, Riviera and Imperial Palace. (The story was written before the announcement that Harrah's is buying IP.) Although they still meet the needs of certain visitors, there is increased pressure to renovate or replace them.
Harrah's announced it will buy Imperial Palace for $370 Million. The sale should close by year-end.
To read Harrah's Press Release:
The Las Vegas Review Journal reports that Aladdin is finally about to begin its transformation into Planet Hollywood:
Those of you that already know what a podcast is may have already found this gem...
Tim Dressen records his Las Vegas podcast, 'Five Hundy By Midnight' frequently, sometimes more than once a week.
For those that don't know, a podcast is a lot like a radio show, except produced by amateurs/semi-pros and distributed over the Internet.
Anyway, check it out - it's a lot of fun to listen to: Five Hundy By Midnight
The podcast is also in Apple's iTunes directory.
According to this Las Vegas Sun article, the deal between MGM MIRAGE and Pansy Ho to build a MGM Grand in Macau, China is likely to be approved by Nevada gaming regulators.
MGM Macau Likely To Be Approved (LV Sun)
Looks like MGM MIRAGE is making some changes at their Biloxi, MI property.
This is a property I've never visited. Anyone been there? What is it like?
Technorati Tags: mgm mirage
The Las Vegas and Poker Blog fires off an interesting review of the poker room at The Mirage, long considered one of the best in Las Vegas.
HotelChatter is running a series on Las Vegas sportsbooks. If you're interested in betting on sports and want to know where to go to find the most comfortable chairs and biggest screens, read on.
For those interested in the technology behind Wynn Las Vegas, this Wired article talks about what goes into a $2.7B hotel.
Back from a short vacation (not Las Vegas), some more Vegas news:
I have more information on the changes coming to The Mirage.
So, some specific details about what goes and what stays. We're keeping a close eye on this one.
Gaming Today reports that Harrah's purchase of Imperial Palace is "close to being a done deal." As we all have discussed here before, the purchase would give Harrah's control of the east side of the Strip from Paris up to Venetian.
IP On The Block?
Boyd has high hopes for its new South Coast Casino which is under construction on the far South Strip, the LV Review Journal reports.
Experts expect South Coast to alter competition in locals market
Here are some of my notes from last weekend at Wynn. I know some readers get tired of �All Wynn, All The Time�, but Wynn is an important addition to Las Vegas� casino and hotel choices. So, fair warning. If Wynn bores you, don�t read any further.
The Las Vegas Review Journal reports that Conde Nast Traveler magazine will feature a special 36 page section on Las Vegas in its September issue. Also, Bon Appetit magazine's September issue identifies Las Vegas as one of the country's five best dining cities.
I wanted to see Pinnacle's new casino, L'auberge du Lac in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Pinnacle's CEO is Dan Lee who formerly was Steve Wynn's CFO at Mirage Resorts. Pinnacle (PNK) is doing very well and has two new properties which will be built in St. Louis city and county. My report relates to Las Vegas only in that Lake Charles represents a closer destination for people in south Texas and Louisiana. Anyway, that's my justification for publishing it on a Las Vegas blog.
I spent two nights at L�auberge on the way home from Las Vegas. It was 150 miles from Houston International and took 2.5 hours. There were lots of billboards in Texas for Delta Downs, Harrah�s and Isle of Capri but none for L�auberge. That all changed by the time I got to Beaumont, TX and then in Louisiana. L�Auberge is very convenient to I-10, but the I-210 intersection with Nelson Road is already becoming a bottleneck. PNK�s construction has spurred new bar/restaurants, strip malls and unfortunately, a Sam�s Club. Contractors are already working on the intersection.
L�auberge�s entrance drive gives a great first impression with the golf course on either side. There were quite a few golfers, but it won�t be fully opened to the public until the grass is more established in the fall. There�s nothing like it in the area.
What was most interesting to me were the three distinct market segments served by PNK, ISLE and HET. L�auberge is clearly middle to high end with many business travelers as well as players. Isle of Capri was unbelievable. As a shareholder, I was pained to see such a depressing, dirty, run down property. The clientele was certainly less than blue collar. Harrah�s had solid blue collar customers and PNK had the cream of the crop. Using Prizm�s market segmentation classifications, I would segment them as:
Isle---Back Country Folks
I didn�t drive to Coushatta. Why would anyone spend another 45 minutes or so when they can stop at L�auberge?
I had breakfast the first morning with a pharmaceutical rep who said she is in Lake Charles every Monday and had gotten PNK to give her the casino rate for her room each week. She said no other properties in the area can compare. She also said it was great to have a land based casino instead of a riverboat. When I told her L�auberge�s casino was a boat, she politely told me I didn�t know what I was talking about. That�s a good example of how seamlessly PNK has built the entire property.
I ate at the bar in Snake River Grill the first night. It�s a first class restaurant with high-end clientele made up of players, business travelers and upscale locals. The attractive bartender said she has brought a lot of her customers over from her former restaurant. I sat next to a player from Texas. He is a heavy player who stays at Venetian at least once a month. He also played at Coushatta until L�auberge opened. He said the tribal chief would send his plane to pick him up whenever he wanted. This guy said PNK has a limo pick him up at the Houston airport each trip, and if they would send the seaplane for him, he would quit Las Vegas completely. In his words, �L�auberge has everything I want, and it�s less of a hassle to get here.� I have to believe he wasn�t BS�ing me because his Host hovered around him all evening in the bar.
Jack Daniels Bar was busy both nights with a younger crowd than Snake River. The lazy river pool area is totally open with another bar. The private villas are open but too close to the pool area, in my opinion. They each have private, fenced, gated patios from which guests can access the pool.
The second floor of the hotel will all be suites. It will probably open by the end of August. Each hotel floor already has two �Versailles Suites� which have a large living room, bedroom, wet bar and 1.5 baths. VIP Services said the suite floor will have the same but with a few larger suites. The elevator wouldn�t stop at 2 for me to take a look.
Since the casino is surrounded on three sides by the hotel or public areas, there are three entrances which make it easy to get to from any location, including from the large parking structure. Wynn should have as large a garage.
Blackjack tables were busy most of the time with many $5 and $10 min. The high limit room was busy each afternoon and evening with $25, $50, $100 and up mins. There is also a bar in the high limit room. All the vp machines I saw were 9/6. The connecting high limit slot room was fairly busy with a surprising amount of play on the $10 and $25 machines instead of the $5 ones. Slot chairs are the most comfortable I�ve ever sat in. Staff throughout the hotel and casino was all very friendly, and when I asked for directions, walked me to where I was going. Early reports indicated some needed more training. 95% of the ones I talked with seemed competent in addition to being customer friendly. I asked as many as I could how they liked the company. They all said it was a great place to work and offered child care and other benefits they couldn�t get anywhere else.
One thing that might change is the round video poker bar in the center of the casino with a mesh curtain surrounding it. There was never any business, and I thought it was depressing looking. Reminded me of sitting in a tent with mosquito netting�which may be appropriate for hot, humid Lake Charles.
The rooms are nice, but I was a little disappointed that I could hear talking through the wall which has the HVAC vents. What�s with all the hotels now having down comforters on the beds? They�re too damn hot!
Lake Charles will never replace Las Vegas for me, but if I lived in Houston, Beaumont, Galveston or the surrounding Louisiana area, I could easily become a regular at L�auberge. I see an expansion being needed before too long. Add this property to Belterra and the two upcoming St. Louis ones, and I�m very comfortable and secure with my PNK.
Next week Caesars Palace plans to open the Augustus Tower, a 949 room luxury hotel tower. Designed to be the best that Caesars has to offer, the rooms include plasma TVs, large bathrooms and floor to ceiling windows. Along with the new tower, the hotel has opened a new lobby and a restaurant from chef Guy Savoy.
Two bits of gaming business today:
Gaming has had an uneven quarter of results, some folks showing nice gains and some losses, as we see here.
Harrah's Entertainment has appointed a new president for its high roller property, Caesars Palace.
Gary Selesner was formerly the general manager of Caesars and was promoted to the position which was vacated when Mark Juliano left to work for Donald Trump.
Harrah's second quarter profits were up 17% post the merger with Caesars Entertainment.
Still, shares traded down as analysts had expected better performance. While many gaming companies such as MGM MIRAGE have reported healthy results, none have solidly beaten Street expectations, which is dragging on the stock price.
Update: Here's an interesting article from Motley Fool on gaming stocks this quarter:
Motley Fool on Gaming Stocks
A strong quarter for Macau but The Venetian was a bit flat.
Along with Wynn Resort's recently filed 10-Q with the SEC, some details about the Encore project are available.
Currently, the de-facto expansion of Wynn Las Vegas will feature 1,550 rooms, of which 300 are suites.
Encore will open in the 2nd or 3rd quarter of 2008.
The Las Vegas Review Journal describes some of the changes underway or planned at The Mirage:
* New or remodelled restaurants.
* "Upgraded" volcano.
* 15,000 sq ft nightclub, "Jet" and new "rock bar-chic lounge."
* Cirque du Soleil production based on the Beatles.
After 16 years, The Mirage needs updating, but the article makes it appear MGM is using the TI model to attract a younger crowd. I hope the former Mirage properties don't all become clones of each other, and I really hope the Volcano doesn't follow the pattern of The Sirens of TI.
To read the article:
Major Renovation Slated for Mirage
Wynn Resorts announced second quarter results today, including 64 days of operation of Wynn Las Vegas.
The company reported a loss of $35.2M, mostly caused by opening expenses for the resort.
In those 64 days, Wynn Las Vegas (WLV) generated $201M in revenue, or $3.14M/day. Of this revenue, gaming was $98M, or almost 50%. Slots were $34M of that, tables $62M.
ADR (average daily rate) for the hotel was $284 with occupancy rates of 90.1%.
WLV EBITDA was $58.7M, meaning margins of about 30%. Pre-opening costs were $37M.
Steve Wynn's statement follows:
"The initial response from customers and employees has been very gratifying. In our first two months of operations, we achieved outstanding revenue numbers in various departments including slots, tables and retail. We deliberately and substantially overstaffed in order to offset our expected initial disadvantages in productivity: we had more than 9,000 employees working with approximately 58 newly integrated operating systems. In the upcoming months, our main focus will be on raising margins through increased operational efficiencies."
Complete Press Release: Wynn Resorts 2nd Quarter
Some folks are wondering if the purchase of the Bourbon Street by Harrah's means implosion for the Flamingo.
I'm still a strong 'No' vote there but anything is possible in Las Vegas.
The Bourbon Street will close in October.