I checked out of a Bellagio Suite in the main tower this morning and have just unpacked in a Wynn Parlor Suite. I tried to start a report early this morning, but Bellagio's internet service was down all night and still wasn't up at 9 AM. I'll offer a few opinions now and then add comments later. After all, I want to enjoy Wynn.
This will not be a trip report, but random thoughts start after the jump.
Thanks to David at Die Is Cast for the link to this video of the Hilton Sky Villas:
They were once the nicest digs in town and they still ain't too shabby.
And, thanks to Mike E., here's the link to some video of the Mansion at MGM Grand, arguably the current 'nicest' spot on the Strip:
Well, no big surprise here... It seems the outdoor 'Roman Forum' area at Caesars Palace is a terrible use of space given it is never used for anything significant.
Harrah's will build more casino, retail and back of house space in that part of the property and then also build a new hotel tower in the southwest corner of the property.
The new tower will be 29 stories and have over 1,000 rooms.
This trip report comes from reader Dave F., and focuses on a trip to the Skylofts at MGM Grand in November 2006.
Thanks to reader mike_ch who sent in the trip report from Wynn Las Vegas that you will find after the jump.
The photos that go with this report are now online:
I want to schedule our next RateVegas.com chat and so I am looking at next Monday or Tuesday, the 3rd or 4th.
We'll probably do what we did last time and that means try to get started at 5pm PT. I know that some folks have scheduling problems so respond to this thread and we'll try to find a common time.
Lastly, I want to help resolve anyone's performance/connection problems ahead of the chat so if you did have connection problems last time, mention it here in the thread and we'll talk about how to test/resolve ahead of time.
Roll The Bones is a new book by Dr. David Schwartz, the director of the Center for Gambling Studies at UNLV. His blog, DieIsCast.com is a great source for gambling information and news along with the ever-popular casino carpet gallery.
Dave has written several gambling related books in the past, including Suburban Xanadu, a study of the casino resort's evolution (this book features an in-depth look at Martin Stern, Jr., who's work we have mentioned several times in the past here on this site) and Cutting The Wire, a look at the Wire Act and Internet gambling.
You can buy this book here (and it supports this site in a small way): Roll the Bones: The History of Gambling
Keep reading after the jump...
This podcast includes some audio clips from my recent trip to Las Vegas. I talk about construction on Encore, CityCenter, Palazzo, Aladdin and more. Also, some special guests including Tim and Michelle from Five Hundy By Midnight and loyal contributor Mike E. We listen to a few messages from listeners (thanks for the theme song!) and even find some time to talk Vegas news.
Here is the link to the photos mentioned in the podcast: http://www.ratevegas.com/photo/most_recent
A reminder - feel free to call in and leave us a message about anything Las Vegas or Web site related. The call in number is: 702-508-4232.
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The Las Vegas Review Journal has a story on the changes in Laughlin resulting from new owners and operators in town, including Marnell, Landry's, Columbia Sussex and Icahn. Visitor counts and revenues have trended down for years, but as Vegas keeps going further upscale, maybe it's a new day in Laughlin. I think many people agree with the quote in the article by a visitor, "What I always enjoyed about Laughlin is that it wasn't Las Vegas."
I hope that all Americans are having a great turkey day today - Happy Thanksgiving!
I wanted to take this opportunity to thank everyone here - your participation is what makes this community work. I am very grateful for you all. Thanks.
I also want to remind you guys about a few features on the Web site that you might not be aware of. Keep reading after the jump for more info...
I had a nice two-night trip with the parents recently. Rather than give a full play-by-play as I usually do, I just thought I�d throw out some thoughts, highlights, and even some not-so-pleasant times.
I was over at Bellagio this trip. After eight stays at Wynn and having not stayed at Bellagio in six years, I was definitely due to give Wynn�s closest competitor another shot. Sorry to beat a dead horse, but I�ll be making natural comparisons to Wynn LV here and there. In short, Bellagio impressed me in ways I had forgotten, but Wynn will remain my home.
(more after the jump)
This has been all over the financial news sites today. Billionaire Kirk Kerkorian, who already owns 56% of MGM Mirage, is planning on boosting that stake to almost 62%.
MGM Mirage is doing better than it ever has and has a very bright future with City Center coming online in a few years.
I spent some time in Las Vegas this weekend (actually, a little more time than I had planned) and I wanted to report on my trip.
First off, I have posted construction photos of Encore, City Center, Bellagio renovations, Aladdin/Planet Hollywood, The Mirage (Japonais and Revolution), The Palazzo, and the pit that will become the Cosmopolitan.
I got to meet with a few readers/listeners, fellow podcasters and friends. I had a short chat with Elaine Wynn who is a real class act.
The photos are posted at this link, plus they are also in their respective categories:
More after the jump...
Technorati Tags: bellagio, caesars, casino design, gaming industry, las vegas, lasvegas, mgm mirage, mirage, palazzo, palms, photography, planet hollywood, project citycenter, treasure island, trip report, vegas, vegas photos, venetian, wynn, wynnlasvegas
A heads up that I was interviewed in the latest edition of the 'This Ain't Iowa' podcast, located at:
Go ahead and check it out!
The sale of Aztar Corp., and its Tropicana property in Las Vegas to Columbia Sussex has been approved by Nevada regulators, one of the last steps in the process.
They expect financing and the deal to close soon.
The LV Sun has an interesting article on downloadable slots. There is growing concern that operators might manipulate payback percentages based on market conditions and who is playing at the moment. A quote in the story from a Gaming Board member is especially concerning. Is the fox guarding the henhouse?
"Nevada's regulations require that machines have the same payback percentage for all players - in other words, that VIPs don't get preferential treatment. But some regulators appear open to giving casinos leeway to tweak odds as long as they pay back the minimum percentage required by law.
"That's a decision that should be left to operators," Gaming Control Board member Mark Clayton said."
Slot Manipulation Possible
Thanks to reader Tom M., I was reminded that tonight on Charlie Rose (PBS 11:30pm PT), we've got Sheldon Adelson talking about Cotai, Macau, Las Vegas and being #3.
Charlie Rose is, in my opinion, one of the most interesting interviewers out there. I love the show and I'm sure this will be an interesting one. Too bad it's not Adelson for the hour - we also get some time with new James Bond, Daniel Craig.
I'm always a little reluctant to post links to WSJ articles since you have to subscribe to read it. Still, I love the Journal and check it out every day and we've got a section piece on Boyd and Station today that's interesting so I'm posting it.
The concept is looking at Red Rock and South Point (South Coast) and how these investments didn't produce the returns they wanted... Station missed this quarter for the first time in a looong time.
Deutsche Bank/Goldman Sachs sponsored the Gaming Investment Forum on November 13-14 as part of G2E. Many of the presentations are available for rebroadcast and are well worth the time to listen to them.
One very good presentation was made by Galaxy about Macau. It was refreshing to get a different perspective than one gets from WYNN and LVS. Some key points:
* The infrastructure won't be sufficient on Cotai until 2012. Even today, Galaxy provides 130 round trip buses a day to move people to and from its Grand Waldo. When Venetian opens, 50,000 people/day will have to be transported. The government better get moving on the light rail system.
* The Chinese middle market is still ten years in the future.
* Will Cotai get sufficient convention business considering Hong Kong, with its 8 million people and its position as Asia's financial capital, isn't overburdened?
* I liked one comment he made, to the effect that there is a great dichotomy between Macau and Vegas operators on the future market. Maybe, I'd better start saving up to pay off my bet with Hunter.
To listen to any of the presentations, go to the following link which has two pages, one for each of the two days:
Gaming Investment Forum Presentations
Our friends over at HotelChatter.com are launching a new Vegas map based on Google's Map system and to get the word out they are hosting a contest for tickets to the HBO Comedy Festival, this weekend in Las Vegas.
If you are going to be there this weekend, it might be worth entering this contest.
Another update from Mike on the construction situation. No photos this time but still some good info on Mandalay, Luxor, Excalibur, MGM Grand, Wynn and Stardust.
Keep reading after the jump for the details.
Huh? This one is strange. Two announcements today... First off, from the press release it sounds to me that Binion didn't care for the day-to-day in Macau... Maybe he didn't like living there or something? Certainly sounds like spin to me and hopefully the dividend isn't a smokescreen to that effect.
You can read both releases here:
The Riviera has received another offer. This one looks serious. With Bruce Eichner (Cosmo) and D.E. Shaw behind it, it will probably go through and will be a boost to the north Strip.
Riviera Gets $21 per Share Buyout Offer
This time around we spend most of the podcast talking about Las Vegas nightclubs, specifically which ones are popular right now, what it takes to get in, all about 'bottle service' and other useful info for those folks that are interested in the clubs but maybe haven't yet taken the plunge.
I was lucky enough to get Mike E. on the show to fill in the holes in my knowledge - while I have visited a few of these places, they really aren't 100% my thing. Mike did great and I wanted to thank him again for helping out.
Ok, I hope you guys enjoy the podcast, this one is another long one at just about one hour.
A reminder - feel free to call in and leave us a message about anything Las Vegas or Web site related. The call in number is: 702-508-4232.
This was mentioned in the comments but this is a big deal so I'm doing a full story.
There are no other Mobil 5-Star hotels in Las Vegas and only two restaurants (Alex and Robuchon).
Since this is sure to be controversial with our readers, let the arguing begin! It should be noted that there were several 4-star ratings, including Bellagio, the remainder of Wynn Las Vegas, the Four Seasons, The Venetian, and the Ritz Carlton at Lake Las Vegas.
The Sun's Take:
Wynn Resorts Ltd. reported their third quarter 2006 results today. This was an important quarter for the company as it included the first, albeit small, amount of operations from their second property, Wynn Macau. Also, a large one-time gain from the sale of a Macau sub-concession to PBL put a nice bit of cash into their pockets.
Net revenues for the quarter were $318.1 million. This is up 26.5% from the same quarter in the prior year. Net income for the quarter was $715.7 million but most of that is the one-time event related to the sub-concession.
The net loss has been reduced from $2.2 million last quarter to $1.3 million this quarter. EBITDA was $79.6 million, up 8.7%. I don't have the analysts jive in front of me but I think this is pretty close to what they were predicting.
Wynn Macau, operating for 25 days this quarter, generated net revenues of $45 million and EBITDA of $2.3 million, 81% of which came from table game play. ADR at Wynn Macau was 75.9% and non casino revenues were $4.9 million.
The conference call at 3pm will be on the Web site and we'll be talking in the chat room, which is located here.
For a breakdown of Wynn's results:
In this latest edition of the podcast, we cover a lot of ground, literally!
First up, here's a warning - this podcast is AN HOUR long. Sorry it is so long but there's a lot in here and I looked at cutting something but I decided that I simply didn't want to and thus here we are.
The notes are after the jump. As always, recent photos are here: http://www.ratevegas.com/photo/most_recent
Excerpt from 11/7 Wall Street Journal:
"Meanwhile, a flurry of other merger and buyout activity also drove trading in the options market. The call options of luxury casino operator Wynn Resorts Ltd. traded heavily before its earnings results and in the wake of a $3.7 billion management-led buyout offer."
Conference Call announcement describes the call as "Limited." What does that mean?
In a bit in the Sunday edition of the Las Vegas Sun, we learn that Las Vegas Sands plans to add a few ultra-luxury condos to their Palazzo project, to appear above the Barney's store that is planned. It's only about 370 units so it's not a huge project.
Some of you may know Dave Schwartz over at UNLV and also know that his latest book, 'Roll The Bones', a fascinating history of gambling, was recently released.
I've been plowing through it and plan a review soon. In the meantime, he's running a contest for readers to win a copy of his last book, 'Cutting The Wire'. The rules and regs are located here:
The basic idea is that you read his latest and write an Amazon or Barnes and Noble review and then you've got a good chance of getting a signed copy of the last book, 'Cutting The Wire'.
Also, if you mention that we sent you, this Web site could get a special write up from Dave, which would be neat but honestly, you should read 'Roll The Bones' anyway - so far it's a great read and very easy to digest.
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My friend Matt had called me about two weeks ago asking what my plans were on Halloween night. Matt�s one of the coolest people I know. He works at Wynn and we naturally hit it off because I loved picking his brain about the hotel business, the nitty-gritty of the hotels he�s worked in, etc. Good stuff.
As it has always been throughout my teenage years and into adult-hood, I was expecting a mighty fun Halloween filled with studying, sleep, and downright depression thinking I was the only one at home without an invitation to a party. Well, maybe the invitation Matt gave me was make-up for those years and years of crappy Halloweens. His plans: costume party in NTS Limo�s �Goliath� (the largest limo in Vegas) that would later spill into a two-bedroom, 3200 square foot Skyloft. Booze, girls, the works...
(more after the jump)
MGM earned $.54 in Q3. Analysts had forecast $.41.
Revenues were up 5% to a new record of $1.9 Billion
A Winning Hand at MGM Mirage
A few notes from the conference call follow the jump.
Las Vegas Sands, owners of The Venetian and the Sands Macau, as well as the upcoming Palazzo and Venetian Macau, beat Wall Street estimates with their third quarter results.
Total revenues for the quarter were $553.2 million with a net income of $97.3 million. Estimates were clocking the company at about $525 million.
The Macau property was up over 20% and The Venetian in Las Vegas also saw gains in several areas.
MGM MIRAGE has their conference call in the morning.
Thanks to mike_ch for another set of construction updates from the field!
This time around we get info on Encore, Aladdin/Planet Hollywood, Palazzo, Bellagio, MGM Grand, The Mirage, Treasure Island and the last day of the Stardust!
Thanks again to Mike for providing this stuff.
The photos are up in their respective categories but to see all recent photos:
Regarding his question below about The Mirage, they have partnered with the Los Angeles Lakers to be their official Las Vegas hotel. Oh, and by the way Mike, that picture of Bellagio's front desk office - I've always thought that was a great space. Nice shot.
Okay, Mike's update is after the jump.
Technorati Tags: aladdin, bellagio, boyd, casino design, echelon, gaming industry, las vegas, mgm grand, mgm mirage, mirage, palazzo, photography, planet hollywood, stardust, treasure island, vegas, vegas photos, venetian, wynn, wynnlasvegas