The Palazzo is rising between Wynn Las Vegas and The Venetian and despite being a $1.5 billion project, it's not been getting a lot of press.
Well, the VegasEye has some new info on Palazzo in today's edition.
They report that TV chef Mario Batali is set to open TWO eateries in the new complex and it will feature a dress-down nightclub/lounge called 'Rocket'.
Thanks to David for this tip...
An interesting article on mega-casinos in the UK, this one in Manchester:
Also, this from the LV Business Press:
I know David has some insight into UK gaming law - hopefully he'll share in the comments.
Update: The LV Biz Press link may not be accurate/up to date.
I was listening to a caller on Five Hundy By Midnight talking about 'hitting the buffet' and it got me to thinking that my travel habits for my Vegas trips sure have changed over the years. For those of us that go often, sometimes upwards of ten times a year, I can only assume I'm not alone in this.
Continue after the jump...
We've heard all sorts of rumors about the sale of the Rio to various parties. Well, this one I can see maybe actually happening, just because it seems to actually make sense.
The Poker Prof says that the Rio is going to Maloof. We shall see.
I can't tell if this post is just him mis-reading the WynnDealers.com Web site or if he is reporting a new turn of events.
The Poker Prof is saying that the dealers at Wynn Las Vegas have voted to unionize.
It looks like the private equity deal that a sub-section of management proposed for Station Casinos is not viewed as a great deal by all.
The deal, at $82/share, has been called inadequate by some investors. I wonder if they'll have to significantly increase the offer to get the deal done.
It's important to remember that the people involved in the deal own a substantial amount of stock already.
I just got word from my friends Steve and Miles over at The Strip Podcast that their upcoming Thursday night episode will feature some new words from Steve Wynn and based on what Steve told me in a follow-up email, we're going to hear a few things that we've never heard before.
Also, The Strip has announced their first (I think so, right?) live event. This coming Sunday, January 28th, they will be co-hosting a live discussion at the Ghostbar at the Palms. The discussion features the top celebrity journalists, Perez Hilton, Robin Leach, Norm Clarke and Carlos Dias from ExtraTV. More details are available at http://www.partyatthepalmswithperez.com. There's a $10 cover and the show gets going at 8pm so make sure to get there with plenty of time to get in and upstairs. If you've never been to the Ghostbar, this is a good time to check it out, when it's not full of drunken fools all competing to fall off the balcony. The proceeds from the event go to the NLGJA.
So, some hot activity on The Strip Podcast this week. The show is recorded on Thursdays at 7pm and you can participate in a live chat while they do the show. I'm planning on joining in this week - looking forward to it. The chat room is located at: LVRocks.com and there should also be links from the Strip Podcast site. See you on Thursday!
Update: A little preview of tonight's Steve Wynn/Spamalot stuff is here.
Updated Thursday: This episode is now available. Wynn talks a bit about the golf course, indicating the zoning was more to do with the way the mortgage is collateralized than anything else but the course will indeed be re-developed in a few years. He also said that he will never do a dense development like City Center, citing his lower cost of land as one reason he doesn't need to. I recommend you listen to the podcast.
This just looks a little crazy but I thought I should report on it.
This article implies that Richard Branson, British business mogul, is interested in doing a project in Macau:
This seems a little wacky to me. I can't imagine him as an operator but who knows, maybe this will be brilliant. Does he have other hospitality assets?
I wouldn't normally post this as I get these press releases all the time but I thought this one was interesting.
It's a $20,000 package for a trip to the MGM Grand's Skylofts, designed for newlyweds.
It includes a meal at Robuchon, Ka, Tabu, the spa, Rolex watches (!), two nights in a one bedroom Skyloft and more. The complete description from the press release is after the jump.
This is a WSJ article so it requires a subscription or you'll have to find some other way to read it but it's recommended - interesting stuff.
Basically the concept is that operators could sell their real estate holdings and then sign long term management deals with the new owners of the real estate. This lets them monetize these assets and many of these companies like Harrah's or MGM MIRAGE are sitting on billions in real estate.
From the article by Peter Sanders:
"Blackjack players who are dealt a pair of aces often "split" the cards into separate hands, giving them two shots at hitting the jackpot. Now, some casino companies are considering a split of their own: effectively dividing their real-estate assets from the operating companies that run the casinos."
Ok, well, we all knew this was coming.
Macau, the former Portuguese colony near Hong Kong, has overtaken Las Vegas as the gambling capital of the world, at least in terms of gambling revenue.
For 2006, Las Vegas took in $6.5 billion while Macau saw $6.95 billion flow into their coffers.
Update: Looks like this is a 'probably' vs a certainty at this point. The $6.5B for LV is estimated and is the Las Vegas Strip, not the entire city. We'll see when those numbers are published. Still, if not this year, it will be basically a draw and next year I would say it is certain and will be clear.
Update (Wed): More on this from the RJ, along with some comments from Steve Wynn.
I'm finally back with another podcast. Sorry - it's been busy. This one's only about 40 minutes long so you should have plenty of time to listen.
In this episode I talk about the the Trippies, Wynn labor dispute, City Center progress, Wynn's golf course, and more. Hopefully the next podcast won't be another month away!
The link to the Las Vegas Photo Quiz is here: http://quiz.ratevegas.com - Enjoy!
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.
Today's newspapers have some interesting stories.
First off is the Sun with an article on Bobby Baldwin and the CityCenter plan. Some of the water and special features are alluded to here. A very interesting article. From this piece I can't help but think that pretty soon there will be way too many interesting resorts to really see Las Vegas in a single weekend anymore... if you can even do that still today.
Second is an article on implosion prep for the Stardust:
We've just launched the RateVegas.com Las Vegas Strip Photo Quiz. You can reach the quiz here:
It is a simple but fun photo matching game that you can use to test your knowledge of Las Vegas Strip architecture and geography. The highest scorers will be displayed on a special page.
Over time we will be swapping the photos out, so this will remain fresh.
This thing was put together very quickly but I think it's a lot of fun and I hope you enjoy it. Don't worry if you have a hard time with some of them - it is supposed to be a challenge!
We've discussed this in other threads but I thought it would be worthwhile to extract it out and focus the attention on 'The Vegas'.
The LV Biz Press has a blog entry on Wynn Resorts' activity in combining the parcels that make up the golf course into a set of properly zoned properties.
Is the golf course going to be re-developed sooner rather than later?
Update: In a recent interview on the Strip Podcast, Steve Wynn explains that this move was partially done due to the golf course being released from the mortgage collateral for the hotel.
The Smoking Gun, obtainers of mug shots the world over, has posted the legal documents that make up the Wynn vs. Lloyds of London lawsuit regarding paying lost value in the Picasso masterpiece, 'Le Reve'. Wynn asserts that he is owed the difference between a never-consumated sale price and the newly appraised value given that the painting has been restored.
This is a good spot for ongoing discussion on 'Le Reve' and the various damage issues.
** I was originally scheduled to do a tour of the City Center Sales Pavilion this weekend. Unfortunately something has come up and I will be in California instead. Anyway, here's some info I got on PCC from MGM MIRAGE and I will re-schedule my tour. **
MGM MIRAGE opened the Project CityCenter Sales Pavilion in early January to showcase the various features of their $7 billion project. The center features models of several of the condo units, incorporating state-of-the-art technology to give prospective buyers an immersive experience.
The Pavilion is open daily, 10am - 7pm. Appointments are preferred but according to MGM MIRAGE staffers serious prospects can often be squeezed in. More info, direct from MGM MIRAGE, on the various units follows.
Thanks again to Chris, our friend in Hong Kong, who checks in frequently with new info on progress in Macau. Keep reading after the jump to get the latest on everyone's favorite S.A.R.
Updates on the Sands, Galaxy, Cotai, the condo market and more.
Saw this one on Robin Leach's 'blog' on Vegas celebrity gossip topics and it's interesting.
The idea is that Luxor's name would change to 'The Pyramid' about halfway through the year when they open their new nightlife operations.
I know MGM MIRAGE is eager to re-make Luxor in the public's eye as it is seen as having languished under previous management. Still, this would be a big move. I'd be more inclined to see a marketing campaign around 'Luxor: The Pyramid' rather than dropping the former moniker altogether.
The previews start early March with the actual opening on March 31st. This version of the production will feature John O'Hurly, known for his recurring role on 'Seinfeld' as J. Peterman.
While they were once heralded as bringing in a new wave of entertainment to Las Vegas, shows such as 'Avenue Q', 'Hairspray', and 'We Will Rock You' all faltered. At the same time, 'Mamma Mia' has had a very successful run that is scheduled to end in 2008 and the version of 'Phantom' at The Venetian has seen some success. 'The Producers', another Broadway hit, opens in February at Paris Las Vegas.
I haven't seen 'Spamalot' but I've heard the show is 'wacky' and might be a good fit for Vegas audiences. These shows always suffer from having to be cut down to a running length no longer than 90 minutes, as well as the language barrier with foreign visitors that doesn't exist at non-verbal shows, like those from Cirque du Soleil.
I personally hope that this show works. I really liked 'Avenue Q' and was sad to see it go. I usually really enjoy myself when we spend a night on Broadway in NYC, though I rarely catch touring shows when they come to LA.
Howdy folks! As a quick aside, I meant to do a podcast tonight but it didn't happen - sorry!! I'm shooting for the weekend and from then on, probably every 7-10 days. Thank you for being patient. There's clearly a lot to about.
I am planning on being in Las Vegas at the end the month, just for a weekend, to tour and document the progress at CityCenter's preview center - thanks to MGM MIRAGE for any access. From what I'm told, the preview center is amazing - I look forward to sharing with everyone... Expect photos to follow.
Regarding Wynn Macau, their 'Diamond Suites' project, located on the property edge near the future MGM Grand (with its neat/original curtain wall design), is a new hotel tower with the aim to up their room inventory as the company also looks into possibilities on Cotai Originally, Wynn Macau had something akin to a phase '1b', which was supposed to expand the casino floor, add a showroom and a new 'front feature', all to open in early 2007. This front feature is some kind of special effects room that Wynn says will 'blow us all away'.
Given that the public spaces are now going to be more aligned with the 'Diamond Suites' areas, they have been delayed until later this year. The 'Diamond Suites' tower is still 18 to 25 months out, though no specific dates have been announced. Some of the new tables and slots will open for the celebration of Chinese New Year, which is also coming to Las Vegas in a few weeks.
Ok, and last, MGM MIRAGE has new renderings of both CityCenter and MGM Grand Macau in their latest financial presentation. Very interesting shots that really show how the new buildings will interact with each and specifically "NOT" interact with neighbors.
I realize this was long winded - sorry. I hope everyone is doing well. Photos will follow in this space.
The second phase of the hotel tower project at Red Rock Resort has recently been completed. The new expansion brings the total room count at Red Rock to over 800.
Originally opening in April 2006 with just over 400 rooms, this second phase is a welcome addition to the first $1 billion resort to be opened off the Strip in Las Vegas.
In addition, Fortune Magazine named owner Station Casinos as one of the '100 Best Companies to Work For' in their annual survey.
For those that haven't seen Red Rock, it is a pretty amazing property that seems to fit well with its surrounding area.
The NV Gaming Board has released its 245 page report on gaming in the state during the 2006 fiscal year ending June 30. Gaming revenue continued to be less than half of total revenues of $24.1 Billion.
Review Journal Summary of Gaming Abstract
Well, the long running 'Trippies' over at VegasTripping.com are over and the winners are announced.
I am happy to report that this blog was the winner for the 'Editor's Choice' for 'Best Blog'. We didn't win the people's award but at least it's someone I know - Steve over at EverythingLV.com.
Click here to see all the winners and thanks to all that voted:
Trippies 2006 Results
Thanks to reader Aaron_B for this well written trip report from Bellagio. This is his first contribution so let's give him a warm welcome.
Also, if there's anyone else out there that would like to share a report, please feel free to send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. I cannot guarantee that it will be published but I will guarantee to read it and get back to you. I'm especially interested in reports from hotels that we don't cover as often (i.e. not Wynn Las Vegas, The Mirage, Bellagio, etc...) but that doesn't mean you cannot submit one from the above.
Some photos are also posted:
The report continues after the jump. Enjoy!