I didn't know Hal Rothman but I read a lot of what he wrote and I got the impression that he was a fascinating guy.
Unfortunately he died yesterday of Lou Gherig's disease at a tragically young 48 years old.
David Schwartz, my friend and his colleague, wrote some impressions of Hal.
Wynn Resorts announced their numbers today for Q4 2006 (and FY2006).
Despite opening Wynn Macau, the supposed cash generator for the company, they had a loss for the quarter of $55 million.
What does this mean for the company if they can't make a profit with Macau open? How serious is this and what will the company do to stop the bleeding? It is important to note that a large portion of the loss was related to debenture holders.
Despite operating at a loss, some of the numbers look good, including holds and net revenues.
The extensive press release is here:
Also interesting is the occupancy rate for Wynn Macau, which was just north of 80%. I watch the occupancy rates as a very interesting indicator of how the Macau market is rising to the challenge of conversion to a 'resort destination' city away from a day trip market.
Thanks again to Mike_ch who is kind enough to share his updates and thoughts on what's going on down on the Las Vegas Strip.
This one covers the Stardust, Bellagio, Wynn Las Vegas and Encore, The Venetian, Palazzo, Luxor, Mandalay Bay, Monte Carlo, New York New York, Planet Aladdin, and more.
Photos are located here: http://www.ratevegas.com/photo/gallery/mikech
Keep reading after the jump for the report.
Technorati Tags: aladdin, bellagio, boyd, caesars, casino design, gaming industry, harrahs, las vegas, lasvegas, lasvegassands, luxor, mandalay bay, mgm mirage, mirage, palazzo, photography, planet hollywood, project citycenter, stardust, vegas, vegas photos, venetian, wynn, wynnlasvegas
The Station Casinos board of directors have approved a bid to take the company private. The bid was put together by several board members who also comprise top management and their family members, the Fertitas.
The deal is worth $5.5 billion.
This is a topic that Detroit1051 has mentioned several times - Las Vegas infrastructure and how it impacts tourism.
Today's LV Sun has an article on that very topic. Jeff Simpson talks about the impact and some potential solutions.
What do you guys think? How bad is it now and will these problems make you re-consider your vacation?
Thanks to some friendly and reliable sources, I got a look at the play/comp requirements for Wynn Macau.
First off, I didn't realize that Wynn Macau is not extending credit - big players have to deposit front money and from what I saw, I got the impression this was for ALL players as the top levels were talking about deposits in excess of $500k USD. Does anyone know if Sands Macau gives credit?
To get comped a Sky End Suite (these are at the end of the tower - no comparable product at WLV but Encore will have them), you need to deposit $500,000 and have an average bet of $10,000. This qualifies you for a helicopter from Hong Kong as well. This suite's casino rate would be $3,000 to $3,400 a night, depending on the day of the week. This compares to a standard room with requires $25k in front money and an average bet of $650 per hand... Plus they throw in some ferry seats - no chopper for you!
It's interesting to see how things are different from Las Vegas... In Vegas, the really big players can have comps (private jet travel, etc...) extended prior to the trip - the big guys are known and the casino is confident in its ability to recoup. Not in Macau - Wynn Macau's comps start when you walk on site and not before. I guess they're still getting to know the regulars.
'Le Reve' is the Franco Dragone show that opened Wynn Las Vegas. It stumbled a bit out of the gate but seems to have found its footing as tickets are now selling at a normal pace.
Wynn Resorts purchased the remaining 'Le Reve' assets from Dragone last year with the intent of making some changes. Today they announced the theater itself is being remade a bit.
In a press release on their Web site, Wynn Resorts detail some of the changes, including warmer colors.
The show will be dark in March while these changes are implemented.
Boyd Gaming posted some nice results yesterday:
Boyd is building Echelon Place in Las Vegas on the site of the Stardust, which is set to come down in mid-March. Their joint venture in Atlantic City with MGM MIRAGE, Borgata, has many folks believing that Echelon is a project to watch and their Las Vegas opening will be a bigger splash than some have predicted.
Has Las Vegas become too big to continue to be an attractive destination for middle Americans? Negative publicity from the NBA weekend and today's story in the Review Journal on the mess at McCarran make me wonder when, or if, typical visitors will decided to try other casino/entertainment venues closer to home. In my opinion, the infrastructure in Vegas is so inadequate, it will take years, if it is possible at all, to fix traffic and airport issues. The weekend shootings at a strip club and MGM Grand parking structure and reported problems at Wynn add to the problem. Surely, MGM must be concerned with so much at stake with its properties and CityCenter. What are they doing to at least help correct infrastructure problems? Here are some recent articles:
Weekend shootings and fights at Tryst:
Local TV Coverage
Massive Lines at McCarran
I recogniize much of the violence came from LA gang members, but it sure doesn't help Las Vegas' image.
What do you locals think?
The Review Journal provides additional detail on Aladdin's transformation into Planet Hollywood. Planet Hollywood may very well succeed.
"We've spent considerably more than we thought we would on the project," said Earl, who added that $1 billion is being invested into all aspects of upgrading and redefining the Strip property."
"By the middle of this year, you'll never know the Aladdin existed," said Earl, adding that the dome that sat above the Aladdin sign was removed Thursday.
"A new front entrance on the Strip property's northern end has already opened while construction on the front continues. Retail tenants and restaurants are being added along Las Vegas Boulevard."
"He said he hopes the property will be on par with MGM Grand, The Mirage and Mandalay Bay."
"The remodeling of all the rooms is scheduled to begin in April with the first 600 rooms expected to be ready in six months."
Those that follow Las Vegas and the gaming industry know that Chinese New Year is a huge holiday that brings a lot of action to town.
Most American's aren't familiar with the holiday or the associated customs.
The Las Vegas Sun has an interesting article that covers some of the above.
MGM MIRAGE reported another blowout quarter, with Q4 profits doubling from last year. Quarterly revenues are up to $2.02 billion with almost $90 million coming from insurance recovery against Katrina losses.
These numbers were way above what analysts had predicted.
Wynn Las Vegas will add four new villas to the South side of the hotel, near the existing atrium villas on the pool side of the building.
Two of the villas have four bedrooms and the other two have three. All have media rooms, massage areas, spas and outdoor space with gardens and pools. They will be very similar to the existing atrium villas.
Adding these villas will require some of the landscaping in the South Tower area to be removed and reconfigured. Plans show another entrance from the street level as well.
According to Norm!, Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman will announce on Sunday the development of a $10 billion arena project in Las Vegas, designed to lure NBA and NHL teams to the city. The Memphis Grizzlies have been mentioned as a team that could find a new home in Vegas.
It will be interesting to see how this shakes out. Many people are opposed to spending tax payer dollars to build an arena that effectively subsidizes a team... Also, there's the whole sports betting thing to work out.
Update: As indicated in the comments and on Norm's page, the Mayor has hit back saying there is no truth to the rumor.
Looks like something at the Stardust site is on fire. Thanks to Christian for the updated photos!
MGM Mirage added a few press releases over the past couple of days detailing some upcoming plans.
First off is a new community in Jean, NV - just outside of Las Vegas. Currently they operate the Gold Strike and Nevada Landing. The latter will close and operations will be consolidated into the Gold Strike as a new casino hotel is developed, along with residential, retail and other mixed uses. What makes Jean interesting is the possibility of a new airport there at Ivanpah, serving Las Vegas's freight needs in the near term and international travel over the next ten years or so. With a monorail extension, this area could start to really hum.
Second on MGM Mirage's plate is brief announcement that their Macau partnership with Pansy Ho will build a resort on Cotai in that region. They don't specify the parcel other than to refer to it as a 'prime identified site'.
The other story of the day I thought was interesting is coming out of the Harrah's LBO. It's been revealed that part of the financing will come from Harrah's own assets. I find this fascinating and I am considering taking Wynn Resorts private by borrowing against their properties - can I do that? :-)
More on the Harrah's setup from the always excellent Business Press.
Lastly, a quick mention that high end condos aren't selling quite as fast as some thought.
Here's the latest podcast and it's a good one. This episode features an interview with Tim and Michelle from Five Hundy By Midnight as well as spots on Las Vegas Sands and the new Tropicana.
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.
My good friend Mike E. has started up his own blog... No, it's not Vegas related - it covers life's luxuries and it is called La Dolce Life.
Actually, there will likely be some overlap but Mike as assured me we'll still continue to get his trips to Fairway Villas, ten bedroom Skylofts and other amazing reports. I wouldn't be surprised to hear about a trip on Wynn's jet to Macau - you never know.
Anyway, I encourage all to check it out. It's located here:
The Nevada Gaming Control Board approved the deal that swaps the Barbary Coast hotel and casino on the Las Vegas Strip for 24 acres of land located near Boyd Gaming's 'Echelon Place' site.
Harrah's had been trying to grab the site for years and Boyd finally relented last year. Harrah's is expected to include the Barbary site in any Strip re-development master plan, though that may have been slowed down due to the company being taken private.
Along with the sale, the Barbary Coast will be changing its name to 'Bill's Gambling Hall and Saloon'. The award winning restaurant 'Michael's' will be moving to the South Point down the road.
The Lady Luck shut down for renovations almost a year ago with the promise of renovation - well, it is still closed. Some predicted that the hotel would never re-open and so far it seems that is still an option.
The RJ has an article on the Lady Luck's status:
Interesting article in the LVBP talking about Las Vegas Sands recent lawsuit from the AAEC. Apparently they saw this one coming as early as 2002 and it finally landed in their lap.
Well, we all know that MGM Mirage is planning to enter the Macau market with the under-construction MGM Grand Macau. Since MGM is not a concessionaire in Macau, they have to partner with someone that is or has a sub-concession... Well, they hooked up Pansy Ho, daughter of Macau old-timer Stanley Ho.
Stanley's well known to be a least a little on the sketchy side (some would say totally on the sketchy side). The question that's come up is if partnering with Pansy would allow Stanley any undue influence into her operations.
The Nevada gaming regulatory bodies are investigating Pansy's suitability as MGM Mirage is a multiple license holder in the Silver State. Will this be a problem? The licensing is taking longer than many expected - does that mean they've found some items they're not too happy with?
A couple of articles discussing related issues:
and related to Pansy, brother Lawrence and Packer's media conglomerate:
Las Vegas Sands (LVS), operators of The Venetian, Sands Macau and constructing the Venetian Macau, Marina Bay Sands and the Palazzo, reported huge numbers for the fourth quarter of 2006 and the year as a whole: