Two Way Hard Three | Las Vegas Casino & Design Blog

I'm taking a suggestion from my friend and reader David F. to have an open thread once a week where people can discuss whatever they like without running afoul of posting guidelines, re: staying on topic. If this is successful, we'll do this weekly and of course it would be accompanied by more strict 'on-topic' discussion enforcement on other threads.

The normal posting guidelines apply - civility is not something that we opt out of on any thread and I want to take a harder line on general negativity. I'm not the thought police but I'm trying to prevent all threads devolving into predictable positions, especially on topics related to everyone's favorite four letter word (listed on NASDAQ, of course).

So - enjoy... Discuss anything Vegas related in this trial balloon and we'll see how it goes.


Read archived comments (21 so far)
May 21, 2007 6:24 AM Posted by BrianFey

This is a great idea. One I've thought about suggesting to you. Like yesterday, I knew my post was way off topic, but it was related to our love. So I just posted it under the Condo Craze!

May 21, 2007 9:21 AM Posted by Mike P.

I've added some construction photos taken the last few days to my web site at

One picture some of you might find interesting shows a detail of the curtain wall of the CityCenter resort hotel: If the picture looks a little hazy it's because it was taken through a filthy window in the beautiful Monte Carlo Resort & Casino.

Up the street a ways Palazzo's elevator core is topped out and it looks as if the steel frame will be completed within days. I'm starting to think they'll get it open this year after all -- at least partially.

Hunter - I'd be happy to send pictures to ratevegas or your flickr account if you're interested. I have tons of cheap bandwidth & storage space on my own site though, so I don't mind hosting them.

May 21, 2007 9:24 AM Posted by Hunter

I like grabbing photos because then they get integrated with the rest of the site, which is nice.

So, if you have photos you think would be nice to publish, please send them to


May 21, 2007 10:19 AM Posted by Mark D

Ah, I was wondering how to send photos to you, thanks. I'm going shooting today. What size do you want them?

I was thinking this might be a good place to share my thread over at SSC where I'll be compiling data and news stories about the new Ivanpah airport south of Vegas.

The biggest problem I see with all the new north Strip room inventory proposals is that McCarran will not be able to deliver enough visitors to fill the rooms. It takes 336 visitors a year to keep one room filled at current occupancy rates. Not even taking into account future projects like CityCenter North, or LVT, or Goldman Sachs Stratosphere expansion, or Neon Nights, or Union Park, or Wynn's golf course, or Station's project W, or whatever replaces the Riviera, etc, etc, there are already 37,000 new hotel rooms under construction or approved right now that will be opening between late 2007 and 2011. They need over 12 million more visitors a year to fill those rooms, but McCarran will be at its absolute maximum expandable level with only 9 million more visitors after their 3rd terminal opens and will have zero room to expand after that. Currently, they are about half way through the Environmental Impact Statement study and Ivanpah is not scheduled to be complete until 2017. That means that there will be six years of over supply. I know a lot of people have "cried wolf" about oversupply of rooms in Vegas in the past and been proven wrong, but this time it might be real if the new airport isn't put on a fast-track development schedule. There's plenty of demand for more rooms in Vegas, but currently no logistical way to deliver enough people to fill them.

May 21, 2007 10:31 AM Posted by Hunter

Hey Mark,

I would say at least 1024x768 and perhaps even larger - I like the flexibility of large images. Thanks!

May 21, 2007 11:12 AM Posted by detroit1051

Mark D and Mike P, what great information and photos!
Mike, P, Palazzo's retail podium looks even better than a few weeks ago, and CityCenter Casino's curtainwall is very dramatic.
Mark D, I've appreciated your photos on skyscraperpage for some time.

One of the great pleasures of flying into McCarran is descending over southern Utah/northern Nevada and then seeing how Lake Las Vegas has developed. When I see the mortuary/cemetery on Eastern, I know I'm there. From there, it's mere minutes to the Strip. Ivanpah will be 30 miles away. How long will the drive be to the Strip on Friday afternoons as weekend traffic is driving in from California? I may not like change, but Ivanpah will take away from the total Vegas experience. I hope Ivanpah will be used primarily for freight and international flights. Ivanpah is so significant for Las Vegas, it will need its own category here before long. Either that, or a main airport category to cover both airports, the consolidated car rental facility and everything else related to getting to and from Las Vegas.

May 21, 2007 12:12 PM Posted by Tom M

If McCarren can add 9 million of the 12 million needed that means you need 3 million from somewhere else. Since Las Vegas gets a huge number of visitors coming in by car from SoCal I wonder if anyone knows what these numbers are and if there is room for expansion there. I know the highways are crowded already but there are expansion plans or construction there also. I think if they build the Ivanapah airport they need to build a high speed train service to the strip so you can avoid the traffic. Also, won't the currently unbuilt portions of the south strip become more valuable as the new airport opening gets close to reality. I suspect that by 2025 or so the construction boom will move well south towards the new airport. By the way, the room occupancy rates in Las Vegas have always been much higher than the average for hotels nationwide. I suspect these resorts will still do well if the rates drop. I guess it depends on the financing assumptions.

May 21, 2007 1:35 PM Posted by Brian Fey

Will the main LV Strip entrance not be at street level? The north end by Wynn, appears to have a street level entrance, and obviously the south entrance has does also. But looking at that picture, the main center entrance has stairs leading up. This is what they said killed the Aladdin, not being at street level. Maybe there is a street entrance for the casino level, and those stairs lead to the 2nd level, where the shopping area will be?

May 21, 2007 1:43 PM Posted by mike_ch

A few newspapper stories today:

The Sun talks about the role of the internet in the Wynn tip dispute and specifically that casino worker's board. Personally, I've always found information there to often be suspect in accuracy, but here you go:

Lest you think Wynn is the only casino with problems, the RJ's Jane Ann Morrison talks about the Venetian and a string of underage gamblers, including some hot water for failing to report one to Gaming Control:

May 21, 2007 2:17 PM Posted by socalduck

I just got back from spending the weekend at the Venetian, and was very interested in seeing mike_ch's LVRJ article regarding underage gamblers. I spent quite a bit of time playing craps on Saturday, and noticed a number of people being carded (more than I ever recall seeing previously), as well as overhead a few comments/jokes between the dealers and floor staff on the topic. I guess this explains the extra attention.

Since this is an open thread, I'll throw in a few impressions of my visit. We had one of the newly renovated rooms in the Venetian tower. The updated decor is somewhat akin to what you would find at theHotel. Less frilly, more modern. The old, bulky armoire/TV cabinets have been replaced with wall mounted LCDs, which helps open the room up a bit. However, the picture quality of all three TVs (there is also one in the bathroom now) left much to be desired.

Since me last visit, they have opened the TAO Beach pool addition. As with the main pools, it appeared to be pretty busy on Saturday, although it seemed the proportion of gals to guys was skewed about 2/3rds towards the guys, so what's the point? I still think the cabanas at the Venetian's main pool beat anything else in town, including the Wynn.

Casino was busy througout our stay. We also spent some time playing over at Bellagio, which I normally enjoy, but on this trip I felt the Venetian had the edge in terms of overall service, at least in the casino. We had dinner at Prime, and it was phenomenal from start to finish.

May 21, 2007 4:02 PM Posted by Mike E

Mark D, like detroit1051, I also lurk the SSC pages in search of your updates. Love the pics.

I'm looking forward to Ivanpah. Words can't describe that final turn into the Las Vegas valley, especially at night. It's something I miss each time I fly, but Ivanpah will address that. And since limo is my most preferred form of transportation from the airport and I'm already paying a flat rate of $60 or so for the convenience, I like that I'll get a comfortable ride through the desert on my way to my destination.

May 21, 2007 10:39 PM Posted by Mark D

Good points about Ivanpah. After IVP is built most domestic passengers will still fly into McCarran and IVP will take almost all of the cargo and jumbo jets and international flights. The 12 million figure doesn't include the other 432,000 extra visitors needed in the equation that are predicted to arrive by mostly I-15, and also maybe more drivers from Arizona once the Hoover Dam Bypass is completed. IVP will have it's own car rental facility, so that will clog I-15 more, although that part of the highway is being widened right now. Yes, the new resorts south of McCarran, like M and Southern Highlands and Vegas Wet, will be the first resorts people see when they come in from IVP, which will give them some advantage, the same way the south half of the Strip has had an advantage in luring newbie gawkers as they arrive from McCarran. There's been talk of building some sort of rapid transit from IVP to the Strip, but we all know that Clark County doesn't have a very good track record on public transportation. Anyway, those 12,432,000 needed visitors are only for rooms that are definitely coming online ... and sooner than expected. But now all these financiers are making all these huge real estate bets on much, much more extra Strip growth over just the next ten years or less. MGM already said that CityCenter North might even start before CityCenter is finished and that's not counted in these travel capacity projections. Yeah, the occupancy rates are higher here than around the country, but don't forget that the people who stay in rooms tend to play table games more and make higher bets then day trippers who drive in. So a lower occupancy rate would spell a smaller "drop" in the casinos. Also, part of the way McCarran will reach its maximum capacity figure will be to move the Executive terminal to some other field, but they don't know where yet. All those private jets with just a few passengers are using runway time that could be used for commercial carriers.

May 22, 2007 2:16 AM Posted by MGK

Speaking of City Center, it looks like their website got an updated look, plus some new graphics...

May 23, 2007 8:26 PM Posted by mike_ch

So how does Wynn lose his five-star rating due to unhappy dealers? I thought the AAA/Mobil ratings judged these places on their capability as a hotel, and doesn't grade the casino.

Even if they did grade the casino, Tower Suites has no casino.

May 23, 2007 10:35 PM Posted by Mike E

Mike, when Mobil rates casino hotels, they consider the service within the casino itself as well.

The baccarat and high limit slot rooms are considered private to Tower Suites for the sake of rating.

May 24, 2007 1:04 PM Posted by motoman

detroit, a separate category for these "travel" issues is an excellent idea!

I have more & more trouble understanding the logic of putting this new airport directly in the path of the traffic jam from SoCal. Sure, it'll divert the Laughlin traffic (which can't be much) and cargo. Just seems there are a lot of other possibilities around all that desert. It will definitely ignite a building boom in So. Clark County, for better or worse. (Maybe that was the intent....)

Tom M, a train does seem like a necessity all right, and it could even service the existing car rental facility to avoid clogging I-15 south of town with Ivanpah rentals. But like Mark D says, this town is just too damn short-sighted about transit projects. Of all places, Vegas/Clark County can certainly afford it--and needs it! Pity.

May 29, 2007 6:33 PM Posted by Brian Fey

Maybe they had Leonard in mind when they made this game?

May 29, 2007 11:53 PM Posted by Mike E

LOL, Leonard might enjoy this one more:

May 30, 2007 10:42 AM Posted by Leonard Stern

Yo Brian, the "Kicking Steve's Ass" game is absolutely HILARIOUS! I wish that I had come up with that one. I'm going to make sure to distribute it to all of my fellow Wynn-haters out there. They should actually consider marketing an interactive game like that which is compatible with the Nintendo Wii, you know so one can experience the complete virtual "immersion" of puncing the crap out of Steve's ugly mug, replete with lots of blood + stuff to liven it up a little. Mike E: NOT F*CKING FUNNY!

May 30, 2007 1:09 PM Posted by mike_ch

Mike E, you couldn't even really get his haircut in there. Too much forehead, I guess.

June 2, 2007 7:12 AM Posted by Brian Fey

Want to go to Vegas, but can't ?

This just might be the next best thing. Leave it to Google, click this link, then click on the Street View and look at Las Vegas. You can drive all around town, its just amazing. Its maybe 8-9 months old, but its better than nothing. This is some pretty impressive technology!