Two Way Hard Three | Las Vegas Casino & Design Blog

March 13, 2008

Open Topic Discussion - March 13, 2008

Posted by detroit1051

Here's another Vegas book, but I'll skip this one:

Double or Nothing: How Two Friends Risked It All to Buy One of Las Vegas' Legendary Casinos, by Tom Breitling


Read archived comments (35 so far)
March 13, 2008 11:56 AM Posted by

OT: Florida
The Seminole Tribe is going big-time with table games to go along with their new Class III slots. They're going to have job fairs for dealers in AC, Conn, the Gulf Coast and maybe Vegas.
The Seminoles have a new website to recruit dealers and other table game employees.

They plan to hire 3,650 dealers for their Florida casinos.

Hard Rock in Hollywood will have 74 tables and add 700 jobs. Tables will be running in June with blackjack, baccarat and pai gow. This is in addition to the 50 poker tables already operating.

How many tables does a STN or BYD casino typically have?

On the website, click on "Work" to see available positions and benefits. The FAQ section gives more details.

No wonder BYD won't open Dania Jai Alai slots here in the Ft Lauderdale area.

March 13, 2008 2:31 PM Posted by DavidF

I am in Tampa Right now opening a New Office for my work � There was Big Story on the Local News Last night related to that announcement. The Hard Rock Casino here is going to introduce Table Games, right now its just slots and poker, and that they would need to hire 1200 Plus people, the problem is that Tampa has no Dealer Schools, hence the need to initially source from out of town. Do you think people would be tempted to relocate?

I had never really thought about it, but was interesting to hear the staffing levels required, for example they say they need to hire an average of six dealers for every Blackjack table.

March 13, 2008 4:14 PM Posted by Jeff Simpson

I'm reading Breitling's book right now, about halfway through. Some interesting stuff, but nothing truly eye-opening. I expected more. If that changes, I'll post again.

March 13, 2008 7:11 PM Posted by motoman

With the bloodshed in Vegas home values and the associated ripple effect, there should be plenty of interest in relocating. Even during the boom times, cab drivers and a local friend always told us that although we always hear about how many folks were moving to Vegas every month, the untold story was how many can't make it and leave.

Not that the southern Florida real estate situation is any better. But if you have a specific job skill, are facing foreclosure, and someone wants to hire you....well the grass is always greener as they say.

On the other hand, if anyone here can feel when the bottom has been hit, it ought to be a great time to buy a place in Vegas, if only for an investment rental property. Think tax deductible trips....

March 13, 2008 7:23 PM Posted by detroit1051

David, the Seminole employment website is well done, and at this time of year, they're smart in showing the Hollywood, FL temperature in real time on the home page. It also has links to realtors for people relocating. Since the Seminoles are new to this, they want mostly experienced dealers. I think some dealers from Atlantic City, Biloxi and the mega-tribal casinos in Connecticut may be interested if the price is right. By the time hurricane season rolls around, they'll already be here, and it will be too late to back out. :)
I don't understand the staffing. The first to offer tables will be Hollywood Hard Rock, and they say they're hiring 700 people for 74 tables. That's 9.5 per table. Seems high to me.

March 13, 2008 9:09 PM Posted by PeterF

This could be an expensive way to find people they really want. Hire more people than needed and after 6 months or a year lay-off the excess workers claiming that play level at the tables isn't what they expected.

March 14, 2008 9:30 AM Posted by Mike P.

My wife and I somehow have ended up in Vegas for a medical conference during one of the biggest convention weeks of the year. We're staying at Palazzo this time: here are a couple quick notes while I soak up some more coffee.

We booked the one category of true suite advertised on Palazzo's web site. I haven't stayed in a Wynn Parlor suite, but based on their web sites this is about the same size and layout, and it's a little larger than a Bellagio suite.

Ours has a couple punch list items, and there are a few pieces of dubious workmanship, but overall it's better than OK. It meets our three major requirements for a hotel room: it's roomy, the bed is comfortable, and it's quiet.

The casino level of the hotel is substantially complete, and all the restaurants on the first floor are now open. I'd say about half the retail on the second floor is open, along with Lagasse's Table 10 and a wine bar. The third level and pool deck is still closed off, except for a Canyon Ranch reception desk. The spa itself isn't open yet.

There are three high end steak houses here, which seems strange, and we've tried all three this week. So far Wolfgang Puck's CUT looks like a winner, but Morels and Carnevino also have high quality -- and high priced -- cuts of dead cow to offer. As I said there's a huge construction industry convention in town, and if they're depressed they're not showing it. Restaurants have been packed.

I'm probably revealing myself to be a casino design philistine, but I like Palazzo's casino just fine. It's easy to navigate, not too smoky (yet), and for now at least they have a decent selection of video poker for the dollar and up player. I didn't check the blackjack tables last night, but there were lots of $10 tables earlier in the week.

A couple other things - Encore's lettering has gone up on the swoop. CityCenter is just mind boggling. The progress in just the three months since our last visit is amazing. Cosmo seems to still be on track as well. I've sent a few pictures to Hunter to post on one of the ratevegas accounts.

March 14, 2008 10:03 AM Posted by David McKee

Does anybody know why Jack Sheehan parted company with the Breitling book (whose working title was the emetic "The Golden Boys")?

March 14, 2008 2:00 PM Posted by Dave

I read the Breitling book a few weeks ago, and we're doing a signing for him at UNLV. I think that the book's greatest value is how it ties the latest Vegas era to the Internet bubble. Plus, there are not that many first-hand accounts of the Nevada licensing procedure, so it's a good thing to get the licensee's perspective.

I'll be posting some more info about the signing when I get a chance. If you're in Vegas, it'll be a good chance to learn a little more about the book and get a chance to ask Tom a question or two.

March 14, 2008 7:03 PM Posted by Phouchg

On CityCenter:

What exactly is the plan for Harmon Rd.? I know it is intended to somehow align from Las Vegas Blvd. then over I-15. Can somebody point me to how this is going to be accomplished?


March 14, 2008 9:26 PM Posted by Hunter

Those photos are up:

Re: CityCenter and Harmon, I believe that folks existing on FSD will be able to use the overpass but you will have to drive through the resort to get from The Strip to FSD.

March 15, 2008 3:27 AM Posted by mike_ch

My question about Harmon is if it will link up properly with the Harmon on the other side of the Strip? It seems like the present Harmon goes over the closed overpass then meanders between Vdara and Cosmo and the hotel, then links to the Strip somewhere north of the east side of that road.

If I could get to Harmon West from Harmon East, it would make a good escape route from Paris and P-Ho. As it is, you have to drive Koval all the way down to Trop, which can be hairy.

March 15, 2008 4:56 AM Posted by detroit1051

Great report and photos from Mike P.
Is it just me, or is the "Encore" script on the swoop disappointing? Maybe it's because it's not Steve Wynn's name, but it looks weak to me. It doesn't make a statement.

March 15, 2008 11:42 AM Posted by Hunter

As far as I know, it will not link both sides of Harmon across LVB unless you drive through CC's main porte cochere. Fun.

The Encore script always looked a little awkward to me when I saw it in their plans as well. A little 'cartoony' or like a right handed person writing with their left hand.

BTW, reading the Binkley book and loving it. Lotsa fun even if it is a little trashy in places.

March 15, 2008 4:32 PM Posted by Jeff in OKC

Sorry, but what is FSD?

March 15, 2008 5:31 PM Posted by detroit1051

FSD = Frank Sinatra Drive. It runs along the east side of I-15:

March 15, 2008 7:00 PM Posted by mike_ch

So basically Harmon is just a feeder road for CityCenter now. Well, no reason to take it for anything then.

Detroit: I've thought Encore sounds like a weird name for the hotel since the start, as it makes it sound like a side dish to Wynn's entree. I'd think it was a step down from Wynn on name alone.

However, with the whole meeting room name discussion of last week, I think it's possible there could be a (likely vague) music theme? That wouldn't be bad.

March 15, 2008 9:01 PM Posted by Mark D

"Vegas, Right Now!" That's the new LVCVA ad campaign slogan. Sounds desperate.

Last I heard, Harmon on the east side of the Strip will be realigned and make a slight curve to the north through that vacant lot in front of Krave. The Harmon over pass goes over Frank Sinatra Drive and also Dean Martin Drive on the other side of the freeway, but I imaging they will have some short connector streets to link all that up. Haven't seen any plans to turn the Harmon overpass into a real interchange with I-15.

March 15, 2008 10:55 PM Posted by Hunter

Sounds like Mark D. has some more updated info than the last thing I saw...

Harmon certainly won't be as useful as it could have been but hopefully not a total waste.

March 17, 2008 7:08 AM Posted by Brian Fey

Ron Kramer, left Wynn Resorts. I can't help but to wonder if there is more to this story than meets the eye. He left Wynn a 10 Billion dollar company, for a $200 Million dollar company, that sells building supplies, and installes them also? Who would do that? Why would you go to work for a building supply company in this terrible housing market? This is odd, I do have to say. Lastly, This was on the street, before Wynn issued a PR, that does not set well with me as a shareholder.

March 17, 2008 8:00 AM Posted by detroit1051

Thanks for the news, Brian. I'm also interested to know why he left. In Binkley's book, "Winner Takes All", she wrote that Kramer lived in New York City.

March 17, 2008 12:35 PM Posted by David McKee

Kramer wanted certain assurances, according to Binkley, that Wynn was going to mind his Ps & Qs and not indulge in certain excesses of his Mirage Resorts years, particularly in terms of using the company to underwrite his lifestyle. Which leads me to wonder if this is a reprise of the Wynn/Dan Lee split.

"Last I heard, Harmon on the east side of the Strip will be realigned and make a slight curve to the north through that vacant lot in front of Krave."

That's been the plan for an entire decade, ever since the Clark County Commission approved that S-curve in the first place. Actually getting it *done* has been a little problematic up 'til now.

March 17, 2008 2:40 PM Posted by socalduck

The Ron Kramer news is definitely interesting. What I found unusual is that he is planning to stay on through March 31st. Usually, when a guy at this level announces his departure, he's gone the same day. Of course, he's not leaving for another gaming company, which may explain the delayed departure. There has to be more to this story...

March 17, 2008 7:13 PM Posted by detroit1051

Excerpt from Wall Street Journal story dated 3/18/08:
"Mr. Kramer, 49 years old, will leave Wynn when his contract expires at the end of March to become CEO of Griffon, which makes garage-door openers and specialty plastic films used in diapers and sanitary napkins. At Griffon, Mr. Kramer will succeed his father-in-law, Harvey R. Blau, as chief executive."

It certainly doesn't sound as interesting as the casino business, but the family tie may explain why he's going.

March 18, 2008 2:54 AM Posted by motoman

Thanks for the family tie and contract expiry info, detroit. That sheds some light. The AP noted that Kramer's been on the board of Griffon for the past 15 yrs. and is a vice chairman. In the Wynn press release Kramer and Wynn gave more than the generic "leaving for family reasons" or "to pursue other interests" sound bite. Though as you note, family reasons does sound realistic for once.

PS-- Bear Stearns upgraded WYNN. Umm....whoever is manning their office today, anyway....!

March 18, 2008 1:51 PM Posted by mike_ch

The Review-Journal has become insufferable to read. I am ending my subscription.

I'm ending it mostly because I feel the cost benefit is very low (I could just buy a paper whenever I want one and spend less than a subscription) but what certainly helps push me over the edge is that the three Norm-free days of the week now have a Norm Lite column where some guy talks about, you guess it, The Strip and what celebrities are showing up and who is here to be seen.

Meanwhile, war in Iraq is somewhere two pages underneath that garbage.

Thank goodness the Sun is becoming more and more of an online entity. We originally subscribed when they were a complete paper of their own and while they aren't flawless (see SteveF's blog) I prefer it anyway. If I want to read about the strip, I'll go read Jeff's and Liz's stories and skip this page 3 thing about what hotel can say "Snoop Dogg slept here" as of last weekend.

March 18, 2008 2:38 PM Posted by detroit1051

Look at the photos. Is this what Fontainebleau Las Vegas will look like?
My layman's opinion is, those are some ugly rooms!

March 19, 2008 8:18 AM Posted by Brian Fey

I see both the Bodies and Titanic exhibit are moving to the Luxor. The just brings two things to my mind.

1. This is yet another slap in the face for Tropicana.

2. Though MGM does many things right, and many times, it just takes a good idea from someone else.

I do like the exhibits, but I would have hopped the team at MGM could at least be a bit original and come up with some ideas of their own. Instead they just go the simple path, and do the same thing.

Do we have any news about the Plaza from the zoning meeting last night?

March 21, 2008 2:06 PM Posted by Brian Fey

I hate to rehash old stuff here. And everyone knows, I am the biggest Wynn fan in the world. But I saw this Starbucks story all over the news the last few days.

Now, I know I am not very smart, but I can't help but to wonder if this will reopen this huge can of works with this whole Wynn tip situation.

Am I missing something, how is this any different than what's happening at Wynn? I know Wynn's case is out of court now, but this looks like a very similar situation, and Starbucks was not as lucky as Wynn, their being ordered to pay back over $100 Million in tips to upper management. I had hoped this was all behind us, but I will be shocked if this don't re-ignite this battle.

Is this situation different, and I just overlooked something?

March 21, 2008 4:34 PM Posted by DavidF


The one thing that sticks out to me about the Starbucks case is that is was confined to California, so I would think that it was tried due to a violation of State Law there, no doubt the net would have been cast wider if they could especially since it was granted class-action status.

I have noticed that the Wynn Tip (and Union) thing has gone very quiet, because of the distinct and IMHO welcome lack of vitriol that had been present here on anything regarding Steve Wynn in the past. Has anyone got any sort of update on these to subjects? and can write about it in a somewhat balanced manner?

March 21, 2008 6:54 PM Posted by motoman

Yeah, it appears to be a California state law that prohibits management sharing tips given to employees. But I did have the exact same reaction upon hearing of this, Brian. It's possible an appeal might be attempted, depending on what existing Nevada laws say about the issue.

DavidF, the lack of vitriol is indeed welcome.... and I noticed no sense of tension among WLV's dealers and floormen who were as jovial as always when we visited during that time. I therefore was left to consider the source(s) of the stories we were hearing.

March 22, 2008 8:58 AM Posted by Jeff in OKC

I think from the truest, legal sense, "What Happens In California Stays In California" (That's to make Steve Friess crazy). But, I think that every dealer, union member, spokesperson and lawyer will be pointing straight to that decision whenever this issue is discussed, regardless of the appeal status. I'm guessing we'll be hearing a lot more about this.

March 22, 2008 3:30 PM Posted by mike_ch

They're putting Titanic on the second floor? Seriously?

It should be interesting to see how that plan to put that enormous side piece of the hull up there, not to mention how well the upper floor of the building will fare dealing the strains of a huge, heavy piece of steel weighing it down.

If they had really though this through, they'd put Bodies upstairs where Tut currently is, and put Titanic in the entrance and lobby to the main theatre, since the latest updates on the Attention Seeker's MySpace (I dare not write his name lest he's Googling himself to see how many hits he's getting) suggests that his Cirque thing won't be opening up anytime in the near future.

March 23, 2008 1:27 AM Posted by Mike E

It looks like I'll be hanging around McCarran an hour and a half after I touch down this Thursday. Tom Breitling will be doing a signing to promote "Double or Nothing" at the Borders there:

I don't know how busy it'll be, how much time I'll get, or even how sociable he really is, but if anyone has any questions you'd like me to throw his way, let me know and I'll see what I can do.

March 26, 2008 6:47 AM Posted by detroit1051

Liz Benston in the LV Sun weighs in on the Starbucks tips case: