Two Way Hard Three | Las Vegas Casino & Design Blog

All Articles Published: April 2010

April 28, 2010

Casino Design Photo of the Week: Bellagio

Posted by Hunter

Sorry no photo last week - I was off galavanting.

This time I'm back with an exterior shot at Bellagio. When I took this photo I was reminded, yet again, just how great all the exterior detail is at the resort. Great stuff.

April 26, 2010

Reminder: iPad Giveaway on May 6th

Posted by Hunter

Just a reminder that we're giving away an Apple iPad on May 6th to a random person leaving reviews through Vegas Mate or through

All the details are here:

Enter and win!

April 20, 2010

Wynn Cotai to Break Ground Next Year

Posted by Hunter

The WSJ is reporting that Wynn Resorts will break ground on a new Cotai property in Macau next year and open in 2013.

The 52 acre property will include a single hotel with about 450 gaming tables.

Wynn Resorts is opening Encore Macau this week.

April 20, 2010

MGM Mirage to Become MGM Resorts Intl.

Posted by Hunter

Personally, not a fan.

Which property is their top performer again? Oh, right.

Well, here are 88 photos of the Encore Beach Club construction site, taken last night and today, both from the ground and my 58th floor room.


April 15, 2010

Strip Walk - April 2010

Posted by Hunter

Mike is back with Strip Walk and this time, he's heading into Palazzo, Luxor, CityCenter, Treasure Island, Caesars Palace and more.

Food reviews for Solaro (Palazzo) and Grotto (Golden Nugget).

Complete photo gallery is here:

Today, MGM Mirage pre-announced their first quarter earnings, two weeks early. These are subject to change but let's be honest, they probably won't.

Why would a company pre-announce? Typically they have some information that is out of alignment with what the market knows and wants to give it some time to absorb. Often it's bad news...

Let's look at MGM's announcement - keep in mind that MGM Mirage only owns half of the CityCenter joint venture (the good half?)

MGM has always been very helpful in breaking out their results by property. Unfortunately, it appears that they are reporting their 50% of CityCenter's results as a single blob - no way to know Aria vs. Mandarin vs. Vdara vs. Crystals. Hopefully we'll get more detailed info in the real quarterly filing.

Compared to the year ago quarter, this time they don't have the benefit of the TI sale nor the insurance income from the Monte Carlo fire. Also, they had to write down the residential inventory at CityCenter, all of which hurt them compared to 2009Q1.

What is interesting - the CCJV netted $24 million from poor saps that abandoned their deposits on residential units. Probably can't count on that cash for 2011Q1.

CityCenter is reporting an operating loss of $255MM in the first quarter, though $171MM of that is a charge related to the write down of the residential inventory. Aria's loss is pegged at $66MM, though most of that is depreciation expense.

Did you spend time at Aria and wonder why you didn't hear your neighbor in the room next door? Chances are, you didn't have one:

"Occupancy percentage at Aria was 63% with an average daily rate of $194."

Ouch. That figure, 63%, is pretty darn low. That said though, the $194 isn't too bad - you wonder if they had lowered rates more if they could have boosted the occupancy.

As a comparison, in the first full quarter Wynn Las Vegas was open, it had an ADR of $264 and 93% occupancy... Granted, 2005 was a very different time for Las Vegas so even mention that here is probably grossly unfair.

Their non-CityCenter results aren't great either - Adjusted Property EBITDA for the wholly owned stuff is down almost 20%. Table games hold was down (it was at the high end of the range in 2009), though volume was up compared to 2009. REVPAR took another hit, to under $100 at $94.

Because of the charges and the prior year having the TI sale, they swung from $355MM operating profit to an $11MM loss. MGM Mirage has worked hard to pay down its debt and that's starting to show in the results as interest expense decreases.

So - tough quarter for MGM but they have some cash and borrowing available so they'll probably ride it out just fine. Hopefully in Q2 we'll see Aria firing on a few more cylinders - hard not to think that if this bleeding continues that they'll shed some additional service folks and degrade the experience for the guests.

Complete Release:

In other news, the company announced a private placement:

April 14, 2010

Casino Design Photo of the Week: Palazzo

Posted by Hunter

Week two - another photo. This is of the atrium area between Palazzo and The Venetian. I think this area, while somewhat reminiscent of some Bellagio design features, is the most successful bit of the newer Las Vegas Sands property.

Thanks to mike_ch for the photo, part of one of his recent Strip Walk adventures.

With a very terse statement, Wynn Resorts announced that it was terminating the Philadelphia project that they jumped into just weeks ago.

Press Release:


The project had been met with intense criticism from some locals. Also, Wynn himself got into a little bit of hot water by showing designs ahead of time to Las Vegas freelancer Steve Friess. Friess has posted a blog entry to clarify - this was not his fault.

What will Wynn Resorts do next? Any chance of an Atlantic City resurgence given this latest move? They are opening Encore Macau later this month but after that, the development pipeline is all Wynn Cotai, which is still in the planning phase.

The company hasn't not had a hotel under construction since Wynn Las Vegas started going up in 2003 (I'm pretty sure I'm right about this - WLV opened 2005 while WM was still under construction ; WM opened late 2006 while ELV was just getting started ; ELV opened 2008 while EM was still under construction).

April 7, 2010

Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas To Open in December

Posted by Hunter

Long rumored but finally official - the Cosmopolitan project, wedged between Bellagio and CityCenter, will open (mostly) in the middle of December.

As the article below says, this is gonna be the last opening for awhile.

April 7, 2010

Casino Design Photo of the Week: Encore Las Vegas

Posted by Hunter

I'm starting what will hopefully be a new weekly feature - the 'casino design photo of the week'. Basically, a picture of a design element or feature that I really like for some reason (and no, it won't just be pictures of Wynncore).

We start out this week with a picture from Encore. This is part of the convention area - a meeting room hallway. Whenever I walk a well-built meeting area I always wonder at all the little things they had to buy/have made - there are a ton of unique items from chairs to chests to sconces, etc...

April 2, 2010

Vegas Gang #45 - April 2nd, 2010

Posted by Hunter

Vegas Gang is back!

Win an iPad! Details here:

* Station Casinos Re-Org
* CityCenter's First Hundred Days
* CityCenter vs. Perini
* Atlantic City Mini-Casinos
* Closure of CalNeva

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