Two Way Hard Three | Las Vegas Casino & Design Blog

June 18, 2010

Vegas Gang #48 - June 17th, 2010

Posted by Hunter

Podcast-a-palooza - dates coming very soon. Sorry for the delay.

* Wynn Resorts: Layoffs and Resort Fees
* MGM Resorts International and CityCenter Performance
* LVRJ and Righthaven File Lawsuits
* Vegas Gang 'Sure Bets'

Check out the show:

Feel free to leave your comments below. If it's a question that you want asked on the show, please make that clear in your post. You can also send those to


Read archived comments (7 so far)
June 18, 2010 11:19 AM Posted by detroit1051

This is one of the all time best Vegas Gangs. I loved Jeff Simpson's phrase, Darwinian Competition in the Wynn segment. I hadn't paid close enough attention to the Wynn resort fee news broken by Chuckmonster. Now, I know it doesn't apply to Tower Suite rooms. (Wynn's website has been changed to make the resort fees clearly known before making a reservation).
Can't wait for Dr. Dave's cover story in Global Gaming Business on the history of Aria/CC.
The Aria customer service segment should be mandatory listening for all MGM execs starting with Jim Murren.
Also really got an education from Chuckmonster and the rest of you on piracy/thefts from blogs and sites. Fascinating.

This only indirectly relates to customer service, but I sometimes search MGM property sites to see if any Hosts I know have moved to different properties. It's suprising to me that there is such a variance between MGM sites. Aria, MGM Grand, Mandalay Bay and The Mirage do not list their casino hosts at all. Yet, Bellagio, Monte Carlo, NYNY, Luxor and even Excalibur list their Hosts with photos and email addresses. If MGM (or MRI) is one entity, there ought to be at least a common framework tying all their properties together.

June 18, 2010 10:13 PM Posted by mary

It was interesting to listen to the comments on the Wynn layoffs.The Wynn spa was hard hit by the layoffs They laid 15 massage therapists from full time positions. they offered them" steady extra" jobs which have no guaranteed hours and cuts in benefits, which will cost more for less. Or they could take a severance package of a few weeks. almost all of them were there from the opening. They get no salary-commission only. Therefore they are cash cows for the casino. However, if they are steady extras and are laid off it doesn't count as a layoff.

June 19, 2010 3:05 PM Posted by Jeff in OKC

I wholeheartedly agree with Mr. Monster's comments in the beginning; I love the Vegas Gang, the podcast and everyone who listens and comments. It is truly a highlight of my week, whenever it uploads. Thank you to everyone involved with producing it.
Regarding this edition; I recall reading somewhere (on the internet, so it must be true) that resort fees aren't shared with third party booking sites/agents, so they do make more moeny from that fee. I do think it will increase use of the spa, since I think other cheap-asses like me will decide to go there. "I'm paying for it, dammit, so I wanna get some use out of it. What do they do there, anyway, give you some kind of lava-rock facial?"
I think Simpson is dead-on about staying at the nicest place you can afford now, since it may never be this cheap again. Lisa and I have been able to stay at Encore twice in the last year and loved every minute of it. Usually The Flamingo, Hilton or Golden Nugget are in our price range, but lately the price difference between them and Encore is small enough to make Encore impossible to pass up.
This leads me to the CityCenter segment, and again, I agree completely with Chuck; the staff there really needs to learn to be friendly. It almost seems like MGM told their staff that high end property employees are supposed to have a nouveau-snotty attitude. I think that is the true genius of the Wynn resorts; they make more people feel comfortable in their properties than any other place on the Strip, IMO. I picture one of those John Wooden type sayings- "You are most respected when you are most respectful".
Does anyone know if any other newspaper, or media outlet, is engaged in the same type of agressive web monitoring and lawsuit activity as the R-J/Righthaven partnership?
I think if Texas had been less arrogant toward Texas A&M, we would be talking about the PAC-16 today. I think Texas was more interested it staying aligned with Oklahoma than A&M, which does not go over well with the Aggies. I know that OU is the winningest football program in Big 12 history, as well as the most successful program in the nation since WWII, but it was clear that they weren't going anywhere without Oklahoma State first, and Texas second. Texas didn't share that sense of loyalty toward A&M. I think the "Grapes of Wrath" bond between Oklahoma and the farming region of California would have been a bonanza for the conference. The West Coast would love Oklahoma; the humility and values,. minus the Texas arrogance, would make for a great partnership.

June 22, 2010 3:03 PM Posted by Paolo

Loved this episode. You guys knocked it out of the park once again; I can't get enough of this stuff!

June 23, 2010 2:51 PM Posted by John

One of the best Vegas Gangs ever.

Love it when Chuck is on that soapbox.
Loved Dr. Dave's American Fish story.
Love Jeff's every-man common sense.
Hunter is okay, too.

June 24, 2010 12:06 PM Posted by atdleft

I'll need to load this up and give it a listen. I just got back on Tuesday from SoCal, so I still have some catching up to do on all the fun Vegas news. I can't stay away for too long...

July 3, 2010 10:24 PM Posted by mike_ch

I'm listening to this episode for the first time now because I've been waaaay backlogged on podcasts during my move.

I think those "Smile!" signs at Bellagio really do make a difference. I hate to put on my Mouse Ears, but 1994-2002 era MGM Grand, as well as (sort of) Circus Circus took a lot of lessons from Disney in customer service, and while Wynn would never admit to being inspired by them I wouldn't be shocked if he took some of it. I know that Disneyland has a lot of signs like that, a common gag among employees is getting a photo of yourself holding a cell phone under a sign on a door telling employees that for past this point they shouldn't be carrying a cell phone for thematic effect.

MGM Grand even took Disney's "movie stage" terminology of calling employees Cast Members and referring to the public places as "onstage" for a while.

Everything I heard about Circus Circus Enterprises is that they had real middle management issues (a Bellagio opening day waitress I talked to the other month described her time working at early Excalibur by making a disgusted sound and rolling her eyes,) but I have seen signage at Excalibur that keeps that same stage vibe. I actually have a picture somewhere of a backroom door ajar in Excalibur, with a sign on the back of the door saying "Keep this door closed, it ruins the 'show' for the guests if they see this backroom." I'm one of those people who can't pass up irony like that, so I took a picture.

It's clear at some point that MGM had some huge transition in training along the line somewhere, probably originating at MGM Grand (which erased all signs of the Disneyspeak around the time they adopted the "Maximum Vegas" slogan) and then slowly stretching out to Mirage properties, Mandalay properties, and finally CityCenter. Bellagio seems to be resisting the corporate 'blah's though, I'm not sure if this is because Bellagio has a certain amount of independence from the others and can flaunt the clout that it's the company's most successful property and is entitled to do things it's own way, or if it's that employees there are really happy long-timers who have no intentions to leave. Maybe a little of both.