Two Way Hard Three | Las Vegas Casino & Design Blog

February 23, 2012

Vegas Gang #74 - February 23rd, 2012

Posted by Hunter

Episode #74 is up!

Listen here:

This time on the show:

- Wynn vs. Okada
- Echelon
- MGM Results and CityCenter's Flaws
- Dr. Dave's Banging Week

** Sure Bets **

Chuck - Delancy Street Foundation Moving Team
Dr. Dave - KISS $500 VIP Ticket to Golf
Hunter - Ollo Clip


Read archived comments (8 so far)
February 23, 2012 7:18 PM Posted by mike_ch

Wynn isn't going to prosecute Okada over the use of his own name. I hate to redneck out, but I know this from professional wrestling because it's why some guys choose to use their actual names. If you work for the WWE as some pseudonym, they usually own that pseudonym and you can't take it to a competitor, so a number of guys prefer to keep their real name and take it wherever they go in the future. Brock Lesnar is probably the most recent high-profile example. WWE tends to throw (TM) marks on these guys names in press releases and the like, but they really can't prosecute someone with that name. So if some guy used another wrestler's real name as a pseudonym WWE could sue them, but not if it's their real name. Long story short, Okada can put his name on whatever he wants to so long as it's intended to associate it with him.

I think what stood out the most to me in the report is how much the language barrier played into things. Okada's go-fer apparently said "we'd like to buy an Encore Suite (but would prefer a villa.)" What he was supposedly trying to communicate was that Universal was something akin to, "we're willing to pay for an Encore Suite, but allow us any grease we have to get the nicest available room you're willing to give at no additional charge."

The Wynn Macau people interpreted it as "we want to buy an Encore Suite at minimum, but will buy anything up to the nicest villa." So they gave him Villa 81 expecting to get full value for it. As a result, this Wynn junket exploded Universal's expenses account and Okada fired the guy. I was referring to this on Twitter as the Twenty Thousand Dollar Trick.

Another guy bought a Chanel bag for the guest's wife, but she didn't like it, so he kept for his own wife, which I think is inappropriate on a company budget no matter where you work. Okada's guys seemed to be somewhat overwhelmed with the luxury and the expense account and went wild. Okada himself showed up for one night, stayed in an Encore suite, paid for a dinner at his namesake restaurant, and according to his own interview had no clue that his mooks were going hog wild with the company's tab.

I think Hunter's right about Villa 81; we all know that the fanciest room in Bellagio is Villa One and throwing an eight on there for cultural purposes makes sense.

Here's my big "WHAT IF" moment...

Okada joins what seems to be a long list of people who have been in Wynn's crosshairs, and he has more money than most of them and unlike Sheldon he probably feels more personally offended, so he may bring into light whatever it is Wynn doesn't want public and would normally entomb someone in legal bills for bringing up.

Presume there is dirt for a moment, whether it be the SEC investigation on the donation or something Okada pays somebody to find. What happens if Steve Wynn also winds up unsuitable for Nevada gaming? I think there'd only be two reactions which is either to do the same thing to Steve, or to follow through on Steve's threat to move to China and sell off the Wynncore Vegas property, similar to MGM picking Pansy Ho over the Borgata.

And then the next thing you know, the golf course is gone, Steve's signature is gone, and the Country Club Grill becomes a connector to Sands Convention Center North Hall. ;)

Anyway, it's just all theory; who knows how it's going to work out. I'm just thinking of Okada becomes one of these guys who is looking forward to Steve's failure (and there's a few of them, our buddy Leonard is another one) I wonder if he'll try to sink Steve's reputation as a businessman.

February 23, 2012 10:26 PM Posted by Hunter

I definitely didn't want this show to sound like I think Wynn is in the clear and Okada is guilty. I obviously have no idea about the intricacies of this situation.

I was sorta kidding about Okada's name, though he probably shouldn't open another Japanese restaurant in Macau or Vegas.

I think you're on to something regarding translation. That definitely seems to play a role in this.

February 24, 2012 10:21 AM Posted by worldpool

Hunter i like what you said about Echelon boyd gaming should of told us after 4 years that somthing going to happen will nothing happen i hope soon it will.

February 24, 2012 10:09 PM Posted by HillBilly

I don't believe for a nanosecond Wynn didn't/doesn't know exactly who is in his resorts at all times with respect to influential gaming figures. I mean come on. The guy seems to know everything else about his business, who Okada bribed, etc. He used Okada as his Asian connection and relied on the separate company of Okada to do the dirty work there. There is no way he is in Macau free and clear of anything that would be an FCPA violation. He may have found a way to just pin it all on Okada but I just don't believe it. The only way for Wynn to be more full of crap would be to actually be a member of congress. Billionaires bribe people to get what they want. Or they extort them, or bully them, sue them... whatever. Honestly, it just looks to me like another rich guy abusing his power. At least this time it's another rich guy that's being attacked. I place about as much credibility in a report commissioned by the party that it favors as I do any other marketing. I have no fondness for Okada, I just can't stand the blatant hypocrisy that is Steve Wynn and I this is, in my opinion, going to take down Wynn Resorts regardless of the final outcome. Fights like this open up opportunities for third parties. Maybe Boyd will scrap Echelon and buy Wynncore.

February 25, 2012 3:29 PM Posted by Clifford Martin

I just received an email from Hilton announcing that on 3/1/2012 the Westgate at Planet Hollywood is becoming the new Elara Hilton Grand Vacations Hotel.

They are offering a free upgrade from a Studio Room to a Junior Suite between 3/1 and 5/25.

February 26, 2012 6:21 PM Posted by Paul Shanahan

The Financial Times had an article entitled "Rich Pickings to Play for" regarding Wynn and Okada in Saturday's edition and I thought the last paragraph was pretty interesting:

As destinations including Taiwan, South Korea, Japan and even Sri Lanka consider opening their gaming markets and offering casino licenses, Mr. Wynn and his rivals are waiting to pounce. But like every good gambler they will be aware that, besides the enticing rewards to play for, different cultural perceptions mean there are also significant risks.

As for Echelon I think the project will be redesigned and will be about half the original size (from 5000 rooms to around 2500 rooms) and the price will drop from $4.8 billion dollars to around $2 billion dollars. Hopefully they will start construction again on Echelon by the end of the year but who knows.

February 27, 2012 12:32 PM Posted by Jilly from Philly

Sounds to me like we'll see the Echelon finished way before the Fontainebleau...i bet they finish the resort and suites tower they've already started and open the rest in phases as it becomes economically feasible. But given that so much infrastructure is there and its a simple one-owner situation (correct me if i'm wrong), I feel this has the best chance of getting done.

February 29, 2012 5:27 PM Posted by SaratogaEd

I doubt CZR will re-brand I P as a Horseshoe. Here in the Midwest, Horseshoe is marketed as an upscale property to the "retail" level of Harrah's and below that of the flagship/international brand Caesar's. Plus with 2 new Ohio joint ventures branded as "Horseshoe" it would be most disrespectful to them to re-brand I P as a Horseshoe.
With the small amount of remodel to I P, other than re-skin and casino makeover ( due to budget constraints ), the CZR brain trust will no doubt go with some inooculous name such as the "Linq Hotel" or "Big Wheel Inn" !!