Two Way Hard Three | Las Vegas Casino & Design Blog

All Articles for Category: Downtown Las Vegas

October 17, 2012

Derek Stevens: Promoted Fanboy

Posted by daveschwartz

And I mean that with the greatest possible respect. I know people usually throw "fanboy" around as a pejorative, but to me the idea of someone who is so into whatever it is they're into--whether it's Star Trek, or cartoons, or craps--that they have a childlike enthusiasm about it is quite positive. After the jump, I talk a little about what Stevens' fanboy status means.

September 3, 2012

Is the Strip Finished?

Posted by daveschwartz

Courtesy of Detroit1051, that's what this 40-year resident thinks. Here's his description of a recent trip to the heart of Nevada's economic engine (after the jump):

Are you coming into town next week for CES? Is this your first time in Vegas or maybe even in a casino? We've got some tips that you might find helpful for getting around, finding a charger, getting online and more...

Got more to add? Feel free to share your tips in the comments.

Also, if you're heading to Vegas and have an iOS device, pick up Vegas Mate in the App Store.

October 24, 2011

Happy 91st birthday Jackie Gaughan

Posted by daveschwartz

Along with well over a thousand other Las Vegans and Downtown visitors, I had a piece of cake today to celebrate the 91st birthday of local casino legend Jackie Gaughan. After the jump, I'll talk a little about the man and his considerable legacy.

September 5, 2011

I'm Vegas Homeless

Posted by Hunter

I've realized recently that I'm Vegas homeless. When I think about it, I probably have been for a long time.

What does being 'Vegas homeless' mean? I lack a consistent home base. There's no hotel I can rely on to offer me a great stay and friendly service at a price that's reasonable. I don't have a single casino in which I concentrate my play. There's no one hotel I care about and no one hotel that cares about me.

More after the jump...

August 30, 2011

The Plaza (2.0 Beta 1)

Posted by Hunter

I stayed in an updated room at The Plaza this past week, just a few days before the official opening. This is my story.

If you want to see my pictures, they're here:

November 27, 2010

Open Topic Discussion - (Almost) December 2010

Posted by Hunter

We haven't done one of these for awhile but it seems like a good idea to post another. Thanks to Jeff for the suggestion.

To kick off the discussion, there's a story today in the Sun about the El Cortez suite competition.

You may recall that back in August we had the estimable Ms. Epstein on the Vegas Gang to discuss this same topic.

I still like the idea, these months later.

Anyway, open topic away...

October 27, 2010

Let The Bummer Years Begin

Posted by Hunter

The Fontainebleau is about to open.

A re-invigorated Plaza project has broken ground and Boyd is halfway through putting up a gorgeous red-gold glass curtain wall on Echelon Place. Jim Murren is a semi-successful investment banker in Connecticut, the Marnell's own the recently joined Rio/Palms complex and Nevada's recently elected junior senator is attending the groundbreaking of a monorail extension that will bridge McCarran Airport, The Strip and Fremont Street.

Can we fast forward to 2017? I'm sure that's what some Las Vegas casino operators would wish for. It's hard to blame them.

Things look a bit sour for Las Vegas - August numbers notwithstanding, let's be honest - some of the city's best boom-time customers don't have any more money to spend on bottle service and $500 dinners at SW. Sure, the biggest players haven't lost enough to kill their gambling habit but that mid-tier backbone - successful young people, boomers and a smaller segment of folks truly blowing the rent on a weekend in Vegas - they're still pretty fucked up from this recession.

Well, at least it's not as bad as it is in Atlantic City where the top operator doesn't even want to own the other half of their property. In my mind, AC is toast.

As someone that has spent the last ten years as mostly excited about Las Vegas and now sells a product that is inexorably linked to the city, I have to say that things look very tough for the next few years.

A CB Richard Ellis study publicized today really laid out the bad news. The market won't be able to handle the massive increase in supply for some time. Thanks a lot CityCenter. At least we don't have any more rooms coming online anytime soon... Oh, crap... Thanks a lot Cosmo.

The Cosmopolitan will be the last property for awhile, and that's almost certainly a good thing. In a way, they may end up with an advantage - they can be the 'newest property on The Strip' for five years or more. That title worked great for The Aladdin. Oh well, whatever, nevermind.

Some of the issues mentioned in the report are structural - air traffic is more difficult than ever in the era of shoe-bombers and naked body scanners. Asian baccarat is slated to increase but that alone is not a market savior. The formerly solid underbelly of Las Vegas tourism - that combination of California drive-ins along with southern and midwestern vacationers... well, they're hurting... and that's not going to change anytime soon (damn that Obama-Reid-Pelosi-Boehner-Palin-McCain cabal!)

It's easy for Wynn to charge $200+/night for a weekend night when the town is half full but when Luxor, Excalibur, Monte Carlo and Treasure Island are all offering rooms in the sub-$50 range (sans the ridiculous resort fees), those rates are harder to justify... and how anyone could feel good about a $150/night room at Aria or Vdara mystifies me. Just say no.

But it's not the Wynns of the world I'm worried about. Aside from maybe Las Vegas Sands, they're probably best positioned to ride this turbulence out. As a lover of the history of Las Vegas, it makes me a little sad to see how little of their revenue now comes from the 'Gambling Capital of the World'. In quarterly earnings today, LVS reported that barely 15% of their revenue comes from their two Strip casinos. With Singapore on the rise, LVS is again a gaming company to watch, even if their numbers don't yet match Chairman Adelson's bluster.

Why am I writing this? I dunno. For whatever reason, a few stories today sucked me in and I felt compelled.

See you Saturday.

September 20, 2010

SIMPSON ON VEGAS #007: Mommy and Daddy Will Be Right Back

Posted by Hunter

Here's Jeff's latest column wherein he examines parents towing their kids through the casino, Tamares and what's happening at The Plaza as well as his take on how The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas will fare when it opens in December.


The Plaza today announced they'd be laying off 400 workers as they close the hotel and part of the casino for planned renovations.

Tamares, the holding company that owns the hotel, spun this as the start of great things to come but come on - how many hotels shut down completely to renovate guest rooms? Clearly Downtown Las Vegas continues to struggle - other hotels like Binion's have also shut down.

The Firefly restaurant, part of the casino and the showroom will remain open. That's gotta suck for the Firefly though - great restaurant, cool space but now even fewer customers. It's usually half empty when I am in there.

August 9, 2010

SIMPSON ON VEGAS #005: Downtown Blues, Part Two

Posted by Hunter

Jeff is back with part two of his take on the Downtown Las Vegas scene and what might help it turn around.

Keep reading after the jump and if you missed part one, it's right here.

In a totally unrelated thought - don't forget that we're giving away an iPad.

July 22, 2010

SIMPSON ON VEGAS #004: Downtown Blues, Part One

Posted by Hunter

We're back with another installment of 'Simpson on Vegas' and this time around, Jeff examines the situation in Downtown Las Vegas.

This is part one of a two part series. Continue after the jump for the article.

July 14, 2010

Casino Design Photo of the Week: Golden Nugget

Posted by Hunter

Ah, the Nugget. Once Steve Wynn's design scratchpad, since then it's changed hands several times. Current owner Landry's has added a new tower, nightclub and renovated pool.

In my opinion, the Nugget has a lot of charm. I haven't seen the new Rush Tower yet but I'm told it's quite nice.

May 2, 2010

Open Topic Discussion - May 1, 2010

Posted by detroit1051

"Oasis at Gold Spike". Stephen Siegel has found his niche in Las Vegas. I hope he succeeds.
Oasis at Gold Spike, Downtown

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:

Three interesting stories breaking this morning:

Binion's to Close Hotel Tower - the legendary Downtown hotel has announced they will be closing the hotel tower and restaurant facilities as a result of the bad economy:

Harrah's Entertainment, who have been buying Planet Hollywood debt, is taking the process to the next step - Nevada gaming regulators:

Las Vegas Sands raised $5 billion in an IPO for their Macanese operations:

Vegas Mate 2.0, the latest release of our popular iPhone application for Las Vegas tourists, is now available via the iTunes App Store (opens in iTunes). 2.0 is a free upgrade for existing users and costs $4.99 for new users.

Vegas Mate is an interactive, location enabled travel guide that includes tons of information about hotels/restaurants/attractions both on and off The Strip, as well as user reviews and other useful information. This release represents months of work - most of the app internals were re-written to take advantage of iPhone OS 3.0 and beyond, which is required for this release.

Here's a sample of the new features:

* Over-the-Air Content Updates - We can now push out content updates over the air without having to push a new release through iTunes. This means we can be more current with the constant openings and closings in Las Vegas.

* Restaurant Menus - Many of the restaurants now include viewable menus.

* Favorites - Mark hotels, restaurants and activities as favorites, useful for trip planning and re-visiting top spots.

* News and Events - Read news stories from many Vegas sources ; view upcoming events.

* Massively improved map system.

* Updated user interface.

Special thanks to all that helped test the release, with extra special thanks to Joe P., Chuck S. Monster, and Mike Ch.

A screen cast of v2.0 is available here: Vegas Mate Screen Cast

Releases of Vegas Mate will continue in earnest - there's a list of features for 2.1 and beyond already on the drawing board and I expect a 2.0.1 with a few little bug-fixes will be in the works soon.

June 10, 2009

Vegas Mate 2.0 Preview - Coming in July

Posted by Hunter

The first version of Vegas Mate was released in August of last year. It was my first effort for the iPhone, which at that time had just started allowing developers like me to create applications to be sold on the iTunes App Store. I'm very happy with how Vegas Mate has done since then. I don't disclose sales figures but there are thousands upon thousands of happy users and it seems to be going strong. So what's coming next? Lots.

In March, Apple gave us developers insight into new features they were adding in iPhone OS 3.0. This free iPhone system upgrade ($10 bucks on iPod Touch) includes stuff like copy and paste, MMS, integrated searching and a lot more. Under the covers, there are a ton of new hooks and tools that developers can use to make their software better. With this in mind, I began working on Vegas Mate 2.0 to incorporate the new stuff.

iPhone OS 3.0 will be released next Wednesday the 17th and I'm hoping that Vegas Mate 2 will follow about a month later. It's basically a complete re-write, taking advantage of many of the new features that Apple provided. The revised plumbing allowed me to add a few things I've wanted in there for quite awhile.

Vegas Mate 2.0 will be a free update for all existing users and yes, it will run on the upcoming iPhone 3GS announced this week.

Here's some of what's new in Vegas Mate 2.0:

* Over-the-Air Content Updates - existing versions of Vegas Mate required a full update via the App Store to get content changes in there. I've done 9 updates since last August but with how quickly Vegas is changing, I wanted something far closer to real-time. Now all content updates will occur wirelessly from our server.

* News, Promos and Events - I'm integrating some popular RSS feeds as well as info on current promotions and events. This isn't designed to take the place of a regular news tool, just a quick hit of info for travelers that's Vegas specific. More about how this works as we get closer to the release.

* Designate Hotels, Restaurants and Activities as Favorites for Quick Access - There are hundreds of items in the Vegas Mate database. Users can now mark items as 'favorites' and see them from a new screen. This should hopefully make trip planning with Vegas Mate easier.

* Restaurant Menus - Where available, I am adding the ability to view restaurant menus from the app. VM2 will launch with a number of restaurants that will quickly expand.

* Live, Google Maps Right in the App - The current version of Vegas Mate has maps but they didn't include all of the richness that the native 'Maps' application provides. That's all changed now with full maps embedded right into the app.

* Updated User Interface - The UI has received a lot of spit and polish all over the place.

* New Content - As always, the quantity and quality of in-app content has increased.

Now, it's possible I may change some of these features before launch but it's looking pretty dialed in at this point. I love working on Vegas Mate and I'm glad that so many of you enjoy it too. I've got a 'potential features' list a mile long but I always like to hear other ideas, even if I don't end up using them.

April 9, 2009

Gaming Numbers Published

Posted by Hunter

We will touch on this on the next Vegas Gang show but I wanted to post this for comments.

As is typical, the gaming figures have been released. They are of course, down.

Dr. Dave thinks the RJ is downplaying the bad news.

In related news, word comes that the Gaming Control Board is forming an internal crisis team to deal with bankrupt casinos.

Harrah's was able to pull off a debt swap that looks to have improved their position a bit.

November 26, 2008

Global Gaming Expo 2008: Alive and Kicking

Posted by Hunter

Matthew Farley, author of "Good Food, Good Whiskey, and a Good Gamble: Outdated Nostaligia or Still Effective Today?" was kind enough to write up and share his thoughts after attending G2E in Las Vegas.

This dovetails nicely with yesterday's Vegas Gang coverage of the event.

Thanks to Matthew for sharing his insights - I'm sure you'll all enjoy this.

Click through for more...

October 6, 2008

NY Plaza Wins Strip Resort Name Case

Posted by Hunter

My friend Steve Friess has a note on his blog about the outcome of the Elad vs. Tamares case over naming use rights for "The Plaza" for a future resort on the Las Vegas Strip.

Give it a look. Also, Vegas Gang member Dave Schwartz was an expert witness in the case - expect us to touch on this in the next 'Gang episode.

Mayor Oscar thinks that the NFL should put all the Monday night games as well as the Super Bowl into a new stadium in Las Vegas. Yeah. Right.

July 12, 2008

Will Winslow's Guide to Las Vegas

Posted by Hunter

Dave Schwartz, fellow Gang member and Die is Cast blogger has released the latest 'Winslow's Guide'.

If you love Las Vegas, you'll love this guide.

April 3, 2008

Vegas Gang #5 - Tom Breitling - April 3rd, 2008

Posted by Hunter

Episode #5 of the Vegas Gang has been posted below:

This features Tom Breitling, formerly of the Golden Nugget, talking about his new book. Enjoy!

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

Dave Schwartz has an interesting article where the talks about a piece from Wired that is discussing the proliferation of free services in business, especially on the Internet. Dave spins that into a gaming business narrative and breaks it down for us.

Well, the gaming win in the great state of Nevada declined a good bit last time 'round:

Not good for our favorite multi-national casino conglomerates. It's hard not to link this to the degrading confidence in the US economy overall. Gaming is often somewhat insulated - people love to wager no matter how screwed they are - but of course there would be some kind of a hit if things go down big time in the US of A.

We're back with another piece from guest author Matthew Farley. He was nice enough to write a piece previously on video table games.

This time the topic is old school service offerings and their place in today's Las Vegas, specifically as it relates to Binion's. An interesting piece and I thank him for sharing this with us. What do you guys think? Let's get a discussion going in the comments.

As for any other guest authors out there, feel free to contact me: editor AT ratevegas DOT com. We can give you some great exposure and writing is a lot of fun!

December 30, 2007

THEhotel, December 26-29, 2007

Posted by Mike E

After a six-month hiatus, I headed back to town spending three nights at my old, favorite haunt before Wynn opened: THEhotel. My thoughts on the property, some gambling highlights, and general observations follow after the jump.

December 19, 2007

Golden Nugget Completes Its Renovations

Posted by Hunter

According to a press release from the Golden Nugget Las Vegas, they have completed their long running set of renovations that include a second floor nightclub for Downtown.

The 'Gold Diggers' nightclub opens at 4pm and offers views of the Fremont Street Experience. Along with the club, they have opened a new restaurant called Red Sushi and also some meeting space called 'The Grand'.

Overall, it is nice to see continued investment into the Downtown property.

December 6, 2007

Open Topic Discussion: December 6, 2007

Posted by detroit1051

I missed this story on's new Arrow bus service, in cooperation with the monorail. It was written up in today's Miami Herald: introduces high-tech bus service on the Las Vegas Strip
Here's the route map and details:
Is there a big enough market for both The Deuce and Arrow?

November 20, 2007

Plaza Hotel vs. Plaza Las Vegas Name Show Down

Posted by Hunter

A piece on Steve Friess' Vegas blog yesterday talks about the upcoming clash between the Downtown Las Vegas Plaza Hotel and the upcoming Plaza Las Vegas, destined for the site of the now demolished New Frontier.

Like Steve says, this one seems clear. I'm curious how this will shake out - Elad has deep pockets, they could probably license the name and pay off the cash strapped Tamares (they still own the Plaza, right?)

September 2, 2007

Strip Walk: August 2007

Posted by Hunter

We're back with another Strip Walk! This was written almost a week ago and this time around you'll get Mike's comments but a few of my own sprinkled in - I was in Vegas for one night last week and took some of my own photos as well.

As always, the photos are here:

Commentary after the jump...

August 15, 2007

Book Review: 'Gay Vegas' by Steve Friess

Posted by Hunter

Steve Friess is an award winning Las Vegas-based journalist that regularly writes for the New York Times, USA Today and other national publications... You probably know him as the co-host of one of my favorite podcasts, The Strip. Steve's a great guy and Vegas is lucky to have him.

His new Las Vegas guidebook, 'Gay Vegas' covers Sin City with an emphasis on gay and lesbian travelers, though the tips in here are applicable to anyone visiting Southern Nevada.

Keep reading after the jump for my take on the book and if you want to pick up a copy, this Amazon link is a way to say thanks to us as well:

"Gay Vegas: A Guide To The Other Side of Sin City" (Steve Friess)

July 17, 2007

Wynn Trivia Quiz

Posted by detroit1051

As part of an invitational weekend offer I received from Wynn, 25 trivia questions were included just for fun. The questions appear after the jump. Correct answers will be given in a few days. Everyone here should know them all except for maybe the pineapple and Starbucks questions. First Prize is the satisfaction of being a Las Vegas expert.

July 12, 2007

50 Things You Didn't Know About Las Vegas Clubs

Posted by Hunter

Thanks for Steve and Miles from The Strip Podcast for bringing this to my attention.

Great article from Las Vegas Weekly on '50 Things You Don't Know About Las Vegas Nightclubs'. Some of these I did know and others I did not but either way a great read.

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June 27, 2007

MTR Gaming Sells Binion's in Downtown Las Vegas

Posted by Hunter

Binion's, formerly Binion's Horseshoe in Downtown Las Vegas, has reportedly been sold by owner MTR Gaming to TLC Casino Enterprises, the folks that own the Four Queens.

Binion's is a property full of history - once one of the most popular spots in town, it's been heading downhill for years.

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UNLV's Lied Institute for Real Estate Studies has released a report which says, "The marketing of sin that helps draws tourists to Las Vegas is an impediment in luring corporate headquarters to Southern Nevada....paints a pessimistic picture of Las Vegas' ability to recruit companies to Southern Nevada and diversify its economy beyond gaming."
The report is critical of some of the issues we've discussed here before, namely higher costs, unaffordable housing, poorly educated workforce, school system problems, lack of "cultural amenities", etc.
In Business Las Vegas summarized the report, but I've been unable to find a link to Lied's report itself. I'd like to read it in its entirety. I find the headline of the story a little over the top, using words like, "...image repels corporate relocation."

Do those here who either live in Las Vegas or frequently do business in Southern Nevada agree with the findings?

To read the article:
Report: Sin City Image Repels Corporate Relocation

A few quick sound-bites:

A Gaming Today story on the upgrades at the Golden Nugget details the recent changes. I've seen some of this stuff and it is pretty nice. They did a good job down there.

MGM Mirage's sale of their Primm, NV assets to Herbst Gaming is complete.

Lastly, it looks like the NBA All Star Weekend was a bust from a gaming perspective. Thankfully, baccarat action from Chinese New Year saved the day.

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April 3, 2007

Binion's A Loser For MTR

Posted by Hunter

Binion's in Downtown Las Vegas, formerly Binion's Horseshoe, is not posting good results for owner MTR.

From the RJ (via their horribly designed new Web site - doesn't work properly with Firefox or Safari!), sounds like things have not recovered:

Insert story about Downtown dying here.

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Work got out a little early and I was on my way taking my sweet time to the airport. I had gotten a full eight hours of rest the night before and hardly any butterflies were flapping in my stomach.

Why was I not suffering the usual symptoms of pre-Vegas? Maybe because I knew it would be nearly impossible to top my last trip where I spent time in one of Wynn�s Fairway Villas with friends of nearly 20 years. What I did come to realize during this quick getaway, however, is that a solo trip where you meet others in town at your own leisure is something special in and of itself and a different kind of fun.

(More after the jump...)

Downtown isn't the magnet for development dollars that the Las Vegas Strip is, though that said, Landry's have been pouring money into the Golden Nugget.

Well, the Four Queens is getting upgrades as well - beyond just the nightclub we previously discussed.

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March 15, 2007

Downtown to Get Nightlife Upgrades

Posted by Hunter

Over the years, many developers have thought that they had the right fix for the woes of Downtown Las Vegas.

Well, one thing they've not had a lot of is nightlife but that is changing.

Looks like we'll see something at the Four Queens and of course, the Golden Nugget is also talking about a second floor nightclub as well.

Will this help?

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February 25, 2007

Will Transportation Issues Slow Las Vegas Growth?

Posted by Hunter

This is a topic that Detroit1051 has mentioned several times - Las Vegas infrastructure and how it impacts tourism.

Today's LV Sun has an article on that very topic. Jeff Simpson talks about the impact and some potential solutions.

What do you guys think? How bad is it now and will these problems make you re-consider your vacation?

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February 13, 2007

NBA's Memphis Grizzlies Coming to Las Vegas? Or Not.

Posted by Hunter

According to Norm!, Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman will announce on Sunday the development of a $10 billion arena project in Las Vegas, designed to lure NBA and NHL teams to the city. The Memphis Grizzlies have been mentioned as a team that could find a new home in Vegas.

It will be interesting to see how this shakes out. Many people are opposed to spending tax payer dollars to build an arena that effectively subsidizes a team... Also, there's the whole sports betting thing to work out.

Update: As indicated in the comments and on Norm's page, the Mayor has hit back saying there is no truth to the rumor.

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February 8, 2007

Downtown Las Vegas' Lady Luck Remains Closed

Posted by Hunter

The Lady Luck shut down for renovations almost a year ago with the promise of renovation - well, it is still closed. Some predicted that the hotel would never re-open and so far it seems that is still an option.

The RJ has an article on the Lady Luck's status:

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I was listening to a caller on Five Hundy By Midnight talking about 'hitting the buffet' and it got me to thinking that my travel habits for my Vegas trips sure have changed over the years. For those of us that go often, sometimes upwards of ten times a year, I can only assume I'm not alone in this.

Continue after the jump...

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December 12, 2006

Nevada Gaming Win: Up Again

Posted by Hunter

The October gaming win figures for Nevada were up again - barely - after a huge October in 2005.

Interestingly enough, the Strip was actually down a bit with holds not as high as in previous months.

Some 'locals' play saved the numbers from being down overall.

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November 30, 2006

Bellagio & Wynn, November '06

Posted by detroit1051

I checked out of a Bellagio Suite in the main tower this morning and have just unpacked in a Wynn Parlor Suite. I tried to start a report early this morning, but Bellagio's internet service was down all night and still wasn't up at 9 AM. I'll offer a few opinions now and then add comments later. After all, I want to enjoy Wynn.

This will not be a trip report, but random thoughts start after the jump.

November 26, 2006

Roll The Bones by David Schwartz - Book Review

Posted by Hunter

Roll The Bones is a new book by Dr. David Schwartz, the director of the Center for Gambling Studies at UNLV. His blog, is a great source for gambling information and news along with the ever-popular casino carpet gallery.

Dave has written several gambling related books in the past, including Suburban Xanadu, a study of the casino resort's evolution (this book features an in-depth look at Martin Stern, Jr., who's work we have mentioned several times in the past here on this site) and Cutting The Wire, a look at the Wire Act and Internet gambling.

You can buy this book here (and it supports this site in a small way): Roll the Bones: The History of Gambling

Keep reading after the jump...

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This Wall Street Journal article (presented via Yahoo! - I hope that means you can read it w/o a subscription!) talks about how construction costs in the Valley have been rising and how that impacts costs for the big gaming operators, both those with projects going and those with stuff on the drawing board.

Wall Street Journal via Yahoo! (free!)

If that doesn't work, here's the original WSJ link (subscription required):

Wall Street Journal (subscription required)

October 22, 2006

BOOK: Roll The Bones: The History of Gambling

Posted by Hunter

I got my review copy of Dave Schwartz's new book, "Roll The Bones" today and I've started to read it. Dave is a friend of mine and I feel lucky to call him that. He's the number one gambling historian and author of several books. He works at UNLV as the Director of the Center for Gaming Research. His Web site is located here, which we are now proudly hosting for him:

A full review will follow when I'm done but so far, it's great. Anyone that's seriously interested in gambling should buy this book right now.

The link below is from and not only do you get the book for a great price, but we get a small cut of the proceeds, so you are supporting the site and getting what so far seems like a great book.

Ok, here goes: Roll the Bones: The History of Gambling


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I've really been enjoying this. I'm having fun with this and so I expect to keep on doing it for awhile. There are certainly better Vegas podcasts out there but this isn't what that is about... It's more like an extension to the blog and while I have a lot to learn, I think we've been doing an okay job so far.

Call our listener line, anytime: 702-508-4232

You can leave a message that we will read on the air. Grab the number and put it in your cell phone so you can even phone in from Vegas. Also, if you are a casino employee or otherwise have info, you can use this as an anonymous tip line to feed us the goods.

This time around I talk about Harrah's rejection of the first bid, the second bid and what might happen to their Strip plans if the deal goes through. After that, it's on to my thoughts on the Downtown Las Vegas casino gaming drop and if it was just a blip. Then lastly I talk about the future of the podcast and a little bit about what's coming up.

Once again, comments are welcome and phone messages are very much appreciated.

Ready to listen? If you subscribed in iTunes or another player, it's probably already downloading as it's been on the feed for awhile. If you don't use iTunes or aren't already subscribed, the links are below. If you want to listen right here on the site, click through after the jump where we have an embedded player, no download required.

Direct RSS:

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The Nevada gaming win numbers for August have been processed and the state hit another record, $1.06 billion.

This includes all the casinos in the state but is broken out by region. The Las Vegas Strip was up 14% but as it posts gains on a regular basis, this is no big surprised.

What I found more interesting was a decline in Downtown Las Vegas of 14.3%! This is the third month of declines. I realize the Lady Luck is offline and the Nugget is being remodeled but this seems like a very serious negative trend.

I personally don't spend a ton of time Downtown but for those that primarily stay there, what do you think? Does it seem like it is slowing way down?

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May 29, 2006

Advertising Age Magazine on Vegas

Posted by detroit1051

Advertising Age has just completed a five part series on Las Vegas. The link will take you to Part 1. Subsequent parts may be accessed by clicking near the bottom, right side of Part 1.

>>So where does Las Vegas go with it? When does this model stumble
under its own weight? Not any time soon, if the record-breaking crowds
are any indication. But there's another trend at work on the Strip
that will drive the next evolution of Las Vegas, and that is real
estate. Last week's sale of the Tropicana Hotel at the south end of
the Strip offered a new opportunity to peg a number to what an acre is
worth here on the city's beachfront: $30 million.<<

Advertising Age Series on Las Vegas

May 9, 2006

Golden Nugget

Posted by detroit1051

Gaming Today isn't exactly hard hitting journalism, but it was nice to read their piece on the Golden Nugget, and the improvements that Landry's is making. When I was there two weeks ago, I was very impressed with GN's appearance and cleanliness. The property was spotless. New restaurants, pool and shark tank and another hotel tower could all help the Golden Nugget revive downtown.

Golden Nugget: Downtown's Gold Standard

April 28, 2006

Las Vegas Photos, April '06

Posted by detroit1051

I added some photos to my Webshots account. They include, Wynn, Palazzo, Red Rock, Golden Nugget and the Residences at MGM Grand.

Las Vegas Photos

The Anaheim-to-Vegas train that Nevada's senior Senator has been working on for years still isn't getting a lot of traction:

What do you guys think? Something you would use if it was available?

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For years and years, many travelers equated cheap rooms, shrimp cocktails and showgirls with Las Vegas. Hotel rooms under $100 per night were available all up and down the Strip - not just from the Northern cluster of older hotels. As recently as 1999 it wasn't uncommon to be able to book at room at Bellagio for $140/night on weekends.

No longer.

These days, rates for standard rooms have increased and former mid-level properties have been renovated and re-branded in an attempt to convert them to the higher end. Forget about Strip rates under $100 on weekends and don't be freaked out if your sub-par room at the Luxor costs $249.

What happened? Is this bad for the city? Is Las Vegas still a deal? More after the jump.

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First off, the Sahara. In a LV Sun article, the guys running the joint made it clear that they aren't going anywhere right away. While the place could be bought, they want to sell the hotel and two adjoining parcels in one deal that would reach up to $700MM and so far no one is biting.

We've discussed the Golden Nugget's changes as they've been announced. Here's a good article in the Business Press discussing a few more of the details of their plans - they also drop the little gem that they've looked at potentially buying the Horseshoe. Interesting.

And finally, as you may have seen here, we launched a new site in our family, I'm happy to say that the first 24 hours has been a big success so far - traffic ramped up much more quickly than any site we've ever done before. If you haven't checked it out already, take a look now.

Remember to get your Butler interview questions in by Wednesday!

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February 5, 2006

Golden Nugget Improvements

Posted by detroit1051

Golden Nugget's website has a list of improvements and additions planned for the property. Since Landry's Restaurants purchased GN, it's not surprising to see some of their Houston signature restaurants opening. Other changes include an expanded showroom, renovated casino floor, new pool area, nightclub and a third hotel tower. The site shows drawings of the changes. After entering the site, go to the lower right corner of the screen and "Click Here for Construction Updates."
Golden Nugget Website

[EDIT: Las Vegas Business Press Has More Info.]

December 8, 2005

The Future of Downtown Las Vegas?

Posted by Hunter

Inspired by a post on the WYNN Yahoo Finance Message Board from Hail2skins, I'd like to pose this question to the group:

What will downtown Las Vegas look like in 10 years?

The Fremont Street Experience is just about a decade old, created to increase visitor-ship with a 'must see' attraction. How well has it done this?

What will new owners like Landry's do downtown and how big of a problem is the Barrick Gaming's financial meltdown?

All comments are welcome!

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November 17, 2005

Golden Nugget Sale Details; MGM MIRAGE Bits

Posted by Hunter

A couple of different stories here.

First off, some more detail on the Landry's deal to buy the Nugget. We find out that Poster and Breitling made off like bandits:

Second, some tidbits from MGM MIRAGE:

  • The Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art now features advisory services if you are interested in buying art and need some expert help. Contact the gallery for an appointment.
  • MIX (THEHotel) was awarded the Mobil 4-star award.
  • Bellagio was again awarded AAA's five diamond award.
  • The bridge linking TI and the Fashion Show Mall is now open.

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October 6, 2005

Poster and Breitling: What's the Real Deal?

Posted by Hunter

So, the 'Golden Boys' are out of gaming... Does anyone have the real read on these guys? They claim they got an offer they couldn't refuse and on paper, that might be believable.

Until the Laughlin deal with Barrick fell apart, it looked like Poster Financial (the holding company for their investments) might make off with some cash. As it turned out, that deal fell apart (and into the court system) and Landry's ended up getting the Laughlin Nugget for no additional cash. Hmmmm... That's about $30 million that didn't go back into the pot.

Based on what we know, this seems like a botched deal to me. What do you guys think?

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September 27, 2005

Golden Nugget Sale Completed

Posted by Hunter

Well, Landry's now owns downtown's most luxurious casino, the Golden Nugget.

Tim and Tom tried to drastically change its direction with mixed results. Landry's has pledged to focus more on slot players than high rollers and to add a third hotel tower.

Golden Nugget Sold

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September 8, 2005

Golden Nugget To Get New Hotel Tower

Posted by Hunter

A major development for downtown Las Vegas, Landry's has announced they plan to add a new tower to the Golden Nugget, which they are purchasing.

Licensing for Landry's is proceeding.

Golden Nugget to Add New Tower

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While slots have had elaborate computerized player tracking systems for years, the table games in Las Vegas casinos still determine comps by hand, a practice that can be a bit random at times.

Well, things are about to change for table players.

The Las Vegas Review Journal reports that progress is being made on a system developed jointly by IGT, Shuffle Master and Progressive Gaming, some of the biggest names in the business.

Read the article here: LVRJ: Tracking What's On The Table

So, what do you table games players think about this?

Personally, I'm all for it. I'm the type of player that falls through the cracks, sometimes losing enough to be comped but often a victim of the system. In terms of my dollar value to the casino, I'm simply being overlooked and I think this would change that quite a bit.

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July 18, 2005

David Schwartz Interviewed at

Posted by Hunter

I checked my feed reader this evening to see that one of my favorite Las Vegas Web sites,, had done an interview with one of my favorite Vegas bloggers and authors, David Schwartz.

Dave is a historian at UNLV, fantastic author, and keeper of the infamous casino carpet gallery. If you don't know his work, be sure to read the linked interview and buy his book(s).

David Schwartz at

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June 9, 2005

Gaming The Industry by Hal Rothman

Posted by Hunter

UNLV History Chair Hal Rothman has written an interesting article for the Las Vegas Business Press on what is coming in the Vegas gaming industry.

It is a recommended read.

Hal Rothman at LV Business Press

Thanks to detroit1051 for pointing this out!

May 24, 2005

Golden Nugget Laughlin Sale to Barrick Derails

Posted by Hunter

Poster Financial, owners of the two Golden Nugget properties, announced in November it was selling the Golden Nugget Laughlin to Barrick Gaming for approximately $31M.

An article in today's Las Vegas Sun indicates the deal has derailed, with both sides pointing fingers.

Las Vegas Sun Article

Readers will recall that Poster Financial subsequently sold the downtown Las Vegas casino to Landry's.

February 5, 2005

Golden Boys No More? Golden Nugget Las Vegas Sold.

Posted by Hunter

If you follow Las Vegas you've probably already heard... Tim and Tom of 'The Casino' fame are selling the Golden Nugget after only thirteen months.