Based on popular request, I'm starting an open topic discussion post. Feel free to chime in on any subtopic that interests you. To kick things off:
- With the storm wrecking Atlantic City, is Revel doomed and if so, what happens then?
- Fremont Street are putting in a larger zipline and giant slot machine. Will this draw in customers?
... and lastly ...
- Planning to be in Vegas for Christmas? Share some of your favorite things to do on the Strip or Downtown over the holidays.
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...
You know the drill - discuss whatever you desire. Welcome to February.
Is MGM Mirage gearing up to exit Atlantic City? Will they sell their Borgata share and if so, to whom?
Here's an open topic thread for y'all - feel free to discuss today's opening of The Crystals, Mandarin Oriental tomorrow or anything at all.
On a program note, Steve Friess will be airing his nearly two hour interview with Steve Wynn this Saturday from 4pm - 6pm. You can listen live at lvrocks.com. I'll be in the studio with Steve and Miles, generally just being a nuisance and making dumb comments. Come hang out in the chat and listen to the interview. I haven't heard it but Steve tells me there's lots of good stuff!
It IS a difficult balancing act, cost control vs customer service. If the holiday season ends with a slow New Year's, the Strip's strategy of superior customer service may have to be rethought, but what is the tipping point at which customers rebel?
"In recent months, the profits of several big casino operators have fallen faster than revenue, or total sales before expenses. It's a sign that the companies have not cut costs deeply enough to offset the decline in their business.
On the Strip in the third quarter, MGM Mirage's revenue fell 9 percent, and earnings declined more than 15 percent over the same period in 2007; Harrah's Entertainment's revenue declined 12 percent, and earnings fell 17 percent over the same year-ago period."
Discuss whatever you'd like as long as it has nothing to do with Sarah Palin.
Here's an open topic for y'all to discuss whatever you'd like.
One thing you might be interested, a description of a high end villa suite at MGM Grand Macau.
Thanks to Mike E for tracking that down.
Figured I'd fire up another one here - feel free to discuss whatever you'd like in the casino gaming world.
The walkout at City Center was quite a notable event - hopefully safety concerns, be they for workers as in this case or the public, as in the cases of illegal remodels and fire code violations, will get more attention.
Another open topic for discussion.
One thing of note - I got some photos from Mike_Ch which I published:
The first of the new year - an open topic for all to air their thoughts. Enjoy.
Is Las Vegas facing a "perfect storm" with increased gaming taxes, high restaurant prices, infrastructure issues, crime/gang problems and other issues which confront large urban areas?
I was astonished to read that Las Vegas is now the most expensive restaurant city in the country, and higher gaming taxes may put a damper on future growth.
Las Vegas Becomes Country's Most Expensive Restaurant City
"Here in Las Vegas, that atmosphere for gaming having unfettered power to control economic-political outcomes is about to be changed as never before," he said.
He then referenced the initiative proposed by the teachers union to raise the gaming tax 3 points to 9.75 percent to pay teachers more and finance educational programs. That's a 44.4 percent tax increase."
I missed this story on vegas.com's new Arrow bus service, in cooperation with the monorail. It was written up in today's Miami Herald:
Vegas.com 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?
Bottle service at clubs is huge as reported in the LV Sun. The economy must be better than I thought!
"Consider that more than 2,000 people walked through the door at Mirage's Jet nightclub during a recent weekend - and that more than half sat at reserved tables where bottle service starts at $400 for a bottle shared by three people.
An average table check can reach about $800, said Kelley Jones, president of nightclub operator Light Group's restaurant division."
Revenue From Alcohol Growing Faster Than Slot Revenue
This will start Brian Fey's day off with a smile. Wynn Las Vegas has won recognition from The Michelin Guide.
NORM: Michelin makes Steve Wynn's year
Michelin's Highest Honor of Five Red Pavilions Awarded to Wynn Las Vegas
I can't imagine MGM or Wynn having the problems HET has had with unauthorized remodeling. And, I can't imagine the RJ ever going after this story as aggressively if it were MGM or Wynn.
"Harrah's Entertainment has reached a turning point in recovering from bungled remodeling projects at two of its local hotels.
A block of 501 guest rooms at Harrah's Las Vegas returned to active use by patrons on Friday, Harrah's Entertainment executive Jan Jones announced the same day.
Those rooms were pulled from service due to remodeling that had been performed without permits or inspections. They are located on floors four through 19 of the hotel's Carnivale tower. Those floors no longer need a fire watch, which is round-the-clock patrolling by personnel with two-way communication to report any fire, Marybel Batjer, another Harrah's executive, said Saturday. The rooms were out of service for 25 days.
A smaller block of 87 rooms at the Rio also returned to service earlier last week. Those rooms were shut down for less than 25 days. At that hotel, fire watches continue on floors three through 17, plus 19, of the Ipanema tower."
Improper Remodeling: Harrah's Reopens 501 Rooms
Here's a new open topic thread for y'all. A couple of notes on this sunny Sunday:
Regarding the piece on VT&T regarding the Encore casino and a 'poker island', based on the plans I have seen and the people I have talked to, this is off the mark. Now, the plans I originally saw for the low rise stuff have substantially changed since then, as we have already discussed... My understanding is that there is no poker room planned for Encore, plus the walkway changes he talks about obliterate the retail that's planned along the WLV-Encore corridor and generally just sound like they waste space. I am very skeptical.
Second, thanks to reader MikeP for sending in a photo inside Palazzo's retail area, plus the new aquarium at The Mirage: http://www.ratevegas.com/photo/most_recent
MGM Mirage has been plagued with Reservation System computer problems for several days according to Steve Friess in the New York Times.
Computer Glitches Plague Casinos
Can Le Reve be salvaged? I haven't seen it, but Wynn has been tinkering with it for two years now: Is it a first class show?
Le Reve Continues To Evolve
Liz Benston had an interesting column on Macau in the 9/30 LV Sun:
Catching up to Las Vegas
"USA Today" profiles Terry Lanni:
"Throughout its history, Las Vegas has seen its share of legendary tycoons, from Howard Hughes to Steve Wynn. The low-profile Lanni flies under the public's radar, but he's one of the most-respected and influential forces in the $90 billion gaming industry.
"I've dealt with a few CEOs, and I'd have to rate Terry up there at the top," says Kirk Kerkorian, the 90-year-old owner of Tracinda, which held 56% of MGM Mirage's stock as of June. "I've always liked this company. We've got a hell of a team there."