Will Gary Loveman expand the Caesars empire (ha ha) into the Las Vegas locals market? That's the theory that our intrepid columnist, Mr. Jeff Simpson, is putting forth in this latest edition of SIMPSON ON VEGAS.
Enjoy after the jump and leave your comments to tell us what you think about this possibility.
Jeff's back with more wisdom from his valley enclave. This time he's taking a look at the Fertittas and their situation with Station Casinos - a company they built, extended and then bankrupted.
How did this happen and what's coming next? More after the jump.
A bankruptcy judge has ruled that the Fertitta family will retain ownership of most of the assets of Station Casinos, Inc.
This was not really unexpected but I have to wonder - is this what 'should' have happened?
Clearly the Fertittas created a powerful empire over the last 20 years in Las Vegas but at the same time, they're at least partially responsible for the mess that the company is in now. Of course, the economy took a dirt nap in 2007 but it was their policies that left the company exposed and vulnerable, leading to a bankruptcy filing that wiped out billions of investor dollars.
If Boyd Gaming is to be believed, the bidding process heavily favored the insiders, partially due to some fine print related to the land under Texas Station. What really amazes me is that Colony Capital stuck by these guys through this whole thing given how much money they lost.
Even if it seems a bit slanted, it's hard not admire the ruthlessness of the Fertitta brothers in this whole thing. Where else but Vegas can you lose billions and end up on top? Ok, I guess Wall Street... and Washington... and maybe across the Valley at CityCenter... oh well.
Vegas Gang is back!
Win an iPad! Details here: http://www.ratevegas.com/blog/2010/03/submit_your_veg.html
* Station Casinos Re-Org
* CityCenter's First Hundred Days
* CityCenter vs. Perini
* Atlantic City Mini-Casinos
* Closure of CalNeva
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Station Casinos, currently working their way through bankruptcy, unveiled a reorganization plan that would sell off a large portion of the company's assets.
This would leave the Ferttita's in control of Red Rock, Sunset Station, Palace Station and Boulder Station, properties dispersed across the Valley.
Given that Boyd Gaming has tried at various times in the past 18 months to purchase some or all of these assets, it would follow that they would be able to unload these properties if they so chose.
Curious what would happen with Aliante and Green Valley, which are 50% owned by the Greenspun family. Do they have the financial means to buy the other 50%? Would they be serious bidders?
This time on the show:
* MGM's Aria - 2 Months In
* MGM Mirage Exits Atlantic City / Wynn Enters Philadelphia Market
* Greenspun / Station Casinos Relationship Disintegrates
* Lake Las Vegas Shuts Down
* President Obama's Remarks and Visit
* Harrah's Interested in The Palms?
Check out the show: http://www.vegasgangpodcast.com/2010/02/vegas-gang-44-february-25th-2010/
Feel free to leave comments below. Trivia questions can be sent to email@example.com - we might use yours on the show.
I see a lot of stories fly across my various feeds. Rarely is one as juicy as this, if the allegations from GCR Gaming (Greenspun owned, GVR 50% owner) are true.
To distill, they're alleging that Station is diverting all the good stuff (customers, vibes and apparently cuts of beef) to their other, 100% owned facilities like Red Rock, away from the '50 cent piece' that is Green Valley Ranch.
It's starting to get fun to watch this one.
Boyd Gaming, who made an offer for some of debt-plagued Station earlier this year, has now said it wants to buy the entire company for $2.45 billion. Station Casinos is in Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
I can see how this would make sense - they seem like organizations with comparable goals and customer bases. Station rebuffed the previous offer.
Not much detail but the troubled Las Vegas locals operator has filed for protection and reorganization under the bankruptcy code.
Station 'went private' in 2007 as part of a $9 billion deal.
In 2006, before a cratering economy taught grown men how to cry, a Nevada holding company, Southern NV Rental Holdings, purchased dozens of houses around the Palace Station casino on West Sahara.
In that linked article, the Sun hypothesizes that Station Casinos was somehow involved in these purchases, perhaps for possible re-development in that area. That same holding company purchased other residential properties near other Station developments as well.
Well, it seems these houses are again for sale and whoever does ultimately own them seems willing to take a bath to get rid of them. The original article indicates a range of purchase prices, some in the $200,000 - $285,000 range. Many of the units are now listed at selling prices of $120,000 or less.
Is Station selling assets at fire sale prices to raise cash? Given the level of indirection with these holdings, we can't say for sure and the company didn't respond to my email request for a comment.
Update: Some more from the LVBP archives (thanks David!). Still not completely clear it is Station - could be a business partner that now wants to divest itself of land for a project that probably isn't happening anytime soon... or not. The delving continues.
Not much of a surprise given all that's gone on with the company - it seems they are going to use the bankruptcy laws to attempt to re-organize.
Not much else to say - just the latest step for Station as it attempts to survive a dramatic fall off of its Las Vegas business combined with the staggering debt load accumulated by going private.
Boyd Gaming, who shut down their Strip project Echelon last year, is making a bid for a chunk of troubled Las Vegas locals operator Station Casinos.
For $950 million they would purchase Green Valley Ranch, Aliante Station, Texas Station, Wild Wild West and both Fiestas. Boyd has a large locals operation already that could potentially meld well with Station's offerings.
Update: There's some discrepancy over exactly which assets are included in the proposal. This LV Sun blurb doesn't mention GVR: http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2009/feb/23/boyd-gaming-offers-buy-station/
Updated March 3rd: As of today, Station has rejected this offer from Boyd: http://www.lvrj.com/news/breaking_news/40660477.html
We're back with another episode! It can be downloaded here.
This time around we discuss:
* Boyd Offers to Buy Station Assets
* Wynn Resorts Q4 2008
* iPhone Card Counting Software Makes the Rounds
* 2008 Gaming Abstract Figures
* M Resort Opens Sunday
Feel free to leave your comments below.
We're back with another episode! It can be downloaded here.
This time around we discuss:
* Atlantic City
* Las Vegas Economic Woes
* Tropicana Re-Brands as Value Property (!)
* City Center's Harmon is Stunted
Also, be sure to check out the new podcast from the UNLV Center for Gaming Research. You can subscribe to that here: http://gaming.unlv.edu/podcast.html
In what comes as no surprise to Vegas-o-philes, Station Casinos is restructuring their debts under bankruptcy protection:
If approved, Station would continue to operate under current management, though the equity partners have to kick in $244 million.
Station is one of the largest employers in Las Vegas.
According to the RJ, an analyst at Moody's believes that recently privatized Station Casinos is about to run out of cash.
Given the operating environment, I wouldn't be surprised.
The Las Vegas Sun has a story about the deteriorating financial condition of Station Casinos, the large Las Vegas locals market operator.
The company is facing $5 billion in debt that needs to be refinanced or restructured.
According to the LVRJ, Station Casinos 'owners' (which party is not specified) have will be injecting between $450 and $500 million into the company to shore up its debt situation.
Similar to a move by Las Vegas Sands just weeks ago, it shows the difficulties that the consolidated gaming companies are having in this economy.
An article on the upcoming Aliante Station property opening in November.
As Dave Schwartz pointed out to me, 'contemporary Scottsdale' doesn't really sound all that awesome.
We're back with roundtable #2 - this time around the topics include Crown investing in Harrah's/Station, MGM Grand Detroit, Pure being raided by the IRS, Cuba as the next Macau and more.
The participants include:
David McKee - http://www.lasvegasadvisor.com/blogs/dmckee/
Dave Schwartz - http://www.dieiscast.com
Chuck Monster - http://www.vegastripping.com
Direct Download: http://media.ratevegas.com/36-podcast_02212008.mp3
As part of their deal with the Castaways site, Station has to conduct some gaming there from time to time. Steve at The Strip Podcast Blog has the skinny:
Well, the last step in Station Casinos, Inc.'s journey to 'go private' has been achieved.
The Las Vegas Review Journal has the skinny: http://www.lvrj.com/business/10992946.html
Our second time using Talkshoe.com and it was a lot of fun. Regular readers like Detroit1051, Mike E, Brian Fey, mike_ch and BarbaryKevin were all in on the action.
We covered a broad range of issues, from Cotai, Harrah's, Wynn Resorts, Las Vegas Sands, Palazzo, Encore, IGT and a lot more.
During the show we talked about Chuck's Macau diary. That link is here: http://www.macautripping.com
The shareholders of Station Casinos voted overwhelmingly to approve the plan to take the company private.
The $5.4 billion offer is from a new entity that combines Colony Capital and the Fertitta's, the company's founding family.
It will move to regulators next, I would expect inside the next nine months.
The Station Casinos board of directors have approved a bid to take the company private. The bid was put together by several board members who also comprise top management and their family members, the Fertitas.
The deal is worth $5.5 billion.
It looks like the private equity deal that a sub-section of management proposed for Station Casinos is not viewed as a great deal by all.
The deal, at $82/share, has been called inadequate by some investors. I wonder if they'll have to significantly increase the offer to get the deal done.
It's important to remember that the people involved in the deal own a substantial amount of stock already.
Howdy folks! As a quick aside, I meant to do a podcast tonight but it didn't happen - sorry!! I'm shooting for the weekend and from then on, probably every 7-10 days. Thank you for being patient. There's clearly a lot to about.
I am planning on being in Las Vegas at the end the month, just for a weekend, to tour and document the progress at CityCenter's preview center - thanks to MGM MIRAGE for any access. From what I'm told, the preview center is amazing - I look forward to sharing with everyone... Expect photos to follow.
Regarding Wynn Macau, their 'Diamond Suites' project, located on the property edge near the future MGM Grand (with its neat/original curtain wall design), is a new hotel tower with the aim to up their room inventory as the company also looks into possibilities on Cotai Originally, Wynn Macau had something akin to a phase '1b', which was supposed to expand the casino floor, add a showroom and a new 'front feature', all to open in early 2007. This front feature is some kind of special effects room that Wynn says will 'blow us all away'.
Given that the public spaces are now going to be more aligned with the 'Diamond Suites' areas, they have been delayed until later this year. The 'Diamond Suites' tower is still 18 to 25 months out, though no specific dates have been announced. Some of the new tables and slots will open for the celebration of Chinese New Year, which is also coming to Las Vegas in a few weeks.
Ok, and last, MGM MIRAGE has new renderings of both CityCenter and MGM Grand Macau in their latest financial presentation. Very interesting shots that really show how the new buildings will interact with each and specifically "NOT" interact with neighbors.
I realize this was long winded - sorry. I hope everyone is doing well. Photos will follow in this space.
The second phase of the hotel tower project at Red Rock Resort has recently been completed. The new expansion brings the total room count at Red Rock to over 800.
Originally opening in April 2006 with just over 400 rooms, this second phase is a welcome addition to the first $1 billion resort to be opened off the Strip in Las Vegas.
In addition, Fortune Magazine named owner Station Casinos as one of the '100 Best Companies to Work For' in their annual survey.
For those that haven't seen Red Rock, it is a pretty amazing property that seems to fit well with its surrounding area.
What did you think was the most interesting/biggest story of 2006 that related to Las Vegas and/or casino gambling?
Was it Harrah's being taken private? Wynn Resorts opening in Macau? The Stardust going dark? The insanity around the Tropicana bidding war? I'm interested to hear your take.
The RJ has a story on that topic today with a few examples but we don't have to limit the discussion to those options.
And, for a little bit of history, these are the posts from December 2005. Funny to think of all that has happened this year.
Station Casinos plans to develop 52 acres behind (to the south of) Palace Station. CityCenter, Echelon Place, Wynn's golf course and now Palace Station. As Strip land becomes scarce, the west side of I-15 is becoming more desireable. Here's a link to the LV Business Press and the map from Vegas Today and Tomorrow.
LV Business Press on STN Development
Vegas Today and Tomorrow Map
I'm finally back with another podcast! This time around I'm talking about my recent trip to Bellagio (which includes meeting up with several readers/listeners and author Dave Schwartz) as well as the big news of the day - Harrah's going private! On top of that I catch up with a few news stories from the last two weeks. Enjoy!!
Here is the link to the photos mentioned in the podcast: http://www.ratevegas.com/photo/most_recent
A reminder - feel free to call in and leave us a message about anything Las Vegas or Web site related. The call in number is: 702-508-4232.
Technorati Tags: bellagio, boyd, caesars, casino design, gaming industry, harrahs, las vegas, mgm mirage, photography, podcast, project citycenter, ratevegas.com, station, the beatles, vegas photos, wynn, wynnlasvegas
Some quick hits on upcoming development projects in Las Vegas from the Sun.
* Some discussion on Caesars Palace and the Roman Forum / new tower development.
* The Harrah's Center Strip project is still under wraps, likely delayed due to the potential private equity take-over of the company. This potentially includes the re-development of Bally's, Imperial Palace, Harrah's Las Vegas and the Flamingo, with varying degrees of severity.
* Echelon Place is moving along.
* Station has plans for Durango Station some day.
Looks like the Fertitta brothers that run Station have put together financing to take the company private in a $4.7 billion deal.
Roll The Bones is a new book by Dr. David Schwartz, the director of the Center for Gambling Studies at UNLV. His blog, DieIsCast.com 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...
I'm always a little reluctant to post links to WSJ articles since you have to subscribe to read it. Still, I love the Journal and check it out every day and we've got a section piece on Boyd and Station today that's interesting so I'm posting it.
The concept is looking at Red Rock and South Point (South Coast) and how these investments didn't produce the returns they wanted... Station missed this quarter for the first time in a looong time.
Drop, Handle & Hold is a new blog published by Unite Here (the Culinary Union) about the Vegas locals market. Its initial entries focus on Station Casinos whose employees are not represented by Culinary. As such, the blog has its own agenda, but there is some information on Stations' future plans in Vegas and Reno.
When you go to the site, you can click on underlined passages to see
plans, details, etc. of the properties being discussed.
Third Quarter earnings are coming out. The RJ gave a preview:
Big Six Earnings Preview
For conference call junkies, a schedule follows the jump.
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: http://www.dieiscast.com
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 Amazon.com 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
Technorati Tags: atlantic city, aztar, bellagio, borgata, boyd, broadway, caesars, casino design, cirque du soleil, fremont, gaming industry, golden nugget, hard rock, harrahs, hilton, hooters, las vegas, luxor, macau, mandalay bay, mgm grand, mgm mirage, mirage, monorail, palazzo, palms, planet hollywood, playboy, project citycenter, red rock, riviera, sahara, southcoast, stardust, station, table games, treasure island, tropicana, vegas, venetian, wynn, wynn macau, wynnlasvegas
Thanks to Detroit for pointing out a few articles today:
Station Plans a Latin Theme for Castaways Site
Station Continues to Expand Green Valley Ranch
Finally, some more thoughts on Harrah's and the buyout:
Plus, what might happen post-purchase:
Observations from two days at the new Red Rock Resort on Charleston at the 215.
Details and photos follow the jump.
I spent some time at Las Vegas' newest casino, Red Rock, this past Monday. Red Rock is owned by Station Casinos, Inc., who also operate Green Valley Ranch, Sunset Station and other properties in Las Vegas.
Click on through to read some observations and thoughts on the property and a link to my photos.
I added some photos to my Webshots account. They include, Wynn, Palazzo, Red Rock, Golden Nugget and the Residences at MGM Grand.
Well, the big day is here. The newest casino in Las Vegas opened this morning at 12:01am after a VIP performance from Grammy winner Sting.
Coverage in the LVRJ:
Personally, I'm looking forward to visiting and photographing in about 10 days. Of course, you'll hear all about it.
This is a historic moment for Station Casinos, which is a company that often flies under radar but is exceptionally well run. I expect to be impressed with Red Rock, much more than I was with Green Valley Ranch. The pictures of the pool deck look great and I really like how they've integrated the desert theme into the landscape architecture (LifeScapes, the folks that did Wynn, Bellagio, The Mirage and the Strip median are responsible for that). This place looks like it belongs in its environment.
All kinds of interesting stuff today...
Of course the big news is Red Rock Station, opening in just a few days.
Articles in the Review Journal:
Personally I am looking forward to checking it out for myself and taking some photos in about a week and a half.
Beyond that, a little news on Wynn's Encore and the Golf Course stuff:
Both the Las Vegas Sun and the Review Journal have articles that preview the new Red Rock Station Casino, opening next month.
Personally, I'm interested in checking this place out when it opens.
A good article in the Las Vegas Sun breaks down some of the economics of modern slot machines and the differences between games the casinos buy outright and those they share in profits with the slot manufacturer.
A quick hit on a couple of stories from the past few days:
The Las Vegas Sun met with Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta III recently to discuss Station's position as the leader in the locals market and STN's plans for the future. The two brothers may develop up to six new Station Casino properties in the next ten years. Station has $1.3 billion of projects under way now including the soon to open Red Rock Station and expansions at three properties. Station stock is up 21% in the past year and 46% over two years.
The most startling statistic to me was that off-Strip casinos will take $1,500 per year from every person in the Las Vegas valley by 2010. When you consider the number of residents who don't gamble at all, gamblers are leaving significantly more dollars in locals casinos every year. Is this a good thing or not?
The story can be found at:
Station's Econ 101