Two Way Hard Three | Las Vegas Casino & Design Blog

All Articles for Category: Venetian/LV Sands

June 23, 2011

Vegas Gang #62 - June 23rd, 2011

Posted by Hunter

Episode #62 is up!

Listen here:

Jeff kinda sounds like he was calling from the moon, so sorry about that.

This time on the show:

* Bellagio Re-Design [photos]
* Sahara Sale [photos]
* George Maloof and his Plams
* Atlantic City: Toast?
* Wynn + Adelson Are Buddies
* Predictions

** Sure Bets **

* 'Midnight in Paris'
* Jeff Simpson on Twitter
* Paternity Leave (but stay away from aggressive ducks)
* 'Everything is a Remix'

May 13, 2011

Venetian to Modify Strip Frontage

Posted by Hunter

According to a Clark County filing, Las Vegas Sands has applied for permits to modify part of their Las Vegas Strip frontage, specifically the area beneath the replicate clock tower at the southwest end of the property.

The changes are set to include re-working the landscaping and other decorative materials but the biggest modification seems to be relocating that Denny's/Sephora/clock tower entrance to the north side, allowing them to partially enclose some of that space and create about 2,800 square feet of new retail.

The complete filing is here.

Thanks to Detroit1051 for pointing this out.

May 11, 2011

SIMPSON ON VEGAS #021: When The Fun Stops

Posted by Hunter

Yeah, so this isn't about gambling addiction but I couldn't resist the use of the headline on everyone's favorite in-casino pamphlet.

Jeff's back with the latest installment of his column and this time around, it's looking at a common thread in recent casino corp conference calls: a reduction in comps to rated players.

The article is after the jump.

March 1, 2011

Federales Investigate Las Vegas Sands

Posted by Hunter

Ok, so it's the US, not Mexico... I just really wanted to say 'Federales'. Anyway, here's the deal...

It seems the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the US Department of Justice (DoJ) have decided to investigate Las Vegas Sands under the provisions of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. This investigation came to light in Sands 10-K, filed today.

It seems that allegations by Steve Jacobs, a former exec at Sands China Limited (LVS subsidiary) triggered this investigation. He alleges all sorts of shady and underhanded dealings, some supposedly instigated by the head Rascal operator himself, Mr. Sheldon G. Adelson.

No way to know if any of Jacob's allegations are true - he clearly has an axe to grind with the brain-trust at the MEGACENTER™. Still, would it surprise anyone to find out if this really was how business was conducted over there? Secret investigations of your enemies? Bribes? Kinda exactly how I imagine things might work when billions are on the line and your regulator is a semi-corrupt authoritarian state. But hey, what do I know...

Can't wait to see what happens... My bet is probably nothing. The SEC doesn't really have a great track record when it comes to busting real financial criminals.

February 18, 2011

SIMPSON ON VEGAS #015: No Comps For You!

Posted by Hunter

Las Vegas Sands made news when they announced that they had basically cut off comps for a large segment of their customers.

In this edition of Simpson on Vegas, Jeff takes a look at that new policy and adds his two cents.

Continue after the break...

Happy holidays to all!

Jeff is back with a special column, and while prostitutes and lawsuits might not be traditional Christmas fodder, I recommend reading anyway. Come on, you know you're stuck with your relatives and probably bored out of your mind right about now, right?

Enjoy... and who doesn't want an Adelson voodoo doll? Last minute gift idea!


A surprising headline - it seems that Macau decided not to grant a land concessions for two parcels to Las Vegas Sands. This was land that the company was expecting to be granted to develop an integrated resort. This PDF from 'Top Builders Group' shows some renderings of proposed LVS buildings for that site.

The company can appeal the decision but has a very limited time window to do do.

This is interesting. We've of course seen rumblings from the Chinese government indicating that they want to slow development of new resorts in Macau but this is a significant development.

In September, SJM indicated that it wanted to take over the parcels for its own development.

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.

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.

Harrah's Entertainment - Net Income: -$274 million (loss) Revenue: $2.2 billion More Info

MGM Resorts International - Net Income: -$883.5 million (loss) Revenue: $1.53 billion More Info

Boyd Gaming - Net Income: $3.4 million Revenue: $578.4 million More Info

Wynn Resorts - Net Income: $52.4 million Revenue: $1.0 billion More Info

Las Vegas Sands - Net Income: -$4.7 million (loss) Revenue: $1.59 billion More Info

This thread will be updated as other companies report.

June 2, 2010

Open Topic Discussion - June 1, 2010

Posted by detroit1051

Let's start June with a new customer satisfaction survey which shows The Orleans as the overall winner, and Venetian as the upscale winner.
Orleans Ranks High in Customer Satisfaction Survey

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:

March 22, 2010

Strip Walk - March 2010

Posted by Hunter

Mike's adventures continue: Encore Las Vegas, Bellagio, Aria, The Crystals and a stop at Valentino Grill @ The Venetian.

Click through to read the complete text. Photo gallery is here:

March 16, 2010

Macau To Regulate Building Of New Casinos

Posted by detroit1051

Macau's new Chief Executive, Fernando Chui, gave his first policy address March 16. He had been expected to announce stringent plans to slow the overheated gaming market in the Chinese region and announce steps to diversify Macau's economy. Gaming revenues increased almost 70% in the first two months of this year compared to 2009. Gambling accounts for about three-quarters of government revenue for Macau However, his comments appear to have resulted in a sigh of relief by major casino operators who already have a presence in Macau such as Wynn and Las Vegas Sands.

Reuters reports that Chui intends to limit the building of new casinos. This could help current operators' profits by protecting the market from oversupply of new casinos. Wall Street will give its opinion when the NYSE opens this morning.

To read Reuters:
Macau government to regulate the building of casinos

Wall Street Journal initial story (subscription may be requred):
Macau Gambling Industry Awaits Chui's Speech

Update: RJ's Howard Stutz weighs in.
Macau Curtailing New Casino Construction

Update #2: The market liked WYNN and LVS today. Wynn +4.48% and LVS +7.33%.

Las Vegas Sands - Net Income: -$113.9 million (loss) Revenue: $1.28 billion LV Sun

MGM Mirage - Net Income: -$434 million (loss) Revenue: $1.45 billion LV Sun

Harrah's Entertainment - Net Income: $295.6 million Revenue: $2.09 billion LV Sun

Wynn Resorts - Net Income: -$5.2 million (loss) Revenue: $809.3 million More Info

Boyd Gaming - Net Income: -$1.0 million (loss) Revenue: $384.9 million More Info

This thread will be updated as other companies report.

February 28, 2010

Open Topic Discussion - March 1, 2010

Posted by detroit1051

Steve Wynn wants to open in Pennsylvania, and it looks like LVS wants to sell Sands Bethlehem after only nine months.
Las Vegas Sands Corp. seeking to sell Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem

February 14, 2010

Strip Walk - February 2010

Posted by Hunter

Mike is back with another Strip Walk. This time we venture through TI, Bellagio, PH Towers, Palazzo, Aria, NYNY and more, including a mini-review of the Dal Toro restaurant at Palazzo.


January 14, 2010

Strip Walk - January 2010 - CityCenter Mega Edition

Posted by Hunter

Our own mike_ch is back with a 'mega' Strip Walk, including his first time at CityCenter.

As regular readers know, Mike is never short of opinions - you'll get his full take on the new MGM Mirage development as well as a boatload of photos.

This is a good one - you don't want to miss it. Enjoy.

Complete gallery:

October 1, 2009

Open Topic Discussion - October 1, 2009

Posted by detroit1051

Is there light at the end of the tunnel? Gaming stocks ended the 3rd Quarter with very nice share price increases. Now, what will happen when CityCenter opens?

Strip stocks stage September surge
LV Sands, MGM Mirage, Wynn Resorts rise

September 1, 2009

Grazie Expands: Las Vegas Sands Gets Into Promo Game

Posted by Hunter

Today, along with others, I got an email about changes to Grazie (formerly 'Club Grazie'), the Las Vegas Sands guest benefits program.

I'm not calling it a slot club because the company has decided to expand the offering - you get points for gaming but also rooms, dining and retail. Three tiers separate card holders, Grazie, Gold and Platinum.

This is a welcome change for Las Vegas regulars that enjoy a good 'two way hard three' but also drop significant change for deluxe suites and gourmet meals (are you listening, Wynn Resorts??)

Personally, I hope to see more of this permeate the gaming industry.

Mike's back with a trip down The Strip including a lunch at First Food @ Palazzo.

Some updates and photos of City Center, Bellagio, Monte Carlo and more.

The complete photo gallery is here:

July 30, 2009

Las Vegas Sands Posts Second Quarter Loss

Posted by Hunter

Las Vegas Sands, operator of The Venetian and The Palazzo in Las Vegas and several casinos in Macau, posted a loss of $171 million for the second quarter of 2009.

Looking at the details, they had two large one-time charges and without those, they'd have swung to a $22 million profit. Those charges include a non-cash impairment related to the shopping complex at The Palazzo, worth substantially less than originally thought.

LVS, which is building a new property in Singapore, believes it can realize $500 million in annualized efficiencies through cost cutting. They're not all that specific about what they want to do but that's a big number... I'm sure you intrepid readers could suggest a few things they could cut back on, no?

July 10, 2009

Vegas Gang #34 - July 9th, 2009

Posted by Hunter

Episode #34 of the Vegas Gang is up:

Rich Moriarty from Union Gaming is our guest.

We discuss:

* Harrah's and Station LBOs
* May 2009 Gaming Figures
* Las Vegas Sands Re-Starting in Macau
* City Center: Crystals Retail Information

and more...

Update: I mis-spoke during the show, indicating that Station filed Ch. 11. That's not the case, though they are still in negotiations with their lenders. I apologize for the mistake.

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

Yes, Strip Walk is back - July 2009 edition. This time, Mike added a little food critique as well.

The photos are here:


June 12, 2009

Strip Walk - June 2009

Posted by Hunter

Mike is back with a Strip Walk for June 2009 including Encore, Palazzo, Treasure Island, City Center and more.

As always, the photo gallery is here:

Click through to read more.

May 30, 2009

Non-Casino Based Comps Finally Getting Traction?

Posted by Hunter

I heard rumblings about the LVS Club Grazie policy a few days ago but completely spaced on it.

Thankfully, Chuck Mike E. @ VegasTripping did not and wrote it up:

This one is near and dear to my heart. I love playing the casino but I'm *sure* that over the years I've spent way more on hotel suites and fancy meals. I know I would personally benefit from this *cough* Wynn Resorts *cough*.

Hopefully this trend spreads as fast as the ultralounge.

May 21, 2009

Vegas Gang #32 - May 21st, 2009

Posted by Hunter

Happy to be back after a little bit of a break. Lots to talk about, as always.

We discuss:

* MGM Mirage Pulls a Rabbit Out of its Hat
* Fontainebleau May Not Be Totally Screwed (we'll see)
* UNLV Center for Gaming Research Trends
* MGM Mirage Selling Properties

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

May 6, 2009

Las Vegas Sands Reports Q1 2009

Posted by Hunter

Las Vegas Sands reported their first quarter results and as many could have guessed, they lost a little money this time around - looks like $87 million.

Details here:

April 27, 2009

Open Topic Discussion - April 27th, 2009

Posted by Hunter

Here's an open topic thread for y'all, primed with a report that LVS may be looking to sell Sands Macau and then operate it for for prospective buyer.

March 13, 2009

Vegas Gang #28 - March 13th, 2009

Posted by Hunter

We're back with another episode! It can be downloaded here.

This time around we discuss:

* Macau Update with George (report after the jump)
* Bill Weidner Leaves Las Vegas Sands
* Economic Update: Cannery+Crown, M Resort

Feel free to leave your comments below.

March 9, 2009

Bill Weidner Leaves Las Vegas Sands

Posted by Hunter

Bill Weidner resigned as president of Las Vegas Sands today.

Not much more information is available at this time, though this seems unexpected and sudden. Las Vegas Sands has been hit especially hard by the economic downturn.

February 13, 2009

Vegas Gang #26 - February 12th, 2009

Posted by Hunter

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:

February 11, 2009

UPDATED: Las Vegas Sands Reports Q4 2008

Posted by Hunter

The Q4 2008 numbers are in for LVS - the first major operator to report their results.

Looks like an operating loss of $34.4 million, down from income of $133.6 million in the same quarter last year (GAAP). Adjusted, it's a $17.1 million loss vs. a previous year Q4 income of $71.1 million.

In Las Vegas, occupancy was 93.7% for the quarter - better than I expected (though not broken out by property). In Macau, occupancy was at 90%. While not providing figures, the company admits that the Four Seasons Cotai has been slower to ramp-up than they would have liked.

The company believes it can save $250 million a year through a new efficiency program (read: likely layoffs, hour reductions, etc...).

They have gotten their average borrowing rate down to around 3%, which is pretty good considering it used to be almost twice that.

We will no doubt be discussing tomorrow on our next episode of the Vegas Gang.

Updated: Management said that they don't see any market segment where they could really raise room rates other than perhaps in the group segment.

They are working to try to combat the recent national sentiment that seems to be pointing at Vegas based business trips as some sort of 'boondoggle'.

February 10, 2009

Macau Updates: Wynn Cotai and More...

Posted by Hunter

Thanks to Drambuie Man, y'all get to see some updated photos of what's going on in Macau, specifically Cotai.

Chuck is going to be posting these over at, starting with the Wynn Cotai site.

More to come over the next few days...

Updated: Chuck posted a few more of the photo sets:
City of Dreams
Encore at Wynn Macau

Two unrelated but interesting stories:

Wynn Resorts has long prided itself on not laying off employees (though that does not seem to apply to the Wynn Design and Development sister company who recently shed several jobs). Today the company announced some measures aimed at keeping people employed, even if that means less pay, less hours and reduced benefits:

a little more from the LV Sun:

In other news, the IRS followed disgraced Fry's executive Omar Siddiqui to The Venetian this week. They are investigating allegations of tax fraud. Siddiqui was a Las Vegas high roller at several properties for years.

January 28, 2009

LVSUN: Las Vegas Sands Directors Sued

Posted by Hunter

According to the Las Vegas Sun, the board of directors of Las Vegas Sands, owners of The Venetian and The Palazzo on the Las Vegas Strip as well as several casinos around the globe have been sued for mishandling the company.

Apparently this is not the first time this has happened and suits like this not are uncommon when a company sees a dramatic drop in their share price.

January 19, 2009

Macanese Group Organizes Against Las Vegas Sands

Posted by Hunter

Thanks to Chuck S. Monster and this link from MacauTripping:

It seems a local group in Macau is none too happy with the attention on Las Vegas Sands problems. As he said, fascinating stuff. I love how these guys are peeved about a perceived preference for Singapore.

What I'd love to see now is a lawsuit between Las Vegas Sands and protesters that want to picket outside Venetian and Sands Macau. That would be serendipitous.

January 16, 2009

Vegas Gang #25 - January 16th, 2009

Posted by Hunter

Vegas Gang #25 is online.

This week on the show:

* Harrah's Suspends Caesars Palace Tower
* Rumors Swirling Around The Mirage Sale
* Encore Media Week

Leave any comments below.

January 6, 2009

UPDATED: Elad Asking Adelson For Help?

Posted by Hunter

This is sort of a bizarre story... It claims that Elad, the company that purchased the New Frontier and plans to build The Plaza there someday, is supposedly asking Las Vegas Sands for financial help.

Does that make any sense to anyone? LVS has had more than their share of financial problems recently... what sort of help could they possibly offer?

Update: More from Bill Lerner via Steve Friess:

December 3, 2008

Strip Walk - November 2008

Posted by Hunter

Mike_ch is back with his latest Strip Walk. This one is more in 'trip report' style as he was slummin' it down on The Strip for a few nights at The Grand.

It's a long one so grab a cup of coffee and sit back.

November 20, 2008

Strip Walk - November 2008

Posted by Hunter

Mike Ch is back with another Strip Walk. Click through to enjoy.

As usual, there are some photos included but this time around you'll see the debut of our new photo gallery. Gone (hopefully) are the days of duplicated photos, strange bugs and error messages. It's still being tweaked so let us know if you find problems but generally I think it's a nice improvement.

The new gallery is here: Photo Gallery

Lastly, if you read Mike's prose you will see he's soliciting photo and recon requests from you guys for his next trip. Please respond in the comments here.

November 13, 2008

Vegas Gang #21 - November 13th, 2008

Posted by Hunter

Vegas Gang #21 is online:

This time around we cover:

* Terry Lanni to Leave MGM Mirage
* Las Vegas Sands Financial Woes Continue
* Should the Nevada Gambling Age Be Lowered to 18?
* WSOP Changes This Year

Feel free to leave any comments below.

Also, please consider voting for us in the Trippies!

November 10, 2008

Las Vegas Sands Will Raise $2.14 Billion

Posted by Hunter

After posting fairly dismal third quarter results today, Las Vegas Sands indicated that it should have deals in place by the end of the week that will give it access to over $2 billion in new capital.

The company recently informed investors that it was in danger of breaching debt covenants due to leverage issues.

The company is suspending part of its ongoing Cotai Strip development in Macau to focus on its two other projects: Marina Bay Sands in Singapore and Bethlehem, PA casino project. The St. Regis condo project on the Las Vegas Strip will also be suspended.

As required by law, Las Vegas Sands filed a disclosure statement with the SEC today that indicates the company may not be able to maintain required leverage ratios which could put it in danger of a default.

A default could potentially lead to other action such as bankruptcy, though the company did not use that term in its filing.

Will Sheldon Adelson lend the company more money? Is he in a position to do so?

Will we see cuts at their resorts, in either staff or service?

UPDATE: The Las Vegas Sun has more:

October 28, 2008

Boyd Gaming Evaluating Options for Echelon

Posted by Hunter

This RJ piece indicates that Boyd Gaming is not sure when construction on their halted Las Vegas Strip project, Echelon, will resume.

BYD reported its earnings today (not great) and yesterday we got news that retail operator General Growth Properties is trying to sell off Las Vegas assets because it can't make the mortgage payments. Crazy times indeed.

October 25, 2008

Strip Walk October 2008

Posted by Hunter

Mike Ch is back with another Strip Walk. This one covers Encore, Treasure Island, City Center, The Mirage, Palazzo and more.

Photos are here:

Thanks Mike! Enjoy!

October 5, 2008

Vegas Gang #18 - October 2nd, 2008

Posted by Hunter

Vegas Gang #18 is online here:

This time around we cover:

* Las Vegas Web Roundup
* Tropicana Resorts Update
* Adelson Lends to Sands
* Sports Book Betting

Feel free to leave your comments below.

October 4, 2008

Las Vegas Weekly - Buyer's Market for Nightlife?

Posted by Hunter

Interesting article in the LV Weekly talking about the economic situation and it's impact on Las Vegas nightlife - we may see a swing to a more customer hospitable Saturday night.

September 26, 2008

Macau Trip Report - September 2008

Posted by Hunter

George (Drambuieman) is back with another great report on Macau. Some info on CotaiJet, Ponte 16 and more.

Click through to read and be sure to check out the photos:

September 16, 2008

Marina Bay Sands - Singapore

Posted by Hunter

Thanks to our friend George (Drambuie-man), we have a report on the construction of the Marina Bay Sands, the Las Vegas Sands project in Singapore.

Photos are here:

Continue after the jump to

August 28, 2008

Las Vegas Sands Interested in Indian 'Cotai' Strip

Posted by Hunter

In comments made during the opening of the Cotai Four Seasons, Las Vegas Sands Chairman Sheldon Adelson spoke about the possibility of building a strip of casinos in India, similar to the Cotai Strip development in Macau.

He's talking about spending $12 billion or more on legal casinos in India. Unclear if this is more than a trial balloon or more than that - India has just one legal casinos at the moment.

August 28, 2008

Four Seasons Macao Opens on Cotai Strip

Posted by Hunter

The next step for Las Vegas Sands' 'Cotai Strip' is the Four Seaons, opening next to the Venetian Macao (or Macau for any non LVS folks). Well, the opening has arrived:

This also includes the Cirque show, 'Zaia', opening at The Venetian Macau. Cotai Strip development may slow as credit markets tighten but things are now rolling with the inventory of rooms starting to build.

August 27, 2008

40/40 Club at Palazzo to Close / Lavo Opens

Posted by Hunter

Word comes this morning that the 40/40 Club at The Palazzo is closing. This has been long rumored and many have doubted the place was doing very well.

In other Palazzo news, Lavo, the club from the creators of Tao, has opened. Lavo is notable because it is the center of ongoing litigation between the operators and Las Vegas Sands.

July 29, 2008

Motoman's July 2008 Trip Report

Posted by Hunter

Regular reader motoman has been kind enough to share with us a report of a recent trip. Here's Moto:

"What follows is a fairly lengthy report about a fairly mundane trip (certainly not up to Mike E standards, but then, who could top that? ;-) It's roughly chronological but each paragraph has its own subject, so feel free to follow along, skip ahead, or skip completely as you prefer, after the jump."

July 14, 2008

Open Topic Discussion - July 14, 2008

Posted by detroit1051

This week's Zoning meetings:

LVS is asking for a time extension on its approval to build a new Convention Center. The Agenda item says LVS is in the process of obtaining permits, but could the economy be a reason?
Las Vegas Sands Convention Center

Wynn has requested a deviation for Encore's signage:
Encore's Signage

June 27, 2008

VegasGang #11 Posted

Posted by Hunter

Vegas Gang #11 is online here:

This time we feature:

* Encore at Wynn Las Vegas Opening
* Cosmopolitan Sued Over Its Name
* MGM Mirage Using Social Networking
* Harrah's Pays Debt With Debt
* Adelson Profiled in New Yorker

Feel free to add comments below...

June 23, 2008

The New Yorker Profiles Sheldon Adelson

Posted by Hunter

Thanks to fellow Vegas Gang member Jeff Simpson for this link... Looks like the New Yorker has done a profile on everyone's favorite casino overlord, Sheldon Adelson of Las Vegas Sands. Check it out below. Also, props to Jeff for the mention!

Thanks again to George "Dram Man" Geddes for providing a trip report based around his recent trip to Macau.

The photos, previously published, are here:

Thanks George! Continue after the jump...

June 17, 2008

Massive Macau Photo Update

Posted by Hunter

Thanks to occasional contributor George "Dram Man" Geddes, we have a load of new Macau photos to share.

As usual, all the recent photos can be seen here:

Thanks to George for sharing - enjoy!

June 13, 2008

Vegas Gang #10 - Economic Woes to Bankrupt LVS?

Posted by Hunter

Vegas Gang #10 is up -

This episode focuses on the CityCenter walkout and the economy vs. Las Vegas. We cover a few stories on the specifics, including an entry suggesting that LVS is heading for Chapter 11. That may be an extreme outcome but its an interesting discussion point.

Also, a little bit on the iPhone and its impact on Las Vegas.

Enjoy the show and feel free to post your comments here.

UPDATE: Stiffs and George's has a story about Palazzo's underwhelming performance:

June 1, 2008

Tao Nightclub Attempts Ballot Box Stuffing

Posted by Hunter

All you readers probably realize that the 'parent' of this blog is our ratings site, We allow readers to rate and review hundreds of Las Vegas hotels, restaurants, nightclubs and more. It's been running since 1999 and has a huge database of worthwhile data.

Over the years, I've added several features designed to protect against malicious uses of an open system - I was getting a ton of submissions that were nothing but spam links to gambling sites. I track the IP address of each submission for the purposes of comparison (no personal info is tracked or stored unless you submit your email address).

Well, over the past few months I've noticed quite a few glowing reviews for Tao Nightclub at The Venetian. At first they looked legit but the wording from week to week was QUITE similar. I checked and of course they are all coming from the same IP - one that is registered to Cox Communications in Las Vegas, NV, the region's cable modem provider.

So, it appears that Tao, or someone working for them, is attempting to defraud the public with fake reviews posted through my service. I assume they're doing this elsewhere as well.

I mention this just because it is interesting. I'll do nothing more but delete the incoming fake reviews and continue on my day.

Any other site operators notice anything like this? Fake comments? Planted submissions? Are Vegas casinos, clubs and PR operations *finally* getting smarter about using the 'Net?

Also, a note to Vegas businesses that want to get their word out - I'm happy to listen to your pitch and I love sharing interesting stories and info with my readers. Just don't try to come in the back door.

May 30, 2008

Vegas Gang #9 - "Wynn + Harrah's = Good Times?"

Posted by Hunter

The latest episode is live - check out our discussions here:

Comments welcome below...

Looks like Richard Suen, the Chinese businessman that supposedly helped Las Vegas Sands setup their contacts in Macau will get a pay day after all.

A Las Vegas jury awarded him $43 million in damages. The company will appeal.

Yes, we're back (and better than ever?).

Anyway, the episode is posted here:

Comment away!

May 2, 2008

Earnings: LVS and WYNN Report

Posted by Hunter

Yes, this is a few days old but we need a story to cover it and I was out.

LVS - Las Vegas Sands had an unexpected 1st quarter loss which has caused the stock to tumble. Slow ramp up for Palazzo in Vegas and a new weakness in Macau seems to be the culprit. Some numbers here.

WYNN - Wynn Resorts did better than expected on revenue but it looks like it missed on EPS. I am hoping to have some more time later to get deeper into these figures and listen to the call playback.

April 17, 2008

Sands on Trial Over Macau Deal

Posted by Hunter

I really should have posted this earlier as it is a fascinating story.

It seems a gentleman that allegedly helped Adelson's company get into the Macau market believes he was promised more compensation than he has received (nothing so far).

Well, now he's suing the company in a Nevada court. Should prove a very interesting exercise.

Steve Friess chats up Steve Wynn for this weeks The Strip Podcast and there is no shortage of great quotes, particularly near the end when he gets into Adelson's claim that at one point he had offered Wynn a job.

I assume the show will be posted sometime Thursday. It's certainly worth a listen, along with a few bits on Encore and the Binkley book, "Winner Takes All".

April 1, 2008

Las Vegas Sands: What's Going On?

Posted by detroit1051

Two important stories on LVS:

Why would Sheldon Adelson make such public comments about MGM, Pansy Ho and Atlantic City?
Sands Chief Questions MGM Mirage's Motives

What is the real story on CFO Rozek's departure from LVS?
Robert P. Rozek resigned from his position as Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Las Vegas Sands Corp

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.

February 12, 2008

Las Vegas Sands To Replace Sands Expo Center

Posted by detroit1051

Las Vegas Sands hosted an Investors Day on February 11 in Las Vegas. Management presented detailed information on the company's operations in Las Vegas and Macau as well as on other projects being built or planned both in this country and overseas.

One important announcement was the plan to build a New Sands Expo at the corner of Koval and Sands. Once the facility opens at the end of 2010, the land that the existing Sands Expo Center sits on could be used for another resort or other purposes. The site is 20 acres and is part of the Venetian/Palazzo complex.

The Investors Presentation is available as a webcast and as a slide presentation. The slides of the New Sands Expo and of the 20 acres for future development are very interesting.

Investors Day Slides=Part I
Investors Day-Part II
Webcast Replay Links

February 9, 2008 - LV Sands Planning Sky Gaming

Posted by Hunter

Baccarat to be offered on private flights to and from Asia:

The first episode of what could become a new, semi-regular podcast has been posted.

It doesn't yet have a name but the working title is 'Vegas Roundtable'. It's a gaming industry related podcast in a discussion format. Today's participants include:

Jeff Simpson - and

David McKee -

Dave Schwartz -

Chuck Monster -

Thanks to all participants. The podcast is in my normal feed for 'The Worst Las Vegas Podcast' but it will probably move to a dedicated feed. Also, if anyone can think of a good name, drop them in the comments.

If you don't subscribe to the feed and want the direct URL, here it is:

February 6, 2008

Adelson: No New Licensees in Macau

Posted by Hunter

Thanks to David McKee's blog for pointing out this article from Macau with some quotes from LVS boss Sheldon Adelson.

The Macau Daily News says in their piece that according to Adelson, the number of concessions will NOT be expanded in 2009 and in fact may *shrink* as some of Ho's more ghetto places get hit.

Interesting. Sorry Harrah's.

February 4, 2008

UPDATED: Las Vegas Sands Reports Q4 2007 Results

Posted by Hunter

Las Vegas Sands reported their Q4 2007 results and the press release is here:

I'll update this story in a bit with some details and numbers once I have a chance to dig in.

Updated: Ok, I took a look at the numbers, which were down a bit. They cited increased development costs, which looks like it makes sense. Net income was WAY down but they had a ton of costs from opening Palazzo and post-opening stuff at Venetian Macau on Cotai. Interest expense was way up which indicates they had to fund some of those through bank loans. The Cotai property didn't perform at the level they wanted in terms of winnings but volume seems pretty strong - the property is already contributing about half of the company's gross. With Palazzo and Venetian Macau open, Sands is setup for a pretty nice story in fiscal 2008.

January 23, 2008

Palazzo Las Vegas - Opening Weekend Thoughts

Posted by Hunter

Palazzo is the finest hotel ever built in Las Vegas - Las Vegas Sands In-Room Magazine

"Give me a break. This whole thing is the biggest fairy tale I've ever seen." - Red Faced Guy

I was in Las Vegas at the end of December on a trip that was supposed to coincide with the soft opening of The Palazzo, the first major property to open on the Strip since Wynn Las Vegas in 2005. Of course, we know how that turned out - Las Vegas Sands postponed the soft-open for a few days and by the time guests were walking through, I was back at home.

When another excuse for a trip popped up, this time coinciding with the 'real' opening of The Palazzo, the credit card was primed and ready. I reserved a standard 'suite' for two nights at a rate of about $300/night. I've been a critic of The Venetian in the past but I really wanted to go into this past weekend without pre-judging the property... at least that was my goal.

Keep reading after the jump for my thoughts on The Palazzo, some comparisons to other properties, and some specific notes on the photos.

Photo gallery:

January 19, 2008

Palazzo First Thoughts

Posted by Hunter

We checked into a standard 'suite' at The Palazzo last night. I will be writing more when I get home, as well as publishing some photos, but here are some overall thoughts quickly, before I head out:

I really like the lobby and atrium areas - they look fantastic... but they may be the best parts of the property.

The room is nice, though I don't consider a single room a suite, even if it has a separated living space. The room is nicely appointed, though some of the fixtures look cheap.

Service has been great. A bellman walked us to our room, though I assume that's because it was slow. I am told on 80% of the rooms are open.

The casino is a disappointment. It's just a huge open room. Better than The Venetian but nowhere near as nice as WLV or Bellagio in this regard.

The pool area looks closed at the moment and only a few restaurants are open. I haven't spent much time in the shops yet.

This place is just what any close watcher of LVS would expect - it's The Venetian, slightly upgraded.

So, as I work on getting more data, what sort of things are you guys interested in?

January 17, 2008

Open Topic Discussion: January 17, 2008

Posted by detroit1051

Sheldon Adelson: He is driven. Interesting article in the NY Times.
"...the Venetian is now the Strip�s second most profitable casino hotel, behind only the Bellagio, said Robert A. LaFleur, an industry analyst with the Susquehanna Financial Group, and that is with only a third of its revenue coming from its gambling floor."

When 3rd Place on the Rich List Just Isn�t Enough

January 13, 2008

Trip Report January 2008: Bellagio Suites and Palazzo

Posted by Hunter

Thanks to reader Aaron_B for sharing this trip report from CES 2008. I know several readers will be interested to hear about and see photos of the renovated suites at Bellagio.

The photos are here:


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.

December 31, 2007

UPDATED: Palazzo Opens Just to Spite Me

Posted by Hunter

Well, Palazzo's casino and some other public spaces are open.

We got back from Las Vegas on Saturday - I was really hoping to see the insides myself. So much of the exterior needs work but I guess they were just determined to start the cash meter.

Update: Thanks to Mark for sharing some exclusive photos with us. You can see them here:

Updated Again: I just booked two nights over the opening weekend so we'll be reporting on the full Palazzo experience.

December 23, 2007

BREAKING: Palazzo Will Not Have Guests in December

Posted by Hunter

It turns out that due to 'construction delays' there will be no hotel guests at Palazzo in 2007. I have confirmed with hotel staff that guests are being moved to The Venetian if they so desire.

Still working on final word if even the casino will be open this coming week - it's looking doubtful.

Thanks to Brian for the heads up on this.

December 18, 2007

MGM Grand Macau Opens

Posted by Hunter

Well, today is the big day for MGM Mirage with their first entry into Macau with the MGM Grand Macau. The property is a 50/50 joint venture with Pansy Ho, daughter of longtime operator Stanley Ho.

Personally, I think this property looks very interesting and it is certainly on my list of places to stay when I visit Macau sometime next year. I see the Wynn Macau/MGM Macau combo (they are right next door to each other) as the true epicenter of Macau luxury, despite Las Vegas Sands' grand Cotai experiment, at least for now.

Mike_ch is back with another Stripwalk. This time he visits Encore, City Center, TI, Palazzo, Luxor and more. Check it out after the jump plus don't forget to check out the new photos:


November 28, 2007

Welcome to MEGACENTER, May I Take Your Coat?

Posted by Hunter

Well, it appears at the geniuses at Las Vegas Sands have decided that they needed a name for the combined complex of The Venetian, Palazzo and the Sands Expo Center. That name? MEGACENTER (yes, all caps). Dumb name. I wonder if they considered other gems such as THEMegacenter or maybe even CITYMEGACENTER.

Also, as has been reported elsewhere, Palazzo's opening moved from 12/20 to 12/28, no doubt cause they realized it was impossible to make 12/20 work. There's a good chance I'll be in town for this opening so I'll keep y'all posted. I don't think I'm brave enough to reserve a room.

Here we are with a special Thanksgiving-eve 'Strip Walk' segment. This time around, mike_ch checks out the Frontier, Encore, City Center, Luxor, The Mirage and more. Text after the jump...


November 14, 2007

November 2007 LV Strip Construction Photos Posted

Posted by Hunter

I've posted my Las Vegas Strip construction photos: Most Recent Las Vegas Photos

All sorts of great stuff including Encore's high and low rise buildings, WLV's villa atrium, Palazzo, the white tiger pit at The Mirage, City Center, P-Ho, Bellagio, and more.

The link above should show them all but you can also visit the November 2007 tag. Also, based on some feedback I plan to add new searching and sorting capabilities to the photo database soon.

October 28, 2007

Open Topic Discussion - Oct. 28, 2007

Posted by Hunter

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:

October 21, 2007

Palazzo - Opening on Time?

Posted by Hunter

An article over on the VegasRex blog talks about the Palazzo and if it will open on time. It's a question that a lot of people are asking - and wondering if 'opening' will be qualified with 'limited'.

Now, some of what Rex talks about are probably less of an issue than he makes them out to be - when these high-rises are built, the lower floors are finished, fixtures are installed and furnished while the upper floors are still being framed and curtained.

We know that the retail shops will be open in January and the 'Jersey Boys' show will be later in the Spring. Also, I'm pretty sure that some of the convention space expansion will probably not be open on 12/20 either.

Anyway, any inside info in this thread would be fascinating - what do you guys think?

October 21, 2007

The RJ Goes to Macau

Posted by Hunter

Looks like the RJ has a front page piece on Macau gaming, specifically US based operators there. It's an interesting piece and it comes with a fairly cheesy map and some photos. Worth checking out - even some photos of the analysts that get quoted in every gaming article in the paper.

October 20, 2007

Palazzo Construction Detailed

Posted by Hunter

An interesting article in the LVBP goes over the Palazzo project - I didn't realize it was the largest steel project in North America - and it explains doing the framing that way vs. the more typical cement pours you see all over town.

Not so sure about that comment about LVS' 'typical attention to detail' though.

October 18, 2007

Macau Quarterly Gaming Revenues Rise Again

Posted by Hunter

Sorry I'm only getting to post this now... Looks like Macau quarterlies are once again blowing through estimates:

A 46% increase? Nice. This quarter had a little bit of Venetian Macau action but we'll really get a feel for that next time around, plus of course in the LVS and WYNN quarterlies.

Thanks to Mike for another installment of 'Strip Walk', or semi-regular feature that focuses on Las Vegas Strip construction progress.

Lots of great new info here and of course, we've got photos:

October 4, 2007

Las Vegas Sands Macau Concession Payola?

Posted by Hunter

Very interesting article in the RJ about a case involving Las Vegas Sands, sealed documents and their Macau sub-concession.

Was anyone aware of these allegations? This could prove to be very bad for Sands.

September 30, 2007

Open Topic Discussion: October 1, 2007

Posted by detroit1051

Liz Benston had an interesting column on Macau in the 9/30 LV Sun:
Catching up to Las Vegas

Some quick notes on what's in the paper's today...

The RJ has an article on Aliante Station which is being built in North Las Vegas by the soon-to-be-private Station Casinos, Inc. North Las Vegas is a bit of a future growth market for them but this is set to be another nicely put together project, even if it is very 'Station-esque'.

Inside Gaming has an interesting note on 'Macau' vs 'Macao', which the eagle eyed will have noticed are both used by US operators in Macau (Wynn Resorts likes 'Macau', Las Vegas Sands uses 'Macao' - sounds like the LVS folks are clinging to the past).

I'm still looking for some sort of concrete occupancy numbers for The Venetian Macau - anyone seen anything published other than 'things are going well'? If so, post links in the comments.

Lastly, has been following up on the trip blog with great posts daily. Its quickly becoming my fave stop for Macau info and getting me excited for a trip myself. I did go out and grab and there's no way I could get all the info I need without heading over there myself. We'll see I guess.

September 27, 2007

Strip Walk: September 2007

Posted by Hunter

Well, you know the drill at this point. Another episode featuring MGM Grand, Wynn Las Vegas, City Center and more.

Photos are here: RateVegas Photos

This time we get a bonus video: Diablo's Cantina

Well, that was a great conversation... We had an in-depth talk with Chuck from who just recently has gotten back from Macau.

We went over everything from specific hotel talk on topics like Wynn Macau, Venetian Macau, Galaxy Starworld, MGM Grand Macau, Casino Lisboa and more. We also talked about the business - folks like Wynn Resorts, Las Vegas Sands, SJM, Melco and others.

Cotai, gaming industry topics, casino design and more. It was a great discussion and I'm hoping we can do another segment soon.

Fresh back from Macau, where he chronicled his trip, Charles from will be a guest for a special Q&A version of the podcast.

We'll be doing this on TalkShoe but here's how this will work - you guys submit some questions here on the site, I'll ask them in the first 30 minutes or so. The second half of the show will be open for general discussion. We'll see how that goes.

So... TONIGHT at 6pm PT

Update: Ok, the Talkshoe link is here:

If you're planning on joining us, I strongly recommend you go to the Web site ahead of time to sign up for an account and download the software. Strictly speaking, the software isn't required (only a telephone is really required) but having it gives you extra features.

If you really can't download the software, you can call in using this number: 724-444-7444 with the TalkCast ID of 44621. Without the software you might not be able to ask any questions as we won't be able to identify you in the system.

September 20, 2007

Is LVS Interested in BYD?

Posted by detroit1051

This would be huge if LVS acquired Boyd especially for the Echelon site on the Strip.

"Activity was brisk, for instance, in Boyd Gaming Corp. as rumors swirled that the casino company might be in the sights of Las Vegas Sands Corp."

Rumors Swirl That LVS Interested in Boyd

September 20, 2007

Quickies: Wynn on The Strip, Leach on Nightclubs

Posted by Hunter

A couple of quick hits today:

Steve Wynn is the guest on this week's, The Strip Podcast. He talks about Macau, nightclubs, and more. According to Wynn, Tryst is the top netting nightclub in town and Tao is fiddling with their numbers a bit. The interview is interesting and features a fun example of Wynn's office at work. Steve's thesis on why spending is up is sort of interesting.

Second up, thanks to Detroit, this link to an article from Robin Leach - will the nightclub boom continue.

September 16, 2007

Worst Las Vegas Podcast #17 - September 15th, 2007

Posted by Hunter

Our second time using 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:

September 16, 2007

Harrah's Making Moves on Cotai

Posted by Hunter

Harrah's is making moves on the Cotai Strip in Macau by purchasing a golf course that makes them the second largest land holder in the area after Las Vegas Sands.

Based on one Web site's analysis, they paid about $22 million an acre - not too shabby.

Harrah's is still without a concession that gives them the necessary license required to operate a facility in Macau but of course, money talks and Harrah's wants in.

September 13, 2007

StripWalk: September 2007

Posted by Hunter

Here's the latest Strip Walk, this time hitting Wynn Las Vegas, Trump Las Vegas, New Frontier, Palazzo, Treasure Island, New York New York, Excalibur, Luxor and more...

As always, the photos are here:

Commentary after the jump... Take it away Mike!

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 27, 2007

UPDATED: Venetian Macau Opens - Reader Review

Posted by Hunter

I'm just back from a little vacation and I'm beat but this is something I need to report - Las Vegas Sands have opened their second property in Macau, The Venetian Macau - the first hotel to open on the Cotai Strip.

Some links:

Update: Read the comments for a review from reader Chris B.

August 16, 2007

Strip Walk: August 2007

Posted by Hunter

Welcome to a new semi-regular feature, 'Strip Walk'. These photo updates from the Las Vegas Strip (and other parts of the Valley) have previously been presented by our man in the field, mike_ch. Well, now he's an official part of the crew and we're aiming to get these two you about every other work, time and schedule permitting.

His notes follow after the jump and the photos for this and future walks are here:


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)

August 13, 2007

Wynn Talks Cotai, Encore and More in Interview

Posted by Hunter

Thanks to for pointing us to this interesting interview with Steve Wynn.

He talks about their upcoming Cotai property - he wants to make it the best in the world it seems... Also, some talk on Encore (the casino will look like Macau's, which is pretty much what we all expected) and Las Vegas Sands.

Great interview:

Update: I thought I had a photo of the Wynn Macau casino in my gallery but I looked and couldn't find one. I know I've seen it though - I remember really liking it with the columns and drapes - much more low-key than WLV. Anyone have a link?

As noted in the RJ and the LVS thread, Palazzo is scheduled to open December 20th, 2007. We'll see if that's a soft opening or what - I have my doubts.

Also, according to the Movable Buffet, Tangerine at Treasure Island will be closing and will be replaced with a new nightlife venue by the end of the year. Tangerine is managed by the Pure Management Group.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , ,

August 1, 2007

Las Vegas Sands Profit Falls in Q2 ; Revenues Up

Posted by Hunter

Las Vegas Sands reported their second quarter results today and the story is that net income is down this quarter, mostly due to higher costs.

Net income was $34.4 million from $109.3 million a year ago. Big drop... Well, they are about to open the Venetian Macau so they clearly have a reason to be spending money this quarter. Revenues were up to $612.9 million from $517 million so unless they get spend happy next time around, this is likely no huge deal.

Update: Looking at some of the numbers, at The Venetian in Las Vegas the ADR (average daily rate) was up $266, almost 10%. Other metrics like the drop were also up - fundamentals look solid.

Technorati Tags: , , , , ,

July 27, 2007

The SkyLOFTS Party: July 22-24, 2007

Posted by Mike E

Shortly after my solo trip last March, my friend Jeff and I started talking about what we could do to celebrate his graduation. We decided to go to Vegas (no surprise there) around his birthday to kill two birds with one stone...

(Continue reading after the jump)

According to industry sources, Tao Las Vegas at The Venetian is the highest grossing restaurant in the US, passing No. 2 Tavern on the Green in NYC by a huge margin.

Now, Tao is a nightclub too so it has an advantage but the numbers it is putting up are HUGE nonetheless.

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

July 9, 2007 Macau Cotai Strip Update

Posted by Hunter

Welcome to the first in a new series. Thanks to our friends at, we will have some regular news and updates from Las Vegas Sands' replica of the Las Vegas Strip in China.

Continue after the jump for the posting with all the latest Cotai Strip news.

Technorati Tags: , , ,

June 30, 2007

Weekly Open Topic-June 30

Posted by detroit1051

Last week's topic had 64 replies, so let's start a new one.

Kerkorian's initial interest in acquiring Bellagio and CityCenter certainly helped MGM during the month of June. The RJ summarizes share price changes in June for operators and slot manufacturers. MGM leads the pack.
Kerkorian's bid boosts MGM Mirage

June 7, 2007

June 2007 Las Vegas Strip Development Update

Posted by Hunter

Thanks to mike_ch who is back with another Las Vegas Strip development/construction update.

The photos are here:

Keep reading after the jump!

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

From Wall Street Journal

May 21, 2007 4:39 p.m. EDT
Tracinda to Enter Into Talks
With MGM to Acquire Bellagio
May 21, 2007 4:39 p.m.

Billionaire investor Kirk Kerkorian's Tracinda Corp. announced Monday that it intends to enter into negotiations with MGM Mirage to purchase MGM's Bellagio Hotel and Casino and City Center properties.

In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Tracinda said it also wishes to pursue strategic alternatives with respect to its investment in the world's second-largest casino operator, which may include financial restructuring transactions involving all or a substantial portion of the remainder of the company.

Tracinda currently owns 158.8 million shares, or a 56% stake in the Las Vegas-based company, according to the SEC filing.

Tracinda said it has made no decision with respect to any such restructuring transactions and reserves the right not to engage in or approve any transaction.

Shares of the company closed Monday at $62.89.

Updated by Hunter / Tuesday Evening: In an interview with Steve Friess, Bill Weidner from Las Vegas Sands indicated that his company might be interested in The Mirage and Treasure Island if MGM Mirage's properties were to be sold off individually.

Ok - this is getting a bit out of hand. Now, Weidner has actually expressed interest in those two properties in the past. I don't have a link but when the MGM/Mandalay deal was going through, everyone wondered if the FTC would require an asset sale to complete the purchase (they did not in the end). It was at that time he mentioned that LVS would be interested in buying The Mirage and/or TI to include with their portfolio. We know how that story ended.

Of course LVS is interested in The Mirage and TI - and not just a close approximation - these are places that perform very well and have a long established record. I was at The Mirage earlier today for dinner and despite it being a Tuesday, it was quite busy and doing well with occupancy. LVS would do well to score either property but it is so extremely unlikely that there's no point discussing it. Kerkorian's motivations are unknown but it seems more likely that instead of trying to raise cash through selling properties, he's either making a first step toward an LBO for MGM Mirage or it is an attempt to impose a valuation on the company that is closer in line to what he can see as MGM Mirage's rightful place in the market. The latter would be a particularly shrewd move and U'I'm sure we we will discuss these motivations more as we learn more.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Okay, all sorts of updates for today.

First off, some new construction photos from Brian Fey - Encore, Palazzo, etc.. - these are really coming together! - Thanks Brian!!

One photo that got special mention is this Encore shot:

People have been asking what this is.... Well, the plans I saw put the garden area right in that space - this looks to me like an advanced watering system. My guess is that these gardens are special - some kind of 'hook' or feature built into this attraction to make this more interesting than plants in the (fake) ground.

[Ed: Looks like this was even more basic than what we thought. Since we posted this I've been asking around and it sounds like this is based off the data network for the slot machines in the casino portion. Apparently the added casino space has encroached on the garden area and that explains the location... So - more casino, less garden = no story.]

[Ed (again): Looks like VT&T confirms this.]

MGM Grand wants to build another convention center adjacent to their existing facility.

Trump Las Vegas wants to change their floor numbering. This one is funny since it shows how these numbers are totally manipulated for marketing purposes.

Fun with parking at the Cosmo site.

Las Vegas Sands wants to add a pedestrian bridge to the back side of the Sands Expo Center.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , ,

May 5, 2007

Macau Casino Update: April 2007

Posted by Hunter

A big thank you to Drambuie Man for sending in a new report and photos from Macau.

I asked for some more photos of Wynn Macau and the Venetian and we got some good coverage. I can't wait to get out there and see this stuff myself.

The report is after the jump...

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , ,

Las Vegas Sands reported their Q1 2007 results today and while net revenues were up, net income was down due to expenses on upcoming resort properties.

This is getting kinda repetitive - LVS seems to post solid numbers every quarter. They're like Microsoft - making tons of money and totally boring at the same time.

Revenue: $628.2 million
Net Income: $114.60 million
EPS: $0.32

The ADR at the Venetian was up and occupancy was over 98%. Not too shabby.

Macau casino revenue was up. They don't really have any room product to report in Macau yet.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , ,

April 30, 2007

New Macau Photos Available - Construction Updates!

Posted by Hunter

Thanks to Brian and everyone else that submitted this to me.

Just a quick post to direct people to some new photos posted at SkyScraper City that cover all the recent construction activity in Macau. Great to see these projects moving along, especially the hotel at the Sands - Sheldy quietly hedging his Cotai bet.

Also, Drambuie Man is back in Macau and will be sharing more photos when he returns - thanks again!

The New York Times has an interesting article that covers the upcoming growth spurt in Las Vegas. A lot of general info for a mass audience but I did think the quote from Wynn indicating that this was the 'most over the top' expansion so far was interesting.

Is this a bigger game changer than milestones like the International, MGM Grand #1, The Mirage, and then Bellagio?

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

April 16, 2007

Venetian Macau Interior Construction Shots

Posted by Hunter

Thanks to Brian Fey who pointed out this link that includes some interior shots of Venetian Macau, opening in just a few short months.

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

April 7, 2007

Worst Las Vegas Podcast #15 - April 6, 2007

Posted by Hunter

We're back after a few weeks off and this time I'm joined in the studio by two friends, Carter and Kevin.

Discussion includes Harrah's buyout, Macau updates, CityCenter and more, plus some oh so witty banter and a call from Mike E.


Here's the link to all the most recent photos:

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.

Direct RSS:

Technorati Tags: , , , , , ,

Thanks to Drambuie_Man, we have a major set of new Macau photos that highlight the construction of the MGM Grand Macau, Venetian Macau and others. He was also kind enough to write up his report, which you will find after the jump.

The photos are located here:

Huge thanks go out to Drambuie_Man for taking and sharing these photos with us. He attached some notes to the photos which I have distilled and included here after the jump. I highly suggest that you give these a read along with the photos to get a better sense of context.

Here goes...

Technorati Tags: , , , , , ,

I recently spent a weekend in Las Vegas. My stated purpose was a friend's wedding but I managed to get in a few other activities for the benefit of you fine people.

Here you will read about Encore at Wynn Las Vegas, Palazzo, The Mirage, Spamalot, Luxor and more.

Also, I uploaded a couple hundred new photos:

Some more info after the jump...

March 14, 2007

mike_ch Construction Update: March 2007

Posted by Hunter

Another construction update from mike_ch. This one covers Paris, Bill's Gamblin' Hall and Saloon, The Venetian, Encore, Palazzo, Stardust (RIP), Frontier, Bellagio, Planet Aladdin, and Luxor.

Thanks again to him for providing this stuff.

Photos are located here:

Also, we've got new VIDEOS! You can watch them here (goes from most recent to older):

I'll be in Vegas this weekend to see Spamalot, take some photos, tour the CityCenter sales pavilion and attend wedding (not in that order).

March 8, 2007

Las Vegas Sands Upgrades The Venetian Las Vegas

Posted by Hunter

Well, we knew this was coming but finally a press release... Las Vegas Sands is spending $100 million to upgrade the rooms in The Venetian to the standard they are setting with their new Palazzo resort being constructed next door.

The upgraded rooms will retain the existing sunken living configuration but include automatic drapes and other amenities.

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

Drambuie_Man is heading to Macau and has offered to take questions in advance for those of us that haven't been or can't get to the other side of the world on a regular basis. I'm lucky to have several folks in the area that have been very generous with their time and this is another example of that.

His comments are after the jump and feel free to litter the comments with requests. Also, if you are in Macau or nearby and want to hang out, email me at and I'll make mutual contact.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , ,

From the Macau Daily Blog (via Brian Fey - thanks!), it looks like all the construction activity in Macau has caused costs to sky-rocket.

The article cites Las Vegas Sands' Cotai projects and Adelson's discussion of how costs are rising.

Update: Thanks again to Brian for posting this video of Cotai development:

Technorati Tags: , ,

This time around I spent most of the episode talking about Wynn Resorts, Ltd., 4th Quarter earnings report. There's also some stuff on MGM Mirage and others.

Update: For some reason that I can't explain, this episode sounds somewhat tinny. Sorry about that.

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.

Direct RSS:

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

March 1, 2007

LVS Issues Cotai Progress Report

Posted by detroit1051

LVS held a press event on Cotai Strip to publicize progress on the hotels. Starwood and Shangri-La Hotels participated. Starwood's 4,000 room Sheraton and 400 room St. Regis will open in 2008 and 2009 along with 1,800 rooms in two properties operated by Shangri-La.
"We are quickly establishing the critical mass needed to reposition Macao as a destination for shoppers, diners, entertainment-seekers and those looking for a wonderful place to hold their business meeting or convention," said William Weidner, president and chief operating officer of Las Vegas Sands Corp."
Las Vegas Sands, World-Renowned Hotel Brands Celebrate Progress on Cotai Strip

In today's Wall Street Journal, William Weidner said that he "...expects gambling revenue at its planned Venetian casino resort to account for about 50% to 60% of the project's total revenue,". Venetian Macau will open in July or August. That is sooner than I expected.
The story is at:
Las Vegas Sands Sees 50%-60% Venetian Macao Rev From Gambling

February 27, 2007

Mike_ch's February Las Vegas Strip Construction Update

Posted by Hunter

Thanks again to Mike_ch who is kind enough to share his updates and thoughts on what's going on down on the Las Vegas Strip.

This one covers the Stardust, Bellagio, Wynn Las Vegas and Encore, The Venetian, Palazzo, Luxor, Mandalay Bay, Monte Carlo, New York New York, Planet Aladdin, and more.

Photos are located here:

Keep reading after the jump for the report.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Here's the latest podcast and it's a good one. This episode features an interview with Tim and Michelle from Five Hundy By Midnight as well as spots on Las Vegas Sands and the new Tropicana.

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.

Direct RSS:

Technorati Tags: , ,

Interesting article in the LVBP talking about Las Vegas Sands recent lawsuit from the AAEC. Apparently they saw this one coming as early as 2002 and it finally landed in their lap.

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

February 5, 2007

Las Vegas Sands 2006 Results = Big Profits

Posted by Hunter

Las Vegas Sands (LVS), operators of The Venetian, Sands Macau and constructing the Venetian Macau, Marina Bay Sands and the Palazzo, reported huge numbers for the fourth quarter of 2006 and the year as a whole:

Technorati Tags: , , , , , ,

The Palazzo is rising between Wynn Las Vegas and The Venetian and despite being a $1.5 billion project, it's not been getting a lot of press.

Well, the VegasEye has some new info on Palazzo in today's edition.

They report that TV chef Mario Batali is set to open TWO eateries in the new complex and it will feature a dress-down nightclub/lounge called 'Rocket'.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , ,

This is a WSJ article so it requires a subscription or you'll have to find some other way to read it but it's recommended - interesting stuff.

Casinos Divide to Conquer

Basically the concept is that operators could sell their real estate holdings and then sign long term management deals with the new owners of the real estate. This lets them monetize these assets and many of these companies like Harrah's or MGM MIRAGE are sitting on billions in real estate.

From the article by Peter Sanders:

"Blackjack players who are dealt a pair of aces often "split" the cards into separate hands, giving them two shots at hitting the jackpot. Now, some casino companies are considering a split of their own: effectively dividing their real-estate assets from the operating companies that run the casinos."

Technorati Tags: , , , , , ,

December 31, 2006

Biggest Las Vegas / Gaming Stories of 2006?

Posted by Hunter

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.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Thanks to my friend Chris in Hong Kong, we have a few new shots of development progress for several Macau projects.


Wynn Macau / MGM Grand Macau
Venetian Macau
Grand Lisboa

Thanks Chris! Looks like some of these projects are really coming together and by this time next year, all of the above should be operating (and hopefully I will have reported my personal experience in at least a few of them!)

Happy New Year to all. Another great year of growth on this blog and I hope that 2007 will be even bigger.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

December 20, 2006

Las Vegas Sands Wins Pennsylvania Project

Posted by Hunter

Las Vegas Sands, owners of the Venetian in Las Vegas, NV, have won the coveted concession in Bethlehem, PA. This was being sought by other operators, including Trump and Isle of Capri.

The project will be built on a 126-acre site - a former steel mill - near Philadelphia. It will be interesting to see what impact this and other Pennsylvania projects have on Atlantic City as Philly is a major feeder market for AC.

It doesn't seem like the Bethlehem project will have any major financial impact for LVS.

and the LVS press release:

Technorati Tags: , ,

December 19, 2006

Worst Las Vegas Podcast #11 - December 19th, 2006

Posted by Hunter

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:

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.

Direct RSS:

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Thanks to reader George, we have an interesting report and photos from a recent trip to Macau. The report is after the jump.

A couple of comments on the report:

* The Sands Macau actually does have a small hotel at the moment and they are planning to expand it to over a hundred rooms in the next few years.

* While the jury is very much still out on Wynn Macau, looking only at the cash volume through that place in the first days we have reported, a lot of money is moving around in that place. Assuming that keeps up and the basic math works, they have potential to make money... Potential.

* Wynn's Tryst - I was under the impression that it was open based on photos from the club and a few reports. Given this report, I'm now not clear as to its status.

* Craps - Too bad no games in Macau. People seem to generally consider it a dying game. Personally, it is by far my favorite. I have seem quotes from Wynn that imply that he believes the same is one of the last generation. Hopefully it is not dying off.

Overall I found the specific comparisons useful for folks like me who are used to Las Vegas/US casinos and who plan to visit Macau sometime in the near future.

I am working on posting the photos that were sent with this story. They will be up soon...

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , ,

December 4, 2006

Las Vegas Sands Plans to Create Online Casino

Posted by Hunter

Very interesting announcement from LVS today - they plan to start an online casino.

Nevada regulated companies have tried this in the past - MGM Mirage had their WagerWorks system that they shutdown in 2004.

US citizens are prohibited from gambling in online casinos and the laws surrounding that have recently gotten stronger with the government taking aim at the financial institutions used to move the money around. Despite it being illegal, online gambling in the US is widespread.

I think this is fascinating. Online gaming is such a lucrative market, I'm not surprised these guys want a piece. I hope this works well and proves that these operators can run reliable games.

Technorati Tags: , ,

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...

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

This podcast includes some audio clips from my recent trip to Las Vegas. I talk about construction on Encore, CityCenter, Palazzo, Aladdin and more. Also, some special guests including Tim and Michelle from Five Hundy By Midnight and loyal contributor Mike E. We listen to a few messages from listeners (thanks for the theme song!) and even find some time to talk Vegas news.

Here is the link to the photos mentioned in the podcast:

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.

Direct RSS:

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I spent some time in Las Vegas this weekend (actually, a little more time than I had planned) and I wanted to report on my trip.

First off, I have posted construction photos of Encore, City Center, Bellagio renovations, Aladdin/Planet Hollywood, The Mirage (Japonais and Revolution), The Palazzo, and the pit that will become the Cosmopolitan.

I got to meet with a few readers/listeners, fellow podcasters and friends. I had a short chat with Elaine Wynn who is a real class act.

The photos are posted at this link, plus they are also in their respective categories:

More after the jump...

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

November 16, 2006

Sheldon Adelson Talks With Charlie Rose

Posted by Hunter

Thanks to reader Tom M., I was reminded that tonight on Charlie Rose (PBS 11:30pm PT), we've got Sheldon Adelson talking about Cotai, Macau, Las Vegas and being #3.

Charlie Rose is, in my opinion, one of the most interesting interviewers out there. I love the show and I'm sure this will be an interesting one. Too bad it's not Adelson for the hour - we also get some time with new James Bond, Daniel Craig.

November 13, 2006

Mike's Construction (Mini) Update

Posted by Hunter

Another update from Mike on the construction situation. No photos this time but still some good info on Mandalay, Luxor, Excalibur, MGM Grand, Wynn and Stardust.

Keep reading after the jump for the details.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

This time around we spend most of the podcast talking about Las Vegas nightclubs, specifically which ones are popular right now, what it takes to get in, all about 'bottle service' and other useful info for those folks that are interested in the clubs but maybe haven't yet taken the plunge.

I was lucky enough to get Mike E. on the show to fill in the holes in my knowledge - while I have visited a few of these places, they really aren't 100% my thing. Mike did great and I wanted to thank him again for helping out.

Ok, I hope you guys enjoy the podcast, this one is another long one at just about one hour.

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.

Direct RSS:

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

November 9, 2006

Tower Suites at Wynn Las Vegas Achieves Mobil 5-Star

Posted by Hunter

This was mentioned in the comments but this is a big deal so I'm doing a full story.

There are no other Mobil 5-Star hotels in Las Vegas and only two restaurants (Alex and Robuchon).

Since this is sure to be controversial with our readers, let the arguing begin! It should be noted that there were several 4-star ratings, including Bellagio, the remainder of Wynn Las Vegas, the Four Seasons, The Venetian, and the Ritz Carlton at Lake Las Vegas.

The R-J Chimes In:

The Sun's Take:

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , ,

In this latest edition of the podcast, we cover a lot of ground, literally!

First up, here's a warning - this podcast is AN HOUR long. Sorry it is so long but there's a lot in here and I looked at cutting something but I decided that I simply didn't want to and thus here we are.

The notes are after the jump. As always, recent photos are here:

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , ,

November 6, 2006

Las Vegas Sands' Palazzo to Include Luxury Condos

Posted by Hunter

In a bit in the Sunday edition of the Las Vegas Sun, we learn that Las Vegas Sands plans to add a few ultra-luxury condos to their Palazzo project, to appear above the Barney's store that is planned. It's only about 370 units so it's not a huge project.

Technorati Tags: , , , , ,

November 1, 2006

Las Vegas Sands Beats 3Q Expectations

Posted by Hunter

Las Vegas Sands, owners of The Venetian and the Sands Macau, as well as the upcoming Palazzo and Venetian Macau, beat Wall Street estimates with their third quarter results.

Total revenues for the quarter were $553.2 million with a net income of $97.3 million. Estimates were clocking the company at about $525 million.

The Macau property was up over 20% and The Venetian in Las Vegas also saw gains in several areas.

MGM MIRAGE has their conference call in the morning.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , ,

Thanks to mike_ch for another set of construction updates from the field!

This time around we get info on Encore, Aladdin/Planet Hollywood, Palazzo, Bellagio, MGM Grand, The Mirage, Treasure Island and the last day of the Stardust!

Thanks again to Mike for providing this stuff.

The photos are up in their respective categories but to see all recent photos:

Regarding his question below about The Mirage, they have partnered with the Los Angeles Lakers to be their official Las Vegas hotel. Oh, and by the way Mike, that picture of Bellagio's front desk office - I've always thought that was a great space. Nice shot.

Okay, Mike's update is after the jump.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

October 31, 2006

Las Vegas Developer 'Eighth Wonder' Talks Singapore

Posted by Hunter

A Las Vegas based casino developer has unveiled plans for the second site that the government of Singapore has up for bids (the first site went to Las Vegas Sands).

Based on a WSJ report, the plan sounds absolutely massive, both in terms of the number of buildings in the project and the number of partners they have signed on. Everyone from Vera Wang to Pelé to the grandson of Jacques Cousteau and a former Universal Studios cofounder are involved (and that's just part of the list - it almost sounds like a joke).

Supposedly the bid for the project valued at US$3.5 billion and will include 10 hotels with 2,100 rooms, a 7,500 seat theater that is inside the carter of a fake volcano, and 35 rides in an amusement park. Guess what they will call his amazing hodge-podge of random items? Well of course there is only one logical name: Harry's Island.

Anyway, this proposal seems more like a kitchen sink development plan than a well thought out master plan.

Technorati Tags: , ,

October 27, 2006

Worst Las Vegas Podcast #7 - October 27th, 2006

Posted by Hunter

Hey, we're back with the latest episode of the Worst Las Vegas Podcast - #7.


We talk about the following topics:

* Atlantic City / Trump + Wynn - We talk about what kind of impact a Trump+Wynn partnership might have on Atlantic City and what might possible.

* Construction Update - Thanks to 'mike_ch' for filling us in. This report covers spots like Bellagio's casino upgrades, Palazzo, Wynn's Encore and more. We talk about the article on the blog that is available here:

* What's Changed Since 2004 & Poker in Las Vegas - We talk about what it's like if you haven't visited in a couple of years plus what it is like if you have never sat down at a poker table in Las Vegas, just coming from an online poker environment.

This was a lot of fun to put together and if you're considering playing poker in Vegas, I think this is a must-listen for you. Thanks again to Phil for participating.

Direct RSS:

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

October 27, 2006

Las Vegas Construction Update: 10/27/2006

Posted by Hunter

You guys have probably seen Mike's construction updates in the past. Well, we're turning them into a front page story as they are available... Thanks to Mike from all of us for providing this info and taking time out of his day to do this.

The body is after the jump but he's covering the following:

Wynn Las Vegas and Encore

Photos are linked and are posted to the galleries. The most recent RV photos can always be found here:

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , ,

October 24, 2006

Q3 Earnings

Posted by detroit1051

Third Quarter earnings are coming out. The RJ gave a preview:
Big Six Earnings Preview

For conference call junkies, a schedule follows the jump.

October 24, 2006

Butler Service Coming to Nightclubs

Posted by Hunter

An interesting story in the most recent 'Eye on Vegas' talks about how Tao at The Venetian is adding butler service to their VIP offerings.

Butlers have long been available for high end casino guests but as far as I know, this is a nightclub first and should be quite popular.

Expect this to become a trend.

Technorati Tags: ,

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


Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

October 21, 2006

Worst Las Vegas Podcast #6: Macau: Cotai vs. Peninsula

Posted by Hunter

This is a shorter podcast this time around.

I play a couple of listener calls and talk about Macau, specifically the relationship between the Cotai Strip and the Peninsula and how that will impact operations for Wynn Resorts and Las Vegas Sands.

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.

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:

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

The latest edition of The Strip Podcast features bits of an interview with Steve Wynn mostly related to Macau and the opening of his first venture there last month. If you haven't listened, it's an interesting companion bit to the Sheldon Adelson piece from a few weeks back.

From the interview and others like it, we know that Steve Wynn believes that while development on the so-called 'Cotai Strip' will at some point down the road bear fruit, he thinks that time is 5-7 years off when the area is more built out. Wynn Resorts purchased land on the Cotai Strip and plans to develop up to three hotels there. Wynn's been clear that he thinks Cotai will be great, just not in the next couple of years.

Adelson's position is a bit different. He's currently constructing the first Cotai property, the Venetian Macau. When it opens in 2007, it will at first sit all by itself out there, though it is designed to be a fully integrated resort and will offer a wide array of facilities, much as the Venetian in Las Vegas does today.

I'm not asking if Cotai is a good idea or not - everyone agrees that Cotai is likely the long-term future of Macau. What I'm asking is if this is the right time or if Cotai will have a slow start until more of the planned hotels are on-line...

Will Adelson have to wait until 2010 or 2012 to reap the benefits and is Las Vegas Sands making a mistake to not massively expand the Sands hotel component along with these other projects?

Technorati Tags: , , , , ,

October 10, 2006

LA Times on Macau and a New Rendering of City Center

Posted by Hunter

First up, I tracked down this image that is a rendering of CityCenter - looks more recent than most:

City Center Rendering - Oct. 2006

On an unrelated topic, the LA Times ran a story on Macau that is interesting, though not a lot of new ground:,0,319698,full.story?coll=la-home-travel

Technorati Tags: , , , , , ,

Yes, that's two podcasts in a week... I have posted the fourth RateVegas podcast and this episode has an international bent.

I discuss the basics of Macau along with the info about Wynn Macau opening in early September. I also talk about Harrah's pulling out of competition for the second casino site in Singapore as well as our potential nomination for a "Trippie" award.

On top of all of that, we now have a listener line where you guys can call in to get a message read on the air. The number is: 702-508-4232. Go ahead and call us anytime, from the field in Las Vegas or otherwise.

To listen to the podcast, we have a few options:

Direct RSS:

Click on after the jump to listen to the podcast right here on the Web site.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

October 6, 2006

Worst Las Vegas Podcast #3 Posted

Posted by Hunter

I posted a new podcast that I recorded last night.

In this episode I talk more about Harrah's and the Barbary Coast, dig into Sheldon Adelson, and look back at the changes at The Mirage.

You can get the podcast a few ways:

If you use iTunes:

If you don't, the direct feed link is:

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , ,

September 23, 2006

Fire at The Venetian

Posted by Hunter

Looks like there was a three alarm fire at The Venetian:

I believe that everything is under control now and no one was hurt.

Technorati Tags: ,

Steve Friess of popular Las Vegas podcast, The Strip, had published his interview with Las Vegas Sands chairman Sheldon Adelson. Adelson discusses Macau in detail and comments on the Venetian Macau and even Wynn Macau.

The rivalry between Steve Wynn and Sheldon Adelson continues to blossom and has almost reached the level of high comedy. At a certain point you have to wonder if they don't, in a way, see the rivalry as good for business, as a way to get people interested in their properties.

Anyway, it's a very interesting podcast that also includes a Wynn snippet on the tip changes at Wynn Las Vegas.

Technorati Tags: , ,

September 5, 2006

Wynn Macau Madness / Adelson Fires Back

Posted by Hunter

With Wynn Macau opening today/tomorrow (time zones and all that), there's a flurry of activity discussing the event.

Thanks to Brian for submitting some of these.

And of course, Sheldon Adelson can't resist calling Wynn's Macau resort a 'joke and a half':

UPDATE: Brian wrote in with some GREAT photos:

Technorati Tags: ,

August 16, 2006

New Photos: Wynn Las Vegas, Encore, Palazzo, Trump

Posted by Hunter

Thanks to reader Motoman, we have some new Vegas photos from I believe July 2006. Enjoy:

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Las Vegas Sands reported their quarterly financials and I'm sure that Steve Wynn is reading them and licking his lips. Why? Revenues from the Sands Macau continue to pump cash into the company and Wynn's Macau property opens in early September.

Here's a link to Sands info:

Technorati Tags: , , ,

June 28, 2006

LVS Presentation

Posted by detroit1051

I just listened to the replay of a presentation Wm. Weidner, Las Vegas Sands COO, gave today at the Bank of America Gaming Conference in Las Vegas. It is well worth the 36 minutes. Weidner always impresses me, and I like his rapidfire way of talking. The presentation is accompanied by 55 slides which help put things in perspective. Macau and China are mindboggling. We've never seen anything like it, and LVS is going to continue to be the leader in Asia. China's future is unbelievable as is LVS'. Wow!!!

To listen to the replay:
Las Vegas Sands Presentation at Bank of America Gaming Conference

June 9, 2006

Encore, Palazzo Photos: June 9, '06

Posted by Hunter

I took a few photos today of Encore and Palazzo.

Photos of Encore and Palazzo

May 28, 2006

Adelson on Macau, Cotai Strip

Posted by detroit1051

The Las Vegas Review Journal has an interview with Sheldon Adelson on the potential for Macau, especially the Cotai Strip. He even gets in a dig about Steve Wynn's initial reaction to the Cotai Strip. Sheldon and Steve will never see eye to eye.

The article can be read here:

Sheldon Adelson on Macau

May 26, 2006

Las Vegas Sands Wins Singapore Bid

Posted by Hunter

I didn't realize they were ready to make a decision on this already... Looks like LV Sands won the right to build the first casino in Singapore, a huge coup for the company. Shares are up sharply on the news.

They have pledged $3.6 billion for the project in the Marina Bay district of the city.

Yahoo Finance

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

May 4, 2006

Las Vegas Sands Announces Quarterly Results

Posted by Hunter

Just days after competitors MGM MIRAGE and Wynn Resorts, Las Vegas Sands, operators of the Venetian in Las Vegas and the Sands Macau in Macau, China have announced their results.

Quarterly revenue is up to $503MM, based largely on the Macau property with net income of $134MM.

For details, see this release:

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

Looks like Cirque is going to do a show on Cotai for Las Vegas Sands:

I'm sure that doesn't thrill MGM MIRAGE.

In other news, an interesting article on the W Las Vegas project going up on Harmon:

Lastly, Pinnacle, the original Aztar/Tropicana suitor, announced some great earnings:

Wynn earnings coming today... We'll see how they did this last quarter...

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Yes, I am in Las Vegas. This post is a bit stream of consciousness, just random things I noticed so far:

* Wynn Las Vegas have changed the advertising graphics for Le Reve to include actual performance shots. I assume this is to drive home the CDS connection.

* Corsa Cucina, the Wynn restaurant that had to be remodeled right after opening, is now doing brisk business.

* The Sands/LVB entrance for the Wynn Esplanade is being re-done with an outer door and new glass. It is mid-construction but fully open.

* At The Mirage, Ava is gone, Onda is being renovated and Love will include lots of red (if you go behind the curtain as I did, expect to be yelled at).

* The new poker room at The Venetian is really big, not bad looking and totally empty. Maybe 20% full.

* Bellagio is cruising along, seemingly indifferent and impenetrable to competition.The Prada store still has no mens clothes (the staff dutifully described a belt as 'mens clothes' but I disagree). The new employee parking garage is HUGE... Literally almost dwarfing the large signs that straddle Frank Sinatra Drive.

* Planet Aladdin - If anyone was wondering, Desert Passage is being redone. The whole facade is under scaffold.

* Planet Aladdin Interior - Man. So much work to do. These guys can't pull it off. If they aren't dropping the 40ft ceiling, they got nothing. The place feels empty and it always will. By the way, the signs look like they were designed by prisoners.

* Caesars - the 'E' is out on the new Augustus Tower. To me this is the kind of thing that should last a day at most. It is the FREAKING SIGN ON THE STRIP AND THE LIGHT IS BURNED OUT. Fire somebody.

* Paris - The signs of Harrah's taking over are everywhere and since it was a mediocre place to begin with... BTW, I have never been 'hard sold' on a suite upgrade before. I didn't even want one. The check in clerk had a whole sheet with prices AND justifications, FAQ style. Harrah's central. Wow.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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

April 9, 2006

MacauCasinoWorld Publishes New Photos

Posted by Hunter

Thank to, we have some new photos of the progress of various properties in Macau.

These photos show various resorts such as Wynn Macau, MGM Grand and The Venetian Macau, all of which are showing fantastic progress.

Check 'em out: Macau Photos

Technorati Tags: , , , , ,

February 14, 2006

Las Vegas Sands Profit Up

Posted by Hunter

Las Vegas Sands, operators of the Venetian in Las Vegas and the Sands in Macao, reported a 59% rise in profits for their fourth quarter in results released today. Details in the article below. The company is also building The Palazzo in Las Vegas and a version of their Venetian resort in Macau.

Technorati Tags: , , , , ,

December 11, 2005

Updated Macau Photos Posted

Posted by Hunter

Thanks to Chris from Hong Kong, we have updated the Macau photos on our photo site. Those shots are located here:

Thanks again to Chris for these great shots.

Technorati Tags: , , , , ,

November 5, 2005

Updated Macau Photos Posted

Posted by Hunter

Thanks again to Chris, we have some new Macau photos posted here:


Technorati Tags: , , , ,

November 3, 2005

Earnings: Wynn Resorts and Las Vegas Sands

Posted by Hunter

Wynn Las Vegas Earnings:

Net Revenues: $251.4 million
Adjusted Net Loss: $1 million (due to pre-opening and opening expenses and includes Macau and Encore expense)

Net Gaming Revenues: $123 million
Table Game Drop: $414.6 million ($7,321 win per day)
Slot Machine Win Per Unit Per Day: $251 on $897.1 million of volume

Gross Non-Gaming Revenue: $164.7 million / Net: $128.4 million
ADR: $264 and occupancy was 93%
REVPAR: $246

Overall, EBITDA of $73.2 million, 29.1% margin.

More Details:

Las Vegas Sands Earnings:

Net Revenues: $437.6 million (up 27% from last year)
Adjusted Net Income: $99 million

They break out a lot more details for the various properties:

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , ,

Courtesy of Clark County, some additional information on progress/permits for Encore at Wynn Las Vegas and the Palazzo site, next to The Venetian.

Palazzo Permits

Encore Permits.

Neither contains any new earth-shattering information but it does show Encore going up in the room count department a good bit.

Now, this next set of permits are for a smaller expansion for Wynn Las Vegas, to include the Spamalot Theater, as well as some additional casino, retail and some other uses... 20,000 in additional casino space? Interesting.

Wynn Las Vegas Spamalot Expansion

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , ,

October 23, 2005

Macau Update

Posted by Hunter

We've got some more information on developments in Macau, the former Portuguese colony that allows Las Vegas style gambling in China near Hong Kong.

Thanks to reader Chris, we have some great first hand info as well as pictures. For those that missed them last time, we posted a bunch of his shots here: Some great shots!

This time around we have a couple more photos from Chris and they will be in the Macau group on the above site very soon.

Below, find some more comments from Chris regarding Macau developments (after the jump)...

Thanks again to Chris - he's providing us with a unique insight into Macau development that otherwise we just wouldn't have. Thank you Chris and keep it coming!

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , ,

October 9, 2005

Macau Construction Photos

Posted by Hunter

Courtesy of reader Chris, we have a bunch of construction photos from Macau to share.

The photos are located here: Macau Photos on


Technorati Tags: , , , , , , ,

October 8, 2005

Sheldon Adelson and Macau

Posted by detroit1051

The October 17th issue of Fortune Magazine has an excellent article on Sheldon Adelson and LVS' Macau developments. It's long but very informative.

Adelson and Wynn will never see eye to eye:
"Wynn is very good at creating mystique," he says. "He�s in it for fun and design gratification. My creativity extends to matching my tie to my suit. But I�m very good at making money, and that�s what an economic enterprise is all about. I�m simply a much better businessman."

Fortune Magazine Article on Sheldon Adelson and Macau

September 8, 2005

Regal Pulls Out Of Las Vegas Sands Deal

Posted by Hunter

Regal Hotels, which was to develop Macau property in conjunction with Las Vegas Sands, has pulled out of the deal.

Sands Loses Operator

Technorati Tags: , /

August 3, 2005

Las Vegas Sands Profit Dips

Posted by Hunter

A strong quarter for Macau but The Venetian was a bit flat.

Las Vegas Sands Profit Dips

Technorati Tags: , , ,

It's been awhile but our faithful readers will remember that the last time we met we covered Caesars Palace, Harrah's, The Flamingo and the Imperial Palace.

Sorry for the delay loyal readers. Since we last me the blog has been redesigned and another blog author, detroit1051, has been added to help fill your need for Vegas dirt. In this installment we take a look at The Mirage, Treasure Island, The Venetian and Wynn Las Vegas - three of which were built by Steve Wynn.

Disclaimer: I own some stock in both Wynn Resorts and Las Vegas Sands (but not MGM MIRAGE)... I think that you'll find my reviews 'fair and balanced' but in the spirit of full disclosure...

STRIPPING continues after the jump...

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , ,

July 27, 2005

Gaming's Billionaires

Posted by Hunter

A quick look at some of the billionaires involved in gaming. From Steve Wynn to Sheldon Adelson to Kirk Kerkorian, a quick rundown.

Gaming's Billionaires

Technorati Tags: , , , , ,

July 18, 2005 Best Of Reader Questions

Posted by Hunter

Some readers may know that part of our parent site,, is a 'Reader Question' area where our guests can write in and ask their vacation questions for me to answer.

Over the course of the last five years we've answered thousands of these important queries, on topics from luxury to Luxor and hot dogs to hot streaks. Some questions are bizarre, others seem to be repeated weekly. All are a good read.

In this post I'll chronicle some of the more interesting items. If you want to read all of the questions completely uncensored, you can also head over to Reader Questions and get the goods for yourself (or submit your own). I will probably make this a semi-regular column here on the blog.

The answers posted are the one I originally wrote when the question was asked. Keep reading after the jump.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , ,

I sometimes forget that new readers may not be aware of all of the thousands of photos that we have cataloged...

So, as a reminder, please be sure to visit our Las Vegas photo gallery at

Wynn Las Vegas Photos
All Las Vegas Photos


Technorati Tags: , , , , , , ,

June 15, 2005

Duck Family Tries The $20 Trick?

Posted by Hunter

Many of you that have walked past The Mirage have surely seen the ducks that live in the lagoon.

Well, according to the LVRJ, some of those little guys have moved across the street, perhaps to see the self proclaimed 'world's largest standard hotel rooms' for themselves:

Ducks Move to Venetian (LVRJ)

No word on if The Venetian expects them to increase their bottom line or if they plan a similar installation in Macao. :-)

Seriously though, the ducks seem to be without food so I hope that this story has a happy ending.

June 10, 2005

Las Vegas Sands Expands Macao Plans

Posted by Hunter

Looks like Adelson is taking on more of action on his Venetian Cotai Strip project in Macao:

Las Vegas Sun

May 17, 2005

More Info on the Palazzo Emerges

Posted by Hunter

The Palazzo is Sheldon Adelson's new Las Vegas Strip megaresort being built between Wynn Las Vegas and the Venetian. While some of this information has been posted previously, some of it is new and I'll just combine it all here for your convenience.

The projected opening of the Palazzo is scheduled for the second quarter of 2007. It will contain 3,025 rooms and suites in a 50-floor hotel tower. The complex will feature a 105,000 square foot casino, similar in size to Bellagio, The Venetian and Wynn Las Vegas.

The plan includes 400,000 square feet of additional retail that will connect to the existing Grand Canal Shops.

Adelson has been saying he is going for 'Beverly Hills' and 'Rodeo Drive' ambiance. I'm not exactly sure what that is supposed to mean but he has spoken about some of the architectural features of the resort. Of particular note is the lobby, which will feature a 60-foot glass dome that contains multiple two-story fountains and marble everything.

When the Venetian was expanded with the Venezia Tower in 2004, one of the features was a 'Concierge Floor' that includes a higher level of service and a 24-hour concierge. These rooms have been so popular that the concept is being expanded at the Palazzo with over 375 planned.

The resort will also feature six villas ranging in size up to 11,000 square feet. This high end product is similar to villas at Wynn Las Vegas, Bellagio and The Mirage - long a hallmark of Steve Wynn's high roller offering. They come fully loaded with private pools, jacuzzis, massage rooms, media rooms and more.

While Adelson claims this is an all suite resort, it is the same trick they pull with the Venetian. Most of the rooms are just oversized standard rooms with a sunken living area. I don't think this qualifies as a real suite, which to me means multiple rooms.

That wraps up the info we have at this point. Here's a rendering of the resort as it stands.

January 13, 2005

What's Wrong With The Venetian?

Posted by Hunter


[Disclosure: The author has stock in Las Vegas Sands, Inc., the company that owns The Venetian.]

The Venetian is not a great hotel.

It is profitable. It is expensive. It is bigger than hell. It is still not a great place to stay. When I tell people this, they usually look at me like I’m insane. I guess the Las Vegas Sands marketing machine is good at what they do.

There are a bunch of reasons why I don’t like The Venetian. We’ll go through ‘em and I’ll make you a believer.