Two Way Hard Three | Las Vegas Casino & Design Blog

December 27, 2005

Recapping 2005 in Las Vegas News

Posted by Hunter

What a year! 2005 saw big changes for Las Vegas, world-wide gaming and this little Web site.

In Las Vegas, 2005 saw the return of Steve Wynn with Wynn Las Vegas. We saw the completion of two mega-mergers, MGM Mirage + Mandalay and Harrah's + Caesars. The jury is still out as to how that will impact the Strip.

MGM Mirage announced major components of their Project City Center initiative. Las Vegas Sands unveiled the Palazzo resort concept. The Las Vegas condo boom, while still very strong, showed some signs of too-rapid expansion.

Las Vegas turned 100 years old and the city celebrated with a big party in July.

So, what were your favorite Las Vegas stories of 2005 and why? Read more and comment after the jump.

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Several properties continued to upgrade and refine their product. The Mirage underwent massive surgery, just now opening the latest food and beverage outlets. The Aladdin continues to threaten to become Planet Hollywood and while most of the facelift still lies in the future, Starwood had excellent results operating the hotel, raising occupancy.

The Golden Nugget was sold (again) and the impending resurgence of downtown remains impending.

Outside of Las Vegas, Macau development continues with many plans announced and some under construction. 2006 will see the opening of Wynn Macau, an important milestone for the Special Administrative Region.

Here at and the blog (we collect stats for both sites together), we're seeing readership go way up. We had a 1000% increase in our daily readers from this time last year. The photo site is getting a lot of hits as well. There is a re-design in progress that I think will help even more. The focus is on readability and content. I'm actually removing some of the ratings choices - streamlining the whole site while keeping what makes it unique - user submitted reviews and a very useful 'Reader Question' area. Over 100 people are subscribed to the RSS feed for this blog - a delivery method that is picking up steam as well. Our semi-regular series, 'Stripping', hooked a lot of readers. It's coming back soon with the next installment, we haven't given up.


Read archived comments (4 so far)
December 27, 2005 4:53 PM Posted by Mike E

2005 also saw RFID technology in use for the first time--not necessarily the best part of '05, but certainly worth mentioning.

Although they started earlier, the poker and nightclub craze went through the roof this year. I never caught on to the poker craze, but I couldn't believe the number of different tournaments showing on TV and the sudden importance of poker rooms that casinos once seemingly considered an afterthought. Regarding nightclubs, I've always been indifferent about them--sometimes they're incredibley fun, other times I'd rather be in the casino, but nevertheless, '05 got Pure and Tao with Jet and Tryst opening New Years Eve.

For me, the best part of last year was the opening of Wynn LV which grew my fascination with the city and single-handedly doubled the number of trips I took to Vegas.

2005 seemed like a huge year for the internet Vegas community as well with messageboards booming, podcasts blooming, and blogs (this one of course being my favorite) growing in number. It's great to have a community of people who share the same interests and it was even better to meet a few in person (Hunter and Peter [detroit]) in Vegas.

Here's to a prosperous year in 2006!

December 28, 2005 8:29 AM Posted by socalduck

From a business perspective, I think the mega-mergers rate as the top story. The explosion in condo developments along the Strip would be number two, followed by the opening of Wynn.

Las Vegas is a fascinating place. For 2006, I'll weigh in with my predictions:

1. The poker craze will lose most of its steam.
2. The Riviera will announce a major redevelopment (but won't close).
3. Bally's will finally be re-branded as a Horshoe.
4. The IP will be closed.

December 29, 2005 1:07 AM Posted by Mike E

How about the future of Tropicana? For '06, I think they're going to shut it down either temporarily (like Lady Luck) or maybe even permanently. There's been all that talk about expansion and renovation, but with various parts like the free show and Titanic exhibit closing and the fact the their site isn't taking reservations after March 15th, its future looks grim.

December 29, 2005 10:38 AM Posted by detroit1051

I agree with Socalduck that the mega-mergers were the top story this year. I believe the fallout or impact will continue to be a top story in 2006. With HET and MGM controlling so much of the Strip, I have to believe there will be major changes to marketing and comp programs. I just am not sure what. Will the mergers cause Las Vegas to be a much more expensive destination? Will comps be reduced as a result of reduced competition? What do others here predict?

I may be totally off-base here, but I'm not convinced MGM's City Center will go forward as planned. There will be a few boutique hotels, but I have a hard time visualizing it as a bigger, better Rockefeller Center. Las Vegas' infrastructure hasn't kept pace with development, and inadequate roads and increased traffic will be a deterrent to City Center's appeal.

Even Las Vegas will be affected in '06 by changes in the real estate market. More condo projects will be cancelled and appreciation will slow dramatically in Las Vegas as in the rest of the country. Many tourists have felt "rich" in recent years because of the rise in home values. If real estate does slow, will average Americans reduce travel expenditures just based on the perception of being less well off?

As usual, I have lots of questions, but the answers elude me.

Happy New Year to us all!