Two Way Hard Three | Las Vegas Casino & Design Blog

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.

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Read archived comments (9 so far)
December 31, 2006 7:21 PM Posted by mike_ch

Easily the Harrah's buyout is the #1 story of the year for '06. The company's east strip development plans would have been a big story but this event effectively nullifying them and possibly restoring some balance if Texas/Apollo choose to sell some resorts in the future.

Barring something big happening or MGM dropping the axe on Monte Carlo to give CityCenter the space it really deserves, next year's news is pretty tame. Harrah's will mum up and the new owners plan how to invest next. Luxor will get refurbished. Some ugly condos will be built. Tropicana might announce a shutdown date if the owners can actually pull off their plans. Yawn. Maybe something crazy will happen, like maybe Landry's will buy an aging north Strip property and try to refurb it up to modern standards, or maybe what's his face will actually be able to get capital for his stupid supertall monument, but I would doubt it.

Here's a mystery: Did anybody else notice that very briefly this summer, the Stratosphere started lighting up VERY bright at night? It wasn't the Luxor bulb or anything, but instead of the dull orange nightlight they had a powerful light like you usually find at the base of really tall buildings. Some nights, it would even rotate between colors and give it a nice appearance. I'm sure it was expensive to run, and sure enough after a few months it turned off.

I actually thought they'd turn it back on tonight since there will be so many people looking at the building and the colors would add more effects to the show, but nope.

December 31, 2006 8:09 PM Posted by John

Well, I've been trying to figure out which resorts the new Harrah's might sell. I can't see them selling IP, BC, or maybe the Flamingo. Bally's/Paris might be a candidate, or even Harrah's Las Vegas. However, other than that, I can't really see any other property they could sell aside from the Rio.

Also, I've been thinking about it, and I'm beginning to think that taking Monte Carlo down, might be the right thing to do. I mean, right now, the place is running on life support. It has absolutely no on-site self parking, and is in no way, at this moment, connected to any other resort. However, the arguments that regarding the resorts "ho-hum" design and its lack of, at this time, customer infrastructure, can't overpower the argument that the resort is, more or less, a cash machine.

January 1, 2007 12:11 AM Posted by mike_ch

Happy new year, folks.

From my window overlooking down to the Strip, I'll tell you that this year's show was not as good as last year's. There was very few seriously impressive things being launched off the hotels, although it looked like north strip had a new platform hat wasn't there before (Stardust?)

The hotels weren't shooting as high because I couldn't see them as well over the roof of the building down the road as I could last year. Stratosphere had a lot of pyro packed onto it but also was kind of unimpressive too. This year they had something that looked like a halo of sparks around the Big Shot, whereas last year they had flares firing off the sides of the deck.

January 1, 2007 12:12 AM Posted by mike_ch

I forgot to mention that the show only lasted 5 minutes, last year's was 8. And the TV stations were all playing different audio tracks, I have no idea who played the "real" one.

Anyway, I guess I should say:
Fireworks: Just Average
Presentation: Expected Better

January 1, 2007 12:17 AM Posted by Hunter

Happy New Year to All!

I sorta wish I was in Vegas but at the same time, the craziness for NYE can be a bit much.

Maybe next year.

January 1, 2007 4:25 PM Posted by detroit1051

I agree with Mike_ch that Harrah's was the story for 2006. I think it will also be the big story in 2007 but not in a positive way. I believe a year from now we'll be writing about how private equity takeovers caused significant damage to Vegas and gaming companies. They'll be so focused on their debt that new development will be dramatically reduced. In HET's case, the major redevelopment of the east side of the Strip will likely be cut to shreds. Theres' a related story in the current LV Business Press. Obviously, I'm not the only one with this opinion:
Also, although Macau is and will continue to be a success story in '07, there have been such run-ups is share prices that I predict both LVS and WYNN will lag this year.

January 1, 2007 9:51 PM Posted by mike_ch

Detroit, I'm not sure I share your pessimism. I'm sure there's some amazing project that died when Harrah's agreed to the buyout, but private companies are allowed to do what they want to do without being held up to shareholder demands.

Why do casinos now try to make profit in every single department instead of letting the others support the casino?

Why do companies move their support centers to countries that barely recognize English?

Why is there STILL a big fire mark and damage on the Venetian?

The answer is because spending money leaves less for shareholders, while not investing in quality and going for cheap-fixes benefits the stock market crowd, who won't care if the company dies in 15 years because they won't be investing in it by then.

The howling cry of shareholders for more money is how so many companies lose their way and exploit their product. I'm not sure if the future is bright for Harrah's but I don't mind the move on a philosophical level. And if they do have problems, it's because they spent so much money buying so much. MGM-Mirage and Boyd Gaming both spent money much more wisely.

January 1, 2007 10:08 PM Posted by John


I feel like I'm torn, though. I want to see Harrah's succeed in the private buyout, but at the same time, I would like to see the company fall apart, to the part, where the Las Vegas properties are sold, and we one have a variety of owners and a renewed sense of competition on the strip. I guess it will definitely be an interesting year.

P.S.- I'm still trying to figure out if LVS can really pull off Palazzo by the end of the year, I guess we'll have to see some unheard of progress on the building, through out the rest of the year.

January 2, 2007 1:08 AM Posted by mike_ch

The problem with splitting up the Harrah's ownership is that if you do that, you basically have the gaming resort capital of the world (don't mention Cotai, I'll hear nothing of it yet) more or less solely in the hands of MGM-Mirage.

I'd rather Harrah's either sell off their casinos elsewhere, or spin off their Nevada resorts (maybe barring Reno/Tahoe) into a new company.

It's not good for the city's future to have it all pinned on one company's shoulders.