Two Way Hard Three | Las Vegas Casino & Design Blog

All Articles Published: March 2007

March 30, 2007

Book: Open Road's Best of Las Vegas

Posted by Hunter

It's been awhile but I have a book recommendation: Open Road's Best of Las Vegas.

Now, first off, I need to disclose that the author recommended this very blog in the book but that's where my affiliation with the book ends. I actually didn't even know it was in there until Tim from Five Hundy told me that we were both mentioned.

That inspired me to get the book and I was pleasantly surprised to find a competent travel guide, especially useful to less seasoned Las Vegas travelers. What I like about the book is that it goes further than many others, which often look like they sourced all of their material from hotel press materials.

Not only does it break down travel plans by type of trip (i.e. bachelor party, girls weekend, vintage Vegas, nature weekend), it also features recent and comprehensive details on all the major valley attractions.

If you're looking for a book to guide you on a first, second, or even 10th trip, give this a look.

PS: I know I promised my thoughts on the City Center stuff I saw at the sales pavilion. I started writing it up but I'm not finished yet. I apologize for the delay.

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Some quick updates this afternoon...

First off, Mandalay Bay announced upgrades to their pool complex. They spent $30 million to expand the area with the cornerstone of the upgrade being an outdoor-yet-climate-controlled, three story casino featuring glass walls. The casino will feature blackjack, craps and roulette. Beach attire is encouraged - no dressing up required.

To top it off, the third story will include 'Villa Soleil', a set of top of the line villa-like beach cabanas designed for up to 16 guests and 500 square feet. These will cost as much as a whopping $2,000 per day! Mandalay also claims to have doubled the number of available chairs at the pool.

Regarding Monte Carlo, we already knew they were building Diablo’s Cantina to offer dining on the Strip. What's interesting about the official announcement is that MGM MIRAGE alludes to future upgrades coming to Monte Carlo. Looks like that they are going to be spending some money there, at least in the short term. According to the press release, the restaurant is described as follows:

"The first floor will incorporate the main dining area with a hip bar and lounge. Guests will be able to enter from a Strip-front entrance that will feature a walk-up frozen/specialty drink bar, or through the casino. The second floor will include an open-air center bar area and stage for live music, rotating entertainment acts and weekend DJs. The patio will be a perfect setting for carefree fun in the sun or under the desert moon."

In other news, Fontainebleau applied with the county to increase the number of condos on the site from about 950 to just over 1,000. The space will come from a reduced number of hotel rooms - 2,880. The total number of units between the two types will be about 3,900.

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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...

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The Riviera rejected a $336 million offer for the company, the latest in a long string of offers for the valuable Las Vegas Strip hotel.

Sure, the Riv is long in the tooth but if the New Frontier down the street does sell for $1.5 billion, the land is worth even more than anyone could have imagined even only one year ago. The Riv will sell, it's just a matter of time.

With Encore, Echelon Place, Fontainebleau, Sahara, the Wet and Wild site and whatever happens with the New Frontier, the Riv site will be re-developed, no question. Just a matter of time and the right buyer.

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Work got out a little early and I was on my way taking my sweet time to the airport. I had gotten a full eight hours of rest the night before and hardly any butterflies were flapping in my stomach.

Why was I not suffering the usual symptoms of pre-Vegas? Maybe because I knew it would be nearly impossible to top my last trip where I spent time in one of Wynn�s Fairway Villas with friends of nearly 20 years. What I did come to realize during this quick getaway, however, is that a solo trip where you meet others in town at your own leisure is something special in and of itself and a different kind of fun.

(More after the jump...)

Downtown isn't the magnet for development dollars that the Las Vegas Strip is, though that said, Landry's have been pouring money into the Golden Nugget.

Well, the Four Queens is getting upgrades as well - beyond just the nightclub we previously discussed.

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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 19, 2007

Harrah's Using More RFID Technology in Casinos

Posted by Hunter

RFID technology in gaming chips isn't new to Las Vegas - we've seen it at the Hard Rock and Wynn Las Vegas already.

This is news that the technology is spreading to Harrah's Las Vegas - are more properties coming soon?

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March 19, 2007

New Frontier Sold for $1.5 BILLION?

Posted by Hunter

Has the New Frontier been sold? According to a tip submitted in one of our comments by regular poster LStern, it seems as if this may be the case.

According to this article, the purchase price could have been as high as $1.5 billion - $40 million an acre!

This hopefully means the end of the Montreaux project that was slated for the site - it was a horrific take on Bellagio's design with all sorts of bizarre design choices.

Anyway, we'll update you as we learn more.

Update: Whoops. Forgot to post the link (thanks Tim).

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Ok, so this isn't really a surprise. This has been rumored and semi-confirmed for months.

After the fall of 'Hairspray', Luxor officials were looking for something to fill their theater and they tapped their friends from Canada to help.

This show will feature the 'magic' tricks of illusionist Cris Angel. I've never seen him perform but I've heard he is quite good and far less annoying than David Blane.

Expect more details from MGM Mirage soon and a show to open early 2008. Production cost is supposedly about $100 million.

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March 15, 2007

Downtown to Get Nightlife Upgrades

Posted by Hunter

Over the years, many developers have thought that they had the right fix for the woes of Downtown Las Vegas.

Well, one thing they've not had a lot of is nightlife but that is changing.

Looks like we'll see something at the Four Queens and of course, the Golden Nugget is also talking about a second floor nightclub as well.

Will this help?

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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 14, 2007

MGM Grand Detroit

Posted by detroit1051

MGM Grand Detroit will be the first of the three "permanent" casinos to open. It's interim casino has been operating since 1999 in an old IRS processing center building. The permanent facility will be one block away in an ideal location to get traffic off the freeways and fairly close to the convention center.

The website has been updated to include hotel and meeting information. The "Image Gallery" shows photos and floorplans for the rooms. I was pleasantly surprised by how upscale the rooms will be. Although the hotel will only have 400 rooms, it will be a welcome addition to my long-depressed home town. The rooms put those at MGM Grand Las Vegas to shame, MGM Detroit's casino has been very profitable for MGM Mirage, and I'm glad MGM invested $700+ Million into the new facility and the city. Well done, MGM!

MGM Grand Detroit

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.

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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.

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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:

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According to filings with Clark County zoning, Boyd Gaming has updated their master plan for Echelon Place to include 1,000 more rooms than previously approved. In addition, the 1,000 condo/hotel rooms in the original plan have been jettisoned.

The plan now includes 5,280 rooms with some featuring kitchens. The site is still split into multiple towers, housing the various hotel components they have planned.

For development geeks, the filing is here:

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March 4, 2007

Weblog Posting Guidelines (Revised 3/4/2007)

Posted by Hunter

These are the guidelines for comment posting for this site, last updated 3/4/2007. Comments that violate these guidelines will be removed or edited for content without any exceptions. You will not be notified but you can ask to have an edited comment removed entirely if you desire. By submitting a comment, you agree to follow these rules. Thanks for participating!

Any questions should be directed to

* No personal insults or attacks. You are free to disagree with others, but if you stoop to personal abuse or attacks, your post(s) will be deleted. This includes calling someone names. Repeated violations will result in being banned. If you ARE insulted please report the post to me, but DO NOT retaliate.

* Please try to stay on topic. Do not post in a thread if it does not relate to the original topic. If you have a suggestion for a story, send it to

* Do not post entire articles in a post - it's a copyright violation. Fair use allows you to post the first paragraph of the article with a link to the whole thing.

* Calling someone a Troll is considered a personal attack and is not allowed. This kind of thing should be reported to me instead.

(Thanks to for inspiring these guidelines.)

March 3, 2007

Sahara Sold to CA Businessman

Posted by Hunter

The Sahara on the Las Vegas Strip, which has been up for sale and looking for the right buyer, has finally been sold.

The Bennett family, now former owners, had been shopping it along with two other land parcels adjacent and across the Strip. They decided to sell the property and hold on to that land.

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According to David McKee, there's some word of possible major problems at Wynn Las Vegas, from 20 boxmen being sacked to both chips and tips missing.

It's not clear if these allegations are true or accurate.

I don't know if these things are true but it's starting to sound like things are going off the rails over there. If anyone has any inside on this, I'd love to hear about it.

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March 2, 2007

Blog Comment Guidelines: Help Me Write Them

Posted by Hunter

In an effort to ensure that this remains a fun place to hang out and discuss the gaming industry, casino design and other interesting topics, I've decided to implement a set of comment guidelines.

All comments will be required to adhere to these guidelines or they will be removed/edited.

I'd like your feedback on what these guidelines should be like - how can we maintain civility without restricting the flow of conversation?

Continue after the jump...

March 2, 2007

Stardust To Be Imploded March 13th - 2:30am

Posted by Hunter

Boyd Gaming will implode on of the Strip's oldest hotels, the Stardust, on March 13th at 2:30am.

The building is being cleared to make way for Echelon Place, a large casino/retail/hotel development. Workers have been gutting it for the best several months - you can barely recognize the shell of the hotel tower and the distinctive neon sign is long gone, to be preserved at the Neon Museum.

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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:

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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