Two Way Hard Three | Las Vegas Casino & Design Blog

June 28, 2008

Open Topic Discussion - June 28th, 2008

Posted by Hunter

Here's an open topic for y'all to discuss whatever you'd like.

One thing you might be interested, a description of a high end villa suite at MGM Grand Macau.

Thanks to Mike E for tracking that down.


Read archived comments (29 so far)
June 28, 2008 2:20 PM Posted by detroit1051

A friend got an email ad from Wynn. It offers a $199 rate for a Resort Room and includes $200 dining credit, good only at Bartolotta. This offer is good July 1-11.
Reservations for other dates through September 21 include a $100 credit for Bartolotta.
This indicates to me that Las Vegas will be very soft during the 4th of July holiday period, and that another friend was right when he told me business at high-end Strip restaurants is down 25% this year.

June 28, 2008 2:58 PM Posted by Hunter

I too got this email from Wynn...

The interesting thing though, is where it went. Due to a signup error on my very first trip to WLV, I actually have TWO Red Card accounts.

Now, I'm careful to use one only, to accumulate points, etc...

This email came to the address associated with the other, almost never used account. Very strange. I guess I have to assume it's more about the SoCal address than the level of play.

I've been getting TONS of email offers from all the places in the past two weeks. TONS.

June 28, 2008 4:03 PM Posted by Jason Robar

"This email came to the address associated with the other, almost never used account. Very strange. I guess I have to assume it's more about the SoCal address than the level of play."

I don't know about that; I got the same offer and I'm in the Toronto area. Wynn might be trying to build up their customer base in anticipation of Encore's opening.

With that said, I have also been getting a lot of summer offers (which doesn't help my planned September trip quite yet). The Venetian even sent along a free room with a slot tournament for this weekend, and then I received the same offer for next. I haven't played that much money there (and only joined their club in March), so they are being aggressive in their attempts to make up for the soft economy.

June 28, 2008 4:31 PM Posted by detroit1051

Hunter, my friend who got the Wynn email lives in New Jersey, and I don't believe he is a frequent Wynn visitor. I'm also getting TONS of offers with generous FreePlay incentives from Palazzo/Venetian, Station properties, Bellagio, The Mirage, TI, NYNY, Caesars, Wynn, Golden Nugget, Mandalay and MGM Grand.

The Seminole tribe has seven casinos in Florida. At the beginning of the year, they entered into a Compact with the state and are rapidly becoming a major regional player. They have replaced all the Class II slots with Class III and last week rolled out 70+ tables at the Hard Rock Hollywood Casino which serves Fort Lauderdale, Miami and to some extent Palm Beach. They hired experienced dealers from Mississippi, Atlantic City, Connecticut and some from Vegas. There has not been an empty seat at any of the tables (except in the middle of the night) for a week. Blackjack table minimums at night are mostly $25 and higher. They will duplicate this at their other flagship property, Hard Rock Tampa shortly and then move on to the smaller casinos. One, in northern Broward County is scheduled to be expanded to include a 1,500 room hotel and huge casino. Although the state is guaranteed a minimum of $100 Million a year, if the legislature wasn't so anti-casino, commercial casinos could contribute huge taxes to Florida. I've long thought that Fontainebleau's expansion and renovation on Miami Beach, which will be completed this summer, was done in anticipation of legalized gaming. The Seminoles' huge success with Class III and tables may cause a public backlash which could force the legislature to act.

The Seminoles are very good operators, but their deal with the state is very one-sided. Now that they own the Hard Rock brand (except for the Hard Rock in Vegas), I expect them to become a national player at some point.

June 29, 2008 8:38 AM Posted by detroit1051

Most everyone here probably checks the Strip Podcast regularly, but if you haven't seen it, here is Deutsche Bank's latest Strip development report with photos and room forecasts:

June 29, 2008 11:21 AM Posted by Nathan Boone

Hey everyone. I'm on both the Venetian/Palazzo and Wynn e-mail list but hardly ever get anything from Wynn. I did make a reservation for August at the Venetian. They had a promotion where the room rates would be the same as the temperature quoted for that day. A newly renovated luxury suite at 99 to 105 a night. I upgraded to the Venezia Concierge for 125 more. Not bad I'll say.

June 30, 2008 1:25 PM Posted by socalduck

Just saw this on the LA Times website, comparing a Wynn opening with LVS.

June 30, 2008 5:50 PM Posted by Jeff in OKC

A couple of things I've learned about Indian Gaming that may have a bearing on the Seminoles activities. I'm not an expert, this is just things I've picked up here in Oklahoma. Most readers probably know all this anyway, I'm writing it for some of the unitiated readers.
First, a Tribe can only have gaming in its Tribal land as designated by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. The Tribe has to have a legitimate claim on the land based on the Tribe operating as a real Tribe (something like an organized govenment) prior to around the year 1900. I don't think multiple Tribes can claim the same land. I don't think the BIA has ever approved a land swap either. For instance 100 acres on Miami Beach for 100 acres within a Tribes assigned area. My point being if the Miami Beach, or Fountainbleau areas, aren't in some Tribes assigned lands, it'll have to be legalized by the State before casino gaming will be there. This brings into play Detroit's backlash comment, in that I'd think the Horsetrack and Fronton lobbies would gain all the sympathy they need to muddy the waters. An intersting aside. In Oklahoma, the "Land Run" lands, like depicted in the movie "Far and Away", were listed as "Unassigned Lands". Which meant no Tribe claimed them, leaving most of the Oklahoma City metro area off limits to Indian Gaming.
Second, around Oklahoma, the Indian Gaming groups are in the odd position of being a business, AND a government. The Tribes want to be a casino company, competing for the Dallas market with Harrah's, and Boyd (who are in Shreveport, LA). And yet give as many jobs as possible to Tribal members, and provide financial assistance ot Tribal social programs, AND respect powerful elders concerns about the destructive effects of alcohol, or other items, on Tribal well being. I assume that in Florida, the Seminoles challenge isn't only to enrich a Tribal company, but also to free a Nation.
Sorry for the length. I swear I tried to make this brief.

July 1, 2008 7:47 AM Posted by detroit1051

Wall Street Journal's front page story on casinos and Las Vegas. It looks like it's available without a subscription. Not very encouraging.

July 1, 2008 9:01 AM Posted by Brian Fey

Holy Crap!!! Wynn's Market Cap is more than MGM-Mirage now. I know it can never happen, cause Kirk is the majorty stock holder, but wouldn't it be a hoot if Wynn bought MGM-Mirage, since they are smaller now. Unreal.

July 1, 2008 10:16 AM Posted by David McKee

I second Brian's motion. I can't for the life of me imagine Steve Wynn having the slightest interest in, say, EBITDA at New York-New York ... but the irony and the poetic justice would be exquisite beyond words.

July 2, 2008 1:20 AM Posted by Mike E

Just got an e-mail from The Mirage regarding BLT Burger and I'm liking what I'm reading. Despite an acclaimed chef, prices seem very reasonable--less than even Carnegie Deli's sandwiches. Also, they'll be open as late as 4am which makes it a great alternative to typical coffee shop hangover-prevention fare.

Site and menu here:

July 2, 2008 5:27 AM Posted by detroit1051

Mike, thanks. The menu looks like a winner, and the prices aren't bad. The location, near the south Strip entrance will bring lots of Strip tourists in. So, it's a sports bar with rock music. Hope it's not hard rock. I've always thought the space was relatively small, but maybe the space is deeper than I thought with a lot of back-of-house space where they used to care for the tigers?

July 2, 2008 7:33 AM Posted by Chooch

Brian, what might be interesting for Wynn is if he would look to buy back the Bellagio, Mirage and/or Treasure Island. If MGM is looking for ways to unlock value that would be interesting. They already talked about selling the Bellagio once before.

July 2, 2008 5:42 PM Posted by motoman

I'll chime in with Brian and David -- poetic justice indeed!!

Chooch, the talk of a Bellagio selloff was when Kirk was talking about splitting the company and keeping the more valuable properties, and IIRC, the talk here was that it was a move to drive up the (depressed) stock price? Something like that.

July 2, 2008 5:57 PM Posted by detroit1051

More trouble at the Trop, this time E.coli in the water. What surprised me was the fact the Island Tower blends well water with municipal water.

July 3, 2008 11:07 AM Posted by David McKee

Detroit's onto the real story here, IMO, which is that the fact that the Trop has its own well not only makes it an anomaly but came as a surprise to some of the county officialdom involved. The R-J plays up that angle better than the Sun.

July 3, 2008 11:28 AM Posted by BillyInLasVegas

I would love to see what Steve Wynn would do if we bought back his 3 original properties.
Specially Bellagio!

Also for those interested in BLT I'm going there this afternoon. I'll let you know how it went.

And in even more unrelated news the black curtains came off Yellowtail this week, it's still as small as Shintaro was but it looks more inviting. I think the Light Group might have a good restaurant formula!

July 4, 2008 3:18 PM Posted by Hunter

A proper announcement will be coming soon but I'm happy to say that the first annual 'Vegas Podcastapalooza' will be held the afternoon of August 16th at the Palms.

It will feature live episodes of the VegasGang, Five Hundy By Midnight and The Strip.

Stay tuned, we'll be making sure y'all know all about it.

July 5, 2008 10:07 AM Posted by Hunter

Heh, looks like Las Vegas Sands had some problems with electrified pools and spas at Palazzo:

Thanks Andy for the link.

July 5, 2008 10:59 PM Posted by PeterF

The Independent has a story about economic problems in Las Vegas:

July 6, 2008 12:03 AM Posted by Mike E

I just want to take this time to thank Hunter for all the work he has done here on the blog and of course on and Vegas Gang. Today is his birthday so let's wish him the best.

Happy birthday, Hunter!

July 6, 2008 12:29 AM Posted by Hunter

Thanks Mike, nice of you to say so.

Yes, it's true. 29 today, same b-day as the good 'ol Commander-in-Chief.

Next year will be 30. Wowza.

July 6, 2008 5:10 AM Posted by detroit1051

"Next year will be 30. Wowza."
Hunter, the 30's are the best, much better than the 20's, but don't ask about the 40's, 50's or 60's!

July 6, 2008 5:21 AM Posted by detroit1051

The Independent story is interesting, but there are some errors which make me wonder whether the reporter has been to Las Vegas, such as Pyramids of Egypt (plural), Steve Wynn being a "Texan version of Donald Trump", the garbled explanation of Encore and CityCenter, etc.
I question the quote by the Realtor Association head who said Las Vegas will again start a ten year growth spurt. I'm not as optimistic. What do you guys think?

July 6, 2008 11:06 AM Posted by Brian Fey

I think Las Vegas does come out of this, and another growth spurt does come. I mean think about it. There are 40k room opening in the next several years. That will generate about 120k direct jobs, and many more indirect jobs, to support the population growth. Vegas as a city will rebound, due to this explosive growth. I personally see the whole economy getting much better next year, as we have a new president, and the dollar gains strength. I think oil will come down, in the next year, because I don't think it can sustain the increase its had. The slight increase in demand, and the slight decrease in production, does not explain how the price has doubled in 6-9 months. It just does not make sense. I see a correction coming. Imagine seeing gas at $3 or less a gallon, that alone would be a huge help to the national economy. Maybe I'm just overly optimistic, but I see things improving. Banks and other companies are quick to have all these right downs, but at some point there will be right ups. The people snatching up these houses for huge price discounts will make tons of money in the future as the prices go back up again. The population is growing, inflation and unemployment have been much worse in the past, and we survived. Maybe I am wrong, but I just don't see the great depression on the horizon. Time will tell, but at the rate I'm buying stocks, I'll either be rich in several years, or I'll be dead ass broke! :)

July 6, 2008 8:34 PM Posted by DavidF

Sign of the times? Dunno if this is common knowledge, but now LVS Resorts requires 72 Hours Notice for Cancellation, as I found out when Booking to stay at Sheldys at end of this month.

I am a bit PO'd but I need two beds, Family is joining my Wife and I in town for the last two nights of my upcoming trip and nothing else is coming close for room type/price for that Friday and Saturday, sometimes you gotta so what you gotta do...

July 7, 2008 7:44 AM Posted by detroit1051

David, I still get comp offers from Venetian/Palazzo, and they all have fine print that "Cancellations must be received within 72 hours of arrival or will be subject to a charge up to $350 plus tax for the first night's room."
I've wondered if they enforce it especially on offers to players they want to cultivate.

July 9, 2008 7:21 AM Posted by detroit1051

If Fontainebleau is spending all this effort on toilet paper, drink napkins and glasses, it's no wonder the Miami Beach renovation is costing a billion bucks. Will it be a preview of what's to come in Las Vegas?