Two Way Hard Three | Las Vegas Casino & Design Blog

All Articles Published: October 2008

October 31, 2008

UPDATE: Wynn Resorts Third Quarter Call

Posted by Hunter

Just got off the Q3 2008 call for Wynn Resorts. Final quarterly numbers are here:

Wynn Resorts Q3 Results

On the call, the company discussed it's cash position (strong), it's future outlook and plans.

Encore is scheduled to open December 22nd, though it's still not 100% clear the first date that the public will be able to book a room. We should get that information in the coming weeks.

When asked about development on Cotai, Steve Wynn stated that they were waiting to see evidence that the current supply in Macau had been absorbed properly and at that time they'd proceed on that front. With The Venetian and Four Seasons on Cotai, the market does seem to be struggling somewhat to support the new properties, with the visa restrictions contributing to that.

It sounds like Wynn Resorts is in no hurry there - they plan to build what they describe as the world's most amazing resort and one would assume anything that fits that description will stand the test of time.

On the topic of purchasing perhaps distressed gaming assets, that pretty much was shot down - Wynn likes to build, not buy.

Overall, quite a bit of confidence from the principals.

Updated: As of this morning, Encore is accepting reservations from opening night (December 22nd). Yours truly will be there that first night, reporting all the details... We'll have photos, blog updates and live twittering.

October 30, 2008

Vegas Gang #20 - October 30th, 2008

Posted by Hunter

Vegas Gang #20 is online:

This time around we cover:

* Trippies 2008
* Gaming Stocks Slide
* Bellagio Turns 10 To Little Fanfare
* How MGM Mirage and Harrah's Market

Feel free to leave any comments below.

October 29, 2008

MGM Mirage Reports Third Quarter Results

Posted by Hunter

MGM Mirage announced their 3rd quarter results for 2008:


Profits are way down from the year ago quarter. MGM Grand Macau is doing a bit better and Bellagio had an unexpected uptick but generally, they're feeling the pinch as you can see in the figures.

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 28, 2008

Encore Party Set For Wynn's Birthday?

Posted by Hunter

After finally getting temporary certificates of occupancy for part of the structures at Encore, planning for the opening is starting to firm up.

We're hearing that Wynn Resorts staff can now start to use the hotel tower and new convention rooms with more to come as other areas are completed.

The other tidbit that's starting to leak out is that instead of a grand opening for Encore like the sort we're used to, the Company may opt instead to have a gala birthday celebration for Steve Wynn (his birthday is January 27th) to celebrate the opening of the hotel.

Yesterday Wynn Resorts put out a press release that once again mentioned that the hotel was taking reservations from January 12th onward. It's still not clear if we'll see any customers occupy the hotel before then.

The hotel has been taking reservations for weeks already but it's funny to see a bunch of news organizations parrot the press release and announce that the spigot has been opened.

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 23, 2008

Good Time For Kerkorian to Take MGM Mirage Private?

Posted by Hunter

With MGM Mirage stock a hair above $10 today, that puts it's current market cap at $2.79 billion.

Majority shareholder Kirk Kerkorian recently announced he was pulling out of Ford Motor Company, leaving him with some cash to burn (or bury in the backyard perhaps).

Long rumored, could Kirk be considering taking MGM private? Other deals of this type required private equity money and currently-scarce credit but given his resources, couldn't Kerkorian do this deal on his own if he was so inclined?

Clearly MGM Mirage is worth far more than $2.79 billion.

October 23, 2008

Trippies 2008 - Vote Now!

Posted by Hunter's annual contest, The Trippies, are now open for voting.

This blog was nominated as was the Vegas Gang podcast.

In addition, fellow Gang members Dave Schwartz and David McKee's blogs were also nominated - all the choices in both categories are worthy opponents and I congratulate all of them.

All the info on voting is here:

I'm happy to announce that Vegas Mate 1.1.0 has been released (opens in iTunes). As with all updates, this is free for existing customers.

The biggest new feature in this version is the ability to read, write and share reviews and ratings for everything we cover, right from your iPhone or iPod Touch. No more waiting until you get home to rant about how great (or terrible) something was.

The reviews are sent to our database and shared with other Vegas Mate users.

Along with that, there's a ton of other little tweaks and improvements. More info, including a video walk-through, is here:

Are you a Vegas Mate user (thanks)? Has it been helpful for you? Feel free to submit a review in iTunes - it helps quite a bit when users do this.

October 20, 2008

Atlantic City Update from Dave Schwartz

Posted by Hunter

Fellow Vegas Gang member Dave Schwartz has posted a photo essay bringing us up to date on what's going on in Atlantic City over on

October 18, 2008

Tropicana Scraps 10,000 Room Redevelopment Plan

Posted by Hunter

In what should come as a surprise to no one, Tropicana Entertainment has confirmed that the plans that would have put 10,000 rooms on that site are dead and any future development could be seven years away.

It's good to hear they want to put some money into much needed maintenance but if they think that putting a food court by the pool is going to turn this place around, they're insane.

October 16, 2008

Vegas Gang #19 - October 16th, 2008

Posted by Hunter

Vegas Gang #19 is online:

This time around we cover:

* Plaza vs. Plaza
* Wynn Resorts Preliminary 3rd Quarter + Encore
* Harrah's + Chapter 11?
* City Center

Feel free to leave any comments below.

October 16, 2008

Harrah's in Trouble?

Posted by Hunter

David McKee posted this story today about potential financial problems at Harrah's Entertainment:

We also covered this at length in today's Vegas Gang episode that will go up in a day or so.

October 16, 2008

Aliante Station - Contemporary Scottsdale?

Posted by Hunter

An article on the upcoming Aliante Station property opening in November.

As Dave Schwartz pointed out to me, 'contemporary Scottsdale' doesn't really sound all that awesome.

October 15, 2008

Bellagio Turns 10

Posted by Hunter

Dave Schwartz reminds us that 10 years ago today, Bellagio opened:

Pretty amazing it has already been ten years - and the place still looks great and is always one of the top earners in town.

October 14, 2008

Frank Rosenthal, Dead at 79

Posted by Hunter

Frank Rosenthal, the inspiration for the character played by DeNiro in the movie "Casino" has died at age 79.

Rosenthal was a Stardust casino executive before it was seized by the FBI. He was a legendary bookmaker that was banned from Nevada casinos as a member of the 'Black Book'.

October 13, 2008

Wynn Resorts Preliminary 3rd Quarter Results

Posted by Hunter

Wynn Resorts decided to release preliminary third quarter results today at the close of the market.

At a glance it seems that Wynn Las Vegas will either squeak by with a $2 million profit or post a small $2 million loss. This is down from $35.8 million in the year ago quarter. Part of this is pre-opening expenses but mostly it sounds like lower EBITDA.

WLV ADR is down by $10 from the year ago quarter.

Wynn Macau is expected to clock in between $57 and $63 million, way up from the $39.2 million in the year ago quarter.

They're not offering much guidance given the economy and the Macau visa restrictions.

It seems like once again the Macau property salvages the earnings. The company reported having $1.7 billion in cash.

October 12, 2008

The Long Weekend Is Over

Posted by Hunter

Las Vegas' long weekend is over... But that's not the end of the line for an industry that has bright days ahead.

Perhaps never more than now, Las Vegas gaming is run by people that are extremely competent and can weather the storm. These companies are mostly well capitalized with good banking relationships, even if they may have to adjust projections that were made in better times.

They are often diversified - granted some more than others - but even if we were to see something like a major Chapter 11 bankruptcy, the great midway that is the Las Vegas Strip is going nowhere.

People always need a place to forget their troubles and relax, in good times and bad. No one is better at that than Las Vegas. The electricity that draws me and so many others to come again and again cannot be shut off - it's part of the American psyche. Yes, we'll see a 'correction'. The seemingly endless acceleration of quality, luxury and prices will slow even more or even be put on pause. That's okay and consumers will welcome the chance at a bargain. They'll see rates and rooms that could have been priced much higher only months before and when things swing back the other way, they'll have tasted the best Vegas has to offer and want more.

Those that believe in Las Vegas will not stop investing in it. That investment might not be a new multi-billion dollar golf course redevelopment project in the near term but you better believe all that remaining Strip land will be built out in the future - it's inevitable.

Right now, you can get some of the best deals we've ever seen on casino industry equity - yes, the companies are not all in the same spot financially and some are probably better investments than others but I think you can count on nearly all of them to head north of their current trading prices.

Personally, I'm sick of the doom and gloom stories. Let's work on fixing the problems and move on instead of harping on disaster.

This long weekend may be over - and there may be a hangover - but the weekend will come again.

I'm betting on Las Vegas.

October 11, 2008

VegasTripping Covers City Center

Posted by Hunter

My good friend and fellow Vegas Gang-banger Chuck Monster from VegasTripping has been doing a bang up job covering what MGM Mirage has in store for us at City Center.

If you haven't seen these already, be sure to check out the following links:


City Center Tram:

ARIA Pool:

VDara Pool Deck:

October 10, 2008

More on Tropicana AC From McKee

Posted by Hunter

My friend and fellow Vegas Gang member David McKee put up an interesting post yesterday with a few updates on the status of the forced sale of the Tropicana property in Atlantic City.

We've talked about Tropicana Resorts several times on the Vegas Gang Podcast but it seems the news never stops... and for those not reading McKee on a regular basis, you're missing out.

Check out this YouTube video that combines Wynn's Encore renderings with construction photos:

Huge thanks to Mike E for tracking this down.

Also, this piece in the Sun on Encore:

Wynn talks about hoping to open on December 22nd if he can get temporary occupancy before that. In the past they haven't seemed as worried about getting that occupancy certificate so why this time?

The piece also talks about opening a couple of hundred rooms per day so I guess we have confirmation of the first Wynn soft opening, at least when it comes to planning.

October 9, 2008

RJ: Wynn Las Vegas Dealers Lose at Supreme Court

Posted by Hunter

The LVRJ is reporting that the Wynn Las Vegas dealers that sued to remove the tip sharing program have lost their appeal:

October 6, 2008

NY Plaza Wins Strip Resort Name Case

Posted by Hunter

My friend Steve Friess has a note on his blog about the outcome of the Elad vs. Tamares case over naming use rights for "The Plaza" for a future resort on the Las Vegas Strip.

Give it a look. Also, Vegas Gang member Dave Schwartz was an expert witness in the case - expect us to touch on this in the next 'Gang episode.

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 5, 2008

Quickies: "Switch" at Encore, Cher Done For 2008

Posted by Hunter

Two quick unrelated items:

* has a tidbit about "Switch", one of the new restaurants at Encore. Supposedly it will feature an internal environment that does just that - switches mid-way through the evening.

* Looks like Cher is having some health issues that will force her to cancel shows this year, which will no doubt hurt Caesars Palace.

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.

October 2, 2008

Circus Circus Clown Coming Down?

Posted by Hunter

Here's an item posted on LVA that talks about the possibility of the iconic Circus Circus Las Vegas marquee coming down to make room for some rides.

I get the fear just thinking about that thing.