Two Way Hard Three | Las Vegas Casino & Design Blog

All Articles Published: January 2009

January 31, 2009

RJ: Analyst Believes Station Near Default

Posted by Hunter

According to the RJ, an analyst at Moody's believes that recently privatized Station Casinos is about to run out of cash.

Given the operating environment, I wouldn't be surprised.

January 29, 2009

RJ: Elad Granted Loan Extension

Posted by Hunter

Elad, the company that purchased the New Frontier land to build a Las Vegas version of The Plaza Hotel, has been granted a 42 month (!) extension to their $625 million loan.

Hopefully for us all, the economy improves inside of 42 months.

January 28, 2009

LVSUN: Las Vegas Sands Directors Sued

Posted by Hunter

According to the Las Vegas Sun, the board of directors of Las Vegas Sands, owners of The Venetian and The Palazzo on the Las Vegas Strip as well as several casinos around the globe have been sued for mishandling the company.

Apparently this is not the first time this has happened and suits like this not are uncommon when a company sees a dramatic drop in their share price.

January 22, 2009

Open Topic Discussion - January 22nd, 2009

Posted by Hunter

Throwing open another open topic but I got this little nugget to kick around from reader Jeff in OKC:

"Is Bellagio cursed? I don't know of any curse, or any Indian burial grounds, etc., but, I think there's some bad mojo at the Southwest corner of Flamingo and Las Vegas Boulevard. Since the Dunes was built there in the 50's, all kinds of unusual problems have plagued the property. Design and construction problems abounded there in the 60's and 70's. But ownership seems to be the biggest victim of strange things there. From legendary mob control, to the Japanese financial collapse that led to Steve Wynn getting the land. Spectacularly, for our purposes, Steve Wynn built palatial offices for Mirage Resorts, which he had to give up when he got in a cash bind and had to sell out in 2000. I understand MGM moved their HQ to Bellagio after the buyout, and Terry Lanni took over the same office. Lanni, as well, suffered an equally amazing fall from grace in just a few days during November, 2008. If I were Jim Murren, I think I'd move HQ back to the MGM Grand. Any thoughts?"

January 22, 2009 Launches CASINOVAC

Posted by Hunter has launched CASINOVAC, an automated recommendations engine for Las Vegas visitors trying to pick a place to stay and play.

Chuck's post about the launch is here:

It's a fun piece of tech - you should check it out!

January 20, 2009

Vegas Mate 1.5 Released

Posted by Hunter

Vegas Mate 1.5 has been released on Apple's iTunes App Store.

This new version, free for existing users, includes several new features:

* Ability to filter restaurants by cuisine or cost.
* Group 'Expert Help' by category.
* Drastically increased amount of 'Expert Help'.
* Several user interface enhancements.
* Tons of great new Vegas content.

If you're not already a Vegas Mate user, it's available in the App Store here.

January 19, 2009

Macanese Group Organizes Against Las Vegas Sands

Posted by Hunter

Thanks to Chuck S. Monster and this link from MacauTripping:

It seems a local group in Macau is none too happy with the attention on Las Vegas Sands problems. As he said, fascinating stuff. I love how these guys are peeved about a perceived preference for Singapore.

What I'd love to see now is a lawsuit between Las Vegas Sands and protesters that want to picket outside Venetian and Sands Macau. That would be serendipitous.

January 19, 2009

LV Sun: Fontainebleau Has The Cash To Keep Rising

Posted by Hunter

Funny to see this story today in the Sun about the financing at Fontainebleau:

Just the other day as I was walking outside Encore, I was thinking to myself that it didn't look like much glass had been added to the tower at FBleau since December. Well, photographic evidence proved otherwise - my mind was just playing tricks on me and the glass is indeed rising.

When I checked out the visitors center there a few weeks back, there was a lot of construction activity in the low-rise portions. It is telling though that so far I don't think they will even sell you a condo - perhaps a chance they want to keep their options open?

The visitors area includes a large model of the complex, which does look interesting, as well as a model room. The room itself was nicely appointed - you can see Schaeffer and THEHotel written all over its style. Not quite as big as I would have expected, but then again, neither are the rooms at ARIA.

As some already know, I spent some time last week at Encore Las Vegas for what Wynn Resorts called 'Media Week'. Over the course of 5 days of events, various forms of media were invited to come stay at the hotel and participate in all sorts of events from back-of-house tours to eating in the restaurants.

After the jump for more, including a link to the audio extra...

January 16, 2009

Vegas Gang #25 - January 16th, 2009

Posted by Hunter

Vegas Gang #25 is online.

This week on the show:

* Harrah's Suspends Caesars Palace Tower
* Rumors Swirling Around The Mirage Sale
* Encore Media Week

Leave any comments below.

For the past several weeks, rumors of a potential sale of The Mirage have been making the rounds. Personally, I've heard at least two different versions and one from a credible source, though no one that has claimed direct knowledge of a deal.

Today, Howard Stutz in the RJ has a piece that made the front page 'Breaking News' section on the persistent rumors:

In all the versions of the story I keep hearing, the buyer is always Penn National, with Pinnacle Entertainment a distant second chance possibility. The rumored price is typically between $1.2 and $1.5 billion.

MGM Mirage has consistently said that they evaluate all offers but they have nothing to announce.

Still, does this sale make sense for MGM Mirage? Without a dollar figure, it's hard to say but as Stutz indicated, if liquidity is enough of an issue to force this, I would have expected other assets to be divested first, such as the 50% stake in Borgata or perhaps something like Luxor. Of course, The Mirage may be the only asset that this buyer wants (and can afford - I'm sure they'd love Bellagio).

The Mirage has recently been significantly re-worked and would be a great Las Vegas starting point for a company like Penn.

And to those that keep hoping Steve Wynn would buy the hotel back - no chance (unless the price was super-low). He's looking one direction and that's forward.

UPDATE: As stated in the comments, the RJ link is dead and the home page now includes a note saying Penn Natl is not interested... At this time...

Thanks to reader Mark D., we have this bit of news from the LVRJ:

So, along with MGM Mirage's announcement last week about The Harmon being built without its condos, we have this. I hope they at least finish the shell so it doesn't look crappy.

Updated: The LV Sun chimes in:

After a few weeks of massive rumormongering, it turns out something was indeed going on with The Harmon, the hotel and condo tower planned for the north end of the City Center complex.

The condo portion of The Harmon will be cancelled and the hotel will now not open until 2010, making it the last part of the complex to come online.

more from the LV Sun:

Uhhhh... huh?

It seems an Israeli company wants to build what would be the world's largest hotel in Las Vegas, just next to the Hard Rock on Harmon.

The hotel would have 6,745 rooms and include a casino.

January 6, 2009

UPDATED: Elad Asking Adelson For Help?

Posted by Hunter

This is sort of a bizarre story... It claims that Elad, the company that purchased the New Frontier and plans to build The Plaza there someday, is supposedly asking Las Vegas Sands for financial help.

Does that make any sense to anyone? LVS has had more than their share of financial problems recently... what sort of help could they possibly offer?

Update: More from Bill Lerner via Steve Friess:

January 3, 2009

Two Way Hard Three a Winner in 2008 Trippies

Posted by Hunter

Tonight, on the live Web cast, I was very surprised to learn that this blog was a winner in the 2008 Trippies for 'Best Vegas Blog'.

The competition was very stiff - these are all names you know and you probably read all of them (you should). I've been lucky enough to meet a few and call them friends - they all publish on a regular basis and give a lot to their readers.

* Die is Cast
* The Movable Buffet
* Stiffs & Georges
* Vegas Happens Here
* Vegas Links
* Vegas Rex

A big thank you to all of our readers, commenters and co-authors. This blog is all about community - this award belongs to everyone. Thanks!

January 1, 2009

Open Topic Discussion - January 1, 2009

Posted by detroit1051

The new year's ongoing lead story will likely be CityCenter as it moves toward either completion or modification in 2009. The speculation about Harmon is followed today by Norm in the RJ raising issues about Veer:
"There are rumblings that MGM Mirage is close to announcing the status of the beleagured City Center project, including whether several buildings will be completed. There's talk that The Harmon, the Light Group's boutique condo-tel, with 400 hotel rooms and suites and about 200 luxury condominiums, will be delayed. The bigger concern, I'm told, is the central iconic tower, which was designed to lean about 22 degrees but is now almost double that because of a cabling issue. ..."