Two Way Hard Three | Las Vegas Casino & Design Blog

October 1, 2009

Open Topic Discussion - October 1, 2009

Posted by detroit1051

Is there light at the end of the tunnel? Gaming stocks ended the 3rd Quarter with very nice share price increases. Now, what will happen when CityCenter opens?

Strip stocks stage September surge
LV Sands, MGM Mirage, Wynn Resorts rise


Read archived comments (59 so far)
October 1, 2009 11:20 AM Posted by parchedearth

All of the gaming stocks are significantly overvalued at this point. Although LVS and MGM now appear to be safe from bankruptcy, they are still looking at significant long term debt issues. Wynn is clearly in the best financial shape and could (but won't) do an acquisition. Wynn's cash is going toward his new top secret and revolutionary Cotai project.

After CC opens, most new development will be in Macau and Singapore. It appears the opening of Cosmo is now going to be delayed indefinitely (probably another year). FB will be tied up in court for years. Echelon may never be completed. A number of the lesser properties will probably change hands (PHo, Hooters, Riviera) over the next couple years, but otherwise I think we are going to have to be satisfied with endless renovations at the existing properties.

October 1, 2009 12:20 PM Posted by detroit1051

Even though MGM no longer has an immediate need to unload properties at fire sale prices, I believe it will sell The Mirage sooner rather than later. Perhaps to Ruffin.
MGM has to realize that when Aria opens, Mirage doesn't fit any more. Aria will become top dog, and Bellagio will become the new Mirage. Where does that leave Mirage? At least for the next three or more years, MGM needs the lower price point properties like Excalibur, Circus Circus and NYNY. I don't see how Mirage fits in at all.

October 1, 2009 1:44 PM Posted by parchedearth

I agree that Mirage is the logical choice for MGM to sell. Not sure Ruffin has enough cash left. He is probably only break even on TI and he lost big on Trump.

Interesting how the private real estate investment companies (e.g. Apollo and Colony Capital) are reloading with another round of private equity financing to go after distressed properties while their current holdings are still ready to bust. Because of the way they separately incorporate each round of financing, its possible they could lose some of their current properties to the bondholders while simultaneously picking up new properties. I think I saw that Colony is putting together another $5B at the same time Stations is ready to fall apart.

October 1, 2009 2:59 PM Posted by Chooch

Anyone know what happened to

October 1, 2009 6:37 PM Posted by Jeff in OKC

I'm no fan of Mirage, but I think it is the most solid, middle class property in Las Vegas. From the physical plant, to the layout, to the dining and entertainment, Mirage is at the top of the list. I think Mirage is like Oldsmobile was when the GM business model was at its peak. I am convinced selling Mirage would leave MGMM weaker.

October 1, 2009 7:04 PM Posted by mike_ch

I wonder how much longer Kerkorian plans to be in the casino game.

According to the Forbes list, in one year his fortune dwindled from over $11b to "only" $3b. And it's not just a case of all boats sinking at once because he fell 70 spaces so obviously people in other industries are holding on better.

October 1, 2009 8:19 PM Posted by Jeff in OKC

I had this idea, and wanted to know if it seems like it has any merit. It is founded in the Imperial Palace's lack of elevators, and my amature engineering thoughts. It looked like an easy place to put more elevators would be in the courtyard type area that I see while walking to the elevator leading to the Car Collection. If the elevators are placed in that area, the obvious downside is that the rooms backing up to it would lose their windows. Which made me wonder if it would be acceptable to place a 52 inch or larger HD TV on the wall and give it a special type of "Vegas Vision" , special camera views of different Strip features that the room occupant could choose from? Say the Bellagio fountains, from the top of the Eiffel tower, sidewalk on the Strip, etc. Since almost all of the windows don't open nowadays, and many of the views are marginal, at best, could this idea work?

October 2, 2009 9:53 AM Posted by parchedearth

Jeff, TheHotel's rooms have large flatscreens (probably around 52in) that default to a live feed of the Shark Reef when you turn them on. Its like having a huge fish tank in the room. I think it would be easy to display live images of the strip and would definitely improve any room that lacks a view. However, even if the building code allows rooms without windows, it would be a tough sell to tourists. There is something that just seems wrong about a windowless hotel room.

Regarding Mirage, I think Mandalay is a much better positioned mid-level property for MGM.

October 2, 2009 11:31 AM Posted by David McKee

It might work but it would require Harrah's Entertainment to actually spend money and they're scarcely maintaining the properties they own, never mind upgrading them. However, since the proposed mall/Ferris wheel development is predicated upon leaving the IP in place for years to come, perhaps Harrah's should be pondering your question instead of trying to buy Planet Ho or manage F'bleau.

October 3, 2009 1:50 PM Posted by Brian Fey

Its October already. Only 9 months until the Encore Beach Club will supposedly open, yet they haven't even closed that entrance to my knowledge. I just wonder if this project is really complete for the 2010 pool season really gets rolling?

October 3, 2009 4:30 PM Posted by Hunter

They haven't closed it, no. I doubt they will until January-ish.

This thing won't take long to build - they can put up low-rise buildings in no time.

October 4, 2009 3:26 AM Posted by Arthur

Check out the Wynn Macau, Limited investor website!

October 4, 2009 5:52 AM Posted by detroit1051

New Jersey's Star-Ledger has a long piece on "The Oyster", a fairly new hotel rating company. I read the reviews of most of the Las Vegas properties, and it's clear the writers don't know these hotels as well as we do. However, there are many photos.
The article is at:

Oyster Hotel Review's website is at:

October 4, 2009 12:36 PM Posted by socalduck

I would agree with Parchedearth, these stocks are way overvalued at this point. Wynn is still the best of the bunch in terms of underlying business and debt levels, but if you really feel the need to take a wager on these stocks, MGM Mirage could be an interesting play going into the end of the year. I would only consider these trades at this point, not long-term investments

Friday's horrible unemployment numbers underscore the fact the economy is a looong way from any kind of meaningful, lasting recovery. Taxes will be going up, certainly on anyone making more than $100k a year, and probably on everyone else, depending on what happens with health care and carbon taxes. The CA home market is still very weak, and the days of taking your home equity proceeds to Vegas are over, at least for the next 5-10 years. Pretty tough conditions in which to sell the ultimate discretionary purchase.

October 5, 2009 4:42 AM Posted by detroit1051

The LV Sun takes a surprsingly negative view of CityCenter's pre-opening PR.

More interesting was the lengthy comment following the story regarding construction worker deaths at CC. Clearly, the writer has an agenda, but he used an interesting expression:
"In Las Vegas, we don't have a 2 party system.
There is only 1 party. It's called "THE CASINO PARTY."
They do whatever they want, when they want.
DEATH never stands in their way."

October 5, 2009 3:09 PM Posted by parchedearth

I am guessing CC is still planning their opening PR strategy. They didn't even have a solid opening date until a few months ago. There are also a few unanswered questions as to what will be open and about the condo sales, so I think they are just being cautious to not promote something they might not be able to deliver on. We should be hearing alot more around Thanksgiving.

Regarding the CC construction deaths, my understanding is that the number has not been out of line for a project of that size.

October 5, 2009 3:25 PM Posted by Anthony

So MGM Mirage reduced the prices on the condos by 30%, but is that really enough?

October 5, 2009 4:05 PM Posted by detroit1051

They've got to cut at least 50%. I'm glad I'm in South Florida where real estate
is booming. LOL.

Read the comments following the story:

October 5, 2009 4:07 PM Posted by parchedearth

MGM just announced a 30% price reduction on their CC condos. Interestingly, MO closings are scheduled for Jan, Veer in Feb and Vdara in March. I recall there was some speculation that Vdara might go all hotel and that buyers could be steered towards Veer. I wonder if this is a real possibility. Also, how many rooms will actually be available for the opening?

Also, can MGM rent out Vdara condo rooms that are under contract as hotel rooms before they are sold. If so, does this mean they will be purchased as "used" units rather than new. Does anyone recall the breakdown between condo and hotel units in Vdara? I believe a number of Vdara units are being sold in bulk to a vacation (time share?) company.

October 5, 2009 7:28 PM Posted by Jeff in OKC

I think the local commenters on the Las Vegas newspaper sites have become increasingly angry the last couple months. Its almost like the economy has finally broken their spirit. I also think a lot of them are way out on the fringe, and the fact that Las Vegas is a one horse town makes it easier for them to hate the power structure.
Of course, when I comment on the Sun site, my positions are perfectly logical and well reasoned. Even when I have been drunking beer :).

October 6, 2009 4:16 PM Posted by parchedearth

Penn is asking to be a stalking horse bidder for up to $300M for FB. This is what Icahn did to get the AC Trop for $100M.

My first thought is Penn is going to need a partner to finance this. Another $1.5B is needed to finish and probably $500M is needed in operating cash. Also, the bankruptcy doesn't include the retail areas which will still be owned by Soffer. Not sure about the convention space. Penn needs a way to get control of the entire project. Imagine trying to open/operate the hotel/casino surrounded by an unfinished strip-side shopping mall.

As for the 30% CC price reduction, you need to remember 75% of the buyers' 20% deposit (i.e. 15%) is forfeit if they don't close. To the buyers' who paid the deposit years ago and are ready to walk, this means the price cut is effectively 45%.

October 7, 2009 4:32 PM Posted by Pikes

I just saw pictures of Encore at Wynn Macau and I have to say I 'm not to excited.

October 8, 2009 8:52 AM Posted by Anthony

Some renderings of the Tiffany store that will be located at the Crystals have appeared online.

October 9, 2009 7:35 PM Posted by Phil

Steve Wynn interviewed on CNBC today, throws an interesting stat out on Wynn Macau.

October 9, 2009 7:48 PM Posted by detroit1051

Steve also criticized the Obama administration again for damaging the LV convention market. He will be on Fox News Sunday this weekend, and knowing Fox, Steve will be there to bash Obama once again.

October 10, 2009 5:06 AM Posted by Brian Fey

I heard about Wynn on Fox Sunday. Will that be on the main Fox network? Or Fox business? Any idea what show exactly? I don't watch Fox.

Also, i've just heard bits here and there, but it sounds like Wynn will announce a long term engagement for Garth Brooks, probably this week? I personally still find that somewhat of a strange mix, but people say he'll bring in the crowds, and the money. That's all that matters to me. :)

October 10, 2009 3:32 PM Posted by mike_ch

Steve Wynn took a question about Vegas business, which is down across the board no matter what type of resort you run, and turned it to his convention trade? What's funny is how it all this government criticism right after he spent several minutes compliment the Communist government in China.

You know, I actually avoided dropping cash in the Venetian for years because of all his political games (why fund your opposition?) I eventually came back around because of a trifecta involving his spending less on politics, the Venetian being one of the few themed casinos left, and the Palazzo being IMO a genuinely nice place to be. Steve Wynn has really had his up periods and his down periods, and right now is a bit of a down IMO and the more he opens his mouth the less inclined I am to visit his places excepting occasions when I simply have to (Beach Club.)

Wynn has bigger fish to fry both in the Nevada government and in Macao. He should focus on those instead of the federal government which is NOT going to listen to casino owners. That occupation/industry is a poison chalice nationally.

"One thing about the Chinese government, I think they get it right." Good god. I know what he's talking about, but it sounded like he just defended the authoritarian state.

"[If they gave visas to another province] they could flood Macao with people so that you couldn't walk through the streets." Sure, but would they have any money? Many mainlanders aren't in Wynn's customer profile: they're in poverty and are rather behind on the whole cultural sophistication thing. To call them downmarket is a bit of an understatement.

There's obvious strengths to the Macao market in terms of availability to the Asian cultures on the other side of the ocean, but Wynn appears to be running on the same wavelength as Adelson during his infamous "mainlanders have it good! They're living the luxury life! Really!" commentary.

October 10, 2009 3:35 PM Posted by mike_ch

Brian: Fox News Sunday is on regular Fox stations (i.e. the one that shows American Idol every year, not the news ones) around 8AM on the morning on Sundays. It's kind of like Meet The Press or This Week, but without all the credibility. ;)

October 10, 2009 8:00 PM Posted by Brian Fey

Some of this may or may not make much sense to some of you. As this is a discussion that some of us started on Twitter, but I cannot keep it to short.

I can see how you guys think Wynn is beating a dead horse. I get that, I especially get that, if people are big Obama fans, and tired of hearing Wynn bash him. I am not an Obama fan, so I don't really care. As a CEO of a company Steve has the right to voice his opinion on what he thinks. And there is NO question, that Obama's comments earlier in the year, did impact Las Vegas somewhat. Its impossible to know, what his comment cost Las Vegas, we'll never know. Now, I realize, Obama wasn't purposely bashing Las Vegas, but he did scare some big companies into making some major changes. In the case of Wynn, one particular company cancelled a $5 million dollar convention, only to move it to San Fran, I think it was, and they spent even more money there. But its not just about that comment. Its many of his policies, like raising taxes on the rich. That will probably have some effect on Wynn Resorts, as the whales will have less disposable money to gamble with. So I get people don't want to hear it, and that's fine, they don't have to listen. But he's entitled to his opinion.

On the second discussion/argument. If I understand correctly, some people are somewhat offended on Wynn's constant praise of China. Well, I don't see what's offensive about that. First of all, China has made Steve Wynn's wealth, grow even greater. He was one of only 3 companies that was given a gaming concession. That is a huge honor, and a huge gift. Its almost a priceless gift, as we have seen. Not only can you make unimaginable amounts of money, but you can also sell one sub-concession, for almost a billion dollars. I think Steve is both honored, and extremely grateful for having this opportunity. How can he not praise them? I realize China doesn't have the best past, but like it or not, they now have their shit together. They are kicking out ass. I don't care if you're republican or democrat (I'm neither), our government is so screwed up, from top to bottom. And no this isn't about Obama, It's not about Bush. Our federal debt, is $12 Trillion dollars. This isn't the fault of the current, or even last few administrations, this has been a growing problem for decades, caused by both parties equally. And you ain't seen nothing yet, that number is going to grow much higher, and very soon. The US government is a total and complete joke. Period, plain and simple. I'm almost embarrassed to be a US citizen. I hate to say it, but the US, best days are behind us. China runs a surplus, they have money in the bank. China owns us. How can he not praise China?

October 10, 2009 8:16 PM Posted by Jeff in OKC

Wynn said his midweek convention business was down, partly because of Mr. Obama's statements, and I think he is right. Certainly it is not the only reason business is down, but it is a piece of the puzzle.
I recall that when the Venetian was built, LVS short paid many contractors, got sued, counter sued, lost most of the judgements, and the Nevada Legislature changed the law so these tactics could never be used again. The damage was done, however and some of the contractors went out of business, crushed by the "thrift" of the big company. This still bothers me enough that I try not to spend money there, and I can just about guarantee that I will never spend a night in their hotel. Unless, of course, my wife wants to and won't let me talk her out of it :-).

October 10, 2009 11:28 PM Posted by mike_ch

Okay, let's see...

I think we've covered most of the opening stuff before. The companies they were saying shouldn't go to Vegas were those whose doors were open only thanks to an infusion of public funds. Some insurance company with billions in the bank (the $5m convention one) doesn't qualify, but acted anyway. That's more their fault for overreacting. Goodman and Gibbons started hammering away at this talking point but somewhere along the line figured out the reality and shut up.

Secondly, "raising taxes on the rich" doesn't really apply to most whales, because they're not usually paying those taxes. Not in the Leona Helmsley way, but because they're usually coming from overseas. Big players can come from countries with much higher taxes than ours: Kerry Packer could play enough to cause epic rises and falls in MGM stock, but resided in Australia. Clearly, the burden of universal health care or public TV or whatever other social programme is under attack this week didn't do much to reign in his spending.

Onto China, I think of SARs as different from the mainland. I wouldn't go to Beijing, but I'd have no problem going to Hong Kong. Why? Because the mainland is authoritarian regime where rights exist as long as they don't get in the government's way, where all media is on tape delay so as to remove anything unsettling to the powers that be, where interviews get stopped the moment they hit something the minder finds sensitive or secret officials swarm instantly around anyone who pushes a wrong button. People in Hong Kong, by contrast, can think what they want and browse where they please. Ditto Macao. These SARs have their own semi- independent authorities that aren't as restrictive. The Macanese SAR distributed the concessions, not the Central Government in Beijing.

Macao is a useful location, to be sure. It's an outpost in the middle of a culture where gambling is practically considered sport. That doesn't just mean Chinese, that also includes other major nations like Japan and Russia. Though Moscow saw a massive loss of wealth in the past year (they went from something like 34 billionaires, the highest for a single city, to 11), the government there has also shut down all casinos and made gambling illegal. Where can they go? Macao.

Maybe it's in Wynn's business interests to get a bunch of mainlanders, but even if that's the case why does he have to take it to such extremes as to go to bat for the Chinese leadership on CNBC? The government there is an absolute disaster for human rights, but because they're a useful customer base he's going to just sweep all the atrocities under the rug. It's embarrassing. He just praised a government that has no respect for individual's rights, for property rights, or press rights. A society where you can be kicked out of your house and watch it be torn down at government whim. And he immediately did that in contrast to a tirade about the US government.

Surely, Brian, as someone who is libertarian enough to believe in the flat tax, you can see what is wrong here. It's not simply that it's just his policy to be close with the Chinese. Hey, that's probably expected, it's that he went out and talked a PR game for them. He even said it's practically a Chinese company. I don't know if that kind of rhetoric rings in middle America very well, but it doesn't to me.

I mean, MGM-Mirage is working with Dubai World, and I believe Dubai is pretty reprehensible but that doesn't scare me away from MGM-Mirage. You will not see me spending any money at CityCenter either. I'll visit for the StripWalk but I'll walk over to Bellagio or P-Ho once I get hungry. MGM keeps their relationship with Dubai to strictly business. You don't see Murren get on TV and do Dubai's PR work for them.

Finally, I'm not really sure Wynn really knows what he's in for. Yes, you can give visas to a province and "fill the streets with so many people that you can't move," but how many of those people have money? Many Chinese work long hours for insubstantial pay that Wynn isn't interested in attracting, and many mainlanders aren't exactly what you'd call cosmopolitan. I remember when Hong Kong opened it's Disneyland, stories soon appeared online that parents were having their children go potty in the park's grass and bushes instead of the restrooms. Some were even boosting them over high fences.

By the way, the Mouse House is expected to open one in Shanghai, and I'm not that thrilled that they'll be getting in bed with the Communist Party either. I will never visit that park until China changes, even though I suppose the rides reflecting the official revisionist history could be amusing.

Debt isn't really relevant. Japan's debt is around $7 trillion, but they have one of the most scientifically advanced societies on the planet.

October 10, 2009 11:59 PM Posted by mike_ch

Actually, I guess a better statistic to use at the end of my post is that Australia's $114 billion. New Zealand's is $23 billion, but that's expected because they're tiny. Russia isn't tiny, but their debt is only about $99 billion, and Mexico's is $133b. China's is $483b. Major western powers range betwee $700b-$1t (Canada, UK, France, Germany, etc.) All these statistics come from Wolfram Alpha. Just throw in a country name and debt.

I'm not sure exactly what the debt means to you, whether it's related to investment or residency, but either way if it's that important apparently Russia is the new Land of Milk and Honey.

October 11, 2009 12:17 AM Posted by mike_ch

Finally, and I swear this is the last post until someone prompts me into responding again, I want to correct something in my first post on this issue:

I avoided the Venetian for years because of Sheldon Adelson's political lobbying, not Steve Wynn's. That was what I intended to write but Sheldon's name got dropped and a lot of anonymous "his" remained. This is because I had a few sentences on how much influence Adelson wields in the state GOP and how he's run PAC commercials in the valley attacking local candidates, and even proposed a legislation that I feel is wrecking California (2/3rds ledge majority on tax increases.) It seemed counter-productive to fund someone who so actively is buying into the political game.

However, I was trying not to get too political and cut out my rambling about Sheldon's lobbying. The writing suffered for it.

As Adelson hasn't had the money to fritter around on buying politicians, I've come around to regaining some appreciation for his places.

October 11, 2009 5:26 AM Posted by detroit1051

Mike_ch writes:
"...why does he have to take it to such extremes as to go to bat for the Chinese leadership on CNBC?"

You really answered your own question, but Steve looks at everything in terms of his own self interest and increasing his wealth. Macau has saved him during the recession in Vegas. Nothing wrong with that, but the older Steve gets, the more of a caricature he becomes. Regardless, I'm going to watch him on Fox today to see what he has to say. However, he might do well to learn from Kirk Kerkorian regarding public statements.

October 11, 2009 7:04 AM Posted by Brian Fey

"Debt isn't really relevent"? That to me is what's so scary about our society. People are completely clueless. Tell me something....Can you write a check today for $38,782.34 to the US Government? And that's not your family's share of of the national debt, that's just yours. And that's not just what every American worker would have to pay, that is the share for every single person in America, my 3 year old daughter, and my 96 year old grandma. So sit back and think about that number for a while. Now lets add to that number, lets go ahead and give every American some more free stuff, since they can't afford it of course. But guess what? That's stuff isn't free, no, its just more debt we'll tack onto our tab. Now congress don't care, they figure they'll be out of office or dead, before it effects them. Every US president don't care either. All they really care about, is trying to improve things in the short term, to make their term look great. There are only 2 ways to fix this really, bankrupt every American, by having them pay their fair share, and that won't happen, cause mose are close to bankruptcy now. We could inflate our way out of this, make the US dollar worth nothing, since we pay the people we borrowed from back in US dollars. If that happens, maybe you could go buy a coke and a pack of gum for $100. I like the sound of that. NOT. Now lets look at China, they save 40% of their income on average. A few years ago, Americans were saving less than 1%, you see how that's worked out for us, huh. But trying to bring this back around to Steve. The majority of Wynn Resorts revenue, is in China. That does make them more of a Chinese company, If you find that offensive, they so be it, it's simply the facts. Since China has 4 times the people we have, prepared to be offended a lot, because over the next decade, you'll see many many, US companies doing the majority of their business in China. You talked about a government where they can tear down a house on a whim, that happens every single day in America. They take land every day in this country, and build parks, widen roads, you name it. Ok I'm gonna watch Wynn bash Obama now. Gotta run. :)

October 11, 2009 9:27 AM Posted by Hunter

Most of my thoughts have already been said.

I love Wynn's products and design sense but as others have mentioned, his statements about China being so great come off as nothing but self-serving. You may think the US government is a joke but I have a feeling you would miss the rule of law if if didn't exist any more... that is unless you're related to a high government official or could afford to buy your way out of compliance.

The way you talk about China 'having their shit together' makes it sound like maybe you're not fully up to speed on what the place is like. If you talk to someone like Steve Friess, who lived there for a year, you'll hear part of the same chorus - it's amazing what a government can do when they basically have no governing principles and can change any policy they want on the fly.

For me, it has nothing to do with him doing business in China. More power to him. That doesn't mean he has to gloss over all of the really fucked up shit they do there just to get a gold star next to his name.

As far as Wynn criticizing Obama - yes, I'm sick of it, for a few reasons. First, he's done it so much and he always says exactly the same thing. He's not on TV that much and I'd rather hear something new. Second, he needs to stop harping on external factors and work on his own business. Third, I've started to wonder if his Obama-bashing is some weird passive aggressive thing with his ex-wife, as they supported different candidates, pretty strongly.

Lastly - fine for you guys to discuss this in the context of Steve Wynn but I don't want this to turn into a political back and forth - those arguments have no winners.

October 11, 2009 11:47 AM Posted by mike_ch

Firstly, I'm writing this on an iPhone, so I assume I have the board's sympathies for any typos. Secondly, Brian and I have had a few political discussions on Twitter and Facebook, and it's been pretty friendly in the past. And I'm not trying to be aggressively political. Mist my interests in politics right now are foreign anyway. I have stronger opinions about Gordon Brown or Stephen Harper than I do any major American politician ;)

I watched Wynn on Fox. Maybe it was the time zone difference since I think it was 5AM pacific when he was on, but he looked to be older and not on his game. Even his suit appeared as though he was a bit rushed. The sparkle and smile you associate with him was gone, and he didn't get to say much he was shown on the multiple windows views looking old and his mouth hanging half open at times. Big change from his Encore media events.

Anyway, Steve repeated his idea from Jon Ralston, that tax breaks be given to companies that hire people and provide health coverage. No wages or anything were specified, so I think his plan is basically a big tax holiday to Wal-Mart since they do all the hiring in this country now, they already have enough money to buy several of the next biggest corporations and aren't using that capital, but I digress...

Watching Steve rail on about how public works projects don't provide seems like it must require a lot if mental gymnastics when you're so close to the Boulder/Hoover Dam. People who had trades completely irrelevant to building a dam were put to work in that project because the goal was to hire as many people as possible (which is why the dam has all that beautiful art deco sculpting and the massively thick marble floors all over.)

the Governor of Michigan misrepresented his tax policy opionion as libertarian "goverent shouldn't do anything" jazz and he fired back at her. That was about the height of it.

Brian, all I'll say another the national debt after watching a few hours of documentaries on the subject (including one you reccomeded) is that the debt has to be taken in context with the national GDP. We may see debt briefly may surpass 100%, a lot of the panic of that is rooted in American Exceptionalism. Our country only saw such a high debt in the peak of the WWII industrial revolution, true, but Canada had debt exceeding that level some years ago, without war, but eventually balanced their books and went years without any deficit until this recession. I'm sure we can do the same.

October 11, 2009 1:17 PM Posted by Hunter

You get points for writing that on your phone. :) Plus you're totally right about the debt - I doubt Brian worries much about Wynn Resorts debt load because it's only half of the balance sheet. Debt is very important to manage properly but it's only one part of a bigger puzzle.

Wynn said something along the lines of 'government has never increased the standard of living of anyone, ever'. That's hard for me even to type with a straight face. Education? Access to health care? Roads and public transit? Other infrastructure?

October 11, 2009 1:28 PM Posted by Jeff in OKC

Let me ask a question that has a more important and immediate impact on our lives as it relates to Las Vegas; who has hotter chicks in their nightclubs, Wynncore or MegaCenter?

October 11, 2009 5:32 PM Posted by detroit1051

After seeing Steve on CNBC Friday saying he is more a Chinese company than an American one, and then hearing him repeat his mantra today on Fox about the Obama administration, I really believe he would sell Wynn Las Vegas, Encore and the golf course property if he could get the right price. It will be interesting to see what he does in the next few years.

October 11, 2009 5:56 PM Posted by oooo0

I doubt a Republican president would be any more of "friend" to Las Vegas, as the right wing of their party no doubt views Vegas as nothing more a than moral cesspool.

October 11, 2009 6:03 PM Posted by Hunter

Jeff -

I'd say Wynncore, mostly because they currently have more nightlife venues than MEGACENTER... Plus, I think Tao is a bit long in the tooth and XS is still just coming up.

October 13, 2009 7:33 AM Posted by Anthony

Finally some interiors pics

October 13, 2009 8:27 AM Posted by detroit1051

The wall of glass behind hotel registration looks dramatic, but will it be too stark? Of course, the plantings out the windows are new and small.
What's behind the glass? Is that the convention area or Crystals?
Maybe I'm just being negative today, but the sculpture looks too small for the huge space and soaring ceiling.

October 13, 2009 5:22 PM Posted by charlie

I think it looks out over the tarmac

October 14, 2009 12:52 PM Posted by Brian Fey

Here is a pretty good shot of Wynn's Encore in Macau.

October 15, 2009 6:44 AM Posted by detroit1051

The spa at Aria will be huge: 80,000 sq ft with 62 treatment rooms. In comparison, Bellagio's is 55,000 sq ft, and Encore's is 61,000 sq ft.

October 15, 2009 11:04 AM Posted by detroit1051

Garth Brooks will be a perfect fit for Wynncore in my opinion. He is 47 years old and will attract the middle aged demographic . His fans aren't country bumpkins. Is he really second only to the Beatles in music sales?
Garth Brooks Comes Out Of Retirement For Las Vegas Shows
October 15, 2009 1:06 p.m. EST

October 17, 2009 9:56 AM Posted by detroit1051

Oh, No!!
I did my weekly check of hotel websites to find any changes.
Wynn Las Vegas has changed the name of Sugar & Ice to Pizza Place. It's also changed on Encore's site.
Unfortunate, imo. What's next, Garth's Ribs?

October 18, 2009 8:27 AM Posted by mike_ch

Yeah, according to Wynn's Twitter they put that up about a month ago. Hunter uploaded a picture of the sign to his account a few weeks ago. I don't know why they couldn't have gone with something like "The Deli." Sugar & Ice is highly pretentious, but "Pizza Place" gives you visions of greasy food.

All the following opinions are about CityCenter:

Hopped on top of the Palms parking garage for the view last night after saying bye to Hunter and the others. For months Aria hasn't had anything lit up at night other than the crown on the roof and the little name badge on that crown, but last night they pretty much had all the lights up and running. The tower had the spotlights illuminating it and it looked fairly nice although still more like a Corporate World Headquarters and not a place you'd go spend a holiday.

The shorter wing facing west toward the freeway had strobing lights alternating on it's top two floors. My guess is that these are tests of the emergency system and not for show.

What was for show was that the sides of the tower (where the 90 degree panorama rooms would be) had little neon tubes up it's spines that had colours crawling up and down. Didn't expect that. Looks okay, and fits in with the randomly placed blue neon that's been hanging on the eastern Cosmo tower for a couple months now.

I don't know if the nighttime look of the other CityCenter bulidings are finalized or not, but Aria is now lit up enough that Vdara looked a little dark, though all these buildings are so close to each other that they probably don't want to light the heck out of all of them.

Gordon Absher talked at length about CityCenter to the Vegas Gang, and while he gave it an admirable amount of spin, there wasn't anything about Harmon in there even though Hunter mentioned construction issues (though not specifically Harmon) at the start.

I kind of think the next time MGM refreshes their boastful video packages that they run in their rooms and elsewhere, that when you get to the part where they highlight the property in the Strip you'll see Harmon in the dark spot with Cosmopolitan. :b

October 18, 2009 10:00 AM Posted by detroit1051

Mike, maybe I need to join Twitter to get with the 21st century.
I just listened to Gordon Abscher's presentation at yesterday's Podcast-a-palooza. Although his job is to be positive about the company and CityCenter, I thought he did a very good job of making me have more confidence in the overall project. I'm glad Hunter said he would post the photos/renderings Abscher showed you guys.
He left the door open on the future of Vadara's condos, but it should be a great property, connecting to Bellagio's Spa Tower and to Aria.

October 18, 2009 8:25 PM Posted by Jason Robar

Mike_ch re: Pizza Place/Sugar & Ice - I'd imagine they didn't go with "The Deli" so that they didn't have any confusion with Zoozacrackers. (In a related note, has the menu changed, or can I still get the Bananas Foster Gelato?)

October 19, 2009 9:02 AM Posted by Mike P.

When I walked through Wynn's Esplanade a few weeks ago the sign outside Sugar & Ice said something like Pizza Place at Sugar & Ice. There were no interior changes that I could see and as far as I could tell most of the display case was filled with the usual frozen stuff. Did they change the name?

October 20, 2009 10:48 AM Posted by John

Sheldon 2.0?

October 20, 2009 9:57 PM Posted by Anthony

Not sure if this is posted already, but Deutsche Bank is offering Cosmo buyers 74 percent of their deposit. This offer was made only to the buyers of the west tower.

October 22, 2009 11:53 AM Posted by mike_ch

The Pizza Place change is about a month old according to the Wynn social marketing person via Twitter. I haven't seen it, either.

I braved the RJ today because I mistakenly thought it was Friday (the concert tickets listing is about the only thing in there I read anymore), but I noticed that a Wynn employee is suing over second-hand smoke, perhaps trying to push forward the doomsday clock a few seconds on smoking in casinos.

I've been busy the past few days settling down elsewhere, so I've missed stuff. Don't expect a StripWalk for a while.

John beat me to the Wynn thing, he seems to be going beyond his own self-interest regarding conventions and stuff and is now getting into policy. I have to wonder how smart a move that is since Steve Wynn has made himself such a big part of his own product since Golden Nugget and especially since Bellagio.

Most people didn't know Sheldon's politics, his adverts were listed as paid for by his PAC and he's a pretty low-profile guy, Wynn isn't. Steve complains about stealth socialism (in the form policy that exists in all other developed countries, many of which he pulls players from), and he goes into rambling about Communism but kisses the ring for the Chinese Central Government. The cognitive dissonance going on there is pretty astounding.

Oh well, I'll come back to Wynncore once he quiets down. I rediscovered MEGACENTER(TM) after Sheldon stopped his heavy buy into the political game, and I guess my Club Grazie card needed points anyway. :b

October 25, 2009 5:43 AM Posted by detroit1051

Has Wynn cut back on the days restaurants are open?
I noticed on the site that Alex is open only four days, Wed-Sat.
Country Club Grill has dinner only Wed-Sat.
Tableau: No dinner. I thought Wynn had reinstated dinner there.

October 25, 2009 2:36 PM Posted by mike_ch

Wynn is blowing more smoke than ever:

Contrast this versus Murren's interview with the same anchor last week. Wynn rambles about health care and government intervention in the health system and then once again praises the Central Government in Beijing. It's almost all politics, very little gaming industry.

Wynn is going seriously off the reservation. I wonder whether Harry Reid even wants his endorsement now. When Reid's table is full of merging health care bills, one of his biggest boosters back home complaining about missed priorities isn't really helpful.

October 26, 2009 7:09 PM Posted by mike_ch

I mentioned in the last StripWalk that Lupo had been renovated, there's photos in Puck's Facebook group: