Two Way Hard Three | Las Vegas Casino & Design Blog

All Articles Published: August 2010

August 30, 2010

SIMPSON ON VEGAS #006: Bankruptcy Bonanza

Posted by Hunter

Jeff's back with more wisdom from his valley enclave. This time he's taking a look at the Fertittas and their situation with Station Casinos - a company they built, extended and then bankrupted.

How did this happen and what's coming next? More after the jump.

August 25, 2010

Cosmo Gets a Guest Database From Marriott

Posted by Hunter

The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, currently rising between CityCenter and Bellagio, has solved one of its bigger pre-opening problems - the lack of an existing customer database.

They've decided to partner with Marriott on this, giving those existing customers a Strip outpost to use their rewards points and the Cosmo a large database to market to. It's not a player database but it is better than nothing.

The Cosmopolitan is joining Marriott's 'Autograph Collection'. View the other participating hotels here:

August 21, 2010

Vegas Gang - Meet The Gangsters: Chuckmonster

Posted by Hunter

It's been my experience that it's hard to find life-lasting friends as an adult. One of the most rewarding parts of being involved with this Web site or the podcast or whatever else is that I've been lucky enough to buck that trend a few extra times and meet some extraordinary people.

One of those guys is Dr. Charles S. Monster, Esq. I just love the guy.

I did a fairly long interview with Chuck earlier this week and I've posted it on the podcast feed for those interested. It's long enough that I considered breaking it in half but after listening, I think it flows better this way. I hope you enjoy it.

Check out the show:

Feel free to leave your comments below. If it's a question that you want asked on the show, please make that clear in your post. You can also send those to

Podcast-a-palooza - Oct. 30th, 2010. Be there.

Vegas Podcast-a-palooza is coming up fast - October 30th is right around the corner.

Our hosts at The Flamingo have setup a special room package just for listeners / attendees. These special rates are only available to you special folks and it's a great deal.

To book the package:

You don't have to stay at The Flamingo to come to the show but this is a great deal so please take a look.

In addition to the great room package, The Flamingo is offering a 3X RC multiplier for Podcast-a-palooza guests! The details on how to get your point upgrades will be forthcoming but this component will be available to everyone coming to the event, not just people that stay in the hotel.

Thanks so much to Harrah's and The Flamingo for being so generous - support our hosts!

August 19, 2010

Casino Design Photo of the Week: Tropicana Las Vegas

Posted by Hunter

This week we've got the Trop. This is a shot of the partially renovated casino - it's actually pretty remarkable - the place is much brighter and nicer looking in the parts that have been re-done. If you haven't visited the Trop lately, I'd recommend checking it out.

August 13, 2010

Vegas Gang #50 - August 12th, 2010

Posted by Hunter

Episode 50! Thanks for all the support. This is our first episode using Skype to record the show - still working on proper levels, etc... so please bear with us. Hopefully sound quality is vastly improved.

This time on the show:

Podcast-a-palooza - Oct. 30th, 2010. Be there.

* El Cortez Design a Suite Competition
* Baccarat Study + HET IPO
* Hotel Apps
* Downtown Blues
* Vegas Gang 'Sure Bets'

Check out the show:

Feel free to leave your comments below. If it's a question that you want asked on the show, please make that clear in your post. You can also send those to

Late yesterday, just as we were recording the latest Vegas Gang (out soon), we got news that Harrah's Entertainment filed papers to publicly trade the 10% stake that investor John Paulson purchased earlier this year.

Of course, the plan for the HET LBO was always to re-emerge as a public company somewhere down the road but this is just a small chunk and it's coming at possibly one of the worst time to IPO in recent economic history.

In addition, the chunk is small enough that the company wouldn't be subject to all the governance rules that we're used to for majority public owned companies.

Interesting interesting interesting...

August 12, 2010

Casino Design Photo of the Week: Paris Las Vegas

Posted by Hunter

I'm including Paris Las Vegas this week as an example of a themed property that looks pretty good - the inclusion of several important Paris landmarks across the facade, the 'cobblestone' streets inside (which can be a little painful to walk on sometimes) all the way to the half-size Eiffel Tower - one of the youngest themed properties on The Strip.

August 9, 2010

SIMPSON ON VEGAS #005: Downtown Blues, Part Two

Posted by Hunter

Jeff is back with part two of his take on the Downtown Las Vegas scene and what might help it turn around.

Keep reading after the jump and if you missed part one, it's right here.

In a totally unrelated thought - don't forget that we're giving away an iPad.

August 9, 2010

VT: Your Hotel App is Boring

Posted by Hunter

Yours truly has a piece running over with our good friends at about mobile apps in the hotel and casino industry and why they're all missing the mark.

I've closed comments here because I'd rather you comment over there on the story itself.


August 6, 2010

Station Lands With Fertittas - For The Best?

Posted by Hunter

A bankruptcy judge has ruled that the Fertitta family will retain ownership of most of the assets of Station Casinos, Inc.

This was not really unexpected but I have to wonder - is this what 'should' have happened?

Clearly the Fertittas created a powerful empire over the last 20 years in Las Vegas but at the same time, they're at least partially responsible for the mess that the company is in now. Of course, the economy took a dirt nap in 2007 but it was their policies that left the company exposed and vulnerable, leading to a bankruptcy filing that wiped out billions of investor dollars.

If Boyd Gaming is to be believed, the bidding process heavily favored the insiders, partially due to some fine print related to the land under Texas Station. What really amazes me is that Colony Capital stuck by these guys through this whole thing given how much money they lost.

Even if it seems a bit slanted, it's hard not admire the ruthlessness of the Fertitta brothers in this whole thing. Where else but Vegas can you lose billions and end up on top? Ok, I guess Wall Street... and Washington... and maybe across the Valley at CityCenter... oh well.

August 6, 2010

Open Topic Discussion - August, 2010

Posted by detroit1051

Morgans Hotel Group reported that Hard Rock Hotel in Vegas saw earnings decline by 35% in the 2nd Quarter. The link to the Las Vegas Sun article is below, but the earnings reminded me of a nagging question I have on the Hard Rock brand. Does the brand still have the importance it did in the late 20th Century? Hard Rock's website says:
"Since its inception, Hard Rock has remained extraordinarily faithful to its original intentions. Its rock 'n roll sensibility - an HRC birthright - remains at the very center of all Hard Rock restaurants and all expansion efforts undertaken by Hard Rock International."

As we enter the second decade of the 21st Century, how many people, especially those younger than Baby Boomers, are still passionately interested in rock 'n roll and the memorabilia associated with it?

Hard Rock International is owned by the Seminole Tribe of Florida and operates the only two full casinos in the state, in Hollywood and Tampa. They are both well run resorts, but with limited gaming in Florida, they are on a par with the better locals casinos in Las Vegas.

Ten years from now, will the Hard Rock brand still be relevant? Since many readers here are younger than I, how do you see Hard Rock's future?

Las Vegas Sun on Hard Rock's Q2 Earnings

Hard Rock's History on Corporate Website

Seminole Hard Rock Hollywood

August 5, 2010

Guess Who's Giving Away Another iPad? Hint: Me.

Posted by Hunter

Yes, it's true... our first iPad contest back in March was a huge success - so much so, it's time to do it again!

You can win one of Apple's shiny new tablets to be your very own, simply by submitting reviews of your favorite hotels, restaurants and activities into our iPhone/iPad app, Vegas Mate, or view the Web site at

The winner will be announced LIVE during the Vegas Podcast-a-palooza on October 30th at The Flamingo.

All the details after the jump.