Two Way Hard Three | Las Vegas Casino & Design Blog

July 19, 2011

Vegas Gang #63 - July 19th, 2011

Posted by Hunter

Episode #63 is up!

Listen here:

This time on the show:

* Our Guest is M Resort President Anthony Marnell III

We have a frank discussion on operating in Las Vegas in this climate, nightlife customers vs. casino customers and more. It's a great talk - you'll enjoy it.

** Sure Bets **

* Alternative Vegas Media
* M Resort
* Spotify
* Nevada Week In Review


Read archived comments (11 so far)
July 19, 2011 10:31 PM Posted by Phil

Its so great to hear a guy of his age "get Vegas" and equally important "gets the customer", especially his grasp of what the local wants and what the long time Vegas visitor misses about this town they once beloved. For those who moved to this town during the recent boom when the economy was great or the visitor that has been coming to Vegas for a decade now, just doesn't have the perspective Anthony has. I don't know how old he is, I'm guessing late 30's or early 40's, but it's rare you hear a guy his age talk about this town like he just did. I just returned from a 3 week stay at my home in Summerlin and wish I was still in town to get to say a personal thanks to Anthony Marnell for his comments.

Surely his perspective comes from his Dad and the fact that he grew up in Vegas. If I had to guess, I bet like many of us "old timers" of seeing this town develop the past 5 decades, I get the feeling he too would take the old Vegas over the Vegas of today. He seems to know what made this town great and how its slipping from those core principles the past couple decades. Without a doubt, as a child in this town, Anthony experienced the tail end of when Vegas still had class and its crystal clear to me that all of his youth experiences of what this town was is forever in his mind. I would assume he still draws from those experiences when taking action today. Vegas was in its heyday a town that cared about the details, and although its obvious when going through his hotel, I'm so glad to hear come out of his mouth making cleanliness of priority. Without a doubt people talk about how dirty the Strip has become and you can be damn sure we recognize the M as always clean.

As far as the customer, the local doesn't want the riff raff that a club draws, they don't want every corner of the casino to become a profit center with trinkets for sale, they don't want glut of mini bars and they don't want loud rock music blasting over the PA system, in other words, no barriers, they want a clean place they can feel comfortable in, its a simple as that. Unlike other Strip properties of today, I can enter the M at any of its entrances without feeling I have to jump hoops to avoid the aforementioned barriers above. For reasons of economic survival or otherwise, its been clear for awhile that the middle aged family guy and his wife or the retired guy that was so welcomed on the strip since its inception up until the late 80's, early 90's is now almost looked down upon or simply not welcome among the sights and sounds of debauchery the Strip has become. The odd thing is the older generation, while some of us got hurt in the market, still are very well off and have no qualms spending that disposable income in places like the M, South Point, Suncoast and the like, why....because we're welcome there.

Anthony if by any chance your read these comments, don't change a thing. By the way, if I love what the Ravello lounge has been doing lately.

July 20, 2011 5:54 AM Posted by detroit1051

I've got to listen to the interview again, but Marnell's direct comments and answers were refreshing. What I want to hear again are his comments on capex and his talk of the Vegas Strip compared to Atlantic City. If I did hear him right, he's concerned about the future of the Vegas economy especially since the building boom is over. Did he say it might take three to five years to know exactly what the future holds in Las Vegas?
Great, great interview.

July 20, 2011 7:39 PM Posted by Jeff in OKC

I think this is the third interview I've seen/heard with Mr. Marnell. I recall he was on Face To Face and The Strip Podcast. Add in the many print interviews ( the most recent being David McKee's piece at Stiffs & Georges) and I get a pretty clear explanation of why so many long time Las Vegas casino bosses see Marnell as the fresh face of the industry. Homegrown, good looking and articulate. Without pretense, as well. Kinda reminds me of admirable qualities of the late Terry Lanni. An outstanding show, thank you all.

The only thing I might gently, lovingly and humbly suggest is that in future interviews of this magnitude the questions be asked in a rotating format. Although the entire interview was well done and interesting, it seemed like Hunter asked 10 questions and the Hillegassers asked 1 each.

July 21, 2011 8:28 AM Posted by Hunter

Thanks Jeff.

Just a note on your feedback - anyone can ask any question at any time and everybody on the show knows that. I'm not a big fan of a rotating format - feels too mechanical to me.

July 21, 2011 11:18 AM Posted by chuckmonster

Jeff... are you saying that Hunter is a Hillegasbag? For the record, I had only one question for him, because I knew Hunter would ask more interesting questions. Which he did. Cause he's the moderator. And a gasbag.

July 21, 2011 4:03 PM Posted by Hunter

I do love the sound of my own voice...

July 21, 2011 7:20 PM Posted by Jeff in OKC

In that case, sir, let me congratulate on your brilliant interviewing skills.

Seriously, you did a fine job

July 22, 2011 9:34 AM Posted by detroit1051

PENN's Q2 call transcript discusses M Resort. Almost the last question near the end of the Q&A.

July 22, 2011 2:03 PM Posted by Jon

Tony Marnell spoke to my class at UNLV around a year ago, and I was very impressed with his perspective on the Strip, Las Vegas as a whole, and his general philosophy on business.

Tony Marnell in class a year ago was a different person than Tony Marnell in this interview. He was, by no means, boisterous or rambunctious in class, but he seemed very quiet during this interview, especially when discussing Penn. He handled himself well and you can't help but feel sorry for the guy.

What I really wanted to do was pose a few questions: What is the best he can hope for if he holds on at the M? And what else could he possibly pursue outside of the M?

He was vehement in class that entrepreneurship was the only thing that could save Las Vegas (in fact he said something to the effect of, "the whole Las Vegas strip is owned by a few people and there's no need for creativity, so each property becomes a big, boring square box").

SO, I don't see him moving to another company. He predicted "doom and gloom" for the Strip for the next 10 years. And now is probably not the best time to build...
There was a rumor the Marnells were looking at the Palms, but that was some time ago...

I mean, what's next for him? Any ideas?

August 2, 2011 9:34 PM Posted by db

The link to mresort is wrong.
It should be

August 3, 2011 10:44 AM Posted by American Gaming Guru

This was the first interview I have heard, I have seen others in print, and I must say how impressed I was! Not only did he seem extremely knowledgeable about the industry (as I would expect) but he was humble and honest about his decisions. He certainly did not sugar coat anything (which I did not expect). As a result of this interview, I have gained a good amount of respect for this man. Job well done by all!