Two Way Hard Three | Las Vegas Casino & Design Blog

All Articles Published: October 2011

October 27, 2011

Genting in Florida: How big is too big?

Posted by daveschwartz

The Miami area has become, over the last few weeks, the most exciting potential casino development in the US. Massachusetts, it seems, has taken a backseat. Las Vegas Sands, Wynn Resorts, and Genting (who own Genting Highlands in Malaysia, Resorts World in Singapore, and are about to open at Aqueduct in New York) are seen as the frontrunners for gaming licenses, with MGM Resorts and Caesars Entertainment circling in the background.

As part of its pitch, Genting has said that it might build the world's biggest casino. But is that going to be the best fit for Miami? Or the best business model? After the jump, I'll compare casino square footage and break it down.

October 26, 2011

Vegas Gang #68 - October 21st, 2011

Posted by Hunter

Episode #68 is up!

Listen here:

This time on the show:

- The first annual Vegas Internet Mafia Family Picnic in which we discuss Wynn in Cotai and Miami, Cosmo and Trop management, parking, $25 million in chips and more.

The audio is a little funky. I tried to gate out the worst bits.

October 26, 2011

STOP IT: Hostile Shopping Mall Design

Posted by Hunter

Just a quickie post about a pet peeve that is reinforced every time I'm in Las Vegas: hostile shopping mall design.

You see this at The Crystals (photo below) and also at the Forum Shops - instead of allowing someone to walk directly to their destination, the guest is re-routed, sometimes way out of the way, to put them in front of more stores. It's beyond annoying.

Now, this is nothing new. Companies like Disney are the masters of putting retail in your face. I don't realistically expect this to stop anytime soon.

Still, blow me.

October 24, 2011

Happy 91st birthday Jackie Gaughan

Posted by daveschwartz

Along with well over a thousand other Las Vegans and Downtown visitors, I had a piece of cake today to celebrate the 91st birthday of local casino legend Jackie Gaughan. After the jump, I'll talk a little about the man and his considerable legacy.

October 24, 2011


Posted by daveschwartz

If you weren't there this weekend, the Vegas Internet Mafia Family Picnic unleashed itself across Las Vegas. It was a good time had by all, to be sure. But I wanted to take a minute to share some thanks. There are plenty to go around. More after the jump.

October 21, 2011

The mob & casinos: time heals all wounds

Posted by daveschwartz

Mulling the Las Vegas Mob Experience while writing yesterday's post on the Tropicana, a little incongruity that had been nagging at me for two weeks suddenly game into focus.

Hopefully that nags at you enough to keep you reading after the jump.

October 20, 2011

Is This Wynn Cotai?

Posted by Hunter

Based on a tip from the VegasTripping boards, a link to a Siegfried and Roy tribute video featuring Steve Wynn includes a background shot of a hotel... that doesn't look entirely familiar.

Is this Wynn Cotai?

The geography fits - the ocean is clearly visible in the background.

The design? Well, it's not quite the hug I was looking for but I can see some of the design elements that have been described.

What are we looking at?

October 20, 2011

Tropicana shuffle: Panic or business as usual?

Posted by daveschwartz

In the past few days, I've done a few media interviews, including one for KVVU Fox 5, on the Tropicana's current situation. I figured that I might as well write up my thoughts for the record.

I will do precisely that...after the jump.

October 19, 2011

Comps: Atlantic City Vs. Las Vegas

Posted by daveschwartz

A story recently appeared in the Atlantic City Press talking about the apparent rise in comping at Atlantic City casinos. I wanted to compare the AC casino comping (big) picture with the Vegas one, and will do so just after the jump.

October 16, 2011

SIMPSON ON VEGAS #032: Implosion City

Posted by Hunter

It's time to blow some crap up!

SoV is back. Happy Sunday.

This time around, Jeff explains what's going up in smoke and when. Enjoy.

October 11, 2011

August in Nevada

Posted by daveschwartz

After a long day, I've finally finished crunching the August Nevada gaming numbers. If you want some historical perspective on this month, keep reading after the jump.

October 10, 2011

Tom McCartney Out as Trop President

Posted by Hunter

The word is that Tom McCartney is out as president of Tropicana Las Vegas. Not a lot of details... More to come.

We interviewed McCartney about a year ago at Podcast-a-palooza.

October 9, 2011

Vegas Mate 3.2 Hits the App Store

Posted by Hunter

Vegas Mate 3.2, an update originally designed to support iOS 5 but then ballooned as time went on, has hit the App Store. Here's what's new:

- iOS 5 compatibility: now compatible with Apple's latest version of iOS.

- Add your own custom items to your trips, even if they're not in the Vegas Mate database. Create, sync and share trips that include anything you want.
- Add trip notes: win/loss details, air travel details - whatever doesn't fit into a normal trip schedule.
- Both custom items and trip notes export via email, sync between devices and can be printed.

- Share your reviews on Facebook easily.

- Navigate between tourist tips by swiping left and right.

- Push Notifications: allow yourself to be notified of new content updates and other breaking app news.
- Extended Notifications: if you want extra Vegas news, enable this option in Settings.

- Added the ability to copy a photo into the clipboard. Tap and hold when viewing a full-size photo.
- Increased the font size when writing a review to make things easier to read.
- Photos should display much more quickly, even on 3G connections.
- Improved search accuracy for certain search terms.
- User interface improvements.

- Fix for a bug that prevented you from saving photos to your camera roll.
- Fix for a bug that prevented you from emailing photos.
Thanks to user John W. for help finding the above two issues.

- Fix for a bug that could cause a crash when downloading trip templates.

If you're running (or are about to be running) iOS 5, this is a must-update. There are a bunch of things Apple changed that we now accommodate.

In addition, the other big items are:

- Ability to add anything to a trip - any custom item you might want.
- Trip notes to store anything that you might want.

- Push Notifications - both a 'standard' level but also 'extended' push for those people that want breaking news and other big stories pushed out to them. Enable that in the Settings app under Vegas Mate.

- Swipe navigation for Tourist Tips - turns out this is a much nicer way to read these.

I was originally expecting this update would come out in early September but since iOS 5 is only now upon is, here is. Thanks for your patience and thanks for being Vegas Mate customers.

October 7, 2011

Vegas Internet Mafia Family Picnic - 2 Weeks to Go!

Posted by Hunter

Hi All,

Just a reminder that our sure to be legendary event, the Vegas Internet Mafia Family Picnic, will be unveiled two weeks from tomorrow at Planet Hollywood.

What to come? It's totally free. Also, Caesars has ponied up some great room offers - there's still time to book!

All the details are on the Web site:

We're really looking forward to seeing you there.

October 6, 2011

MGM Meets Zynga?

Posted by Hunter

At this week's G2E conference in Las Vegas, birthday boy and MGM CEO Jim Murren gave a keynote that included some thoughts on the future of the company's gaming operations online (along with him openly wondering why the markets don't love his company).

Not a lot of groundbreaking news except for the fact that Murren alluded to new social programs or apps that he described as 'MGM meets Zynga'. Zynga is the popular publisher of Farmville, a Facebook powerhouse. This jives with what we've heard about former Wynn exec Andrew Pascal's new project, IncuBet.

I've said it before and I'll say it again - this is gonna be big time stuff for these gaming companies. My guess as a first foray is something that fits well within existing law - a way to push MGM brands and hmmmMlife through Facebook - some sort of game that lets you either build casinos or pretend to be a high roller. Not all that innovative (it's been done) but this time it will have real gaming brands behind it, which could make all the difference.

Expect more of this. A lot more.

Murren's slides are here. Also, don't miss this G2E related gem.

Thanks to Detroit1051 for the tip on the slides being up.

October 5, 2011


Posted by Hunter

I don't know if it's fair to say that this site would not exist without Apple and Steve Jobs. It certainly would have been different.

Love of technology started early. My first computer was a Commodore 64. From there, I stayed in the Commodore camp for a bit and bought the much maligned Amiga 500. After that, a Mac SE was my first Apple product. I was never very good at picking the popular machine of the day.

I stayed with Apple through the 90s - Performas, Quadras, LCs, noisy PowerBooks, etc... Not machines that are remembered as the highlights of the company's offerings. Still, I formed some sort of bond with the company - I was a teenager that wanted to be out of the mainstream and I guess I saw some of that in Apple.

I was easily swept up in the Apple rumors of the day - Copland, Gershwin, OS 8, and OS 9. Apple buys NeXT and Jobs returns. I bought at NeXTStation Color second-hand to see what it was all about. I scammed my way into the Apple-NeXT developer transition program which got me access to all of the Rhapsody betas, the product that would become MacOS X.

My wedding anniversary is October 23rd, a date I share with the introduction of the iPod (though not the same year). My Diamond Rio looked pretty damn crappy next to a device that we'd now look down on as bulky and unusable. Still, it spawned the modern Apple we now know.

In 2007 we got iPhone and then a year later, the ability to create apps. I knew immediately that it was my future and I haven't looked back. Since then, iPad, which will also undoubtedly be hugely impactful for the future of computing.

Apple has changed my life.

If I felt a little stab when I learned about Jobs' retiring in August, this time it was more like being hit by a truck. As much as I assumed this day would come, it was still a shock.

As most of my readers know, my father died three years ago, also from cancer. There was a point, about six months into his treatment that it didn't seem like anything was working. I remember Dad pulling me aside one evening and telling me that he'd decided he didn't want any more invasive treatment - he was ready to accept what was coming. It was a tough pill to swallow for me - I thought I wanted him to keep fighting but I think I just really wasn't ready to lose him. He had decided he'd rather spend his time with his family at home than in some hospital recovery room. It was the right choice. With Steve's resignation and today's events, I can't help but think he made the same decision, undoubtedly the right one. Spend time with the people you love. You never have enough time.

In some ways I feel silly for feeling so emotional about Jobs' passing, a person I've never met. His own family is starting the process that I went through that July. God bless them. I think some of this is latent sadness and regret about my own situation. Still, it's hitting me a lot harder than I expected and since this is my outlet, this is where I'm posting it.

Sorry, no comments. Not in the mood.

Here's Jeff's latest 'advice' column, this time with thoughts on Monte Carlo, New York New York, MGM Grand, Tropicana, Luxor, Excalibur and Mandalay Bay.

This is the last of the series for The Strip. Read the others here.


October 2, 2011

A Mini-Vegas time capsule

Posted by daveschwartz

A little while ago, I had the pleasure of doing a few guest lectures at San Diego State University (Go Aztecs!). While I was down there, I took my family to Legoland and was amused to finally see the MiniVegas that's been built there.

You'll get my blocky explanation right after the jump.

October 1, 2011

Sneak peak at Bally Tech

Posted by daveschwartz

A few days before the big reveal at G2E, I got an invite to swing by Bally Technologies' HQ across from the airport to get a sneak peek at what's going to be new for 2012. I jumped at the chance, and after the jump I'll share what I saw.