Two Way Hard Three | Las Vegas Casino & Design Blog

February 7, 2012

Vegas Gang #73 - February 7th, 2012

Posted by Hunter

Episode #73 is up!

Listen here:

This time on the show:

- Wynn Las Vegas Web Site
- Wynn Resorts Board Fight
- Casino Debt
- Diamond Ratings at Resorts

** Sure Bets **

Chuck - Van Halen
Dr. Dave - Star Blazers
Hunter - Apogee Jam for iOS


Read archived comments (10 so far)
February 8, 2012 7:05 AM Posted by worldpool

i like what you guys said about the wynn website and what needs to be done with the casino debet good job

February 8, 2012 1:14 PM Posted by parchedearth

I agree that Steve is starting to lose his faculties. An internal takeover backed by concerned institutional investors is more likely than a Caesars buyout. Steve stays on as a figurehead but a new CEO and executive team is installed.

Debt remains a huge issue and isn't going away anytime soon. Caesars is in the most dire situtation. I'm surprised Apollo, Texas Pacific, Colony haven't had investor revolts over the 50% drops in their gaming assets. Same problem for DB with Cosmo. I believe all the major players will eventually need to go through bankruptcy to get debt relief. Stations is really the only company that has already gone through the process, but they may need to return to get even more debt relief.

February 9, 2012 12:20 AM Posted by Dan Short

Just got back from a Super Bowl weekend at the Encore and the Cosmo. Had a chat with our Encore host and she is getting a lot of negative feedback about the web site from clients as well as internally. They are all embarassed by it.

BTW the Red Card membership info seems to work better than it did with updates and offers. Looks like hell but it is functional.

February 9, 2012 2:16 PM Posted by mike_ch

Another great episode. As usual, the following points aren't always trying to make any particular point, but just things I felt like saying while listening to the flow of conversation:

- I get the feeling Chuck isn't going to be invited to watch the inauguration of Wynn Cotai. He was pretty much getting right in front of the issue that he wasn't an expert in all of these fields but felt Steve is losing it.

- I think Kaz Okada will probably be able to convince a Nevada judge to tear up the clauses that shackles his shares to Steve's whims, so that he can sell and get out of there. Steve will probably snatch up all of the shares even if he has to borrow money to get them. He probably won't, if I remember it right he's the highest paid Strip executive since Terry Lanni stepped down from MGM.

- At worst, the big institutions holding onto stock are woken up for a confidence vote on Steve, and depending on how much of Steve's limitations on Elaine and Kaz's shares aren't held up to court scrutiny it may not matter what they do. It could be one of those situations like Disney a few years ago, where Eisner shrugged off a 43% No Confidence result as if, as they say in investor circles, "it ain't no thang."

- The bigger question I think that comes out of all this, is something that rolls back to John H's 'Steve Wynn Is Dead' screed on VT almost a year ago. At the time, I felt like it was a really alarmist piece that reflected a bizarrely negative attitude toward Marilyn W-S simply because of what company she came from and the decision to close down a restaurant that was the most "One Percent" restaurant in what is otherwise a very "One Percent" kind of property. Since then, a lot of people have left and the impression I got at the Family Picnic event a few months ago is that it's fairly common thinking that Wynn Cotai will be the last resort Steve is personally involved in the creative process for.

It makes you wonder, again, who is going to pick up the reigns now that a lot of the obvious scions (Pascal most notably) are not there anymore.

- I have a lot of opinions about the outsourcing thing. I can't help but wonder if outsourcing something that crucial will lead to contracts being re-negotiated and spiraling upward. Even properties that don't care about whether the housekeeping is any good or not will get unhappy if the rates go up routinely.

I also can't help but wonder if that's going to result in increased union pushes around the state, because killing someone's vacation time and then hiring them back to the same workplace with a clean slate and a different boss is the kind of thing that leads to that.

- I'm somewhat surprised that only MGM Grand has any laundry facility. I would have figured MEGACENTER(TM) would since it even has it's own on-site recycling/sorting facility, so it seems like they have room for everything in there. Five years ago on my last trip to Disney World, I was walking from my hotel room to the bus stop to the park when I saw a laundry truck; they handle all their laundry internally at one big facility there on their big plot of land. Now, they do have something like 25,000 hotel rooms on property but when you look at an operation like MGM Resorts where you have some huge properties like the Grand and Luxor and Bellagio and CityCenter, it kind of makes me wonder why they don't internalize that if just to be able to set their own standard and how much it will cost them. Some of MGM's hotels (and I don't need to tell you which ones) have reputations for grungy rooms and if I at least knew that my linens were washed at the same place as Bellagio I'd feel more a little more confident staying in one.

- Outsourcing food is a much smaller deal. The original Strip resorts were the case of guys who basically know casinos trying to run a hotel, and LV has better hotel management nowadays but restaurants can still be elusive, especially at places that rely less on hotel revenue and more on walk-ins from elsewhere. The Stations are one of those latter ones with maybe an exception for Red Rock and GVR.

The thing of basically bringing the best restaurant owners and their reputations into the resorts was kind of started as a result of outsourcing food, since the Caesars Forum Shoppes has long treated restaurants like most any other tenant and that was where Puck showed up in town with Spago, and well, we know where that led to. The Cosmopolitan has had pretty good success with this, too.

- I hate to get back to unions again, but I think "We Love Locals" isn't just an awareness campaign, but obviously a sort of counter to the media blitz being waged by Culinary toward Station right now. Of course, Station told a lot of employees over the past few years that belts had to be tightened since the company was bankrupt and as the company comes out of that, those kind of changes sometimes tend to be a one-way street and so Culinary clearly sees it as a moment to jump on Station who they have been trying to organize for some time. In recent months, it's gotten pretty ugly out here as the union has gone for shock value here and there and now Station is taking out what are nearly anonymous (you have to look for the fine print) billboards accusing the union of trying to kill the entire city's economy by warding people away from coming.

I don't know the full extent of it, I realize it's a political issue and some people don't want to touch it, but it's a sign of all the debt and bankruptcy and department shedding we've seen in the past couple of years.

- When it comes to guidebooks, I was more of a Zagat guy but now they've been bought by Google of all things and I've been waiting (still waiting) for them to make that data free and fund it through some other avenue than subscriptions.

I remember reading at the time that Bellagio got the Five Diamonds only because they had so many employees that they could overcome their room count by swarming the place with hired help. Since then, Bellagio added more rooms and the Five Diamonds has shown up at MEGACENTER(TM) so I'm not sure exactly what that's worth. The Mobil/Forbes stars are much harder to get and the ones that Wynn is always crowing about.

Probably the most, er, exclusive brand of guidebooks are the current Michelin guides since just getting a guidebook published kind of denotes a world class attraction. They added a Vegas guidebook for just one year in 2007 (you may remember Steve was crowing about how the reception would be held at WLV) and in 2008 the Vegas edition was discontinued along with some tiny town called Los Angeles.

- Sorry, Chuck; I prefer Van Hagar. But I actually like 1980s pop and when you mentioned the band the chorus of "Dreams" started playing through me head. It's gotta be a date of birth thing, since the stuff you think of as terrible has Nostalgia Invulnerability to me.

February 9, 2012 5:02 PM Posted by chuckmonster

mtc... you had me up to the Van Hagar comment.

February 10, 2012 12:48 AM Posted by Duffman

Mike- for those of us that have not been to Vegas in a while, are we ever going to get another "Strip Walk"? I mean it's coming up on two years, or did you and Hunter have a falling out over the subject?

February 10, 2012 6:12 AM Posted by Mark from Baltimore

You guys should consider inviting Tim from 5 Hundy to join the podcast

February 10, 2012 8:26 AM Posted by Hunter

Mike was out of Vegas for awhile. He's welcome to do one anytime he wants.

As for interviews, we've got a few planned. Tim would be a good one.

February 12, 2012 11:35 AM Posted by Dan Short

O.K. I am on the Wynn Casino website. It annouces to me that my browser is outo of date. I am one of the last of the AOL users, but I resent that they want me to go to Explorer or Mazillo or Safari. Do they not recognize AOL anymore. There people are idiots.

Secondly, I go to change my address moving my apt number to the second line as they often do not print the Apt number on their correspondence. I add the number to the second line but it will not allow me to remove the number from the first line. WTF. again. idiots.

Thirdly, I notice that the first letter of my e-mail address is lower case so I want to change my first initial to a capital. When I do it indicated that the e-mail address is already in use. YEAH, BY ME. Can't change it. Idiots.

Originaly I thought that the site might be good as it did give is a reasonable win/loss statement and the balance of my account and the latest offers. So an information site it is pretty good, BUT DON'T TRY TO CHANGE ANYTHING ON IT.


February 13, 2012 1:02 AM Posted by Paul Shanahan

Another real good pod cast guys. I just read in the New York Post that Caesars is trying to sell some of their casinos, mostly in the Midwest. I would assume this would help pay for Project Linq on the Strip.

One of the reasons Stations Casinos filed for bankruptcy is because they built a $1 billion dollar casino (Red Rock Resort) 11 miles west of the Strip. They should have built Red Rock Resort at the corner of Dean Martin Drive and Tropicana Avenue.