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January 29, 2018

Steve Wynn Accused of Rampant Sexual Misconduct

Posted by Hunter

In a Wall Street Journal article posted on Friday the 26th of January, 2018, Steve Wynn was accused of sexual misconduct based on interviews with 150 people.

I haven't posted here in years but I've always left the archives up because I thought they were interesting. Well, I can't let all of the previous praise lavished on The Steve stand here without making sure any space aliens that land here in 2127 have the full story.

Shame on you Steve. You are disgusting.

Happy Memorial Day to all y'all out there. I've got a little bit of hot info for those of you taking the day off to relax.

Steve Wynn, Chairman and CEO of Wynn Resorts and recent Cotai land grantee went on the record with Macau Business magazine to talk in detail about the project and also a little bit about Las Vegas. Some tidbits:

- The property will cost about $3.5 billion to build.
- Construction starts in June.
- The land is setup for a single hotel - future expansion will be limited to smaller additions.
- The project includes a 300 meter (almost 1000 feet) long lake. It will be bigger than Bellagio's lake and feature more advanced water fountains that cost about $90 million to build.
- The hotel is in an 'X' shape with maximum 45 meter distances to guest rooms.
- Like Encore Macau, it's all petite suites and larger.
- It will include villas with outdoor pools like we've seen in Las Vegas.
- 2,000 rooms.
- Around 40 retail shops.
- No 'Alex' - he's sold on the idea that people like 'fun' dining and don't want to sit for ages and have Michelin Star food.
- The property will open at once. "We don't do phases"

When it comes to Las Vegas:

- He talks about Climax as if it's still happening in Vegas, though he does not say where. This is a pretty recent interview that seems to have been given after we had heard that the Climax club planned for the Alex space was scuttled due to soundproofing problems.
- Apparently a new show is being developed for Las Vegas that could also work at the Cotai property. New show? Interesting. Displacing Le Reve? Something permanent for the Encore Theater? Miss Spectacular re-born?

Anyway, lots of info here and while some of it was already public, nice to have a single source.

May 1, 2012

Wynn Cotai is a Go.

Posted by Hunter

Go go Cotai.

Here's what it's going to look like.

That is all.

March 13, 2012

Wynn Las Vegas Re-Designs... Again

Posted by Hunter

So - remember that terrible Web site that the folks at Wynn launched, that everyone hated? Yeah, well, it's gone now.

Check out the new

More traditional navigation. Booking engine on the home screen. Nice photos... Progress.

Maybe the last version was just a prank.

[thanks to a special tipster for letting us know the new site was going up.]

March 9, 2012

Okada Makes a Promise

Posted by daveschwartz

Before the recent flurry of legal activity involving Kazuo Okada and Steve Wynn, the Japanese billionaire had a reputation as a bit of a mystery man. But back in 1988, he was at the forefront of Universal Company's U.S. ad blitz. After the jump, see an ad from the February 1988 issue of Casino Gaming magazine that puts Mr. Okada front and center.

February 23, 2012

Vegas Gang #74 - February 23rd, 2012

Posted by Hunter

Episode #74 is up!

Listen here:

This time on the show:

- Wynn vs. Okada
- Echelon
- MGM Results and CityCenter's Flaws
- Dr. Dave's Banging Week

** Sure Bets **

Chuck - Delancy Street Foundation Moving Team
Dr. Dave - KISS $500 VIP Ticket to Golf
Hunter - Ollo Clip

February 21, 2012

Wynn vs. Okada

Posted by Hunter

So, I'm sure you're all aware that on Sunday morning, the Wynn vs. Okada fight went from a couple of dudes duking it out in the quad to a full-on thermonuclear war.

Lots to talk about here. We're doing a special Vegas Gang show this week to discuss.

February 3, 2012 Le Mauvais Rêve (The Bad Dream)

Posted by Hunter

As probably everyone that reads this site knows, Wynn Las Vegas launched their re-designed Web site yesterday. The result is another sad chapter of decline for the company.

Chuckmonster at sums it up very well:

What you see before you on is not only a representation of Steve Wynn's declining eyesight, but the sheer lack of vision (and courage) by the team he has hired to execute orders.

Read the whole piece, it's a great take on the seemingly Jitterbug-inspired abomination they've created.

Not only is the new site ugly and brand destroying but it's also less functional. They removed restaurant menus, all the information on the casino including credit applications, the poker room stuff (there is a separate site for poker but good luck finding a link from the main site) and more. Maps? A site map? Gone. Pretty much the only thing it has going for it is some great photography. The in-room tours are basically just re-encoded versions of the videos that run on the Wynn TV channel in the guest rooms.

Again, back to Chuck:

Steve Wynn trusts Roger Thomas to turn every drywalled cube into a lustful space filled with fantasy and wonder. Where is Steve Wynn's "Rog Thom" of the internet?

Excellent point. Wynn as an organization has never fully mastered the 'net. That was starting to happen a few years ago as the e-strategies team filled out and their advice was heeded... and then they all left as the Spiegel-era set in. This is the result.

It's pretty amazing to see a well-respected company fall so hard on it's face with something as public as a Web site, especially an organization that's ostensibly all about design. I'm sure the people that worked on this project are nice folks but this is just embarrassing. It never should have left the lab and honestly, someone that's doing this level of work shouldn't be at an organization like Wynn.

The fact that Steve made a big deal on their earnings call about how proud they were shows that he's completely Internet-tone-deaf. Somehow a guy that typically has excellent taste not only approved this but thinks it's great. Steve - you may be an expert on hotels but I am confident I am more qualified when it comes to the Web: this is not good.

I showed this off to colleagues that build Web sites. They burst out laughing... and don't I wish I could share the choice comments that some in the industry sent to me.

Wynn should ask for their $29.99 back, revert to the old site immediately and, if they really want to break ground on the Internet, start over and do something that's worthy of all of the brand equity they've created through excellent hotel design.

Blow our minds with some cutting-edge responsive design that seamlessly works across all screen sizes and platforms. Integrate more of their backend systems to give the guest more power to control their stay from the Web. There's a ton of things they could do to be a leader in their industry online.

Or just leave it like it was...

January 11, 2012

UPDATED: Who Will Wynn?

Posted by Hunter

Disclaimer: I really have no idea what I'm talking about. For all I know, Okada is a lunatic and Wynn Resorts are protecting themselves from a madman with some sort of hidden agenda. Still, for the purposes of this post, let's assume he's a reasonable, successful businessman that's a bit weirded out that a company he owns 20% of is being secretive about their finances.

Well, I guess he's not gonna be chairman anytime soon.

Today we learned that Kazuo Okada, the largest individual shareholder in Wynn Resorts and a board member, is suing the company (SEC document). Why? He questioned a few of the company's large financial transactions and wanted to examine the books. The company said no. He believes that his shares, and probably more importantly his place on the board, gives him the fiduciary bonafides he needs to get that access.

The way the suit reads, Okada was against a $135 million donation to the University of Macau. He objected. The board didn't listen and went ahead anyway and from what I can tell, that set him off.

He wants the details on that transaction, wants to know where a $120 million he invested in the company in 2002 went (supposedly earmarked for Macau development ; the company at first claimed they didn't know he invested it - not confidence inspiring) and additional details on the amended shareholder agreement that went through after Steve and Elaine Wynn divorced in 2010 (the agreement split the ownership but effectively left the voting control with Steve).

What would one find if they examined the books of the pre-public company? Well, we have no idea... but I don't think it would be a surprise to see some lavish spending on executive travel to Macau, office suites and the like. Maybe something more juicy? Maybe, uh, 'gifts' to government officials in China? Without any details, we can't judge but something about that time period has Okada at least curious... Maybe there's some potential for embarrassment if some of this comes out? Who knows.

As far as the Macau University donation goes, given the term of the payments and them coinciding with the current expiration of Wynn's concession in 2022, I can't help but wonder if this 'civic good' is at least partially motivated by that renewal process. From what we're told in these documents, a donation of that size was unprecedented... and as far as I know, none of Wynn's kids want to go to school there (the Steve Wynn Center for Gaming Research? Paging Dr. Dave).

Why would the company say no? Either there's something in there they don't want to share or they simply don't believe the request is legitimate... but given that it's now a public spectacle, there has to be more to it. Perhaps the relationship between Okada and Wynn has completely broken down?

For Okada to go to court against a company where his investment is worth over a billion dollars, he had to be really pissed. How could this impact future gaming expansion in Japan, where Okada's partnership was seen as giving Wynn Resorts a powerful leg up? One thing for sure: this will be something to watch.

Update: Wynn Resorts responded today with a strongly worded press release suggesting that Okada's request was without merit and pointed to a potential falling out between Okada and the board over his participation in a casino project in the Philippines.

January 8, 2012

Wynn Resorts 2020

Posted by Hunter

On January 27th, Steve Wynn will turn 70.

It's a big milestone for the man who many credit with re-making The Strip. Competitors like Sheldon Adelson have shown that you can successfully run a gaming company well past that age (Adelson will be 80 next year) and The Steve will likely be at the head of Wynn Resorts for quite some time.

Still, it's worth exploring: what is the succession plan at one of hospitality's most admired companies? One of the advantages that Wynn Resorts has is a deep bench of talented people. That said, there's only one Steve.

We lost Steve Jobs in 2011 and there are parallels here. Both men built companies very much in their own image and were well known for being 'Tastemakers in Chief' - a powerful trait that allowed both Apple and Wynn Resorts to delight millions of customers as their leaders have had a good sense of what people are willing to spend money on.

Today, Steve Wynn serves as both CEO and Chairman of the Board at Wynn Resorts. Beyond that, he's the defacto head of the design apparatus, working closely with both Roger Thomas and DeRuyter Butler to imagine new projects and renovations.

My guess is that when Steve does eventually step down, we'll see not only a split of the CEO and Chairman roles but beyond that, others in the Wynn organization stepping up to fill the enormous hole that's left by him moving on. No one person can replace him.

When it comes to the Board of Directors, the two obvious choices for the chair are ex-wife Elaine Wynn or partner Kazuo Okada. Given Okada's desire to stay out of the spotlight until now, the smart money here is on Elaine. She knows the company well and would be an excellent steward, assuming she would want to serve. As a major shareholder, her interests are in the right place and let's be honest, her name is on the building too - she'd do the right thing for the company. If Elaine is unwilling or unable to serve, I'd look to Linda Chen as a possible chairwoman, assuming she didn't get the CEO nod (see below).

The CEO job is harder to call but I think there are at least three likely candidates. First off, you can forget about them going outside to find someone - this is a company that elevates to the top job from within. My picks for the corner office: Marc Schorr, Linda Chen or as a longer shot, Matt Maddox.

Marc Schorr: Perhaps the obvious choice - the current COO has been a Wynn confidant for decades. Interestingly, when at Mirage Resorts, it was current MGM exec Bobby Baldwin, not Schorr, that Wynn trusted with Bellagio, the company's most important asset (Schorr was president of The Mirage at the time of the merger). That said, Schorr proved his loyalty by coming along with Steve to Wynn and has been rewarded with a lot of responsibility. People familiar with the executive suite will tell you that there are few major decisions that don't touch Schorr's office. If Steve Wynn has a number two, it's definitely Marc, making him an obvious choice. Would he want the job? My impression of Schorr from afar has been as more of a background guy - the kind of person that every big company needs in the number two spot - someone who can crack heads and deal with the knucklehead stuff that shouldn't be on the CEO's desk... but who knows, maybe this is the gig he's been training for.

Linda Chen: Another long-time Wynn employee, Linda has been bringing in massive amounts of international business since The Mirage era. A member of the board as well as the president of Wynn International Marketing, Chen is also COO of the Macau subsidiary. Steve Wynn has indicated that Wynn Resorts is becoming more of a Chinese company and our own analysis has shown that from a financial perspective, that's undisputed. Macau is where all of the growth is and will be for some time. It would make good sense to have a Chinese-American running the company in the 21st century.

Matt Maddox: The 35-year-old CFO is an undisputed financial wizard. One of the company's strongest assets of late has been their balance sheet and financial structure, allowing them to weather the 2008-era storm that almost caused MGM and Las Vegas Sands to default. Maddox was the executor of that winning strategy and is thought to be well liked by Wynn and other managers. Putting him in the top job would be a bold move and is probably a long-shot... but I would not at all be surprised to see him running the company someday. Former Mirage CFO Dan Lee, another financial genius who worked with Wynn, eventually left to run Pinnacle. That may not have ended well but things with Lee there could have easily gone differently - Pinnacle made a lot of progress with Dan at the helm. Will Maddox end up running a Wynn competitor down the road?

Who do you see as the next generation of Wynn Resorts leadership?

December 13, 2011

The New Velvet Rope

Posted by Hunter

Wynn's Tower Suites are about to make their public debut.

WTS may have opened with the rest of the property in 2005 but once the current renovations are complete, they'll come out from under their rareified shell. For better or worse.

Rewind six months. As we began to learn about the slated property changes at Wynn Las Vegas, it was hard to predict exactly how they would manifest.

Re-imagined High Limit Slots. An updated lobby. A new nightlife concept. Ok then - probably more of the same... or so we thought.

Fast-forward to today: photos of the new Tower Suites lobby. Last week, a peek at the new High Limit Slot area. When a company like Wynn - wizards of a successful, repeatable process - do something new, it's worth taking notice.

From what we now know, the changes at Wynn Tower Suites are not superficial - we're talking about a fundamental change in the boutique hotel's value proposition.

Originally envisioned as a unique hideaway, separated from the masses, the new WTS design encourages integration with the rest of the resort.

A space that was previously private has been publically 'ropified', a direct lesson from the nightclub profits earned nearby at Tryst and XS.

While Tower Suites allure used to be a dignified and detached luxury, with this update it's setup to become luxury-on-display. The new sightlines and inevitable plate glass will show off what the 'peasants' in the Resort rooms are missing. This is a new kind of velvet rope and the goal is to never have a customer wonder why they should pay extra for Tower Suites.

How will guests react? It's going to be interesting to see.

Of course, for the highest end customers, things won't change much. They already get villas, private entrances and personal butlers. But for the Tower Suites guests who inhabit most of the nightly seats at Bartolotta, Wing Lei and SW, it will be interesting to see how they react. The privacy was a selling point.

Some have previously argued that the addition of Marilyn Winn-Spiegel meant that a Harrah's attitude was taking hold at Wynn Resorts. I'd argue it's more likely we're seeing a Drai/Waits/Morton/Hissom takeover: the lessons of nightlife, spreading throughout other operations.

Ooontz-ooontz-ooontz indeed.

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?

September 29, 2011

Vegas Gang #67 - September 29th, 2011

Posted by Hunter

Episode #67 is up!

Listen here:

This time on the show:

- An Interview with Roger Thomas, Executive Vice President of Design, Wynn Design & Development.

DON'T MISS: Vegas Internet Mafia Family Picnic

** Sure Bets **

- South Florida Casino Expansion
- Tassels, Fringe, Trim and Imperial Orange
- Super B Burrito @ Eastern & Pebble
- BrainToniq

September 19, 2011

Wynn Cotai "Not Yet Approved"

Posted by Hunter

So that whole press release from Wynn Macau that strongly implied (if not straight up said) that their Cotai project was moving forward? Yeah, I guess someone forgot to tell the government.

Today in the Macau Daily Times, Secretary for Economy and Finance, Francis Tam Pak Yuen unceremoniously bursts that balloon. His quote?

"Companies may release their news, and the news should correspond to reality. Anyhow these news release won't affect the process"

Despite the fact that local officials seem to be back-pedaling on Wynn's go-go attitude, the piece also goes on to say that it's likely the project will be approved (it was filed before the 2008 cut-off) - it's just a matter of when.

Must be fun doing business in China, huh? If this happened in the US, my guess is that The Steve would be bellowing from the mountaintops about the 'unstable business climate'.

Personally, I can't wait for Cotai construction to start - if it's as magnificent as the principals have been hinting, it will certainly be something to see.

September 11, 2011

LVRJ: Wynn Cotai Moving Forward

Posted by Hunter

The Las Vegas Review-Journal is reporting that Wynn Resort's Cotai project in Macau is moving forward. The project has been described by Steve Wynn as the 'best thing I've ever done'.

The second Macau hotel for Wynn Resorts has been long on the drawing board. Designs have supposedly been completed for many months - several quarterly calls have been punctuated by the company expressing their ability to start whenever they had their land concession and project approved.

It appears that has finally occurred.

According to Wynn's Macau subsidiary's financial disclosures, this will mean a $50MM payment will be made for the land in the next 15 days. The RJ sites a $193.43MM payment but from their story it's not clear how they arrived at that figure - perhaps some combination of the relinquishment in the linked disclosure and additional fees? [UPDATE: see the release linked below]

This is a major step forward for Wynn Resorts who have been waiting to proceed on this site for some time.

UPDATE: The Wynn Macau release is here:

It appears that Jerry Beale, hired to replace the then-retiring interior designer Roger Thomas, has left Wynn D&D and returned to his previous gig at Wilson Associates in Los Angeles.

Thomas famously decided to un-retire after the economy went sideways, leaving him running the interior design side of Wynn's creative shop - the gig that Beale thought he was being hired for.

Roger Thomas, in a specially narrated video from Steve Friess, insists that there's no bad blood (check the podcast feed) - and for all I know that's correct - but clearly, this didn't play out the way it was originally intended. Apparently, his contract ended a few months back and he decided to go back to LA. Roger is quoted in that interview as saying they remain close friends.

At Wynn, Beale is credited with leading the development of the Spa at Encore Macau as well as contributing heavily to the Encore Beach Club in Las Vegas. Wilson Associates also has done work in gaming, including the Mansion at MGM Grand and villas at Caesars Palace.

If you haven't already, listen to the latest edition of The Strip Podcast - Thomas' interview is full of interesting new info about Cotai and more.

July 21, 2011

MGM Cotai Designs Complete ; Wynn Still Waits

Posted by Hunter

According to the Macau Daily Times, MGM Paradise have completed the designs for their Cotai property.

This property, along with the potential future development from Wynn Resorts await government approval.

As noted by David McKee, it's not clear that American developers would be so patient if their grand plans were being so slowly mulled by Clark County personnel.

As long as Macau prints money, expect no criticism from the 'so blessed' American participants. Remember: China good / Obama bad.

June 23, 2011

Vegas Gang #62 - June 23rd, 2011

Posted by Hunter

Episode #62 is up!

Listen here:

Jeff kinda sounds like he was calling from the moon, so sorry about that.

This time on the show:

* Bellagio Re-Design [photos]
* Sahara Sale [photos]
* George Maloof and his Plams
* Atlantic City: Toast?
* Wynn + Adelson Are Buddies
* Predictions

** Sure Bets **

* 'Midnight in Paris'
* Jeff Simpson on Twitter
* Paternity Leave (but stay away from aggressive ducks)
* 'Everything is a Remix'

May 17, 2011

Wynn's a Chinese company, now more than ever

Posted by daveschwartz

In today's flurry of email headlines (which continue whether I'm in the office or not) I read a blurb saying that Wynn Resorts "has become" a Chinese company. Certainly this is no surprise to Wynn. I remember him saying that as far back as 2005, though then it was more along the lines of, "One day Wynn Resorts will be a Chinese company.

Of course, this is getting press now since it's being coupled with his criticisms of the Obama administration, but looking at the numbers, it's clear that Wynn Resorts has been a predominantly Chinese company for quite some time. Here's a chart:

Wynn Resorts Revenues by Market

As you can see, there's nothing particularly momentous about the first quarter results when it comes to the revenue split: in fact, Macau's share is down slightly from calendar 2010. The bigger news, though, is that Wynn Cotai is about to start in earnest. He's not far enough along that a peek at the just-opened Galaxy hasn't sent him back to the drawing board for some elements of the Cotai project (and wouldn't you love to have been part of that conversation?), but he's clearly thinking build, rather than plan, for the near future. As soon as the government gives him its OK, he's going to start construction.

The potential for the future is what's changed his mindset. Let's fast forward to 2016, when Wynn Cotai has a few quarters under its belt. Wynn predicts that the Cotai project will double his Macau revenues. Using calendar 2010 for a baseline, and assuming that Las Vegas and Wynn/Encore Macau revenues remain stagnant (they won't, but lets assume they do for the purposes of this exercise), Cotai's doubling of Macau revenues does the following:

Projected Wynn Resorts Revenues, 2016

So, if all other things remain the same and Cotai performs as Wynn expects, by 2016 more less than one-fifth of total Wynn Resorts revenue will come from Las Vegas.

That being said, it makes a lot of sense to hold his annual meeting in Macau. It's where most of his revenue comes from, which means it's where his most important customers are. And it makes even more sense to speak of Wynn Resorts as a predominantly Chinese company, because that's where most of the action is.

When Harrah's got out of the Promus umbrella, it didn't consider moving its headquarters back to Reno, which was where the company was founded and, until the 1980s, where it was based. Instead, it moved to Las Vegas, which was clearly the center of the gaming world and a market that Harrah's wanted to get more involved in. (Today, as Caesars, it is nothing if not involved in Las Vegas). Wynn's increasing Sinoization is a sensible response to the direction that the business is headed.

Also, Wynn's a developer at heart. He's clearly relishing the challenges of building Cotai, and he's not done learning about the Macau market. Here's an extended quote:

"I believe the Cotai [project] is the best work we have done. It's a departure in many aspects. It has many new things and new approaches to the way the property is presented. I think the public is going to be very excited. It's very comfortable and user-friendly. Now that we have nine years of experience in Macau, as you saw with Encore we are learning how to really address the emotional and physical needs of our guests.

"That kind of insight comes with time and experience. Thankfully we have the experience."

It's easy to see how China's at the top of Wynn's mind these days. He's getting to build there, something he's not going to do in the United States for the foreseeable future. If I was Wynn, you couldn't get me to talk about anything but China these days.

A couple of great new choice Steve Wynn quotes in this RJ piece:

"They started CityCenter on all debt alone. It was luck they bumped into those guys from Dubai," he said. "They gave them $5.4 billion. It's gone. How could you lose $5.4 billion here, you've got to be an imbecile or a moron."

and also, on Cosmo:

"The place is worth $500 million," he said. "It will throw off $40 million to $50 million at nine times earnings. That's 10 percent of what it cost."

Oh, BTW - congrats Steve!

Read the whole piece here

April 18, 2011

From the archives: SW talks Mirage, 1989

Posted by daveschwartz

Working on my lecture for tomorrow about Las Vegas gaming in the 1980s and 1990s, I wanted to go back to some of the original sources. So I've been browsing through the archives quite a bit.

I found a press release issued on November 14, 1989 titled "MIRAGE RESORT SETS NEW DIRECTION FOR LAS VEGAS." For those keeping score at home, that's 8 days before the Mirage's grand opening.

Here's a few excerpts:

Already, many are saying The Mirage will create a new standard for resort hotels that will redefine Las Vegas as the resort destination of the future.

"We said when we first announced the project that it would be a property which would help set a new direction for Las Vegas, one which would appeal to the entire family audience," said Stephen A. Wynn, chairman of Golden Nugget, Inc., developer of the plush, new resort.

"We've created an alternative to the traditional style of the Las Vegas casino-hotel," said Wynn. "Everyone will recognize The Mirage as a special place: a resort hotel which includes a casino, not a casino which includes a hotel."

The Mirage will attract on audience which has largely passed up Las Vegas as a choice for vacation travel. Younger, affluent families have, in recent years, sought out Mexico, Hawaii, and Caribbean destinations when choosing vacation spots. Now, with the Mirage, Wynn expects to bring some of these consumers and their families to Las Vegas instead.

So was Wynn right or wrong?

Clearly, The Mirage changed Strip casinos. So from that angle he definitely was right. The casinos built in the 1990s, to one extent or another, either tried to emulate or tried to differentiate themselves from The Mirage. It's definitely the most influential casino since Caesars Palace. I'd say that it's even more influential than Caesars, since the things built after Caesars (Kirk's International and MGM) didn't really incorporate its biggest breakthrough, the theming. The Mirage, on the other hand, immediately impacted casino design.

But Wynn wanted to more than change the way casinos looked--he wanted to change their audience. And I don't think he was successful at that. The Mirage didn't really redefine Las Vegas as a family-oriented destination. Sure, families come here, but they always did. And I'm not sure how many of them choose to come here instead of going to the Caribbean or Orlando.

So it's an interesting look into the past, particularly when you consider what Wynn's done since--after Treasure Island, he gave up the idea of appealing to families entirely. And there's that whole no-stroller policy at his casinos, which would definitely leave some families out.

When I finally get the chance to put a lot of my lectures and other writings into book form, I want to really explore this thread, since I don't think the Vegas of 2011 is at all what people anticipated in 1989, and the difference says a lot about what Vegas really is.

March 24, 2011

MGM Who?

Posted by Hunter

It's obvious that Steve sees WYNN as the spiritual successor to Mirage Resorts, not MGM Resorts International:

As a company that has safely conducted gaming in the US for more than 40 years, we believe that the same can be done for poker on the internet

From the Wynn Resorts press release today about their alliance with

Wynn Resorts was founded in 2002 (though some of it's subsidiaries existed as far back as 2000).

This time on the show:

Mr. DeRuyter Butler, Executive Vice President of Architecture @ Wynn Design & Development is our special guest.

We discuss Cotai, Fontainebleau, his role at Wynn D&D as well as CityCenter and challenges of working in China. Plus, we find out that Sheldon has been giving us all the middle finger since 1999.

This is a 'don't miss' interview.

If you love casino design, construction and all the thinking behind it, check it out.

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

Here's my promised write-up on La Cave Food and Wine Hideaway at Wynn Las Vegas, a great new addition to the food and beverage lineup at the resort. I had a great time and I'm looking forward to going back on a future trip.

Continue after the jump for the full details.

Finally, after a few weeks of percolation (oh, and Cosmo madness + a major app update) here is my write-up of a stay in a new Parlor Suite at Wynn Las Vegas. I came in to share the details with y'all and to generate material for the next Vegas Mate content update.

Photos: (Note: some of these are a little hazy due to a camera malfunction - sorry).

All the details are after the jump.

Happy holidays to all!

Jeff is back with a special column, and while prostitutes and lawsuits might not be traditional Christmas fodder, I recommend reading anyway. Come on, you know you're stuck with your relatives and probably bored out of your mind right about now, right?

Enjoy... and who doesn't want an Adelson voodoo doll? Last minute gift idea!


It's been quite a week in Vegas-land. Hard to imagine that less than a week ago, we were reading a WSJ story that validated pretty much everything I wrote back in September about CityCenter.

From there, we were off and into conference calls, some of which included a few interesting tidbits. MGM told us that both Bellagio and MGM Grand will be getting room refurbs next year, while Steve Wynn explained that their Cotai development work was wrapping up and they'd start moving dirt around any day. The best part of that call was The Steve's ludicrous assertion that they're not secretive about their hotel designs - he practically laughed the questioner off the call. We'll see detailed models and drawings of Wynn Cotai just as soon as some inept outside designer posts them online, not because the company was feeling generous.

Speaking of leaks, they continue at Aria, where we've learned that they're working on a massive new signage package to lure Cosmo visitors and that they're even considering building The Strip's largest marquee. I've got loads of new CC stuff to share with you as soon as I'm done digesting it all.

That brings us to today, with the only piece of news this week that really surprised me - Wynn Las Vegas superstar Andrew Pascal has decided to leave the company, to be replaced with the reliable Marilyn Winn Spiegel (someone we considered as a VPP guest before we settled on the excellent Tom McCartney). What is Andrew going to do next? He's a young man, I can't believe that he's ready to retire.

Pascal has worked for Wynn for a long time but before this current stint, he was in Silicon Valley as Chairman of WagerWorks, a company that provided online casino games, playable for points. Is he headed back to tech? Chuckmonster is betting on Icahn but I just can't imagine that sort of transition.

Ichan's not really in hospitality, he's in hospitality finance - moving money around from distressed property to distressed property, a far cry from actually serving guests. Nope, I think for Pascal I'd put my money on a few months time off and then into some new entrepreneurial venture of some kind - more likely Silicon Valley than Spring Valley though. Maybe Aunt Elaine has eyes on angel investing - we know she can afford it.

What's more interesting is Wynn hiring a veteran Harrah's exec for such a tough job. The last HET (or should I say CZR?) alum to have the gig, Don Marrandino, didn't even make it to opening day. Spiegel is well regarded but the properties she's overseen for Loveman have very different guest satisfaction aspirations. Hopefully we're not in for a rocky transition just as Las Vegas starts to ramp up again.

Interesting stuff... In other news, I've been thinking recently about re-calibrating this blog and it's content. The landscape has changed dramatically since I started doing this and in a world where my time is limited, I want to make sure I'm spending it to do something that matters, not just be the second, third or fourth site to post on the same topic. More on this as decisions are made.

One last thing - if you haven't already, maybe go ahead and nominate this blog and my app Vegas Mate for The Trippies - you have three days left before they close. Maybe, just maybe, I'll be so pleased with being nominated that I'll spill a bunch of new juicy secret details about everyone's favorite massively overpriced, failing joint venture project.


October 27, 2010

Let The Bummer Years Begin

Posted by Hunter

The Fontainebleau is about to open.

A re-invigorated Plaza project has broken ground and Boyd is halfway through putting up a gorgeous red-gold glass curtain wall on Echelon Place. Jim Murren is a semi-successful investment banker in Connecticut, the Marnell's own the recently joined Rio/Palms complex and Nevada's recently elected junior senator is attending the groundbreaking of a monorail extension that will bridge McCarran Airport, The Strip and Fremont Street.

Can we fast forward to 2017? I'm sure that's what some Las Vegas casino operators would wish for. It's hard to blame them.

Things look a bit sour for Las Vegas - August numbers notwithstanding, let's be honest - some of the city's best boom-time customers don't have any more money to spend on bottle service and $500 dinners at SW. Sure, the biggest players haven't lost enough to kill their gambling habit but that mid-tier backbone - successful young people, boomers and a smaller segment of folks truly blowing the rent on a weekend in Vegas - they're still pretty fucked up from this recession.

Well, at least it's not as bad as it is in Atlantic City where the top operator doesn't even want to own the other half of their property. In my mind, AC is toast.

As someone that has spent the last ten years as mostly excited about Las Vegas and now sells a product that is inexorably linked to the city, I have to say that things look very tough for the next few years.

A CB Richard Ellis study publicized today really laid out the bad news. The market won't be able to handle the massive increase in supply for some time. Thanks a lot CityCenter. At least we don't have any more rooms coming online anytime soon... Oh, crap... Thanks a lot Cosmo.

The Cosmopolitan will be the last property for awhile, and that's almost certainly a good thing. In a way, they may end up with an advantage - they can be the 'newest property on The Strip' for five years or more. That title worked great for The Aladdin. Oh well, whatever, nevermind.

Some of the issues mentioned in the report are structural - air traffic is more difficult than ever in the era of shoe-bombers and naked body scanners. Asian baccarat is slated to increase but that alone is not a market savior. The formerly solid underbelly of Las Vegas tourism - that combination of California drive-ins along with southern and midwestern vacationers... well, they're hurting... and that's not going to change anytime soon (damn that Obama-Reid-Pelosi-Boehner-Palin-McCain cabal!)

It's easy for Wynn to charge $200+/night for a weekend night when the town is half full but when Luxor, Excalibur, Monte Carlo and Treasure Island are all offering rooms in the sub-$50 range (sans the ridiculous resort fees), those rates are harder to justify... and how anyone could feel good about a $150/night room at Aria or Vdara mystifies me. Just say no.

But it's not the Wynns of the world I'm worried about. Aside from maybe Las Vegas Sands, they're probably best positioned to ride this turbulence out. As a lover of the history of Las Vegas, it makes me a little sad to see how little of their revenue now comes from the 'Gambling Capital of the World'. In quarterly earnings today, LVS reported that barely 15% of their revenue comes from their two Strip casinos. With Singapore on the rise, LVS is again a gaming company to watch, even if their numbers don't yet match Chairman Adelson's bluster.

Why am I writing this? I dunno. For whatever reason, a few stories today sucked me in and I felt compelled.

See you Saturday.

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.

Harrah's Entertainment - Net Income: -$274 million (loss) Revenue: $2.2 billion More Info

MGM Resorts International - Net Income: -$883.5 million (loss) Revenue: $1.53 billion More Info

Boyd Gaming - Net Income: $3.4 million Revenue: $578.4 million More Info

Wynn Resorts - Net Income: $52.4 million Revenue: $1.0 billion More Info

Las Vegas Sands - Net Income: -$4.7 million (loss) Revenue: $1.59 billion More Info

This thread will be updated as other companies report.

This morning Wynn Resorts pre-announced 2nd quarter results for their operating subsidiary that runs the Wynn Las Vegas / Encore resort complex on the Las Vegas Strip. These results do not include Macau operations.

The complete news release is here:

The results clearly show that Las Vegas is struggling. Wynncore is arguably the very top of the market and compared to a year ago, they are taking a bigger loss. That said, occupancy and ADR don't look as horrible as they could have been. Despite increased occupancy, REVPAR was down.

I'm sure the folks at Wynn are looking down the road at CityCenter without a distinct lack of kind words - adding thousands of rooms into the market has only served to depress rates further (we're still waiting for an increase in supply to raise room rates, as some analysts have suggested would be the case when more rooms come online later this year).

The news release also mentions increased health care costs. Can't wait to hear another episode of the Steve Wynn vs. Obama Show on their next conference call.

July 12, 2010

Labor Board Sides w/ Wynn - Tip Pooling is Legal

Posted by Hunter

Way back in 2006, Wynn Las Vegas bucked a long standing casino trend and decided to split casino dealers tips with their supervisors.

Since then, it has been the subject of much ink and several trips through various parts of the legal system. Today, the Nevada Labor Commissioner has spoken: no state laws were violated.

How long until other properties start to do this? Harrah's has already asserted their right to do this at Caesars, despite the fact they also say they're not planning to do so.

This is a big milestone in this case and a major setback for those fighting it. Expect appeals though, this isn't over.

July 1, 2010

Max Jacobson Interviews Roger Thomas

Posted by Hunter

I'm always game for a new Roger Thomas interview and when this one popped into my RSS reader, it didn't disappoint. Happy to see a bit of new ground covered - Thomas profile and interview pieces are often much of the same over and over.

Local food expert Max Jacobson sits down with Thomas to discuss his origin, background and influences.

Part one of a two part series.

May 31, 2010

Encore 2.0: Beach Club and Surrender

Posted by Hunter

Think back to 2005 in Las Vegas.

This is when the main building blocks that are now Encore were being fleshed out. At that time, 10,000 hotel rooms were planned for the New Frontier and Stardust sites. This would make the planned Strip porte-cochere a very important part of arrivals at Encore.

Or so everyone thought...

Quick link to my complete set of 120 photos:

Also, my buddy Steve was long on the tour too and his take is here.

The rest of my write-up follows after the jump...

May 31, 2010

Vegas Gang #47 - May 27th, 2010

Posted by Hunter

First off, a note - very excited to announce that Jeff Simpson will be writing a bi-weekly column for Two Way Hard Three. I'm very excited to have him on board!

* Encore Beach Club Opens
* MGM Mirage vs. Perini
* Atlantic City Numbers Down
* Tropicana Reborn?

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

May 28, 2010

UPDATED: Encore Beach Club is (Almost) Here

Posted by Hunter

Tomorrow marks the opening of the new Encore Beach Club and photos have started to leak out. The other day, we had some nice nighttime shots posted over at VT.

Today, we have a few shots from the recent 'play days' going on as they put the place through its paces. Thanks to Dave for submitting these shots.

I'll be on-site for a tour of the new facility tomorrow and will report back.

Update: Just finished my tour. The link to the photos is below, though I haven't had time to organize them yet.

What did I think? The place is gorgeous. Top notch, well built - just what you'd expect from Wynn. I need more time to process my thoughts but I have to say any concern I had is pretty much washed away. Yes, I still think Surrender's design is a little over the top but the pool complex more than makes up for it.

The four main bungalows have to be the nicest of their type on The Strip - complete with fully decked out bathrooms w/ showers. The balconies over the street are a trip. No Wi-Fi unfortunately, a somewhat strange omission.

At full capacity, the place can hold about 2800 people. That's big. That said, the indoor portion that is Surrender is fairly small, about Blush size.

At night, there's a light-show built into the walls - we didn't get to see it but they were very enthusiastic about it.

The gaming includes a craps table, which is a nice touch. Limits will vary of course.

The newly expanded Switch not only has a magnificent glass wall but now includes a full patio for dining.

Some of my photos:

I did count more than a few Ed Hardy shirts in the line, which was pretty long.

Wynn Resorts - Net Income: $27.0 million Revenue: $908.9 million More Info

Boyd Gaming - Net Income: $8.4 million Revenue: $398.4 million More Info

MGM Mirage - Net Income: -$96.7 million (loss) Revenue: $1.4 billion More Info

Las Vegas Sands - Net Income: -$28.9 million (loss) Revenue: $1.33 billion More Info

This thread will be updated as other companies report.

May 2, 2010

Vegas Gang #46 - April 30th, 2010

Posted by Hunter

Win an iPad! Details here: There will be a live broadcast of some sort to award the prize on Thursday. Look for details here on the blog in the next few days.

NOTE: This recording got screwed up somehow and we lost a segment of the show. Apologies to my fellow panelists and to the listeners. We salvaged what we could. Enjoy.

* Wynn Resorts Discussion (partial)
* MGM Mirage Name Change
* Boyd / Station Drama Continues
* Taking Photos In Casinos / New Luxor Policy

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

NOTE: We recorded an updated segment on Wynn in Macau, plus Marina Bay Sands:

April 20, 2010

Wynn Cotai to Break Ground Next Year

Posted by Hunter

The WSJ is reporting that Wynn Resorts will break ground on a new Cotai property in Macau next year and open in 2013.

The 52 acre property will include a single hotel with about 450 gaming tables.

Wynn Resorts is opening Encore Macau this week.

Well, here are 88 photos of the Encore Beach Club construction site, taken last night and today, both from the ground and my 58th floor room.


April 15, 2010

Strip Walk - April 2010

Posted by Hunter

Mike is back with Strip Walk and this time, he's heading into Palazzo, Luxor, CityCenter, Treasure Island, Caesars Palace and more.

Food reviews for Solaro (Palazzo) and Grotto (Golden Nugget).

Complete photo gallery is here:

With a very terse statement, Wynn Resorts announced that it was terminating the Philadelphia project that they jumped into just weeks ago.

Press Release:


The project had been met with intense criticism from some locals. Also, Wynn himself got into a little bit of hot water by showing designs ahead of time to Las Vegas freelancer Steve Friess. Friess has posted a blog entry to clarify - this was not his fault.

What will Wynn Resorts do next? Any chance of an Atlantic City resurgence given this latest move? They are opening Encore Macau later this month but after that, the development pipeline is all Wynn Cotai, which is still in the planning phase.

The company hasn't not had a hotel under construction since Wynn Las Vegas started going up in 2003 (I'm pretty sure I'm right about this - WLV opened 2005 while WM was still under construction ; WM opened late 2006 while ELV was just getting started ; ELV opened 2008 while EM was still under construction).

March 22, 2010

Strip Walk - March 2010

Posted by Hunter

Mike's adventures continue: Encore Las Vegas, Bellagio, Aria, The Crystals and a stop at Valentino Grill @ The Venetian.

Click through to read the complete text. Photo gallery is here:

Last month, several renderings (since removed) of the exterior of the Switch Beach Club at Encore were revealed. They didn't offer much in the way of a surprise - escalators, sweeping stairs and arches, all in the Wynn D&D aesthetic, matching their recent work.

Today, the sleuths at turned up a few more renderings - this time sketches of potential interiors. My first impression: hmmmmmm.

Roger Thomas, my vote for one of the best interior designers on the planet (and the best casino designer ever), talked a bit about his intentions on a recent episode of The Strip Podcast. These renderings match that conversation pretty well, lending them additional validity.

These leaks have tempered my excitement about the project's design. Granted, a pool day club is not my personal idea of a good time but I was expecting more. Something special - to match Encore's spa, restaurants, casino and guest rooms, all of which are A+.

I was hoping that whatever came next would at least make me forget losing the beautiful tree-lined, flower ringed atrium that Encore opened with.

Is it possible these aren't final? Yes, it is. The source is solid though - this guy has worked with Wynn D&D and it's predecessor Atlandia Design for years. Perhaps the structure, as built, will be a stunner. I plan to be there opening day to see for myself (Mike E is letting me borrow his Speedo).

Will this project end up being a bit of a dud, at least in terms of the 'evoca-tecture' that Thomas is known for? I hope not... but now I'm a bit worried.

Thomas' work is about creating moments - I hope this is a good one.

March 16, 2010

Macau To Regulate Building Of New Casinos

Posted by detroit1051

Macau's new Chief Executive, Fernando Chui, gave his first policy address March 16. He had been expected to announce stringent plans to slow the overheated gaming market in the Chinese region and announce steps to diversify Macau's economy. Gaming revenues increased almost 70% in the first two months of this year compared to 2009. Gambling accounts for about three-quarters of government revenue for Macau However, his comments appear to have resulted in a sigh of relief by major casino operators who already have a presence in Macau such as Wynn and Las Vegas Sands.

Reuters reports that Chui intends to limit the building of new casinos. This could help current operators' profits by protecting the market from oversupply of new casinos. Wall Street will give its opinion when the NYSE opens this morning.

To read Reuters:
Macau government to regulate the building of casinos

Wall Street Journal initial story (subscription may be requred):
Macau Gambling Industry Awaits Chui's Speech

Update: RJ's Howard Stutz weighs in.
Macau Curtailing New Casino Construction

Update #2: The market liked WYNN and LVS today. Wynn +4.48% and LVS +7.33%.

February 25, 2010

Vegas Gang #44 - February 25th, 2010

Posted by Hunter

This time on the show:

* MGM's Aria - 2 Months In
* MGM Mirage Exits Atlantic City / Wynn Enters Philadelphia Market
* Greenspun / Station Casinos Relationship Disintegrates
* Lake Las Vegas Shuts Down
* President Obama's Remarks and Visit
* Harrah's Interested in The Palms?

Check out the show:

Feel free to leave comments below. Trivia questions can be sent to - we might use yours on the show.

February 23, 2010

UPDATED: Wynn Resorts To Enter Pennsylvania Market

Posted by Hunter

In a much rumored development, Wynn Resorts has announced that they are slated to become the managing partner for the casino project slated for the Philadelphia waterfront.

This is a slap for New Jersey and is potentially another significant nail in Atlantic City's coffin.

Here's a little more from the local media:

What's not clear is how much, if any, design influence Wynn Design and Development would have over the project. It's hard to imagine Wynn putting their name on something they didn't design or at least make-over. Time will tell.

UPDATE: Here's the Web site for the project as originally envisioned, including some renderings:

January 14, 2010

Strip Walk - January 2010 - CityCenter Mega Edition

Posted by Hunter

Our own mike_ch is back with a 'mega' Strip Walk, including his first time at CityCenter.

As regular readers know, Mike is never short of opinions - you'll get his full take on the new MGM Mirage development as well as a boatload of photos.

This is a good one - you don't want to miss it. Enjoy.

Complete gallery:

January 13, 2010

Encore Beach Club Renderings? Get 'Em While You Can...

Posted by Hunter

Reader @mac78130 caught these, potential renderings of the Encore Beach Club project in Las Vegas.

We don't know if these are real or not but they do match the project as proposed, with a walk-way across the existing parking garage entrance. If they are indeed real, I assume the Wynn overlords will have these taken down soon so see 'em while you can.

I love big cities. I'd much rather ride a subway than sit on a beach. I love museums and cultural events, great restaurants and urban activity.

New York is one of my favorites. If I had to live outside the US, I'd probably settle in London. I've been lucky enough to see Cairo, Jerusalem, Rome, Paris, Chicago, Istanbul and much of the rest of the world. Great cities are complicated, charming, messy, crowded, contradictory... and wonderful.

MGM Mirage is trying to replicate the best bits of those experiences in a new project opening soon on the Las Vegas Strip - CityCenter.

This past week, your humble host was given the opportunity to tour part of this new hospitality complex - 67 acres at the heart of the Las Vegas Strip, located between Bellagio and Monte Carlo.

My experiences on that tour are after the jump - enjoy. CityCenter will be a hot topic of discussion for months if not years. I can't wait until you all can share your own thoughts.

Update: We're not allowed to publish the actual map but Chuckmonster traced a copy and posted it on VT. This is the casino level and includes much of the stuff I saw on this tour. His version looks identical to the 'real' one. Enjoy.

I'm trying something a little different this quarter - a single thread to cover all gaming companies reporting.

I will update this thread as other companies report.

Wynn Resorts - Net Income: $34.2 million Revenue: $773.1 million
* Wynn Las Vegas / Encore Las Vegas: ADR: $210 Occupancy: 83.9%
* Wynn Macau: ADR: $263 Occupancy: 89.2%

Boyd Gaming - Net Income: $6.3 million Revenue: $398.2 million
The Echelon project will remain mothballed for three to five years.

Harrah's Entertainment - Net Income: -$1.05 billion (loss) Revenue: $2.28 billion
Harrah's is privately held.

Las Vegas Sands - Net Income: -$123 million (loss) Revenue: $1.14 billion

MGM Mirage - Net Income: -$750.4 million (loss) Revenue: $1.533 billion LV Sun

Station Casinos - Net Income: -$455.4 million (loss) Revenue: $255.7 million. Station is privately held.

Two interesting but unrelated stories this morning:

* Wynn Resorts will be paying a special dividend to shareholders and then start paying a regular dividend in 2010.

* CEO Dan Lee has left Pinnacle Entertainment, a Las Vegas based casino operator with properties in various US markets. Lee was Mirage Resorts CFO in a past life and partly responsible for assembling the parcel that is now CityCenter.

Posting both for the sake of discussion...

November 6, 2009

Encore Beach Club Underway?

Posted by Hunter

The Encore Beach Club, which we broke all the way back in August, is finally starting to take shape.

This photo was posted to today (used with permission - thanks blackjacker1979).

Yikes. It appears they've yanked out much of the plush-ness that was the Encore atrium. Here's what it looked like before Paul Bunyan came through:

You can see that even the stuff around the edges of the high limit room is gone. It's slightly out of frame but I assume this tree, an ancient Aloe, is gone too - though I assume moved and not killed as it was over 100 years old. The company has a good track record for preserving these things, some of which are worth tens of thousands of dollars.

I can't imagine that Paige Dixon, Wynn Resorts' chief horticulturalist, enjoys ripping out something that worked as well as this did - it was a small space but one of my favorites in the Wynncore complex.

It seems odd to start indoors on this project - most of the work will be outside. This area is open to the casino, the upscale Switch (though reportedly underperforming) restaurant and the High Limit Slot room. Perhaps this landscaping will be replaced in-kind before exterior work even begins?

Another shot:

November 4, 2009

The VT 'Debacle'

Posted by Hunter

By now, I doubt that any regular reader isn't familiar with the / Wynn Resorts flap over

Well, Charles S. Monster has posted their planned response and I think it's just about perfect (except for Steven vs. Stephen - sorry, couldn't resist the nitpick).

As Chuck's partner in the referenced Web site, I can confirm his origination of said term, which no doubt has entered our lexicon - I use it myself frequently.

I'm typically not one for boycotts or protests but there is no doubt that Wynn Resorts made themselves look a bit silly this time around. Maybe they didn't realize who the domain belonged to or its intended purpose. Let's hope that they buy into CSM's plan to reconcile - I'd rather see Twitpics of Macau than the inside of a courtroom.

Of course we'll all be watching to see what happens... and I'm sure I'll ask him about it on the next VegasGang.

Speaking of casino opening Web sites, we're reprising our Encore performance for ARIA... though we have a few tricks up our sleeve to amp it up a bit. Stay tuned.

November 1, 2009

Open Topic Discussion - November 1, 2009

Posted by detroit1051

In Boyd Gaming's Call, they said that Echelon would remain dormant for three to five years, but they wouldn't take down the construction already started: "We anticipate using or incorporating the structure that's already in place into the new project."
I don't know the cost of clearing the land compared to maintaining the construction hulk, but this is obviously detrimental to The Strip. Further, when the market recovers, it doesn't seem likely that Boyd would follow its original vision for the development.
Boyd should be a good citizen and remove the skeletons. We may see how much influence Steve Wynn has on the subject: "When told that Boyd wasn't going to do anything with Echelon until the next presidential election, Wynn became somewhat incredulous. He wants to see Echelon's unfinished steel structure disappear as much as he wants to see the Obama administration vacate the White House."

Echelon Could Use Some "Tarp" Assistance

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

August 18, 2009

Encore Las Vegas: 'Switch Beach Club' Coming Q2-2010

Posted by Hunter

As we've previously reported, Encore Las Vegas is looking at replacing the Las Vegas Strip porte-cochere with a new pool complex, tentatively named the 'Switch Beach Club'.

This rendering was presented tonight to the Clark County Planning Commission:

The complex should be open for next year's Summer season.

Some recent photos of this area: Exterior 1, Exterior 2, Exterior 3, Construction Exterior.

Thanks to @mtc for the higher-res image.

Wynn Resorts has an appointment to see Clark County about a big potential change to Encore.

It seems that they feel the Las Vegas Strip porte-cochere is a bit of a waste of space - they want to replace it with a pool and nightclub complex, right up next to Las Vegas Blvd.

Here's the filing with the county: PDF Filing w/ Clark County

Sounds like they would create a new entrance to this addition from Las Vegas Blvd. as well as create a pedestrian bridge for people walking in front of the parking garage entrance.

What will happen to the Encore atrium, Switch and high limit areas? Will they have to be modified to accommodate this?

We're working on getting more info from Wynn PR and also other channels.

Thanks to Detroit for giving me the heads up on this filing.

Update: We hear that the project is scheduled for Q2 2010.

August 3, 2009

Wynn Resorts Launches Video Podcast

Posted by Hunter

Over the past weeks, Wynn Resorts have been posting some new videos to their official YouTube channel.

Well, now it seems they are distributing them as a video podcast as well: (opens in iTunes).

Perhaps not a podcast in the traditional sense but interesting to see them experimenting with this stuff.

July 30, 2009

Wynn Resorts Posts Second Quarter Income Plunge

Posted by Hunter

Las Vegas based Wynn Resorts reported their second quarter results this morning. Net revenues were below many analysts expectations but EBITDA was stronger than expected.

The press release is here:

Occupancy in Las Vegas is off almost 10 points from the year ago quarter and ADR is down to just over $200 as many recent visitors can attest to. REVPAR in Las Vegas was off over 35% to $188, though over 2,000 additional rooms are included in the figures for this quarter.

The stock has been trading up $5/share as of this writing.

Update: Fixed the poorly worded headline.

July 27, 2009

Wynn's Roger Thomas Honored - Video Interview

Posted by Hunter

Thanks to Mike E over at for catching this one - a multi-part video interview set with design genius Roger Thomas, Executive VP of Design at Wynn Design and Development as he was honored this past February in Las Vegas.

Thomas was responsible for many major Wynn designs at properties including Wynn Las Vegas, Encore Las Vegas, Wynn Macau, Bellagio, Treasure Island, Beau Rivage, The Mirage, Golden Nugget and more.

Roger Thomas - Chapter 1
Roger Thomas - Chapter 2
Roger Thomas - Chapter 3
Roger Thomas - Chapter 4
Roger Thomas - Chapter 5
Roger Thomas - Chapter 6

July 21, 2009

Potential Hong Kong IPO for Wynn Resorts

Posted by Hunter

There's a story circulating that indicates Wynn Resorts may offer some shares of its Macanese operations on the Hong Kong stock market. The move could raise up to $2 billion.

The RJ has more:

A Union Gaming analysis indicates that Wynn Resorts' balance sheet is strong and that the cash is not required to meet existing obligations. If this is true, does that mean WYNN is playing it safe or about to embark on a new project?

Of course, Las Vegas Sands has floated a similar idea several times and never pulled the trigger.

MacauTripping got a great tip to some renderings done for Wynn Design and Development by Mike Hong and Associates. Along with renderings for Encore in Macau (SW Steakhouse?), there's also concept work for unbuilt resorts in Singapore and Monaco.

Enjoy them while you can - they may be pulled down at some point.

July 11, 2009

Encore and THEhotel, July 5-8

Posted by Mike E

Here's a play by play of my recent return from an Encore Salon Suite. Enjoy!

Yes, Strip Walk is back - July 2009 edition. This time, Mike added a little food critique as well.

The photos are here:


June 20, 2009

Fontainebleau Buyout Possible?

Posted by Hunter

Fontainebleau is in trouble but maybe they can hook a high-profile sugar-daddy to bail them out.

Execs from Wynn Resorts and Harrah's have toured the property recently.

Personally, I can't imagine Wynn buying this place - the exterior is just so damn ugly and it's way too far along to change significantly. At bargain basement prices though, you just never know.

June 12, 2009

Strip Walk - June 2009

Posted by Hunter

Mike is back with a Strip Walk for June 2009 including Encore, Palazzo, Treasure Island, City Center and more.

As always, the photo gallery is here:

Click through to read more.

May 21, 2009

Vegas Gang #32 - May 21st, 2009

Posted by Hunter

Happy to be back after a little bit of a break. Lots to talk about, as always.

We discuss:

* MGM Mirage Pulls a Rabbit Out of its Hat
* Fontainebleau May Not Be Totally Screwed (we'll see)
* UNLV Center for Gaming Research Trends
* MGM Mirage Selling Properties

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

May 12, 2009

Roger Thomas Profiled in The Advocate

Posted by Hunter

Las Vegas based free-lancer Steve Friess has written an excellent piece on Wynn Design and Development Executive Vice President Roger Thomas, who we learned last week will be staying on with Wynn D&D.

If there's one person responsible for the colors, textures and look inside Wynn's creations, it's Thomas.

At the annual Wynn Resorts Shareholder's Meeting today, Steve Wynn announced that interior design guru Roger Thomas has decided in fact not to retire.

Originally the plan was for Thomas to end his long career with Wynn and for new hire Jerry Beale to take over that part of the department. Well, it seems Thomas wasn't as suited to retirement as he thought and he's decided to stay.

Beale and Thomas will be working together at Wynn D&D.

May 5, 2009

Wynn Resorts Posts First Quarter Loss

Posted by Hunter

Wynn Resorts posted their first quarter numbers today:

Looks like Macau, sometimes the lifeboat for earnings, wasn't able to pull it off this time.

Sad news this morning - long time Las Vegas headliner Danny Gans, who recently opened a new show at Encore Las Vegas, has apparently died in his sleep. He was 52 years old.

Gans previous show at The Mirage had a long successful run, as did his previous off-Strip engagement at The Rio.

While perhaps not known outside of Las Vegas, Danny Gans' show was one of the town's most popular.

I know Gans was married and had children. Very sad.


Las Vegas Sun:

Update: Richard Abowitz has the Wynn statement:

Update: Steve Friess spoke with Gans manager Chip Lightman:

April 10, 2009

Steve Wynn on Ralston / Sunday w/ Charlie Rose

Posted by Hunter

Many of you have already seen the two part interview with Steve Wynn that Jon Ralston did. If not, watch here:

Part One (LV Sun)

Part Two (LV Sun)

Now, along with giving insight into his political beliefs, one of the more interesting bits is the talk about Wynn shopping for assets on The Strip. We also discussed this on yesterday's Vegas Gang. Would Wynn buy Bellagio? I think the consensus is that he meant what he said - if the price is right, Wynn Resorts may be game. This should not surprise anyone.

Wynn says Las Vegas is better off with multiple operators duking it out. I totally agree and hope that one of the positive outcomes of this downturn is that we have better, more vibrant bare-knuckled competition on The Strip. That would certainly make my job more interesting.

Can't get enough of The Steve? He'll be on 60 Minutes this Sunday with a piece by my favorite interviewer, Charlie Rose.

April 7, 2009

Inside Wynn Design and Development

Posted by Hunter

Steve Friess has a very interesting photo post over at Vegas Happens Here:

I'd highly encourage checking it out for any Wynn and/or design freaks.

April 1, 2009

Encore, March 29-31.

Posted by Mike E

Here's a short review from my most recent trip including tours of both the Duplex Apartments and Sky Casino at Encore. Enjoy and feel free to skip to sections that interest you.

March 10, 2009

Steve and Elaine Wynn to Divorce

Posted by Hunter

According to CBS Channel 8 in Las Vegas, Steve and Elaine Wynn are divorcing.

The couple are heavily involved in their company, Wynn Resorts. Both are on the board of directors and their decision making is visible throughout their projects. Elaine is often credited with many of the concepts that have evolved into major resort features, from 'Mt. Wynn' all the way down to the uniforms on the restaurant and cocktail servers.

Steve has often indicated that much of the design, be it guest rooms or public spaces, is heavily influenced by a female point of view. There's a much repeated story about picking glass based on how the color would make female customers look, an example of how important they consider these things. I'd argue that this has been a very big part of the successes they've seen in their resorts.

It's not clear if Mrs. Wynn will remain active in the company, though in the past she has indicated her intention to do just that. I've met her only in passing but from what I have read about her, she just seems like an incredible woman and I personally hope she remains involved.

February 26, 2009

Vegas Gang #27 - February 26th, 2009

Posted by Hunter

We're back with another episode! It can be downloaded here.

This time around we discuss:

* Boyd Offers to Buy Station Assets
* Wynn Resorts Q4 2008
* iPhone Card Counting Software Makes the Rounds
* 2008 Gaming Abstract Figures
* M Resort Opens Sunday

Feel free to leave your comments below.

February 24, 2009

Wynn Resorts Q4 Results: Down But Not Out

Posted by Hunter

Wynn Resorts has released their financials for Q4 2008:

Not great, as expected. Still, not terrible. For the quarter, adjusted net income was $7.6 million, down from $82 million a year ago. Most of this decline is due to Las Vegas as Wynn Macau saw an uptick. They also took a tax charge, bringing the GAAP earnings for Q4 to a loss of $159.9 million.

While only online for a little more than a week in 2008, we get our first peek at how the company will be reporting Encore. It seems that they will not be breaking the WLV/Encore numbers apart. For the Las Vegas complex ADR was $281 and REVPAR was $224. Occupancy was down to 79.7% for the quarter - incredibly low.

Wynn Macau seems to be humming along nicely with a 35.6% revenue bump over 2007.

All the details are in the press release linked above.

February 11, 2009

Eating Las Vegas - 'Trouble With Encore'

Posted by Hunter

John Curtas is one of my favorite people writing about Las Vegas. His take on the Vegas food scene is always informative.

Curtas today posted a run down of some of his Encore experiences which are worth a read:

Now, I am no food critic. I have a fairly unsophisticated palette though I do enjoy food quite a bit. Having eaten at all of the restaurants in the post, while I cannot rebut any of the specifics, I will say that I would put Botero in the list of restaurants at Encore I would look forward to going back to. Both of my meals there were quite good, by my admittedly 'simple' standards.

February 10, 2009

Macau Updates: Wynn Cotai and More...

Posted by Hunter

Thanks to Drambuie Man, y'all get to see some updated photos of what's going on in Macau, specifically Cotai.

Chuck is going to be posting these over at, starting with the Wynn Cotai site.

More to come over the next few days...

Updated: Chuck posted a few more of the photo sets:
City of Dreams
Encore at Wynn Macau

February 4, 2009

Encore Las Vegas - January 2009

Posted by Hunter

After spending a few more nights at Encore in the middle of January, I'm sharing some more of my thoughts after the jump.

Along with this, I am still working on editing some additional audio that was taken during various media tours - a substantial job given the varying quality of the source material.

Continue on for a little bit more about Encore.

Two unrelated but interesting stories:

Wynn Resorts has long prided itself on not laying off employees (though that does not seem to apply to the Wynn Design and Development sister company who recently shed several jobs). Today the company announced some measures aimed at keeping people employed, even if that means less pay, less hours and reduced benefits:

a little more from the LV Sun:

In other news, the IRS followed disgraced Fry's executive Omar Siddiqui to The Venetian this week. They are investigating allegations of tax fraud. Siddiqui was a Las Vegas high roller at several properties for years.

As some already know, I spent some time last week at Encore Las Vegas for what Wynn Resorts called 'Media Week'. Over the course of 5 days of events, various forms of media were invited to come stay at the hotel and participate in all sorts of events from back-of-house tours to eating in the restaurants.

After the jump for more, including a link to the audio extra...

January 16, 2009

Vegas Gang #25 - January 16th, 2009

Posted by Hunter

Vegas Gang #25 is online.

This week on the show:

* Harrah's Suspends Caesars Palace Tower
* Rumors Swirling Around The Mirage Sale
* Encore Media Week

Leave any comments below.

December 31, 2008

Vegas Gang #24 - December 31st, 2008

Posted by Hunter

Vegas Gang #24 is online.

This week on the show:

* The Trippies are announced this weekend.
* Encore Las Vegas Opens -
* MGM Mirage Sells Treasure Island to Phil Ruffin
* The Harmon / City Center / Light Group Parting Ways?

Leave any comments below.

December 31, 2008

Strip Walk - December 2008

Posted by Hunter

Mike is back with the final Strip Walk of 2008.

Yes, there's some more Encore stuff in here but most of the column is dedicated to the rest of The Strip - do not fear, Encore haters!

Enjoy. Main text and photo links after the jump.

December 27, 2008

Encore at Wynn Las Vegas - The Designers

Posted by Hunter

Thousands of pieces - furniture, hand-woven carpets, wall coverings, chandeliers and everything else that makes up a Las Vegas resort - were all custom-picked and either built or acquired for Encore at Wynn Las Vegas, the latest creation from a team that's been working with Steve Wynn for almost three decades.

Keep reading after the jump for more.

December 26, 2008

Encore's Grand Opening Review

Posted by Mike E

Here's my full review of Encore including four restaurants, the spa, and other notes from my December trip. Enjoy!

December 24, 2008

Encore Coverage from Around the Web

Posted by Hunter

Many of my colleagues have also been writing about Encore and the opening festivities.

Here are some links not to miss:

I'm sure there's more good stuff - feel free to add to the comments.

If you didn't catch them last night, I posted more photos on Flickr - these will also be moving to a gallery on shortly.

December 22, 2008

Encore Suites at Wynn Las Vegas - First Impressions

Posted by Hunter

This will be somewhat brief - I will write a full review of this first stay probably later in the week - but I wanted to share a few first impressions, brought to you from Encore's 61st floor.

I was lucky enough to be given a guided tour this morning by Roger Thomas, VP of Design for Wynn Design and Development. He is responsible for most of the interiors of the resort, along with previous creations like Wynn Las Vegas, Bellagio and Treasure Island. He refers to himself as an 'author' when talking about the design process. Given how much thought goes into his 'prose', I think that's appropriate.

The tour was great - I took a lot of notes that I will transcribe later.

In a word I would describe Encore as breathtaking. It's much smaller - very intimate. It is a fantastic complement to Wynn Las Vegas. The casino, as many anticipated, is very similar to Wynn Macau with smaller chambered areas. Personally, I think this design is a huge win, though it might not work with a larger space. It's more appropriate for a smaller casino floor as they have here.

There are walk up bars on all sides of the property - Thomas told me this was in direct response to customers wanting more bars on the WLV side. One of the bars on the east end of the casino is a huge glass wall overlooking the pool, flooding the gaming areas with natural light.

For restaurants, we saw Sinatra (retro, 60s Palm Springs kinda vibe, but not in an old sorta way). Later in the afternoon, I watched them install the 1953 Best Supporting Actor Award in its display. It's gorgeous.

Had a quick lunch at Society Cafe Encore and it was really fantastic. Simple dishes but my chicken sandwich was perfectly done.

The Esplanade includes several high end boutiques, including a new home store featuring Roger Thomas' furniture. The Wynn and Company Jewelers on this side are displaying the 'Wynn Diamond', a 231 caret stone that is breathtaking to behold.

While not being much of a nightclub guy personally, we walked through XS and I was impressed. I think it's got a chance at being the top spot in town - the interplay between the pool and the club is amazing and sure to be a huge hit, likely to be copied elsewhere.

The Tower Suites lobby is tucked away from the casino floor, as it is at Wynn Las Vegas, while the main Resort check-in is open to the main walkway on the North side. Tower Suites is less of a preferred option at Encore, though the rooms we did see on that side were huge and amazing. The 2 and 3 bedroom, two level sky villas sounded impressive, though we did not get to tour one (yet).

They're being pretty tough about photos so far. I'm hoping that will ease up at 8pm when the place officially opens.

There's a ton of interesting design detail in this place - as much or more than Wynn Las Vegas.

More to come. Please follow us at and feel free to ask questions to us there via Twitter or if you can't do that, leave a comment.

Also, room photos:

December 21, 2008

LVRJ Posts First Encore Interior Photos

Posted by Hunter

Thanks to readers for pointing this out.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal has posted a few PR shots of Encore's interior. They include a couple of shots of the atrium and the spa. Others have rightly pointed out there's a lot of design cross over between Encore and the 'Villa Atrium' at Wynn Las Vegas.

December 19, 2008

Steve Friess/Steve Wynn Audio Tour + Map

Posted by Hunter

Steve Friess has posted the audio from his Encore tour with Steve Wynn. Along with the audio, which I heard last night - it's great, he's posted a map of Encore.

Find them both at

December 18, 2008

Encore Weekend: Meetup Info and Coverage Reminder

Posted by Hunter

Friends... Encore's opening is upon us. In case you missed the announcement, we'll be covering all manner of opening details at as we partner with to bring you great coverage.

You can follow our Twitter and Flickr streams there directly. If you want to get involved, you can tweet to @ratevegas or @vegastripping to ask questions, leave comments, etc...

Also, several other readers who mentioned they'd be in town talked about perhaps getting together for a drink at some point... Several ideas were thrown around but if it works for others, I'd suggest 6:30pm on the 22nd at Parasol Up (Wynn Las Vegas). This would allow a little time for conversation before the public unveiling of Encore at 8pm. Everyone is welcome.

The Las Vegas Sun's Jeff Simpson, who is a regular contributor on the Vegas Gang podcast, interviewed Steve Wynn today at Encore.

Jeff was kind enough to share some of his thoughts with us here. Continue after the jump to get some good inside info.

Read more for the goods...

Be sure to stay tuned to this weekend and into the 22nd for the best, most comprehensive coverage.

Yesterday, as I was waiting in an interminable airport line, I got a call that came up as 'Wynn Las Vegas' on caller ID. That could have meant one of two things - someone was calling to yell at me about something I wrote or there was some problem with one of my hotel reservations - as many of my readers know, I'm booked at Encore for opening night and will be at WLV before that.

Well, it was the latter...

The call was from an Assistant Hotel Manager who told me that the room I had booked at Encore, a Tower Suites room, was not available and I would have to be downgraded. The explanation was that a 'computer glitch' had made the rooms available for sale when they should not have been. The manager said they 'just figured it out' and were making calls to people. Well, I booked Encore the first moment it became available (someone told me I was the second person to book online, after our friend Brian Fey). That was October 31st.

So, for a month and a half, these rooms (as well as the larger suites) were incorrectly available to book online and apparently no one noticed until December 15th. Uh-huh.

My currently unsubstantiated guess is that they got a better-than-expected RSVP from invited guests and didn't have the rooms to put them in, so they started to bump regular bookings down from the Tower to Resort side of the hotel. I'm working on getting a confirmation on my theory.

Now, I understand the casino is a VIP business and this can happen. Such is life. My first issue would be if I was lied to about the computer glitch in order to get me to 'go quietly' and accept the lesser room. I suggested upgrading to a larger, more expensive room but those were also not available. I wanted to have access to a few types of different rooms for photos and commentary for you fine people, hence my protests when the call came in.

My disappointment will subside. Life will go on.

What's interesting though is that as of now, it seems like people that booked through Wynn's Web site got short shrift compared to other methods. For instance, another reader here had booked through the American Express Travel Agency and thus far has not received a similar phone call about adjusting the reservation. Will he keep his more deluxe rooms?

If this turns out to be true, customers need to be careful who they choose to book with. The advice I've handed out to hundreds of thousands of site visitors - that booking with the hotel directly is often the best route - may no longer hold true in all cases.

Did other readers get the same call? If so, how did it go? What did they tell you? Did they offer you any compensation? I know that at least Brian was able to negotiate a dining credit as part of this downgrade so it's not a total loss.

December 11, 2008

Vegas Gang #23 - December 11th, 2008

Posted by Hunter

Vegas Gang #23 is online:

This time around we cover:

* Mirage Volcano Reborn (Photos: here
* Encore Suites at Wynn Las Vegas Opens December 22nd -
* Nevada Gaming Numbers from October 2008
* Las Vegas Marathon

Feel free to leave any comments below.

We've been alluding to our upcoming coverage for the opening of Wynn's Encore for some time and now we're spilling the details.

I'm proud to announce that we're teaming up with my esteemed colleague, Mr. Chuck S. Monster of to bring you coverage that will be the next best thing to being there.

We will both be 'twittering' (or is it 'tweeting'?) via Twitter, posting copious amounts of photos on Flickr and recording our observations for what I'm certain will be multiple blog postings. You can post your questions to our Twitter streams and we will do our best to answer them right from the casino floor.

To make it easier on your inner-Vegas-addict to keep up with everything, we're compiling it all in one place:

That's your one stop shop for all things Encore. The page updates itself so when the gates open, you can sit back and let the sweet nectar flow. See Chuck's note on browser compatibility here. His recommendations are seconded from this corner as well.

There's been some talk about doing a special 'Vegas Gang' episode and while the logistics of how possible that will be are not yet clear, rest assured that we will be getting everyone's opinion on Encore out to you as soon as humanly possible.

December 3, 2008

Strip Walk - November 2008

Posted by Hunter

Mike_ch is back with his latest Strip Walk. This one is more in 'trip report' style as he was slummin' it down on The Strip for a few nights at The Grand.

It's a long one so grab a cup of coffee and sit back.

December 2, 2008

BeeGees Musical at Encore? Wynn Arts Center?

Posted by Hunter

Robin Leach has come forward with a couple of supposed Wynn Las Vegas / Encore updates.

First is that Wynn wants to do a BeeGees musical at Encore, which may or may not be called 'Stayin' Alive'.

Second is that supposedly Wynn will break ground on a 4,000 seat 'Wynn Arts Center'.

I assume this would have to be out on the golf course side of things as there's little space elsewhere.

I should note that Leach has not always been the most reliable in the past. As some commenters suggest, it might be prudent to see what unfolds here.

November 23, 2008

Encore Las Vegas Web Site is Live

Posted by Hunter

A slightly less basic than before Encore Las Vegas Web site is live:

Before the resort opens, not a lot of photos... Really, not a lot of anything. Still, more than the teaser we saw before.

I have to admit, I'm getting very excited for the 22nd and can't wait to unveil our coverage plans. I think you'll be pleased.

PS - Hey, Wynn Resorts! What's the official name of this property? I've heard 'Encore Suites at Wynn Las Vegas' but now you are promoting this as 'Encore Las Vegas', 'Encore at Wynn Las Vegas' and even just 'Encore'. What's the story?

UPDATE: Site is back online.

UPDATE: The TV commercial is on the site.

November 21, 2008

Las Vegas Weekly : Elaine Wynn, Embracing Change

Posted by Hunter

Steve Friess' regular column in the Weekly focuses on Elaine Wynn this week who I am once again reminded is a class act.

Everything I've seen and know about Mrs. Wynn has been extremely positive and it's great to get a little more insight into her life.

November 20, 2008

Strip Walk - November 2008

Posted by Hunter

Mike Ch is back with another Strip Walk. Click through to enjoy.

As usual, there are some photos included but this time around you'll see the debut of our new photo gallery. Gone (hopefully) are the days of duplicated photos, strange bugs and error messages. It's still being tweaked so let us know if you find problems but generally I think it's a nice improvement.

The new gallery is here: Photo Gallery

Lastly, if you read Mike's prose you will see he's soliciting photo and recon requests from you guys for his next trip. Please respond in the comments here.

October 31, 2008

UPDATE: Wynn Resorts Third Quarter Call

Posted by Hunter

Just got off the Q3 2008 call for Wynn Resorts. Final quarterly numbers are here:

Wynn Resorts Q3 Results

On the call, the company discussed it's cash position (strong), it's future outlook and plans.

Encore is scheduled to open December 22nd, though it's still not 100% clear the first date that the public will be able to book a room. We should get that information in the coming weeks.

When asked about development on Cotai, Steve Wynn stated that they were waiting to see evidence that the current supply in Macau had been absorbed properly and at that time they'd proceed on that front. With The Venetian and Four Seasons on Cotai, the market does seem to be struggling somewhat to support the new properties, with the visa restrictions contributing to that.

It sounds like Wynn Resorts is in no hurry there - they plan to build what they describe as the world's most amazing resort and one would assume anything that fits that description will stand the test of time.

On the topic of purchasing perhaps distressed gaming assets, that pretty much was shot down - Wynn likes to build, not buy.

Overall, quite a bit of confidence from the principals.

Updated: As of this morning, Encore is accepting reservations from opening night (December 22nd). Yours truly will be there that first night, reporting all the details... We'll have photos, blog updates and live twittering.

October 30, 2008

Vegas Gang #20 - October 30th, 2008

Posted by Hunter

Vegas Gang #20 is online:

This time around we cover:

* Trippies 2008
* Gaming Stocks Slide
* Bellagio Turns 10 To Little Fanfare
* How MGM Mirage and Harrah's Market

Feel free to leave any comments below.

October 28, 2008

Encore Party Set For Wynn's Birthday?

Posted by Hunter

After finally getting temporary certificates of occupancy for part of the structures at Encore, planning for the opening is starting to firm up.

We're hearing that Wynn Resorts staff can now start to use the hotel tower and new convention rooms with more to come as other areas are completed.

The other tidbit that's starting to leak out is that instead of a grand opening for Encore like the sort we're used to, the Company may opt instead to have a gala birthday celebration for Steve Wynn (his birthday is January 27th) to celebrate the opening of the hotel.

Yesterday Wynn Resorts put out a press release that once again mentioned that the hotel was taking reservations from January 12th onward. It's still not clear if we'll see any customers occupy the hotel before then.

The hotel has been taking reservations for weeks already but it's funny to see a bunch of news organizations parrot the press release and announce that the spigot has been opened.

October 25, 2008

Strip Walk October 2008

Posted by Hunter

Mike Ch is back with another Strip Walk. This one covers Encore, Treasure Island, City Center, The Mirage, Palazzo and more.

Photos are here:

Thanks Mike! Enjoy!

October 16, 2008

Vegas Gang #19 - October 16th, 2008

Posted by Hunter

Vegas Gang #19 is online:

This time around we cover:

* Plaza vs. Plaza
* Wynn Resorts Preliminary 3rd Quarter + Encore
* Harrah's + Chapter 11?
* City Center

Feel free to leave any comments below.

October 13, 2008

Wynn Resorts Preliminary 3rd Quarter Results

Posted by Hunter

Wynn Resorts decided to release preliminary third quarter results today at the close of the market.

At a glance it seems that Wynn Las Vegas will either squeak by with a $2 million profit or post a small $2 million loss. This is down from $35.8 million in the year ago quarter. Part of this is pre-opening expenses but mostly it sounds like lower EBITDA.

WLV ADR is down by $10 from the year ago quarter.

Wynn Macau is expected to clock in between $57 and $63 million, way up from the $39.2 million in the year ago quarter.

They're not offering much guidance given the economy and the Macau visa restrictions.

It seems like once again the Macau property salvages the earnings. The company reported having $1.7 billion in cash.

Check out this YouTube video that combines Wynn's Encore renderings with construction photos:

Huge thanks to Mike E for tracking this down.

Also, this piece in the Sun on Encore:

Wynn talks about hoping to open on December 22nd if he can get temporary occupancy before that. In the past they haven't seemed as worried about getting that occupancy certificate so why this time?

The piece also talks about opening a couple of hundred rooms per day so I guess we have confirmation of the first Wynn soft opening, at least when it comes to planning.

October 9, 2008

RJ: Wynn Las Vegas Dealers Lose at Supreme Court

Posted by Hunter

The LVRJ is reporting that the Wynn Las Vegas dealers that sued to remove the tip sharing program have lost their appeal:

October 5, 2008

Quickies: "Switch" at Encore, Cher Done For 2008

Posted by Hunter

Two quick unrelated items:

* has a tidbit about "Switch", one of the new restaurants at Encore. Supposedly it will feature an internal environment that does just that - switches mid-way through the evening.

* Looks like Cher is having some health issues that will force her to cancel shows this year, which will no doubt hurt Caesars Palace.

October 4, 2008

Las Vegas Weekly - Buyer's Market for Nightlife?

Posted by Hunter

Interesting article in the LV Weekly talking about the economic situation and it's impact on Las Vegas nightlife - we may see a swing to a more customer hospitable Saturday night.

September 26, 2008

Macau Trip Report - September 2008

Posted by Hunter

George (Drambuieman) is back with another great report on Macau. Some info on CotaiJet, Ponte 16 and more.

Click through to read and be sure to check out the photos:

A big thank you and congratulations to Sean, the author of this excellent trip report featuring a stay at Wynn Las Vegas. You sir, are a class act, putting all of this together.

This is a very fun story that I can pretty much guarantee will make you smile. It even includes a special guest appearance by Steve and Elaine Wynn!

Keep reading after the jump for more...

Mike Ch is back yet again - this time with a boots on the ground report from Planet Hollywood.

Our man on the scene braved the Palace of Earl to bring back some first hand intel.

As always, photos are here:

Also, he linked up some photos in his post as well. Enjoy after the jump.

As an aside, I'm well aware of how bad the photo gallery sucks. I've not had the time to do much about it but I actually think that might change in the near future. Stay tuned.

August 19, 2008

Expedia Spills Encore at Wynn Room Photos

Posted by Hunter

Looks like Expedia has leaked out some extra photos of the rooms at Encore, the companion resort to Wynn Las Vegas. (click on 'Photos' on the left)

We get to see the entry way, bathroom and most interestingly, the sitting area. You can see in photographic detail how the 'suite' is divided - a wall with a cut-out for a TV that swivels between the two rooms.

Thanks to reader JK for the find.

Mike Ch is back with another Strip Walk.

This time he hits both ends of the Strip with Luxor, Echelon, Encore, City Center and more.

Photos are here:

August 2, 2008

Open Topic Discussion - August 2, 2008

Posted by detroit1051

The New York Times has a long story on Steve Wynn, Las Vegas and gaming in Sunday's paper. It doesn't break new ground for anyone familiar with Wynn or the industry, but it's interesting. The highlight for me was reading that Steve is irritated by the sound of rushing wind in the elevator shafts. The writer must not be familiar with the old DI. She makes it sound like Steve Wynn bought the homes around the property in order to build a golf course. Yes, he did, but the DI always had a golf course.
Read the story here:
The Chips Are Down in Vegas, but Steve Wynn Is Betting Big

July 29, 2008

Motoman's July 2008 Trip Report

Posted by Hunter

Regular reader motoman has been kind enough to share with us a report of a recent trip. Here's Moto:

"What follows is a fairly lengthy report about a fairly mundane trip (certainly not up to Mike E standards, but then, who could top that? ;-) It's roughly chronological but each paragraph has its own subject, so feel free to follow along, skip ahead, or skip completely as you prefer, after the jump."

Despite a softening Las Vegas market, Wynn Resorts pulled through with some strong company-wide numbers.

According to the Company: "Net revenues for the second quarter of 2008 were $825.2 million, compared to $687.5 million in the second quarter of 2007. The revenue increase was driven primarily by a 50.3% increase in revenues at Wynn Macau."

I'll have to listen to the conference call later - if there's anything good in there, I'll update the post.

Update: Listening to the call now - as Jeff indicates below, classic Wynn on display in the call. Lots of fun to listen to as he takes jabs at various parties - and he has the numbers to back him.

Here's a KLAS interview with Steve Wynn covering the Encore hiring, his take on City Center, Encore itself and more...,%20Jobs

Thanks to Chuck at VT for pointing this out.

July 14, 2008

Open Topic Discussion - July 14, 2008

Posted by detroit1051

This week's Zoning meetings:

LVS is asking for a time extension on its approval to build a new Convention Center. The Agenda item says LVS is in the process of obtaining permits, but could the economy be a reason?
Las Vegas Sands Convention Center

Wynn has requested a deviation for Encore's signage:
Encore's Signage

July 12, 2008

Vegas Gang #12 - July 11th, 2008

Posted by Hunter

The show is up:

This time we feature:

* Wynn Hires Tim and Tim / Wynn Early Financials
* Nevada and Illinois Post Bad Numbers
* Tropicana E.Coli Outbreak
* Don Barden / Pittsburgh
* MGM Mirage / Wynn Resorts Market Cap

Comments welcome below.

Don't forget the Podcast-a-palooza:

Just saw this fly across the wire - Wynn Resorts has announced preliminary 2nd Quarter results:

Operating income at Wynn Las Vegas is expected to be $18-22 million, down from $63.4 million last year. Wow, big drop. Looks like they are blaming it on lower hold percentages, lower ADR, and lower occupancy.

On the other end, Wynn Macau did much better than last year it seems with operating income almost doubling to $100 million or so.

The company also announced they will be buying back more shares.

July 2, 2008

Tim Poster and Tom Breitling Join Wynn Resorts

Posted by Mike E

A surprising bit of news this morning.

"LAS VEGAS, July 2 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Tim Poster and Tom Breitling will be joining Wynn Resorts (Nasdaq: WYNN - News) subsidiary Wynn Las Vegas as Sr. Vice Presidents of Strategy and Development."

June 27, 2008

VegasGang #11 Posted

Posted by Hunter

Vegas Gang #11 is online here:

This time we feature:

* Encore at Wynn Las Vegas Opening
* Cosmopolitan Sued Over Its Name
* MGM Mirage Using Social Networking
* Harrah's Pays Debt With Debt
* Adelson Profiled in New Yorker

Feel free to add comments below...

June 25, 2008

VegasTripping Posts Encore Photo Update

Posted by Hunter

My good friend and fellow 'Gang Member', ("yeah, I'm in a gang") Chuck has posted a bunch of new Encore construction photos:


Thanks again to George "Dram Man" Geddes for providing a trip report based around his recent trip to Macau.

The photos, previously published, are here:

Thanks George! Continue after the jump...

June 18, 2008

A Tiny Bit More on Wynn's Encore...

Posted by Hunter

Wynn Resorts started booking rooms at Encore today, for dates from February 6th, 2009 onward. They *may* accept guests before that date but for now, you cannot confirm anything earlier.

A little bit more info on the property:

* Encore will also feature a segmented hotel tower between suites and standard 'resort' rooms. As at Wynn Las Vegas, Encore's 'Tower Suites' will have their own valet, check-in and elevators.

* Encore will feature 5 new fine dining restaurants.

* As we already know, the casino will be bathed in natural light with pool and garden views.

* Encore will feature a new nightclub.

* All suites include wireless Internet access, 42" plasma TVs, and large bathroom TVs.

* The standard Encore room will feature L shaped couches in the sitting area. The standard room size is 700 square feet.

* They are also offering Parlor and Salon suites.

As we have previously heard, while Encore is described as an all-suite hotel, the standard room offering will be a segmented single room, featuring an innovative partition system.

I thought it was interesting to hear them describe Encore as a "new signature resort from the Wynn Collection". This is clearly in their script as two different reservationists gave me that line.

June 17, 2008

Massive Macau Photo Update

Posted by Hunter

Thanks to occasional contributor George "Dram Man" Geddes, we have a load of new Macau photos to share.

As usual, all the recent photos can be seen here:

Thanks to George for sharing - enjoy!

I had heard from several sources that while reservations for Encore at Wynn Las Vegas open up this Wednesday, they would not be taking bookings for arrivals before February 6th, 2009 (Super Bowl weekend).

Well, this seemed a bit strange... I checked into it myself and it is true that you cannot reserve rooms before early February. I guess it's possible the first two months are for invite only players but I find this hard to believe.

I'm still told Encore's casino should open in December - what does this mean? A soft opening for Steve Wynn, the king of the hardest of hard openings who is on record disparaging the soft opening at The Venetian and Palazzo? I'm personally pretty shocked if this is the case.

I've heard some rumors as to why - leading me to believe they may have had no choice - but nothing I've been able to confirm.

This is developing... Still plenty of time for things to change.

Update: Fellow Vegas Gang Podcast contributor Jeff Simpson contacted Wynn Resorts for comment and, unlike myself, was actually able to get a response. Wynn and Co. are saying they plan to open in December as originally planned and they're just being super-extra-cautious by not allowing normal reservations until February. Maybe that's all there is to it. Wynn Resorts - I'm happy to be a 'witness' at the official opening. :-)

May 30, 2008

Vegas Gang #9 - "Wynn + Harrah's = Good Times?"

Posted by Hunter

The latest episode is live - check out our discussions here:

Comments welcome below...

May 25, 2008

Open Topic Discussion - May 25, 2008

Posted by detroit1051

This is good news that Tableau's Mark LoRusso will definitely move to Encore, and it looks like Tableau's space will remain a restaurant instead of becoming another club.

"Steve Wynn has lured another star chef to Wynn Las Vegas. Larry Forgione, a pioneering chef from New York, will move An American Place into the Tableau space this winter, when Mark LoRusso opens a restaurant at Encore, the new luxury suite hotel at Wynn Las Vegas. "Larry Forgione was one of the first chefs to focus exclusively on American ingredients and cuisine," Wynn said. "His vision and commitment to sustainability paved the way for many of today's chefs." ..."
Norm Column in the RJ: Norm

Yes, we're back (and better than ever?).

Anyway, the episode is posted here:

Comment away!

May 2, 2008

Wynn Resorts to Manage Casino in Philippines?

Posted by Hunter

Thanks to for this interesting story that talks about Wynn Resorts potentially managing or consulting on a casino from Arusze in the Philippines.

May 2, 2008

Encore at Wynn Macau Continues to Grow

Posted by Hunter

Yes, the property formerly known as 'Wynn Diamond Suites' has been renamed 'Encore at Wynn Macau'.

Thanks to VegasTripping for the tip and also a photo of construction:

Encore at Wynn Macau
Encore at Wynn Macau Construction Photo

May 2, 2008

Earnings: LVS and WYNN Report

Posted by Hunter

Yes, this is a few days old but we need a story to cover it and I was out.

LVS - Las Vegas Sands had an unexpected 1st quarter loss which has caused the stock to tumble. Slow ramp up for Palazzo in Vegas and a new weakness in Macau seems to be the culprit. Some numbers here.

WYNN - Wynn Resorts did better than expected on revenue but it looks like it missed on EPS. I am hoping to have some more time later to get deeper into these figures and listen to the call playback.

Mike_ch is back with the latest Strip Walk. This time we have a look at Encore at Wynn Las Vegas, Caesars Palace, New York New York and Luxor.

Notes after the jump, photos here:

April 22, 2008

Wynn Resorts Puts Las Vegas Sands In Cross Hairs

Posted by Hunter

On the most recent episode of The Strip Podcast, Steve Wynn talks about his ultimate plans for the golf course - two new hotels for a total of 10,000 rooms (including WLV and Encore) and a 1.5 million square foot convention facility.

Clearly, this would put Wynn Resorts in direct competition with the various other convention centers in town, most specifically Las Vegas Sands and their Sands Expo. No specific timeline was given for the development.

April 20, 2008

Open Topic Discussion - April 20, 2008

Posted by detroit1051

KLAS-TV has a three part, 30+ minute interview with Steve Wynn on its website. The audio is so poor that I haven't listened to it yet. I'll need headphones, but for Wynnophiles, it might be interesting.
KLAS-TV Interview With Steven Wynn

The rumors are true! Gans will move to Encore when it opens, leaving The Mirage.

What's funny is that Wynn denied this point blank to Steve Friess in the last interview.

It may have been a whole year in the works, but it felt like only yesterday that I had booked my flight as I was sitting impatiently at the airport. This was to be my last hoorah with Vegas until Encore's opening in December. Who knows if I'll hold true to that promise, but I planned this trip to the fullest knowing all too well that these rare opportunities don't come around very often.

(More after the jump...)

Steve Friess chats up Steve Wynn for this weeks The Strip Podcast and there is no shortage of great quotes, particularly near the end when he gets into Adelson's claim that at one point he had offered Wynn a job.

I assume the show will be posted sometime Thursday. It's certainly worth a listen, along with a few bits on Encore and the Binkley book, "Winner Takes All".

We talk the concept of 'free' and casinos, lots of fresh details on Encore at Wynn Las Vegas, Majestic's Vegas numbers, and more. This is a don't miss for Wynn fans.

The participants include:

Jeff Simpson - and

David McKee -

Dave Schwartz -

Chuck Monster -

Direct Download:

Dave Schwartz has an interesting article where the talks about a piece from Wired that is discussing the proliferation of free services in business, especially on the Internet. Dave spins that into a gaming business narrative and breaks it down for us.

February 26, 2008

Encore Suites at Wynn Las Vegas - Coming December 2008

Posted by Hunter

Wynn Resorts have settled on December 2008 as the unveiling for Encore Suites, the sister resort going up next to Wynn Las Vegas.

Few new details besides the opening timeframe are in the press release, though it does allude to many of the features we've already covered here in the past.

February 12, 2008

Wynn Resorts Reports Q4 Results

Posted by Hunter

Wynn Resorts just reported their results.

That's the press release. I'll update this with some thoughts as soon as I have a chance.

The first episode of what could become a new, semi-regular podcast has been posted.

It doesn't yet have a name but the working title is 'Vegas Roundtable'. It's a gaming industry related podcast in a discussion format. Today's participants include:

Jeff Simpson - and

David McKee -

Dave Schwartz -

Chuck Monster -

Thanks to all participants. The podcast is in my normal feed for 'The Worst Las Vegas Podcast' but it will probably move to a dedicated feed. Also, if anyone can think of a good name, drop them in the comments.

If you don't subscribe to the feed and want the direct URL, here it is:

Some new photos posted this afternoon:

The Encore shots give a really good look at the final layouts for the big parts of the project. You can see all the skylights in the low-rise for the new spa, plus I assume that lattice roof area will be filled with glass as well. Overall, looking good - can't wait to see more.

Thanks to Brian and Mark for sharing their photos.

Regarding the podcast, I have GarageBand open now - hopefully I'll get this finished shortly.

January 21, 2008

Encore Construction Photos

Posted by Hunter

Ok, still working on my Palazzo story but in the interim, here's some recent photos of Encore at Wynn Las Vegas.

Some nice shots showing low-rise progress. Curtains and what looked like furniture was in many of the lower floors of the high-rise.

In particular, this shot shows where the glass wall looking over the pool area will be:

And the rest of the shots:

Well, the gaming win in the great state of Nevada declined a good bit last time 'round:

Not good for our favorite multi-national casino conglomerates. It's hard not to link this to the degrading confidence in the US economy overall. Gaming is often somewhat insulated - people love to wager no matter how screwed they are - but of course there would be some kind of a hit if things go down big time in the US of A.

December 24, 2007

Caesars Palace Dealers Vote to Unionize

Posted by Hunter

Well, this could be the second shot across the bow in the industry as we see a second major Las Vegas casino's dealers vote to have union representation.

Following Wynn Las Vegas dealers before them, is this a reflection on management in these two organizations? Will we see dealers at an MGM Mirage property go this route?

December 20, 2007

Wynn Macau Expansion Opens December 24th

Posted by Hunter

This was in the news yesterday and I just assumed most people saw it so I didn't post it but maybe I was wrong... Anyway, Wynn Macau is set to open it's casino expansion on Monday, December 24th. This includes more tables, slots, and their new dramatic entry feature (I hope we hear more about this soon). Following in January are more retails shops including Hugo Boss and Ferrari.

December 18, 2007

MGM Grand Macau Opens

Posted by Hunter

Well, today is the big day for MGM Mirage with their first entry into Macau with the MGM Grand Macau. The property is a 50/50 joint venture with Pansy Ho, daughter of longtime operator Stanley Ho.

Personally, I think this property looks very interesting and it is certainly on my list of places to stay when I visit Macau sometime next year. I see the Wynn Macau/MGM Macau combo (they are right next door to each other) as the true epicenter of Macau luxury, despite Las Vegas Sands' grand Cotai experiment, at least for now.

Mike_ch is back with another Stripwalk. This time he visits Encore, City Center, TI, Palazzo, Luxor and more. Check it out after the jump plus don't forget to check out the new photos:


Here we are with a special Thanksgiving-eve 'Strip Walk' segment. This time around, mike_ch checks out the Frontier, Encore, City Center, Luxor, The Mirage and more. Text after the jump...


November 14, 2007

November 2007 LV Strip Construction Photos Posted

Posted by Hunter

I've posted my Las Vegas Strip construction photos: Most Recent Las Vegas Photos

All sorts of great stuff including Encore's high and low rise buildings, WLV's villa atrium, Palazzo, the white tiger pit at The Mirage, City Center, P-Ho, Bellagio, and more.

The link above should show them all but you can also visit the November 2007 tag. Also, based on some feedback I plan to add new searching and sorting capabilities to the photo database soon.

November 14, 2007

Open Topic Discussion - November 14, 2007

Posted by detroit1051

This will start Brian Fey's day off with a smile. Wynn Las Vegas has won recognition from The Michelin Guide.
NORM: Michelin makes Steve Wynn's year
Michelin's Highest Honor of Five Red Pavilions Awarded to Wynn Las Vegas

November 7, 2007

Wynn Macau Photo Walk Through

Posted by Hunter

Chuck at has posted a photo walkthrough of Wynn Macau with shots from his recent trip. A must see for Wynn fans.

October 30, 2007

Wynn Resorts Reports Q3 2007 Results

Posted by Hunter

Wynn Resorts just reported as the market closed - the conference call is about to start and I'll update this with any interesting info.

Quarterly revenue was $653.4 million, up from $318.1 million last year - all because of Macau. Adjusted property EBITDA was $186 million.

Adjusted net income: $73.4 million, compared to a $1.3 million loss last year. GAAP net income was $44 million and that figure from last year was skewed by the sale of the Macau sub-concession.

Lots of interesting details in the press release:

ADR at Wynn Las Vegas: $282, up from $271 a year ago. Occupancy was 96.6%.

ADR at Wynn Macau: $245 and occupancy was 91.9%.

October 28, 2007

Open Topic Discussion - Oct. 28, 2007

Posted by Hunter

Here's a new open topic thread for y'all. A couple of notes on this sunny Sunday:

Regarding the piece on VT&T regarding the Encore casino and a 'poker island', based on the plans I have seen and the people I have talked to, this is off the mark. Now, the plans I originally saw for the low rise stuff have substantially changed since then, as we have already discussed... My understanding is that there is no poker room planned for Encore, plus the walkway changes he talks about obliterate the retail that's planned along the WLV-Encore corridor and generally just sound like they waste space. I am very skeptical.

Second, thanks to reader MikeP for sending in a photo inside Palazzo's retail area, plus the new aquarium at The Mirage:

October 21, 2007

The RJ Goes to Macau

Posted by Hunter

Looks like the RJ has a front page piece on Macau gaming, specifically US based operators there. It's an interesting piece and it comes with a fairly cheesy map and some photos. Worth checking out - even some photos of the analysts that get quoted in every gaming article in the paper.

October 18, 2007

Macau Quarterly Gaming Revenues Rise Again

Posted by Hunter

Sorry I'm only getting to post this now... Looks like Macau quarterlies are once again blowing through estimates:

A 46% increase? Nice. This quarter had a little bit of Venetian Macau action but we'll really get a feel for that next time around, plus of course in the LVS and WYNN quarterlies.

Thanks to Mike for another installment of 'Strip Walk', or semi-regular feature that focuses on Las Vegas Strip construction progress.

Lots of great new info here and of course, we've got photos:

October 11, 2007

Open Topic Discussion: October 11, 2007

Posted by detroit1051

Can Le Reve be salvaged? I haven't seen it, but Wynn has been tinkering with it for two years now: Is it a first class show?
Le Reve Continues To Evolve

September 30, 2007

Open Topic Discussion: October 1, 2007

Posted by detroit1051

Liz Benston had an interesting column on Macau in the 9/30 LV Sun:
Catching up to Las Vegas

September 27, 2007

Strip Walk: September 2007

Posted by Hunter

Well, you know the drill at this point. Another episode featuring MGM Grand, Wynn Las Vegas, City Center and more.

Photos are here: RateVegas Photos

This time we get a bonus video: Diablo's Cantina

September 24, 2007

Open Topic Discussion: September 24, 2007

Posted by detroit1051

"USA Today" profiles Terry Lanni:
"Throughout its history, Las Vegas has seen its share of legendary tycoons, from Howard Hughes to Steve Wynn. The low-profile Lanni flies under the public's radar, but he's one of the most-respected and influential forces in the $90 billion gaming industry.
"I've dealt with a few CEOs, and I'd have to rate Terry up there at the top," says Kirk Kerkorian, the 90-year-old owner of Tracinda, which held 56% of MGM Mirage's stock as of June. "I've always liked this company. We've got a hell of a team there."

Executive Suite: You can bet on MGM Mirage's Lanni

Well, that was a great conversation... We had an in-depth talk with Chuck from who just recently has gotten back from Macau.

We went over everything from specific hotel talk on topics like Wynn Macau, Venetian Macau, Galaxy Starworld, MGM Grand Macau, Casino Lisboa and more. We also talked about the business - folks like Wynn Resorts, Las Vegas Sands, SJM, Melco and others.

Cotai, gaming industry topics, casino design and more. It was a great discussion and I'm hoping we can do another segment soon.

Fresh back from Macau, where he chronicled his trip, Charles from will be a guest for a special Q&A version of the podcast.

We'll be doing this on TalkShoe but here's how this will work - you guys submit some questions here on the site, I'll ask them in the first 30 minutes or so. The second half of the show will be open for general discussion. We'll see how that goes.

So... TONIGHT at 6pm PT

Update: Ok, the Talkshoe link is here:

If you're planning on joining us, I strongly recommend you go to the Web site ahead of time to sign up for an account and download the software. Strictly speaking, the software isn't required (only a telephone is really required) but having it gives you extra features.

If you really can't download the software, you can call in using this number: 724-444-7444 with the TalkCast ID of 44621. Without the software you might not be able to ask any questions as we won't be able to identify you in the system.

September 20, 2007

Quickies: Wynn on The Strip, Leach on Nightclubs

Posted by Hunter

A couple of quick hits today:

Steve Wynn is the guest on this week's, The Strip Podcast. He talks about Macau, nightclubs, and more. According to Wynn, Tryst is the top netting nightclub in town and Tao is fiddling with their numbers a bit. The interview is interesting and features a fun example of Wynn's office at work. Steve's thesis on why spending is up is sort of interesting.

Second up, thanks to Detroit, this link to an article from Robin Leach - will the nightclub boom continue.

September 18, 2007

Bobby Baldwin Interview

Posted by detroit1051

Liz Benston interviews Bobby Baldwin in the LV Sun. He answers some of the questions we asked during our recent call-in podcast.

"He typically shuns publicity but was keen to address rumors that he might be leaving MGM Mirage - perhaps to join his old boss - after a management reshuffle. Baldwin would have been a natural choice for operations chief at MGM Mirage, a job that went to finance chief and CityCenter's chief idea man Jim Murren. Baldwin says he is impressed by Wynn's growth in Las Vegas and Macau but he's satisfied and challenged at MGM Mirage, at least for now.
The poker whiz from Oklahoma will retain control of CityCenter and the two adjacent resorts, Bellagio and Monte Carlo, while becoming chief visionary in planning projects along the Strip and beyond."

Q+A: Bobby Baldwin

September 16, 2007

Worst Las Vegas Podcast #17 - September 15th, 2007

Posted by Hunter

Our second time using and it was a lot of fun. Regular readers like Detroit1051, Mike E, Brian Fey, mike_ch and BarbaryKevin were all in on the action.

We covered a broad range of issues, from Cotai, Harrah's, Wynn Resorts, Las Vegas Sands, Palazzo, Encore, IGT and a lot more.

During the show we talked about Chuck's Macau diary. That link is here:

September 13, 2007

StripWalk: September 2007

Posted by Hunter

Here's the latest Strip Walk, this time hitting Wynn Las Vegas, Trump Las Vegas, New Frontier, Palazzo, Treasure Island, New York New York, Excalibur, Luxor and more...

As always, the photos are here:

Commentary after the jump... Take it away Mike!

September 10, 2007

LVRJ Features

Posted by Hunter

As the Wynn Las Vegas tipping fiasco was hitting fast and furious, one Web site - was the voice of many that felt they didn't have one. The Web site is a popular gathering spot for those in the industry and it was the home of many a hot-and-heavy discussion on the topic. Some of those discussions even spilled over here as we have some of the same contributors.

Anyway, the site is profiled in today's LVRJ:

September 2, 2007

Strip Walk: August 2007

Posted by Hunter

We're back with another Strip Walk! This was written almost a week ago and this time around you'll get Mike's comments but a few of my own sprinkled in - I was in Vegas for one night last week and took some of my own photos as well.

As always, the photos are here:

Commentary after the jump...

August 15, 2007

Book Review: 'Gay Vegas' by Steve Friess

Posted by Hunter

Steve Friess is an award winning Las Vegas-based journalist that regularly writes for the New York Times, USA Today and other national publications... You probably know him as the co-host of one of my favorite podcasts, The Strip. Steve's a great guy and Vegas is lucky to have him.

His new Las Vegas guidebook, 'Gay Vegas' covers Sin City with an emphasis on gay and lesbian travelers, though the tips in here are applicable to anyone visiting Southern Nevada.

Keep reading after the jump for my take on the book and if you want to pick up a copy, this Amazon link is a way to say thanks to us as well:

"Gay Vegas: A Guide To The Other Side of Sin City" (Steve Friess)

August 13, 2007

Wynn Talks Cotai, Encore and More in Interview

Posted by Hunter

Thanks to for pointing us to this interesting interview with Steve Wynn.

He talks about their upcoming Cotai property - he wants to make it the best in the world it seems... Also, some talk on Encore (the casino will look like Macau's, which is pretty much what we all expected) and Las Vegas Sands.

Great interview:

Update: I thought I had a photo of the Wynn Macau casino in my gallery but I looked and couldn't find one. I know I've seen it though - I remember really liking it with the columns and drapes - much more low-key than WLV. Anyone have a link?

August 10, 2007

Open Topic Discussion: 8/10/2007 - Wynn AC?

Posted by Hunter

A fresh new discussion zone for y'all.

August 6, 2007

UPDATED: WYNN Earnings 2nd Quarter '07 & New Blush Club

Posted by detroit1051

WYNN will release its Q2 earnings shortly, so we'll start a new topic now. In the meantime, Wynn has issed a press release announcing the opening of Blush on Labor Day weekend:
"Blush offers a unique option to the Las Vegas scene as the club seamlessly transforms from elegant lounge to high-energy nightclub."
Formerly the location of Lure, the venue will undergo a complete remodel under the direction of Wynn's Executive Vice President of Design Roger Thomas. The 4,500 square-foot club will feature a lit onyx dance floor and cr�me lantern ceiling sculpture. This central art focal piece will create various hues and images that enhance the vibe and atmosphere as the display literally comes alive nightly."

Las Vegas Nightlife Redefined with Blush

Updated: The earnings are in and they are pretty impressive. Check here.

July 27, 2007

The SkyLOFTS Party: July 22-24, 2007

Posted by Mike E

Shortly after my solo trip last March, my friend Jeff and I started talking about what we could do to celebrate his graduation. We decided to go to Vegas (no surprise there) around his birthday to kill two birds with one stone...

(Continue reading after the jump)

July 17, 2007

Wynn Trivia Quiz

Posted by detroit1051

As part of an invitational weekend offer I received from Wynn, 25 trivia questions were included just for fun. The questions appear after the jump. Correct answers will be given in a few days. Everyone here should know them all except for maybe the pineapple and Starbucks questions. First Prize is the satisfaction of being a Las Vegas expert.

July 9, 2007 Macau Cotai Strip Update

Posted by Hunter

Welcome to the first in a new series. Thanks to our friends at, we will have some regular news and updates from Las Vegas Sands' replica of the Las Vegas Strip in China.

Continue after the jump for the posting with all the latest Cotai Strip news.

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July 8, 2007

Wynn Las Vegas: Q2

Posted by detroit1051

Steve Wynn talked with Jeff Simpson of the LV Sun again. Wynn said the Q2 numbers are in for WLV, and that the blackjack hold percentage doubled. He credits the improvement with his change in tip policy:
"Wynn said the final numbers for the Wynn Las Vegas second quarter are in, and the blackjack hold percentage doubled from 10 percent in the second quarter of 2006 to 20 percent this year .
He credited his crew of team leaders, motivated after receiving partial shares of the tip pool, with the improvement, saying that they had obviously been able to stop some blackjack mischief - referring to the lower hold percentage that he thinks was likely caused by cheating, collusion or supervisors who didn't stop card counting.
"The change is too big to be driven by luck," Wynn said. "Statewide the hold is about 15 percent. I think I've pulled the sheet off of some problems, and when you look at the statewide number , there must be problems at a bunch of other places."

Steve should quit talking. His comments today will further alienate dealers and other casino operators.
Wynn Talks With Jeff Simpson

June 30, 2007

Weekly Open Topic-June 30

Posted by detroit1051

Last week's topic had 64 replies, so let's start a new one.

Kerkorian's initial interest in acquiring Bellagio and CityCenter certainly helped MGM during the month of June. The RJ summarizes share price changes in June for operators and slot manufacturers. MGM leads the pack.
Kerkorian's bid boosts MGM Mirage

June 11, 2007

Roger Thomas Among Architectural Digest's 100

Posted by Mike E

Roger Thomas, Executive Vice President of Design for Wynn Design and Development, is among Architectural Digest's 100--a list of some of the world's most influential designers.

AD delves deep into his fascinating life and personal residence:

Also, an exclusive feature on Wynn's six Apartment (Atrium) Villas:

Be sure to view the slideshows for both articles (and what should be the fourth slide in the latter article here).

It's refreshing to read articles such as these that focus first and foremost on interior design and the specific companies Wynn D&D commissions for their custom furnishings.

The Mansion has definitely been dethroned for this level of accommodation. We can only wait and see what Palazzo, CityCenter, and Encore have in store.

June 7, 2007

June 2007 Las Vegas Strip Development Update

Posted by Hunter

Thanks to mike_ch who is back with another Las Vegas Strip development/construction update.

The photos are here:

Keep reading after the jump!

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I was in town in May for a few days and I got another peak at the plans for Encore, the addition to Wynn Las Vegas currently being constructed just North of the existing tower.

I've written about this in the past but I wanted to see how things had progressed since the last set of plans. Well, not much has changed since the last round, honestly. Since at this point we've already been privy to the high-rise setup - multi-story suites, a new 'tower suites', the service configuration, the most interesting thing is probably the specifics of the casino and garden area. Unfortunately, this is an area still in flux and provided in least detail.

A couple of notes:

* The 'standard' Encore rooms have a similar configuration to those at Wynn Las Vegas, though they are larger.
* The sub-basement level includes another employee dining area, room service kitchen and other back of house facilities. Fortunately they won't have to run room service from the main WLV room service kitchens which would have had potential for cold food and bad service.
* There is additional valet parking under the new garden/casino space.
* There is a lot of cooking capacity, suggesting maybe ~6 new full size dining outlets and a handful of other smaller facilities (i.e. 6 restaurants and maybe 3-4 places like Sugar and Ice or the coffee shop).

I've also got some new documents to review, such as utilities layouts for the new building and if they shed any new light, I'll update this post.

I posted some photos previously but here they are again: My main camera was busted so I had to use the point and shoot. Hopefully next time I can send some photos from my new iPhone (yes, I'll be in line 6/29 - I love Apple more than I love WLV!)

Update: I have been contacted since this ran by multiple sources that indicate the 'garden' plan, as previously reported, is basically out, with the majority of that space being used for gaming and some dining. There is still some floral areas but more along the lines of what we have at WLV now, nothing grand in scope. This is of course, always developing but I've now got this from two sources, people that have proven credible in the past... We'll see!

Also, on the self-parking, we're hearing that a large portion of the new garage will be new self-park.

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May 13, 2007

Wynn Las Vegas Dealers Vote to Unionize

Posted by Hunter

In a final vote of 444 to 149, Wynn Las Vegas dealers have voted to unionize. This is the first step in a process that will take some time to be finalized, if it does ever even move past this step.

Either way, it's a big story. We'll see what happens next.

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In a meeting last week between Steve Wynn and his Wynn Las Vegas dealers, the Wynn Resorts chairman and CEO apologized for what he called a 'big mistake' - his changes to the casino tip policy that were enacted last September at the Las Vegas Strip resort and the resulting brouhaha.

Wynn spoke about being tired and worn out by the opening of Wynn Macau as he was making the original decision. He laments the loss of the feeling of family at the company and acknowledges that many there feel betrayed. Calling it the 'wrong solution to the right problem', Wynn then urged the dealers to vote 'No' on the election this weekend that would have their casino dealers join the union.

As we get word of the Wynn vote, we'll keep you updated. Even if the dealers vote yes in a majority, the company still would need to negotiate a contract, which the union has failed to do in the past at other resorts where elections have gone their way.

Update: We have posted the audio of the story, provided by reader Leonard Stern:

Also, Steve Friess posted a story on this topic:

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Okay, all sorts of updates for today.

First off, some new construction photos from Brian Fey - Encore, Palazzo, etc.. - these are really coming together! - Thanks Brian!!

One photo that got special mention is this Encore shot:

People have been asking what this is.... Well, the plans I saw put the garden area right in that space - this looks to me like an advanced watering system. My guess is that these gardens are special - some kind of 'hook' or feature built into this attraction to make this more interesting than plants in the (fake) ground.

[Ed: Looks like this was even more basic than what we thought. Since we posted this I've been asking around and it sounds like this is based off the data network for the slot machines in the casino portion. Apparently the added casino space has encroached on the garden area and that explains the location... So - more casino, less garden = no story.]

[Ed (again): Looks like VT&T confirms this.]

MGM Grand wants to build another convention center adjacent to their existing facility.

Trump Las Vegas wants to change their floor numbering. This one is funny since it shows how these numbers are totally manipulated for marketing purposes.

Fun with parking at the Cosmo site.

Las Vegas Sands wants to add a pedestrian bridge to the back side of the Sands Expo Center.

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May 9, 2007

Wynn Las Vegas' Spamalot in Trouble?

Posted by Hunter

Well, if this continues, Spamalot at Wynn Las Vegas is probably in trouble.

Of course, many speculated the show might run into the same sort of trouble that 'Avenue Q.' had in the same space.

This is not good news for the show or Wynn Las Vegas, which has struggled with their entertainment offerings from day one.

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May 7, 2007

Wynn Resorts Swings to Profit for Q12007

Posted by Hunter

Well, they finally got out of the red... Wynn Resorts announced Q1 2007 net income of $58.4 million, compared to a loss of $11.4 million for 2006. Adjusted net income was $72.6 million, on strong results from Wynn Macau and Wynn Las Vegas.

Revenue for the quarter was $635.3 million, up from $277.2 million from a year ago.

The conference call starts in 20 minutes and I will be updating based on anything from that call.

The press release covers all of the interesting details - I will break them down shortly.

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May 5, 2007

Macau Casino Update: April 2007

Posted by Hunter

A big thank you to Drambuie Man for sending in a new report and photos from Macau.

I asked for some more photos of Wynn Macau and the Venetian and we got some good coverage. I can't wait to get out there and see this stuff myself.

The report is after the jump...

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April 30, 2007

New Macau Photos Available - Construction Updates!

Posted by Hunter

Thanks to Brian and everyone else that submitted this to me.

Just a quick post to direct people to some new photos posted at SkyScraper City that cover all the recent construction activity in Macau. Great to see these projects moving along, especially the hotel at the Sands - Sheldy quietly hedging his Cotai bet.

Also, Drambuie Man is back in Macau and will be sharing more photos when he returns - thanks again!

April 29, 2007

Wynn Macau Closes Tryst Nightclub

Posted by Hunter

An interesting tidbit in today's RJ indicates that Wynn Macau has closed it's Tryst nightclub. A sister to the popular venue in Las Vegas, Tryst Macau was smaller and had been deemed as an experiment of sorts.

Well - I guess the experiment failed as the space is being converted into private gaming.

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The New York Times has an interesting article that covers the upcoming growth spurt in Las Vegas. A lot of general info for a mass audience but I did think the quote from Wynn indicating that this was the 'most over the top' expansion so far was interesting.

Is this a bigger game changer than milestones like the International, MGM Grand #1, The Mirage, and then Bellagio?

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From the agenda of Clark County planners, we have some insight into future projects. Here goes:

City Center - Not much, just a slight increase in the height of the towers from 543 feet to 580 feet. The FAA signed off and MGM is stating that they need the space for stuff like elevators and if residents want to put stuff on the roof (I assume satellite dishes, etc...). Also, the retail component is being increased from 650,000 square feet to 666,870 square feet. One interesting note is that Bellagio's holding company, Bellagio LLC, is the applicant - surely they have new holding companies for City Center - I would assume at least one per development for legal and financial reasons.

Wynn Las Vegas - Again, nothing major. They want to build a walkway from their Sands Ave. parking to the back of house area of the hotel, just for employees. The walkway does intersect with the monorail and the request states they will install a 'protective roof plate' to prevent falling debris hitting anyone. Ha.

Fontainebleau - Some details on the project, which is in review. The tower will be 735 feet high with 2,880 hotel rooms and 1,020 condos with kitchens. The tower sites on a low-rise podium with heights that vary from 81 feet (LVB side) to 175 feet on the convention center side on the back. Other than that, the details are few. They do have a batch plant on site at this time.

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April 7, 2007

Worst Las Vegas Podcast #15 - April 6, 2007

Posted by Hunter

We're back after a few weeks off and this time I'm joined in the studio by two friends, Carter and Kevin.

Discussion includes Harrah's buyout, Macau updates, CityCenter and more, plus some oh so witty banter and a call from Mike E.


Here's the link to all the most recent photos:

A reminder - feel free to call in and leave us a message about anything Las Vegas or Web site related. The call in number is: 702-508-4232.

Direct RSS:

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Thanks to Drambuie_Man, we have a major set of new Macau photos that highlight the construction of the MGM Grand Macau, Venetian Macau and others. He was also kind enough to write up his report, which you will find after the jump.

The photos are located here:

Huge thanks go out to Drambuie_Man for taking and sharing these photos with us. He attached some notes to the photos which I have distilled and included here after the jump. I highly suggest that you give these a read along with the photos to get a better sense of context.

Here goes...

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Work got out a little early and I was on my way taking my sweet time to the airport. I had gotten a full eight hours of rest the night before and hardly any butterflies were flapping in my stomach.

Why was I not suffering the usual symptoms of pre-Vegas? Maybe because I knew it would be nearly impossible to top my last trip where I spent time in one of Wynn�s Fairway Villas with friends of nearly 20 years. What I did come to realize during this quick getaway, however, is that a solo trip where you meet others in town at your own leisure is something special in and of itself and a different kind of fun.

(More after the jump...)

I recently spent a weekend in Las Vegas. My stated purpose was a friend's wedding but I managed to get in a few other activities for the benefit of you fine people.

Here you will read about Encore at Wynn Las Vegas, Palazzo, The Mirage, Spamalot, Luxor and more.

Also, I uploaded a couple hundred new photos:

Some more info after the jump...

March 14, 2007

mike_ch Construction Update: March 2007

Posted by Hunter

Another construction update from mike_ch. This one covers Paris, Bill's Gamblin' Hall and Saloon, The Venetian, Encore, Palazzo, Stardust (RIP), Frontier, Bellagio, Planet Aladdin, and Luxor.

Thanks again to him for providing this stuff.

Photos are located here:

Also, we've got new VIDEOS! You can watch them here (goes from most recent to older):

I'll be in Vegas this weekend to see Spamalot, take some photos, tour the CityCenter sales pavilion and attend wedding (not in that order).

Drambuie_Man is heading to Macau and has offered to take questions in advance for those of us that haven't been or can't get to the other side of the world on a regular basis. I'm lucky to have several folks in the area that have been very generous with their time and this is another example of that.

His comments are after the jump and feel free to litter the comments with requests. Also, if you are in Macau or nearby and want to hang out, email me at and I'll make mutual contact.

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According to David McKee, there's some word of possible major problems at Wynn Las Vegas, from 20 boxmen being sacked to both chips and tips missing.

It's not clear if these allegations are true or accurate.

I don't know if these things are true but it's starting to sound like things are going off the rails over there. If anyone has any inside on this, I'd love to hear about it.

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This time around I spent most of the episode talking about Wynn Resorts, Ltd., 4th Quarter earnings report. There's also some stuff on MGM Mirage and others.

Update: For some reason that I can't explain, this episode sounds somewhat tinny. Sorry about that.

A reminder - feel free to call in and leave us a message about anything Las Vegas or Web site related. The call in number is: 702-508-4232.

Direct RSS:

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February 27, 2007

Wynn Resorts: 4th Quarter 2006 Loss

Posted by Hunter

Wynn Resorts announced their numbers today for Q4 2006 (and FY2006).

Despite opening Wynn Macau, the supposed cash generator for the company, they had a loss for the quarter of $55 million.

What does this mean for the company if they can't make a profit with Macau open? How serious is this and what will the company do to stop the bleeding? It is important to note that a large portion of the loss was related to debenture holders.

Despite operating at a loss, some of the numbers look good, including holds and net revenues.

The extensive press release is here:

Also interesting is the occupancy rate for Wynn Macau, which was just north of 80%. I watch the occupancy rates as a very interesting indicator of how the Macau market is rising to the challenge of conversion to a 'resort destination' city away from a day trip market.

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February 27, 2007

Mike_ch's February Las Vegas Strip Construction Update

Posted by Hunter

Thanks again to Mike_ch who is kind enough to share his updates and thoughts on what's going on down on the Las Vegas Strip.

This one covers the Stardust, Bellagio, Wynn Las Vegas and Encore, The Venetian, Palazzo, Luxor, Mandalay Bay, Monte Carlo, New York New York, Planet Aladdin, and more.

Photos are located here:

Keep reading after the jump for the report.

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February 21, 2007

Wynn Macau: No Credit Offered to Customers

Posted by Hunter

Thanks to some friendly and reliable sources, I got a look at the play/comp requirements for Wynn Macau.

First off, I didn't realize that Wynn Macau is not extending credit - big players have to deposit front money and from what I saw, I got the impression this was for ALL players as the top levels were talking about deposits in excess of $500k USD. Does anyone know if Sands Macau gives credit?

To get comped a Sky End Suite (these are at the end of the tower - no comparable product at WLV but Encore will have them), you need to deposit $500,000 and have an average bet of $10,000. This qualifies you for a helicopter from Hong Kong as well. This suite's casino rate would be $3,000 to $3,400 a night, depending on the day of the week. This compares to a standard room with requires $25k in front money and an average bet of $650 per hand... Plus they throw in some ferry seats - no chopper for you!

It's interesting to see how things are different from Las Vegas... In Vegas, the really big players can have comps (private jet travel, etc...) extended prior to the trip - the big guys are known and the casino is confident in its ability to recoup. Not in Macau - Wynn Macau's comps start when you walk on site and not before. I guess they're still getting to know the regulars.

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February 21, 2007

Wynn Las Vegas Restyles 'Le Reve' Theater

Posted by Hunter

'Le Reve' is the Franco Dragone show that opened Wynn Las Vegas. It stumbled a bit out of the gate but seems to have found its footing as tickets are now selling at a normal pace.

Wynn Resorts purchased the remaining 'Le Reve' assets from Dragone last year with the intent of making some changes. Today they announced the theater itself is being remade a bit.

In a press release on their Web site, Wynn Resorts detail some of the changes, including warmer colors.

The show will be dark in March while these changes are implemented.

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February 13, 2007

Wynn Las Vegas to Add Additional 'Atrium' Villas

Posted by Hunter

Wynn Las Vegas will add four new villas to the South side of the hotel, near the existing atrium villas on the pool side of the building.

Two of the villas have four bedrooms and the other two have three. All have media rooms, massage areas, spas and outdoor space with gardens and pools. They will be very similar to the existing atrium villas.

Adding these villas will require some of the landscaping in the South Tower area to be removed and reconfigured. Plans show another entrance from the street level as well.

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January 29, 2007

Wynn Las Vegas Dealers Unionize?

Posted by Hunter

I can't tell if this post is just him mis-reading the Web site or if he is reporting a new turn of events.

The Poker Prof is saying that the dealers at Wynn Las Vegas have voted to unionize.

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I just got word from my friends Steve and Miles over at The Strip Podcast that their upcoming Thursday night episode will feature some new words from Steve Wynn and based on what Steve told me in a follow-up email, we're going to hear a few things that we've never heard before.

Also, The Strip has announced their first (I think so, right?) live event. This coming Sunday, January 28th, they will be co-hosting a live discussion at the Ghostbar at the Palms. The discussion features the top celebrity journalists, Perez Hilton, Robin Leach, Norm Clarke and Carlos Dias from ExtraTV. More details are available at There's a $10 cover and the show gets going at 8pm so make sure to get there with plenty of time to get in and upstairs. If you've never been to the Ghostbar, this is a good time to check it out, when it's not full of drunken fools all competing to fall off the balcony. The proceeds from the event go to the NLGJA.

So, some hot activity on The Strip Podcast this week. The show is recorded on Thursdays at 7pm and you can participate in a live chat while they do the show. I'm planning on joining in this week - looking forward to it. The chat room is located at: and there should also be links from the Strip Podcast site. See you on Thursday!

Update: A little preview of tonight's Steve Wynn/Spamalot stuff is here.

Updated Thursday: This episode is now available. Wynn talks a bit about the golf course, indicating the zoning was more to do with the way the mortgage is collateralized than anything else but the course will indeed be re-developed in a few years. He also said that he will never do a dense development like City Center, citing his lower cost of land as one reason he doesn't need to. I recommend you listen to the podcast.

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This is a WSJ article so it requires a subscription or you'll have to find some other way to read it but it's recommended - interesting stuff.

Casinos Divide to Conquer

Basically the concept is that operators could sell their real estate holdings and then sign long term management deals with the new owners of the real estate. This lets them monetize these assets and many of these companies like Harrah's or MGM MIRAGE are sitting on billions in real estate.

From the article by Peter Sanders:

"Blackjack players who are dealt a pair of aces often "split" the cards into separate hands, giving them two shots at hitting the jackpot. Now, some casino companies are considering a split of their own: effectively dividing their real-estate assets from the operating companies that run the casinos."

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January 20, 2007

Wynn Resorts Mulls Las Vegas Golf Course Plans

Posted by Hunter

We've discussed this in other threads but I thought it would be worthwhile to extract it out and focus the attention on 'The Vegas'.

The LV Biz Press has a blog entry on Wynn Resorts' activity in combining the parcels that make up the golf course into a set of properly zoned properties.

Is the golf course going to be re-developed sooner rather than later?

Update: In a recent interview on the Strip Podcast, Steve Wynn explains that this move was partially done due to the golf course being released from the mortgage collateral for the hotel.

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January 20, 2007

Smoking Gun Posts Steve Wynn's 'Le Reve' Lawsuit

Posted by Hunter

The Smoking Gun, obtainers of mug shots the world over, has posted the legal documents that make up the Wynn vs. Lloyds of London lawsuit regarding paying lost value in the Picasso masterpiece, 'Le Reve'. Wynn asserts that he is owed the difference between a never-consumated sale price and the newly appraised value given that the painting has been restored.

This is a good spot for ongoing discussion on 'Le Reve' and the various damage issues.

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This Wynn Las Vegas press release was issued today to remind people that the popular Broadway musical 'Spamalot' is opening in March in the theater that was formerly home to 'Avenue Q'.

The previews start early March with the actual opening on March 31st. This version of the production will feature John O'Hurly, known for his recurring role on 'Seinfeld' as J. Peterman.

While they were once heralded as bringing in a new wave of entertainment to Las Vegas, shows such as 'Avenue Q', 'Hairspray', and 'We Will Rock You' all faltered. At the same time, 'Mamma Mia' has had a very successful run that is scheduled to end in 2008 and the version of 'Phantom' at The Venetian has seen some success. 'The Producers', another Broadway hit, opens in February at Paris Las Vegas.

I haven't seen 'Spamalot' but I've heard the show is 'wacky' and might be a good fit for Vegas audiences. These shows always suffer from having to be cut down to a running length no longer than 90 minutes, as well as the language barrier with foreign visitors that doesn't exist at non-verbal shows, like those from Cirque du Soleil.

I personally hope that this show works. I really liked 'Avenue Q' and was sad to see it go. I usually really enjoy myself when we spend a night on Broadway in NYC, though I rarely catch touring shows when they come to LA.

Wynn Las Vegas Press Release on 'Spamalot' Coming to Las Vegas

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December 31, 2006

Biggest Las Vegas / Gaming Stories of 2006?

Posted by Hunter

What did you think was the most interesting/biggest story of 2006 that related to Las Vegas and/or casino gambling?

Was it Harrah's being taken private? Wynn Resorts opening in Macau? The Stardust going dark? The insanity around the Tropicana bidding war? I'm interested to hear your take.

The RJ has a story on that topic today with a few examples but we don't have to limit the discussion to those options.

And, for a little bit of history, these are the posts from December 2005. Funny to think of all that has happened this year.

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Thanks to my friend Chris in Hong Kong, we have a few new shots of development progress for several Macau projects.


Wynn Macau / MGM Grand Macau
Venetian Macau
Grand Lisboa

Thanks Chris! Looks like some of these projects are really coming together and by this time next year, all of the above should be operating (and hopefully I will have reported my personal experience in at least a few of them!)

Happy New Year to all. Another great year of growth on this blog and I hope that 2007 will be even bigger.

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December 21, 2006

Fairway Villa Report, December 2006

Posted by Mike E

I just came back from another trip in a Wynn Fairway Villa. It was an amazing experience--far better than the first time I stayed in the villas. I've even thrown in some photos and videos of the trips events.

(More after the jump.)

December 19, 2006

Worst Las Vegas Podcast #11 - December 19th, 2006

Posted by Hunter

I'm finally back with another podcast! This time around I'm talking about my recent trip to Bellagio (which includes meeting up with several readers/listeners and author Dave Schwartz) as well as the big news of the day - Harrah's going private! On top of that I catch up with a few news stories from the last two weeks. Enjoy!!

Here is the link to the photos mentioned in the podcast:

A reminder - feel free to call in and leave us a message about anything Las Vegas or Web site related. The call in number is: 702-508-4232.

Direct RSS:

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December 7, 2006

Wynn Dealers Suit Dismissed

Posted by Hunter

This is actually about a day old but due to some computer issues, I wasn't able to do much posting yesterday.

From the LV Biz Press, in the continuing saga of the Wynn Las Vegas tipping situation, a court dismissed the legal challenge, though the dealers still have several other potential remedies.

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Thanks to reader George, we have an interesting report and photos from a recent trip to Macau. The report is after the jump.

A couple of comments on the report:

* The Sands Macau actually does have a small hotel at the moment and they are planning to expand it to over a hundred rooms in the next few years.

* While the jury is very much still out on Wynn Macau, looking only at the cash volume through that place in the first days we have reported, a lot of money is moving around in that place. Assuming that keeps up and the basic math works, they have potential to make money... Potential.

* Wynn's Tryst - I was under the impression that it was open based on photos from the club and a few reports. Given this report, I'm now not clear as to its status.

* Craps - Too bad no games in Macau. People seem to generally consider it a dying game. Personally, it is by far my favorite. I have seem quotes from Wynn that imply that he believes the same is one of the last generation. Hopefully it is not dying off.

Overall I found the specific comparisons useful for folks like me who are used to Las Vegas/US casinos and who plan to visit Macau sometime in the near future.

I am working on posting the photos that were sent with this story. They will be up soon...

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December 3, 2006

Wynn Resorts Plans to Re-Work Lure Ultra Lounge

Posted by Hunter

It's a slow news today on this Sunday but one interesting tidbit about Lure, the ultra-lounge at Wynn Las Vegas.

Lure has never been a great performer, despite the room being very pretty with a cool outdoor area. Sounds like it will get a facelift and a new name, along with a new marketing campaign early next year:

Thanks to John for submitting this.

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November 30, 2006

Bellagio & Wynn, November '06

Posted by detroit1051

I checked out of a Bellagio Suite in the main tower this morning and have just unpacked in a Wynn Parlor Suite. I tried to start a report early this morning, but Bellagio's internet service was down all night and still wasn't up at 9 AM. I'll offer a few opinions now and then add comments later. After all, I want to enjoy Wynn.

This will not be a trip report, but random thoughts start after the jump.

November 28, 2006

Reader Trip Report: Wynn Las Vegas November 2006

Posted by Hunter

Thanks to reader mike_ch who sent in the trip report from Wynn Las Vegas that you will find after the jump.

The photos that go with this report are now online:

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November 26, 2006

Roll The Bones by David Schwartz - Book Review

Posted by Hunter

Roll The Bones is a new book by Dr. David Schwartz, the director of the Center for Gambling Studies at UNLV. His blog, is a great source for gambling information and news along with the ever-popular casino carpet gallery.

Dave has written several gambling related books in the past, including Suburban Xanadu, a study of the casino resort's evolution (this book features an in-depth look at Martin Stern, Jr., who's work we have mentioned several times in the past here on this site) and Cutting The Wire, a look at the Wire Act and Internet gambling.

You can buy this book here (and it supports this site in a small way): Roll the Bones: The History of Gambling

Keep reading after the jump...

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This podcast includes some audio clips from my recent trip to Las Vegas. I talk about construction on Encore, CityCenter, Palazzo, Aladdin and more. Also, some special guests including Tim and Michelle from Five Hundy By Midnight and loyal contributor Mike E. We listen to a few messages from listeners (thanks for the theme song!) and even find some time to talk Vegas news.

Here is the link to the photos mentioned in the podcast:

A reminder - feel free to call in and leave us a message about anything Las Vegas or Web site related. The call in number is: 702-508-4232.

Direct RSS:

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I spent some time in Las Vegas this weekend (actually, a little more time than I had planned) and I wanted to report on my trip.

First off, I have posted construction photos of Encore, City Center, Bellagio renovations, Aladdin/Planet Hollywood, The Mirage (Japonais and Revolution), The Palazzo, and the pit that will become the Cosmopolitan.

I got to meet with a few readers/listeners, fellow podcasters and friends. I had a short chat with Elaine Wynn who is a real class act.

The photos are posted at this link, plus they are also in their respective categories:

More after the jump...

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November 13, 2006

Mike's Construction (Mini) Update

Posted by Hunter

Another update from Mike on the construction situation. No photos this time but still some good info on Mandalay, Luxor, Excalibur, MGM Grand, Wynn and Stardust.

Keep reading after the jump for the details.

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November 13, 2006

Wynn Redirects Binion and Pays a Dividend

Posted by Hunter

Huh? This one is strange. Two announcements today... First off, from the press release it sounds to me that Binion didn't care for the day-to-day in Macau... Maybe he didn't like living there or something? Certainly sounds like spin to me and hopefully the dividend isn't a smokescreen to that effect.

You can read both releases here:

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This time around we spend most of the podcast talking about Las Vegas nightclubs, specifically which ones are popular right now, what it takes to get in, all about 'bottle service' and other useful info for those folks that are interested in the clubs but maybe haven't yet taken the plunge.

I was lucky enough to get Mike E. on the show to fill in the holes in my knowledge - while I have visited a few of these places, they really aren't 100% my thing. Mike did great and I wanted to thank him again for helping out.

Ok, I hope you guys enjoy the podcast, this one is another long one at just about one hour.

A reminder - feel free to call in and leave us a message about anything Las Vegas or Web site related. The call in number is: 702-508-4232.

Direct RSS:

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November 9, 2006

Tower Suites at Wynn Las Vegas Achieves Mobil 5-Star

Posted by Hunter

This was mentioned in the comments but this is a big deal so I'm doing a full story.

There are no other Mobil 5-Star hotels in Las Vegas and only two restaurants (Alex and Robuchon).

Since this is sure to be controversial with our readers, let the arguing begin! It should be noted that there were several 4-star ratings, including Bellagio, the remainder of Wynn Las Vegas, the Four Seasons, The Venetian, and the Ritz Carlton at Lake Las Vegas.

The R-J Chimes In:

The Sun's Take:

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Wynn Resorts Ltd. reported their third quarter 2006 results today. This was an important quarter for the company as it included the first, albeit small, amount of operations from their second property, Wynn Macau. Also, a large one-time gain from the sale of a Macau sub-concession to PBL put a nice bit of cash into their pockets.

Net revenues for the quarter were $318.1 million. This is up 26.5% from the same quarter in the prior year. Net income for the quarter was $715.7 million but most of that is the one-time event related to the sub-concession.

The net loss has been reduced from $2.2 million last quarter to $1.3 million this quarter. EBITDA was $79.6 million, up 8.7%. I don't have the analysts jive in front of me but I think this is pretty close to what they were predicting.

Wynn Macau, operating for 25 days this quarter, generated net revenues of $45 million and EBITDA of $2.3 million, 81% of which came from table game play. ADR at Wynn Macau was 75.9% and non casino revenues were $4.9 million.

The conference call at 3pm will be on the Web site and we'll be talking in the chat room, which is located here.

For a breakdown of Wynn's results:

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November 7, 2006

What's Up With Wynn?

Posted by detroit1051

Excerpt from 11/7 Wall Street Journal:
"Meanwhile, a flurry of other merger and buyout activity also drove trading in the options market. The call options of luxury casino operator Wynn Resorts Ltd. traded heavily before its earnings results and in the wake of a $3.7 billion management-led buyout offer."

Conference Call announcement describes the call as "Limited." What does that mean?

Thanks to mike_ch for another set of construction updates from the field!

This time around we get info on Encore, Aladdin/Planet Hollywood, Palazzo, Bellagio, MGM Grand, The Mirage, Treasure Island and the last day of the Stardust!

Thanks again to Mike for providing this stuff.

The photos are up in their respective categories but to see all recent photos:

Regarding his question below about The Mirage, they have partnered with the Los Angeles Lakers to be their official Las Vegas hotel. Oh, and by the way Mike, that picture of Bellagio's front desk office - I've always thought that was a great space. Nice shot.

Okay, Mike's update is after the jump.

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October 31, 2006

AAA Five-Diamond Hotels/Restaurants

Posted by detroit1051

AAA announced its Five-Diamond awards for Nevada. I'm sure there will be differing reactions here to the addition of the 5th hotel to the list!

1. The Ritz-Carlton at Lake Las Vegas, Henderson (fourth year)
2. Bellagio, Las Vegas (sixth year)
3. Four Seasons Hotel, Las Vegas (eighth year)
4. Skylofts at the MGM Grand (first year)
5. Wynn Las Vegas, Las Vegas (first year)
1. Alex, Wynn Las Vegas (second year)
2. Jo�l Robuchon at The Mansion, MGM Grand (first year)
3. Le Cirque, Bellagio (fourth year)
4. Picasso, Bellagio (sixth year)
AAA Five-Diamond Awards for 2007

October 27, 2006

Worst Las Vegas Podcast #7 - October 27th, 2006

Posted by Hunter

Hey, we're back with the latest episode of the Worst Las Vegas Podcast - #7.


We talk about the following topics:

* Atlantic City / Trump + Wynn - We talk about what kind of impact a Trump+Wynn partnership might have on Atlantic City and what might possible.

* Construction Update - Thanks to 'mike_ch' for filling us in. This report covers spots like Bellagio's casino upgrades, Palazzo, Wynn's Encore and more. We talk about the article on the blog that is available here:

* What's Changed Since 2004 & Poker in Las Vegas - We talk about what it's like if you haven't visited in a couple of years plus what it is like if you have never sat down at a poker table in Las Vegas, just coming from an online poker environment.

This was a lot of fun to put together and if you're considering playing poker in Vegas, I think this is a must-listen for you. Thanks again to Phil for participating.

Direct RSS:

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October 27, 2006

Las Vegas Construction Update: 10/27/2006

Posted by Hunter

You guys have probably seen Mike's construction updates in the past. Well, we're turning them into a front page story as they are available... Thanks to Mike from all of us for providing this info and taking time out of his day to do this.

The body is after the jump but he's covering the following:

Wynn Las Vegas and Encore

Photos are linked and are posted to the galleries. The most recent RV photos can always be found here:

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October 25, 2006

Wynn and Trump to Team Up in Atlantic City (Updated)

Posted by Hunter

Is Steve Wynn coming back to Atlantic City and is he working with former arch-rival Donald Trump to make it happen?

This has been reported a few places today (including via our listener line - thanks Brian)!

The rumor is that Steve Wynn and Donald Trump are considering some kind of deal to bring Wynn back to AC on the site of Trump Plaza. That could mean a joint venture, Wynn Resorts purchasing the land outright, or nothing at all.

Nothing concrete on this topic but let's open it up for discussion. Thoughts?

Updated: This is gaining more ground:

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October 24, 2006

Q3 Earnings

Posted by detroit1051

Third Quarter earnings are coming out. The RJ gave a preview:
Big Six Earnings Preview

For conference call junkies, a schedule follows the jump.

October 22, 2006

BOOK: Roll The Bones: The History of Gambling

Posted by Hunter

I got my review copy of Dave Schwartz's new book, "Roll The Bones" today and I've started to read it. Dave is a friend of mine and I feel lucky to call him that. He's the number one gambling historian and author of several books. He works at UNLV as the Director of the Center for Gaming Research. His Web site is located here, which we are now proudly hosting for him:

A full review will follow when I'm done but so far, it's great. Anyone that's seriously interested in gambling should buy this book right now.

The link below is from and not only do you get the book for a great price, but we get a small cut of the proceeds, so you are supporting the site and getting what so far seems like a great book.

Ok, here goes: Roll the Bones: The History of Gambling


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October 21, 2006

Worst Las Vegas Podcast #6: Macau: Cotai vs. Peninsula

Posted by Hunter

This is a shorter podcast this time around.

I play a couple of listener calls and talk about Macau, specifically the relationship between the Cotai Strip and the Peninsula and how that will impact operations for Wynn Resorts and Las Vegas Sands.

Call our listener line, anytime: 702-508-4232

You can leave a message that we will read on the air. Grab the number and put it in your cell phone so you can even phone in from Vegas. Also, if you are a casino employee or otherwise have info, you can use this as an anonymous tip line to feed us the goods.

Ready to listen? If you subscribed in iTunes or another player, it's probably already downloading as it's been on the feed for awhile. If you don't use iTunes or aren't already subscribed, the links are below. If you want to listen right here on the site, click through after the jump where we have an embedded player, no download required.

Direct RSS:

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The latest edition of The Strip Podcast features bits of an interview with Steve Wynn mostly related to Macau and the opening of his first venture there last month. If you haven't listened, it's an interesting companion bit to the Sheldon Adelson piece from a few weeks back.

From the interview and others like it, we know that Steve Wynn believes that while development on the so-called 'Cotai Strip' will at some point down the road bear fruit, he thinks that time is 5-7 years off when the area is more built out. Wynn Resorts purchased land on the Cotai Strip and plans to develop up to three hotels there. Wynn's been clear that he thinks Cotai will be great, just not in the next couple of years.

Adelson's position is a bit different. He's currently constructing the first Cotai property, the Venetian Macau. When it opens in 2007, it will at first sit all by itself out there, though it is designed to be a fully integrated resort and will offer a wide array of facilities, much as the Venetian in Las Vegas does today.

I'm not asking if Cotai is a good idea or not - everyone agrees that Cotai is likely the long-term future of Macau. What I'm asking is if this is the right time or if Cotai will have a slow start until more of the planned hotels are on-line...

Will Adelson have to wait until 2010 or 2012 to reap the benefits and is Las Vegas Sands making a mistake to not massively expand the Sands hotel component along with these other projects?

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October 16, 2006

Steve Wynn Puts His Elbow Through Le Reve

Posted by Hunter

Ordinarily I wouldn't post this kind of inane story but it's so funny and strange. Thanks to for pointing it out.

Looks like Steve Wynn accidentally put his elbow through his Picasso, Le Reve.


Update: Looks like he is getting the painting repaired:

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October 10, 2006

LA Times on Macau and a New Rendering of City Center

Posted by Hunter

First up, I tracked down this image that is a rendering of CityCenter - looks more recent than most:

City Center Rendering - Oct. 2006

On an unrelated topic, the LA Times ran a story on Macau that is interesting, though not a lot of new ground:,0,319698,full.story?coll=la-home-travel

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Yes, that's two podcasts in a week... I have posted the fourth RateVegas podcast and this episode has an international bent.

I discuss the basics of Macau along with the info about Wynn Macau opening in early September. I also talk about Harrah's pulling out of competition for the second casino site in Singapore as well as our potential nomination for a "Trippie" award.

On top of all of that, we now have a listener line where you guys can call in to get a message read on the air. The number is: 702-508-4232. Go ahead and call us anytime, from the field in Las Vegas or otherwise.

To listen to the podcast, we have a few options:

Direct RSS:

Click on after the jump to listen to the podcast right here on the Web site.

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September 27, 2006

Wynn Considering Atlantic City?

Posted by Hunter

This was on VT yesterday and I should have posted it then but hey, I was busy.

Anyway, this story out of New Jersey indicates that Wynn Resorts might make a play to build a hotel there. I see this as very possible - along with Mississippi and Nevada, New Jersey is the only gaming jurisdiction in America with any sensible tax and regulatory setup.

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September 20, 2006

Pallo Goes to China

Posted by Hunter

Our friend Steve Friess from The Strip podcast also has a podcast related to pets, The Petcast.

When he was in China he spoke with Steve Wynn a bit about his dogs, who had come along.

Kinda funny on a slow news day. It's near the start of the podcast:

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Steve Friess of popular Las Vegas podcast, The Strip, had published his interview with Las Vegas Sands chairman Sheldon Adelson. Adelson discusses Macau in detail and comments on the Venetian Macau and even Wynn Macau.

The rivalry between Steve Wynn and Sheldon Adelson continues to blossom and has almost reached the level of high comedy. At a certain point you have to wonder if they don't, in a way, see the rivalry as good for business, as a way to get people interested in their properties.

Anyway, it's a very interesting podcast that also includes a Wynn snippet on the tip changes at Wynn Las Vegas.

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September 11, 2006

Harrah's Name Change ; Wynn Macau Opening Video

Posted by Hunter

Two things this morning:

Today in the RJ, Norm! speculates that Harrah's may be changing its corporate name to Caesars and the long rumors Bally's/Horseshoe switch may be in the works:

Also, thanks to a reader for the following video of the opening of Wynn Macau:

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September 6, 2006

Wynn Macau: Photos and a Little Geography

Posted by Hunter

Thanks go out to Chris in Hong Kong for sending his photos of the Wynn Macau opening and shedding a little light on the layout of the place, as no property map is currently available.

First off, some additional interior photos:

More today from the Las Vegas media:

LV Sun -
Review Journal -

Keep reading after the jump.

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September 5, 2006

Wynn Macau Madness / Adelson Fires Back

Posted by Hunter

With Wynn Macau opening today/tomorrow (time zones and all that), there's a flurry of activity discussing the event.

Thanks to Brian for submitting some of these.

And of course, Sheldon Adelson can't resist calling Wynn's Macau resort a 'joke and a half':

UPDATE: Brian wrote in with some GREAT photos:

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September 2, 2006

Reader Report: Bellagio and Wynn

Posted by Hunter

Thanks to reader John Hall for contributing another piece, this time the focus on Bellagio and Wynn Las Vegas. I can't say how much I appreciate contributions from you guys, the loyal readers. If you want to send something in, send it to:

Ok, what do we have here? Well, as regular readers know, we have spent an awful lot of time looking at Steve Wynn properties, and Wynn Las Vegas over all of them. Well, before there was WLV there was Bellagio and it is still a literal cash factory on the Strip. After touring the back of house facilities, I have a renewed appreciation for the property - it's really a work of art in its own way.

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August 29, 2006

Wynn Macau Photos

Posted by Hunter

Thanks to reader John for pointing out that Steve Friess, of popular Las Vegas podcast, The Strip, has posted some photos of Wynn Macau, opening next week.

Also, an article on Steve's trip:


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August 27, 2006

Steve Friess On Wynn Macau

Posted by detroit1051

Steve Friess has written an article in the current Newsweek magazine about Steve Wynn and Macau.

To read the article:

A Vegas-Size Bet On China

August 23, 2006

Wynn Las Vegas Changes Tip Strategies

Posted by Hunter

Starting September 1st, dealers at Wynn Las Vegas will be sharing their tips with pit bosses. This is a dramatic shift for a Strip resort to make - typically pit bosses are salaried and make far less than dealers, a bit of an oddity in the business world where supervisors usually make more than subordinates.

Apparently the dealers are less than pleased and I'm not surprised. Still, I think that this has a good shot at become the new Strip standard. The disparity was growing and a lot of dealers turned down promotions for this reason. This evens it out a bit. I'm sure they'll lose some dealers over this but I doubt any customers will notice.

Thanks to KLAS for the story:

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August 16, 2006

New Photos: Wynn Las Vegas, Encore, Palazzo, Trump

Posted by Hunter

Thanks to reader Motoman, we have some new Vegas photos from I believe July 2006. Enjoy:

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This article, submitted by motoman (thanks!), details the concrete and foundation procedures for constructing Wynn Las Vegas (then called Le Reve) and THEHotel at Mandalay Bay. It makes for an interesting comparison of techniques for sure.

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Wynn Resorts posted their second quarter numbers today.

From the AP:

"The company posted a quarterly loss of $20.1 million, or 20 cents per share, compared with a loss of $41.8 million, or 43 cents per share, during the same period a year ago."

Reaction seems mixed but shares are rising in after hours trading.

Some commentary and details:

AP: Loss Narrows

The Unexpected Loss

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July 30, 2006

Wynn's Direct Marketing Campaign

Posted by detroit1051

A friend alerted me to a Wynn article in DM News, a trade publication. It describes the mailing of 205,000 "video enhanced CD-ROMs" in June and 65,000 more in July. The results have been very impressive. Wynn has tracked 164,000 unique IP addresses uploading and viewing the CD-ROM.

Unfortunately, there was a major factual error in the piece which hurts the credibility of DM News. The article discusses Wynn's competitor, Trump International Tower & Hotel which "...opened across the street a few months after the Wynn debuted last year." Further, "...the resort is not only looking to gain ground against high-end resorts like the Trump...".

I wrote a Letter to the Editor of DM News, pointing out that Trump is not open, is a condo-hotel and is not a direct competitor to Wynn. You wonder what kind of fact-checking DM News does.

Multichannel DM Draws Aces for Wynn Hotel

July 29, 2006

Wynn: Another Chef Leaves

Posted by Mike E

Takashi, the chef Steve lured from Michigan to open Okada has left to open a restaurant in Chicago. Wynn's website has already erased all mention of Takashi. Who will be next?

Okada was/is an excellent restaurant. The new chef comes from San Francisco according to the Wynn site.

I've noticed how Bellagio's restaurants have become more corporate since MGM Mirage took over. I hope Steve keeps the individual identities of his restaurants.
Taksahi Leaves Okada

A press release this morning indicates that famous casino operator Jack Binion is going to run Wynn's International division. Interesting stuff:

Also, an RJ article about Wynn Macau, opening in 40 days:

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Ok, I have some shots from last weekend at Wynn Las Vegas.

A few shots of the construction progress at Encore as well as Wynn's new B Bar.

You can also see that Keno is closed... 'Shoe In' in the Esplanade was also closed and being remodeled.

Thanks to a reader I was able to tour Bellagio's back of house areas and I am working on an article based on that incredibly amazing experience. As of now, said reader will go anonymous - don't want to get anyone in trouble!

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July 16, 2006

Wynn's Former "Avenue Q" Theater

Posted by Mike E

Jonathon Root is an actor who opened and subsequently closed "Avenue Q" at Wynn. He is back in New York performing on Broadway. He made some interesting observations about Wynn's theater in his blog. Here is an excerpt and link to it.

"...The Broadway audiences are spectacular! Don't get me wrong, the
Vegas audiences could be great, but it was very hit-or-miss. One
night we would have a couple hundred people in the house and the
next night there would be a thousand! There was no consistency, no
way to predict how the house would react. This is a comedy. It
thrives off of audience response. That was tough to work around in
Vegas. On Broadway, every show is raucous. The Golden Theatre just
rocks with laughter. Which is another thing: something about the
design of the theatre at the Wynn made it so that the performers on
stage couldn't hear the audience reactions well. People would talk
to me after the show and say, "Wow, did you hear that reaction when
you said blah blah blah?" and I would respond, "Actually, no. No, I
didn't hear it." Something about its cavernous design limited the
audience sound coming up to the stage. In complete contrast, the
Golden Theatre is like a shotgun funnel. All sounds from the
audience shoot right down the lane and connects with you on stage.
THAT, my friends, is a Broadway Theatre. A truly give-and-take
experience where I could hear every chuckle and outright explosive
laughter from the audience. Oh, and did I mention how nice it is to
have a FULL HOUSE?..."

Jonathon Root's blog

Another trip report featuring some high end accommodations, specifically MGM Grand's Skylofts, this time from reader David.

Thanks to David and Mike for passing this along!

June 17, 2006

Encore at Wynn Las Vegas Revealed

Posted by Hunter

"As I walked past the Aqua Theater, home of 'Le Rêve', I could smell flowers. As I passed into the hotel known as 'Encore', I was greeted by warming sheets of natural light, streaming into the vast gardens from the many skylights above. I had thought that Wynn Las Vegas was the pinnacle of comfortable, elegant resort design but once again, the bar has been raised."

We have a full feature on Encore details after the jump... (Warning: Spoilers - if you want to be surprised, stop reading now.)

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So, I'm in Vegas checking out what is new and different and instead of just writing a simple note I decided to record audio as I walked through the properties... So, I guess this is the first Two Way Hard Three 'podcast'. I don't plan on podcasting on any kind of regular basis, this is a convenience thing. It's not short at over 30 minutes.

Anyway, if you don't like to hear people complaining about stuff, this isn't the podcast for you. I listened back and a lot of it is negative - I like talking about how people are screwing up... You have been warned.

NOTE: I recorded this late, late Friday night. I just listened to it again (and edited a bit). It's a little crazy sounding at times, very stream of consciousness. I also sound a little tipsy (never!). Hopefully I won't scare anyone off... Enjoy. I am off to a top secret meeting. Will report back when I have something to report.

Our podcasts are available via the podcast RSS feed:

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June 13, 2006

Weekend Research Trip: Encore, Mirage and More

Posted by Hunter

This Thursday - Saturday will be on a research trip at Wynn Las Vegas (yes, life is tough), working on a detailed story on Encore's development, 'bare' at The Mirage and more. New for this time around - I'll be recording audio as well as writing details. We'll see how that goes. I might go to see 'LOVE', still not sure. Any requests for information, leave them in the comments.

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June 9, 2006

Encore, Palazzo Photos: June 9, '06

Posted by Hunter

I took a few photos today of Encore and Palazzo.

Photos of Encore and Palazzo

The rumors regarding Steve Wynn wanting to take over creative control of Le Reve are correct.

Today the company reported that they have purchased Dragone's interest in the Le Reve production for just over $15MM.

Supposedly Steve wants to add lasers, special effects and pyrotechnics to the show.

SEC Filing for Wynn Resorts

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I discovered this excellent and informative KNPR interview with Wynn Design and Development Executive Vice President Roger Thomas. This interior design guru is responsible for all interiors at Treasure Island, Bellagio and Wynn Las Vegas. Listening to this interview it is clear that nothing there happened by accident. Fascinating interview.

For those that don't listen regularly, KNPR's State of Nevada is a great insight into all things Las Vegas.

Update: I had no idea that Roger Thomas is the son of E. Parry Thomas, the famous Las Vegas banker.

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May 24, 2006

Fountains of Bellagio @ Wynn Macau

Posted by Hunter

Based on this picture, it looks like Steve Wynn may be bringing his 'Fountains of Bellagio' concept to Macau.


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May 22, 2006

Mapping Wynn's Encore

Posted by Hunter

We could also call this entry 'Why Hunter Isn't an Artist for a Living'.

Encore at Wynn Las Vegas, the 1,700+ room hotel that will sit next to WLV has broken ground. As is the standard with Wynn projects, it is somewhat shrouded in secrecy.

Other than Wynn's brief remarks about some kind of retractable roof coupled with county filings, we have little to go on.

I created a very basic site sketch with my guess as to how the buildings will be arranged on the property. Please excuse my limited Photoshop skills - I am not a graphic artist (and it shows). To see my rendering, click after the jump.

We know the tower will be similar to Wynn Las Vegas. I'm guessing it will look like the tower at Wynn Macau, with the 'swoosh' going the opposite way. From the sky, this layout position the towers in a vague 'S' layout and when viewed straight on, the two swooshes, combined with negative space, create something that could be called a 'W'.

Based on the county filing, the low-rise building will be up to ten stories, far higher than Wynn Las Vegas. It sounds like they are trying to use the available acreage by building much more dense this time around.

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May 17, 2006

A Rare Look at Elaine Wynn

Posted by Hunter

Elaine Wynn, wife of casino developer Steve Wynn, doesn't get the kind of media coverage that her husband does (and I doubt that keeps her up at night). As the article states, the most common phrases I hear when Mrs. Wynn is discussed are 'elegant' and 'graceful'. While she might not be the public face of Wynn Resorts, she is a director and her presence is felt in every aspect of Wynn Las Vegas.

New York Times on Elaine Wynn:

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May 7, 2006

Wynn Las Vegas, The Mirage, MGM Grand, Food Poisoning

Posted by detroit1051

Las Vegas, April 22-May 2, 2006
Wynn Las Vegas, The Mirage, MGM Grand, Food Poisoning

Part 1 follows the jump.

Wynn Resorts reported earnings today for their third full quarter of operations.

Net revenues for the quarter were $277.2 million and adjusted net income was $1.1 million. If you include pre-opening expenses and adjustments for 'Avenue Q', that swings to an $11 million loss.


Yes, I am in Las Vegas. This post is a bit stream of consciousness, just random things I noticed so far:

* Wynn Las Vegas have changed the advertising graphics for Le Reve to include actual performance shots. I assume this is to drive home the CDS connection.

* Corsa Cucina, the Wynn restaurant that had to be remodeled right after opening, is now doing brisk business.

* The Sands/LVB entrance for the Wynn Esplanade is being re-done with an outer door and new glass. It is mid-construction but fully open.

* At The Mirage, Ava is gone, Onda is being renovated and Love will include lots of red (if you go behind the curtain as I did, expect to be yelled at).

* The new poker room at The Venetian is really big, not bad looking and totally empty. Maybe 20% full.

* Bellagio is cruising along, seemingly indifferent and impenetrable to competition.The Prada store still has no mens clothes (the staff dutifully described a belt as 'mens clothes' but I disagree). The new employee parking garage is HUGE... Literally almost dwarfing the large signs that straddle Frank Sinatra Drive.

* Planet Aladdin - If anyone was wondering, Desert Passage is being redone. The whole facade is under scaffold.

* Planet Aladdin Interior - Man. So much work to do. These guys can't pull it off. If they aren't dropping the 40ft ceiling, they got nothing. The place feels empty and it always will. By the way, the signs look like they were designed by prisoners.

* Caesars - the 'E' is out on the new Augustus Tower. To me this is the kind of thing that should last a day at most. It is the FREAKING SIGN ON THE STRIP AND THE LIGHT IS BURNED OUT. Fire somebody.

* Paris - The signs of Harrah's taking over are everywhere and since it was a mediocre place to begin with... BTW, I have never been 'hard sold' on a suite upgrade before. I didn't even want one. The check in clerk had a whole sheet with prices AND justifications, FAQ style. Harrah's central. Wow.

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April 28, 2006

Encore at Wynn Las Vegas Breaks Ground

Posted by Hunter

Yup, they did it today, April 28th, the anniversary of WLV's opening, Elaine's birthday and the Desert Inn's opening.

I should have some pictures soon but basically it was the board of directors moving some dirt with shovels...

Encore's logo looks like it is written in script, like 'Wynn', probably his handwriting, with a nice little 'at Wynn Las Vegas' underneath. Very 'Treasure Island at The Mirage' (but the opposite in terms of relation) if you ask me.

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April 28, 2006

Las Vegas Photos, April '06

Posted by detroit1051

I added some photos to my Webshots account. They include, Wynn, Palazzo, Red Rock, Golden Nugget and the Residences at MGM Grand.

Las Vegas Photos

It started with a call a few months ago from my cousin: �What are you doing April 19th through the 22nd?� I was thinking to myself how busy I was and that I�d have to miss work for the weekend. Before I could reply he says, �Because we�re planning on heading to V��

�It�s on!� I reply without even letting him finish his sentence...

Here's my latest report out of Vegas. Click on the link for more. Enjoy!

April 23, 2006 Photo Gallery Macau Photos Updated

Posted by Hunter

Thanks again to Chris from Hong Kong for providing updated photos of construction in Macau for our gallery.

The link is here:

You'll see Wynn Macau, basically completed, along with the MGM Grand and Galaxy Starworld. Enjoy.

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All kinds of interesting stuff today...

Of course the big news is Red Rock Station, opening in just a few days.

Articles in the Review Journal:

and the LA Times:,1,679332.story?ctrack=1&cset=true

Personally I am looking forward to checking it out for myself and taking some photos in about a week and a half.

Beyond that, a little news on Wynn's Encore and the Golf Course stuff:

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April 9, 2006

MacauCasinoWorld Publishes New Photos

Posted by Hunter

Thank to, we have some new photos of the progress of various properties in Macau.

These photos show various resorts such as Wynn Macau, MGM Grand and The Venetian Macau, all of which are showing fantastic progress.

Check 'em out: Macau Photos

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Reading Wynn Las Vegas' most recent SEC filing, a couple of items stood out.

Most of the stuff was very run of the mill but it did note that as of today, the company's lenders have approved the budget, plans and specs for Encore, which was the last issue, even if just a technical one. Groundbreaking is expected April 28th, the one year anniversary of the opening of Wynn Las Vegas.

Also, the golf course development is briefly discussed. Nothing revolutionary, the same old info regarding multiple lakefront hotels on that land. The one interesting detail was the disclosure that they don't expect any construction to begin there until 2009.

For those that like to read this stuff, here goes:

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For years and years, many travelers equated cheap rooms, shrimp cocktails and showgirls with Las Vegas. Hotel rooms under $100 per night were available all up and down the Strip - not just from the Northern cluster of older hotels. As recently as 1999 it wasn't uncommon to be able to book at room at Bellagio for $140/night on weekends.

No longer.

These days, rates for standard rooms have increased and former mid-level properties have been renovated and re-branded in an attempt to convert them to the higher end. Forget about Strip rates under $100 on weekends and don't be freaked out if your sub-par room at the Luxor costs $249.

What happened? Is this bad for the city? Is Las Vegas still a deal? More after the jump.

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March 19, 2006

Interview with Wynn Macau GM in Business Week

Posted by Hunter

Interesting interview and remarks from Grant Bowie, Wynn's GM in Macau:

March 16, 2006

Wynn 10-K

Posted by detroit1051

Wynn Resorts has released its 10-K Filing. It contains detail on '05 results and Encore and Macau plans for '06 and beyond . Encore's cost is now $1.74 Billion, but that figure includes an employee parking structure on Koval Lane, east of Wynn Las Vegas.

Wynn 10-K Filing

March 14, 2006

Wynn Las Vegas Update

Posted by detroit1051

The Las Vegas Business Press provides details on renovations to the ground floor Fairway Villas which overlook the golf course. Mike E. showed Hunter and me the construction zone last November, but Wynn was tight-lipped on the changes at that time. The twelve villas will be even more upscale than when Wynn opened.
Wynn Renovates Fairway Villas After Less Than A Year

The same issue offers insights into other changes underway at Wynn now or to come:
Steve Wynn Not Hesitant To Make Changes to enhance Wynn Las Vegas

March 7, 2006

Wynn, Bellagio, The Mirage

Posted by detroit1051

I spent three nights at Wynn the last week of February, followed by three nights at Bellagio. It was interesting to stay in comparable accommodations at both properties and compare them.

A few weeks back we announced a new interview series here on the site and our first subject we asked was DeRuyter Butler, head of architecture for Wynn Design and Development. Mr. Butler was gracious enough to accept and we began gathering questions.

The interview questions came from the readers. We then whittled them down to what we felt was a good mix of questions covering multiple topics and sent them off.

The answers to the various questions that got passed on are after the jump. Questions are in bold and his responses follow. An apology if your question didn't make the cut, there were quite a few great questions and we had to limit the number to keep this reasonable.

I think Mr. Butler's detailed answers will thrill anyone interested in Wynn Las Vegas, Bellagio and resort design in general. We're lucky to start our interview series with such an interesting subject.

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March 5, 2006

Wynn To Sell Macau Sub-Concession for $1B?

Posted by Hunter

According to the LV Sun, Wynn has struck a deal to sell a sub-concession in Macau to an Australian company for $1 billion dollars.

Update: Looks like it is official, though a little less at $900MM.

The press release:

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February 23, 2006

Wynn Resorts: Loss Narrows

Posted by Hunter

Blogging live from a Wynn Las Vegas parlor suite, here's the links to Wynn's earnings, released today:

Yes, they are still posting losses but looking at the recurring vs. non-recurring items, things look pretty good for Wynn Las Vegas.

I listened to the conference call while sitting on the tarmac waiting to take off. Steve talked mostly about Macau. They said they will have three sites on Cotai that they will operate. He sounded really excited about China.

Wynn Macau opens September 5th - he made the call today.

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February 22, 2006

Some New Macau Photos

Posted by Hunter

Thanks to reader Karl who has sent some new Macau photos.

I posted them on my photo site:


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February 19, 2006

Podcaster Interviews Wynn: 'Q' Closing, 'Wynn Parkway'?

Posted by Hunter

So, I go away for the weekend and don't take my computer along and guess what happens? Podcaster Steve Friess interviews Steve Wynn and their conversation ranges from the closing of 'Avenue Q' to the ultimate development of the Wynn Golf Course.

If you're interested, the best thing to do is to listen to the entire podcast. Still, some brief highlights:

  • Wynn estimates he will save between $75 and $85MM by using the 'Q' theater for 'Spamalot'. Also, the convention space that will be built for Encore will be able to connect directly to WLV's convention space, something impossible if the Grail Theater would have been built as planned.
  • 'Avenue Q' was making money but not enough money to keep it in that spot. They looked for other, smaller spots but couldn't find something the right size.
  • Eventually the golf course will go and be split into several parcels. Up to two hotels and a giant lake will be built on parcels between the existing Fairway Villas and what is the half-way point through the course.
  • A 135ft tree lined 'Wynn Parkway' will eventually run through the parcel, connecting all of these various resorts.

The podcast is located here:

Also, for more on Encore, the RJ had an article recently:

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February 15, 2006

'Avenue Q' To Close; Golf Course Safe (for now)

Posted by detroit1051

The Review Journal reports 'Avenue Q' will end its run in May. The theater will be used for the "Spamalot' production. This will eliminate the need to construct another theater at this time.

Read the article at:
Avenue Q To End Run

Interview Completed: Posted here.

Update: I picked the questions and they are being sent to Wynn Resorts to be answered. I tried to pick questions that represented a range of topics. In some places I was able to combine questions and still retain what I believed was the questions true intent. Hopefully I maintained that for you guys. Anyway, as soon as we have a response, it will of course be posted on the blog as a new article.

We're starting a new semi-regular feature on the blog - an interview series. This series is different than other interviews for an important reason - you, the readers, submit the questions! It works like this: you add potential questions as comments on this story. In about a week, I will then pick the ten best/most interesting questions and send them to the interview subject. The responses will be printed in a follow-up story. Feel free to submit more than once but please make sure one comment = one question.

I've started to line up some interesting gaming industry heavyweights to participate. I'm personally very excited about the person we're kicking off with. DeRuyter Butler has been involved in designing some of the Strip's most iconic casinos. Working with Steve Wynn since 1982 he was involved with projects at the Golden Nugget, The Mirage and Treasure Island and was the primary design architect for Beau Rivage, Bellagio and Wynn Las Vegas. Recently, Mr. Butler has been overseeing the finalization of Wynn Macau and the development of Encore, Wynn Las Vegas' sister resort. Butler's creations are one of the major inspirations that inspired this site in the first place, we are honored to have him. Please submit your questions, one per comment, below.

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February 4, 2006

Strong Opinions On Wynn Las Vegas

Posted by detroit1051

Hail2skins alerted us to a detailed review of Wynn Las Vegas which was posted by "Pisces". I happen to disagree with much of what he or she wrote, but it would be interesting to have a discussion on the points raised in the review.
Here's the link:
Detailed Wynn Review

I spent the weekend in Las Vegas at The Mirage. This was my first time as a guest there since Wynn Las Vegas opened this past April. I am happy to report that despite the fact that I'll probably stay at Wynn whenever I can, The Mirage will fill in when Steveland is full or overpriced. The stated purpose of this trip was for a friend's birthday but fortunately for me, I had some time to catch up on all of the changes since my last trip six weeks ago.

My main focus was to see how The Mirage looked and felt after having a facelift. I also made it over to WLV to see Corsa after its re-design.

The photos from this trip are detailed here in this entry. To read the rest of this post, click the link and keep reading.

January 23, 2006

Photos: Macau, Wynn Changes, The Mirage and More!

Posted by Hunter

Howdy folks, back from Las Vegas with a photo update. I'll follow this with a written opinion piece as soon as I can.

Before we get to Vegas though, let's look at Macau. Our man on the scene Chris has written in with some fresh photos of Wynn Macau, The Venetian, Galaxy Starworld, Grand Emperor and more. Thanks again to Chris for keeping us westerners up to date.

The Macau photos are located here, the new ones are on that second page and the third as well. Enjoy.

On the Vegas side of things, the pictures include the updated Corsa Cucina at Wynn Las Vegas, Kokomo's, STACK and Fin at The Mirage, and some great shots from MIX at the top of THEHotel. Some of the shots, especially of STACK, didn't come out very well. I included them because unfortunately that was the best I have and I know you guys wanted to see what it looks like.

Generally, some really exciting changes at The Mirage and even Wynn. I'll save the bulk of this for my other post but we did eat at STACK and loved it, plus we spent an evening at Tryst, Wynn's re-born nightclub, formerly known as La Bete. The changes at The Mirage have dramatically altered the customer profile, even in this short amount of time. Anyway, more on that when I write my report. For now, enjoy the photos:

Update (Monday Eve.): I've been working on my other article but I found that I'm writing more than I thought so it's going a bit slow. Looking like it will be published tomorrow morning instead of tonight. Enjoy the pictures in the meantime.

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January 23, 2006

Photos: Macau, Wynn Changes, The Mirage and More!

Posted by Hunter

Howdy folks, back from Las Vegas with a photo update. I'll follow this with a written opinion piece as soon as I can.

Before we get to Vegas though, let's look at Macau. Our man on the scene Chris has written in with some fresh photos of Wynn Macau, The Venetian, Galaxy Starworld, Grand Emperor and more. Thanks again to Chris for keeping us westerners up to date.

The Macau photos are located here, the new ones are on that second page and the third as well. Enjoy.

On the Vegas side of things, the pictures include the updated Corsa Cucina at Wynn Las Vegas, Kokomo's, STACK and Fin at The Mirage, and some great shots from MIX at the top of THEHotel. Some of the shots, especially of STACK, didn't come out very well. I included them because unfortunately that was the best I have and I know you guys wanted to see what it looks like.

Generally, some really exciting changes at The Mirage and even Wynn. I'll save the bulk of this for my other post but we did eat at STACK and loved it, plus we spent an evening at Tryst, Wynn's re-born nightclub, formerly known as La Bete. The changes at The Mirage have dramatically altered the customer profile, even in this short amount of time. Anyway, more on that when I write my report. For now, enjoy the photos:

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Sorry I missed these over the weekend, I was doing research in Las Vegas.

The Clark County Planning Commission shared some details of upcoming projects for the New Frontier site and Wynn's Encore project.

Here's the Las Vegas Sun article discussion both: Las Vegas Sun.

If you want to read the commission's materials, they are located here:

New Frontier Plans
Encore at Wynn Las Vegas Plans

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January 17, 2006

Avenue Q 2.0 - Show Tweaked For Wynn Las Vegas

Posted by Hunter

According to the blog of a cast member, the version of Avenue Q that is showing at Wynn Las Vegas has been slightly tweaked to accommodate the Vegas visitor, and I assume to help pick up ticket sales.

For the blog entry, check here. And the previous entry detailing the changes, here.

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I love my readers. Fortunately for me, I live relatively close to Las Vegas. It's easy to get there, even by car. Still, a town that moves this fast, there's bound to be some changes that I can't report in real-time.

That's where you guys come in... Mike E. has reported back with the latest from Wynn Las Vegas (Corsa changes, high limit stuff, etc...) and The Mirage (new nightclub, restaurants, paint). Not only are you getting the boots on the ground updates, it's a great read.

Follow along after the jump to check out Mike's excellent contribution. I also have a couple of comments at the end...

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December 28, 2005 Gets a New Look and Wynn Opens Tryst

Posted by Hunter

As part of the new look inside the casino, The Mirage has updated their Web site, The new site features a much cleaner look, lots of white space and simple navigation. A great casino Web site and much better than many of its siblings.

Also, with Tryst set to replace La Bete at Wynn in a few days, the press release has been making the rounds (after the jump).

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December 23, 2005

Reader Reviews: Wynn Las Vegas December 2005

Posted by Hunter

Another segment in our 'Reader Reviews' category, reader John Hall was kind enough to submit his thoughts after a recent stay at Wynn Las Vegas (12/19-12/21). These segments are not written by our 'staff' but instead provided by our loyal readers. To submit your own, please send it to More after the jump.

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December 11, 2005

Updated Macau Photos Posted

Posted by Hunter

Thanks to Chris from Hong Kong, we have updated the Macau photos on our photo site. Those shots are located here:

Thanks again to Chris for these great shots.

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Looks like the gallery is going to be history after all - everyone needs a Rolex!

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December 10, 2005

Wynn Departs Singapore Bidding Process?

Posted by Hunter

According to this RJ article, Wynn Resorts will not be bidding on a potential project for Singapore:

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December 7, 2005

Wynn Details Macau Concession Plans

Posted by Hunter

In a move that will surely please investors, Wynn has discussed plans to possibly offer sub-concessions or joint ventures in Macau:

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December 6, 2005

Wynn To Proceed With Encore

Posted by detroit1051

The Las Vegas Sun reports that Steve Wynn will start construction on the 2,030 suite Encore tower next spring. The article implies Encore will be a high-end property in which many of the comped casino guests will reside. A 40,000 sq ft casino is very small; will it be primarily a high-limit pit? When completed in two years, Wynn Las Vegas will be a 4,800 room property.

To read the Las Vegas Sun Column:
Wynn To Build Encore

December 4, 2005

Reader Review: Bellagio: Part III

Posted by detroit1051

Part III: Bellagio

Bellagio was the last stop on this unusually long trip to Las Vegas. It was interesting to stay at both Wynn and Bellagio on the same trip and compare my impressions of each. Until Wynn opened in April, Bellagio had been my property of choice since opening day in October, 1998. It still has much going for it.

November 27, 2005

Reader Review: Wynn Las Vegas

Posted by Hunter

Here we are with another installment of our 'Reader Reviews'. This time, reader 'Mike C' has been kind enough to write up his recent stay at Wynn Las Vegas.

So, sit back and enjoy the ride after the jump.

As always, readers can submit reviews to:

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November 24, 2005

Wynn Las Vegas Fairway Villa Trip Report

Posted by Hunter

Howdy! Thanks to fellow Vegas fanatic Mike E, we have a trip report direct from a Wynn Las Vegas Fairway Villa. I was lucky enough to see this villa for myself this week and thus his trip report will be interwoven with my own comments, as we've done in the past.

Photos of the villa are located here:

From here on, it is Mike talking unless you see the [Hunter] notation. More after the jump!

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November 10, 2005

A Different Perspective on Wynn

Posted by detroit1051

"In Business Las Vegas" gives some performance comparisons between Wynn Las Vegas, Bellagio and Venetian. After reading so many negative comments about Wynn on various gaming message boards, this was a welcome change.

Wynn Las Vegas Numbers Dispel Rumors of Problems

November 8, 2005

The Bellagio We Never Knew

Posted by Hunter

About a year ago I was contacted by the Jerde Partnership, one of the architects that worked on Bellagio for Steve Wynn. They had seen some photos that I had online and were looking for permission to re-print them. In return I asked to see the sketches, pictures and other materials they developed for Mirage Resorts.

Keep Reading For More...

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November 5, 2005

Updated Macau Photos Posted

Posted by Hunter

Thanks again to Chris, we have some new Macau photos posted here:


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November 3, 2005

Earnings: Wynn Resorts and Las Vegas Sands

Posted by Hunter

Wynn Las Vegas Earnings:

Net Revenues: $251.4 million
Adjusted Net Loss: $1 million (due to pre-opening and opening expenses and includes Macau and Encore expense)

Net Gaming Revenues: $123 million
Table Game Drop: $414.6 million ($7,321 win per day)
Slot Machine Win Per Unit Per Day: $251 on $897.1 million of volume

Gross Non-Gaming Revenue: $164.7 million / Net: $128.4 million
ADR: $264 and occupancy was 93%
REVPAR: $246

Overall, EBITDA of $73.2 million, 29.1% margin.

More Details:

Las Vegas Sands Earnings:

Net Revenues: $437.6 million (up 27% from last year)
Adjusted Net Income: $99 million

They break out a lot more details for the various properties:

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November 1, 2005

Wynn, Landry's In Dispute

Posted by Hunter

This has been circulating for a few days and now we have a front page article in the LV Sun.

This has to do with a hiring dispute between Wynn and a former table games supervisor who wants to go work at the Golden Nugget in Laughlin.

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October 27, 2005

New York Times on Las Vegas Restaurants

Posted by Hunter

An nice article (registration required) from the New York Times on the current restaurant scene in Las Vegas:

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Courtesy of Clark County, some additional information on progress/permits for Encore at Wynn Las Vegas and the Palazzo site, next to The Venetian.

Palazzo Permits

Encore Permits.

Neither contains any new earth-shattering information but it does show Encore going up in the room count department a good bit.

Now, this next set of permits are for a smaller expansion for Wynn Las Vegas, to include the Spamalot Theater, as well as some additional casino, retail and some other uses... 20,000 in additional casino space? Interesting.

Wynn Las Vegas Spamalot Expansion

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October 23, 2005

Macau Update

Posted by Hunter

We've got some more information on developments in Macau, the former Portuguese colony that allows Las Vegas style gambling in China near Hong Kong.

Thanks to reader Chris, we have some great first hand info as well as pictures. For those that missed them last time, we posted a bunch of his shots here: Some great shots!

This time around we have a couple more photos from Chris and they will be in the Macau group on the above site very soon.

Below, find some more comments from Chris regarding Macau developments (after the jump)...

Thanks again to Chris - he's providing us with a unique insight into Macau development that otherwise we just wouldn't have. Thank you Chris and keep it coming!

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October 20, 2005

Wynn's Suites

Posted by detroit1051

Mike P commented in 'Las Vegas Photography':
"My wife and I are in a "Salon Suite" at the Wynn for a week. I have a camera with me which I might pull out of its bag. Is there anything you'd like to know about the suites?"

Mike and anyone else, it would be interesting to get your views on Wynn's suites. I've only seen the Salon Suite when Housekeeping had the door open of the one across the hall from my Executive Suite, a large room but not a real suite.

When Wynn's website went live, I compared the suite floorplans to those at Bellagio. As nice as the Salon Suite looks in photos, I wonder how it compares to Bellagio's Penthouse Suite. The Salon Suite has ,1,950 sq ft compared to Bellagio's one bedroom Penthouse Suite which has 1,536 sq ft. Yet, the Salon Suite has only one large bath and a powder room compared to Bellagio's His and Her Baths plus a powder room. Wynn does have a Massage Room.

Bellagio's 1,020 sq ft Bellagio Suite has one bedroom and 2.5 baths. The comparable Parlor Suite at Wynn has 1,280 sq ft and has 1.5 baths.

Wynn's 933 sq ft Executive Suite is one large, combined living and sleeping area, yet it has 2 full baths. Bellagio's Salone Suite is 853 sq ft, has a combined living and sleeping area and one large bath.

Since Steve Wynn built both hotels, I wonder why he didn't put two full baths in the two largest suites, but he did in the one-room Executive Suite.

I realize there are more important issues in the world than Las Vegas suites, but it just seems odd to me. Whether it's a couple or two friends traveling, the second bath comes in handy.

Having said all that, I'm looking forward to my fourth trip to Wynn next month.

October 20, 2005

Wynn Closing Art Gallery?

Posted by Hunter

Heard around town, the gallery at Wynn may be closing.

My thoughts? Bad move - the gallery is a semi-unique feature that sets the resort apart. The collection is small but has some pretty amazing works, including 'Le Reve'.

Wynn Closing Gallery?

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October 14, 2005

Wynn Drops B Bar Music

Posted by detroit1051

The Las Vegas Sun reports the B Bar will be turned into a high-rollers lounge:

"Someone got fired, a new guy came in -- they're changing the room we're in now, turning it into a high rollers lounge,"

Wynn needs music in the B Bar and other lounges. Even Bellagio has kept the pianist in Petrossian and music in the Baccarat Bar. If this report is true, I'm disappointed.

Las Vegas Sun Column on Wynn's B Bar

October 9, 2005

Macau Construction Photos

Posted by Hunter

Courtesy of reader Chris, we have a bunch of construction photos from Macau to share.

The photos are located here: Macau Photos on


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We went for a last minute trip to Las Vegas this past weekend and I decided to go out and take some photos to keep my friendly readers up to date.

The good stuff - October 2005 Photos - The Mirage, Wynn, Bellagio and More (My RateVegas photo gallery still has some issues - Flickr for now)...

Read more after the jump...

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October 4, 2005

Encore on Hold?

Posted by detroit1051

Gaming Today reports that Wynn's Encore may be on hold, the golf course is still under consideration and Macau may open a month early

To read further:
Wynn's Encore Waits Backstage

October 1, 2005

Wynn's Wing Lei

Posted by detroit1051

This excerpt from a review of Wing Lei at Wynn gives one example of why the property cost $3 Billion:

>>Seating is at elegantly decorated tables whose settings include gold chopsticks and chopstick holders, and high-backed, red velvet-armed tapestry chairs which look as if they might have been designed for Bertolucci's The Last Emperor. They are, by far, the most beautiful restaurant chairs in the city, and rumor has it they cost close to $1,500 apiece.<<

The article in the October issue of Las Vegas Life may be found at:
Steve Wynn's restaurant Wing Lei may be a bit pricey, but it offers a magnificent Chinese dining experience

September 21, 2005

Reader Review: Wynn Las Vegas

Posted by Hunter

Today we have a reader review from Tom and his recent stay at Wynn Las Vegas. Remember that we accept reader reviews at this email.

"A great admirer of Wynn’s accomplishments, I nonetheless had mixed emotions about his acquisition of the Desert Inn. A major remodel of the DI completed in 1997 resulted in a resort unlike anything else on the Strip at the time. Though relatively small, the DI had real class. Luxurious accommodations and public spaces were made complete with gracious, attentive service. From room attendants to stickmen, the employees of the DI consistently delivered outstanding customer service. How would Wynn compare with the DI? Would it measure up to my high expectations?"

Click to read after the jump...

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September 14, 2005

More Details on Wynn Macau

Posted by Hunter

Some additional information on Wynn Macau is reported in this article:

Details on Wynn Macau

The casino is slated to open in mid-2006.

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September 2, 2005

Vegas Today and Tomorrow

Posted by Hunter

We always like to let folks know about other Las Vegas sites that we're into.

Vegas Today and Tomorrow

This site shows current and upcoming construction, along with some educated guesses about stuff like Encore at Wynn and Project City Center.

Anyone interested in Las Vegas construction should be checking this site on a regular basis.

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September 2, 2005

'Avenue Q' to Debut at Wynn Las Vegas

Posted by Hunter

The hit Broadway musical featuring singing puppets, 'Avenue Q', opens to its first non-preview audiences on September 8th.

Instead of doing a national tour, Wynn Las Vegas has locked up the performance rights and built a theater specifically for the show.

Reports from the preview audiences are very strong. If you're looking for something fun and funny to do in Las Vegas, this is a great option.

Avenue Q to Open in Las Vegas

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August 29, 2005

CT Paper Finds Wynn A Mixed Bag

Posted by Hunter

A long article that goes into some heavy detail about a stay at Wynn.

I don't agree with everything written but the experiences are well laid out.

Wynn Some, Lose Some

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August 18, 2005

Wired on Wynn

Posted by Hunter

For those interested in the technology behind Wynn Las Vegas, this Wired article talks about what goes into a $2.7B hotel.

Wired on Wynn

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August 13, 2005

Wynn Weekend

Posted by detroit1051

Here are some of my notes from last weekend at Wynn. I know some readers get tired of �All Wynn, All The Time�, but Wynn is an important addition to Las Vegas� casino and hotel choices. So, fair warning. If Wynn bores you, don�t read any further.

August 3, 2005

Encore at Wynn Las Vegas Room Count Details

Posted by Hunter

Along with Wynn Resort's recently filed 10-Q with the SEC, some details about the Encore project are available.

Currently, the de-facto expansion of Wynn Las Vegas will feature 1,550 rooms, of which 300 are suites.

Encore will open in the 2nd or 3rd quarter of 2008.

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August 1, 2005

Wynn Resorts Announces Second Quarter Results

Posted by Hunter

Wynn Resorts announced second quarter results today, including 64 days of operation of Wynn Las Vegas.

The company reported a loss of $35.2M, mostly caused by opening expenses for the resort.

In those 64 days, Wynn Las Vegas (WLV) generated $201M in revenue, or $3.14M/day. Of this revenue, gaming was $98M, or almost 50%. Slots were $34M of that, tables $62M.

ADR (average daily rate) for the hotel was $284 with occupancy rates of 90.1%.

WLV EBITDA was $58.7M, meaning margins of about 30%. Pre-opening costs were $37M.

Steve Wynn's statement follows:

"The initial response from customers and employees has been very gratifying. In our first two months of operations, we achieved outstanding revenue numbers in various departments including slots, tables and retail. We deliberately and substantially overstaffed in order to offset our expected initial disadvantages in productivity: we had more than 9,000 employees working with approximately 58 newly integrated operating systems. In the upcoming months, our main focus will be on raising margins through increased operational efficiencies."
Complete Press Release: Wynn Resorts 2nd Quarter

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It's been awhile but our faithful readers will remember that the last time we met we covered Caesars Palace, Harrah's, The Flamingo and the Imperial Palace.

Sorry for the delay loyal readers. Since we last me the blog has been redesigned and another blog author, detroit1051, has been added to help fill your need for Vegas dirt. In this installment we take a look at The Mirage, Treasure Island, The Venetian and Wynn Las Vegas - three of which were built by Steve Wynn.

Disclaimer: I own some stock in both Wynn Resorts and Las Vegas Sands (but not MGM MIRAGE)... I think that you'll find my reviews 'fair and balanced' but in the spirit of full disclosure...

STRIPPING continues after the jump...

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July 27, 2005

Gaming's Billionaires

Posted by Hunter

A quick look at some of the billionaires involved in gaming. From Steve Wynn to Sheldon Adelson to Kirk Kerkorian, a quick rundown.

Gaming's Billionaires

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July 25, 2005

Wynn To Get Spamalot

Posted by Hunter

After months of speculation, it has been confirmed that Broadway musical Spamalot is heading to Wynn Las Vegas.

Wynn Gets Spamalot

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July 24, 2005

Singapore Casinos

Posted by detroit1051

In the May 16, 2005 Las Vegas Sun, Steve Wynn was quoted as being very critical of the Singapore government's direct involvement in designing Singapore's casino project. Wynn said, "Don't issue thunderbolts of wisdom from the top of Mount Olympus. Ultimately, this is not between me and the government, it's between me and the public."

I wondered at the time whether Wynn's outspokenness eliminated him from consideration. Today's Las Vegas Review Journal reports that Wall Street analysts question the wisdom of investing $3.5 billion in two Singapore casino projects. It may well be that Steve Wynn was the first to see the potential downside of Singapore.

Read the LV Review Journal article here:
Gaming Analysts Wonder If Singapore Plans Sensible

July 18, 2005 Best Of Reader Questions

Posted by Hunter

Some readers may know that part of our parent site,, is a 'Reader Question' area where our guests can write in and ask their vacation questions for me to answer.

Over the course of the last five years we've answered thousands of these important queries, on topics from luxury to Luxor and hot dogs to hot streaks. Some questions are bizarre, others seem to be repeated weekly. All are a good read.

In this post I'll chronicle some of the more interesting items. If you want to read all of the questions completely uncensored, you can also head over to Reader Questions and get the goods for yourself (or submit your own). I will probably make this a semi-regular column here on the blog.

The answers posted are the one I originally wrote when the question was asked. Keep reading after the jump.

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July 17, 2005

Chicago Tribune Looks at Wynn Las Vegas

Posted by Hunter

Sometimes the blog seems like 'all Wynn all the time'... Well, with the hotel still so new, there's just a lot of news out there.

The Chicago Tribune weighs in on the Strip's newest casino.

Chicago Tribune: Wynn Las Vegas - Where Did The Money Go?

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July 16, 2005

New York Times on Wynn Las Vegas

Posted by Hunter

The Travel section of the New York Times looks at Wynn Las Vegas:

Wynn in NYT

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July 12, 2005

Wynn Las Vegas Boosts Record May Win For Nevada

Posted by Hunter

According to the latest figures from the Nevada Gaming Commission, Wynn Las Vegas helped push the monthly gaming win for May to record levels:

Wynn Boosts May Win

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I sometimes forget that new readers may not be aware of all of the thousands of photos that we have cataloged...

So, as a reminder, please be sure to visit our Las Vegas photo gallery at

Wynn Las Vegas Photos
All Las Vegas Photos


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July 11, 2005

Macau Gaming Update: Wynn Macau and More

Posted by Hunter

This was previously posted in the comments but deserves front page status.

An article from the Las Vegas Sun on the progress of new casino construction in Macau, China.

Will Macau be the next Las Vegas? Wynn and Las Vegas Sands shareholders sure hope so!

Macau: The Next Vegas?

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For all the talk about Wynn Las Vegas, let's not forget what some folks regard as Steve Wynn's true masterpiece: Bellagio.

Fortunately, the LA Times hasn't as they compare it to Wynn's namesake. Read it: Bellagio Revisited

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July 6, 2005

Wynn Las Vegas To Get 'Spamalot'?

Posted by Hunter

According to LVRJ's Norm Clarke, Wynn Resorts is close to signing up the hit Broadway musical 'Spamalot' for their Las Vegas resort.

Hard to see how this would fit in with the rest of the resort's entertainment offerings.

'Avenue Q' is set to open in the Broadway Theater in September and Le Reve is running in the Wynn Theater, custom built to their specifications. While Steve Wynn is known to embrace change and fix things that don't work, backing away from Le Reve would be a major cost and a black mark for the resort.

Perhaps 'Q' will share the Broadway Theater with 'Spamalot'? Or perhaps this deal is for the upcoming Encore expansion, though that is still several years out.

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July 5, 2005

Wine Spectator on Wynn Las Vegas

Posted by Hunter

Thanks to Detroit1051 for providing this.

Wine Spectator Feature on Wynn Las Vegas' Restaurants

The July 31 issue of Wine Spectator has its largest feature story on Wynn Las Vegas' restaurants, the on-site chefs and wine offerings.

The article is 15 pages of text and spectacular photography of the restaurants. The writer, Harvey Steiman, Editor at Large, interviewed the chefs before Wynn opened, and he followed up with visits two weeks after opening. Thus, it was written too early to provide reviews, but he explains in detail, Steve Wynn's and the chefs' concepts for each of their restaurants.

Wynn could not have bought better advertising for the property. Readers will want to visit the restaurants based on the word pictures and the photography. I have to assume the typical Wine Spectator reader is in the
demographic Steve wants to attract. Wine Spectator did a similar piece on Bellagio's restaurants shortly after it opened which must have been successful for both the magazine and Steve.

Although all the restaurants received favorable comments, it seemed to me the writer was most impressed with Bartolotta Ristorante di Mare for both the unique seafood and the cabana-style outdoor dining.

The only slightly less than positive comment in the article was the note that two weeks after opening, some of the restaurants had empty seats, raising the question as to whether Las Vegas can support the finest of fine dining. I don't believe that's an issue. Picasso at Bellagio and Alex Stratta's Renoir at The Mirage broke new ground, followed by other restaurants ar other properties.

The write noted a problem some of us have noticed, the traffic jam of people at the circular escalators which makes access difficult to SW Steakhouse and Daniel Boulud.

Investors in WYNN as well as food and wine lovers should be encouraged by this article. Subscribers received this issue last week. I bought it today at Barnes & Noble. The website, has not been updated with the new issue yet, and there is no certainty the article and
photos will be accessible online.

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July 2, 2005

Wynn Las Vegas Redeems Itself

Posted by Hunter

Some of you may remember the letter I sent after our first stay and the subsequent generic response.

Yesterday I received another letter from management. It addressed each of my issues specifically and offered to comp a return stay.

I'm not sure why the first letter even went out - this was the correct way to respond to a customer query.

Props to Wynn Las Vegas for getting a handle on customer service.

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June 28, 2005

Wynn Macau Taking Shape

Posted by Hunter

Courtesy of Wynn Resorts, some new photos of the models for Wynn Macau, opening in just over one year from now.

Site With Superimposed Model
Wynn Macau Model
Wynn Macau Under Construction

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June 24, 2005

Changes Coming to Wynn Las Vegas

Posted by Hunter

Some interesting changes are coming to Wynn Las Vegas, based both on guest feedback and some underperforming areas.

Here's what we've heard:

  • The baccarat salon will be further enclosed to make it more private. The glass walls will be replaced with mirrors and curtains added to reduce visibility into the room.
  • The 'B Bar' is considered a bit of a mistake - or at least a missed opportunity. A walk-up bar, perhaps with video poker, will be added to that area.
  • Corsa Cucina will be closed for a complete remodel to feature wood tones and leather. The restaurant is underperforming and the current 'race car' design isn't helping.
  • While the ultralounge Lure is doing very well, the nightclub La Bete is not. La Bete will be heavily changed, perhaps even being reborn with a new name.
  • The tiles that are coming up due to heavy visitor traffic are too much for maintenance to keep up with. They are trying to figure out ways to protect it.
  • The open waterways in the atrium villa will be getting a glass protective wall. Too many people have fallen in.

The goal is 'done by Labor Day', but that seems pretty ambitious, as most are still on the drawing board. One thing is clear - they are not afraid to change areas that don't work at Wynn.

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That's not my title, that was the name of the session at the Casino Design 2005 conference at Wynn Las Vegas.

While there were a lot of sessions that focused on general design themes and trends, this kick-off panel was looking directly at the recently completed $2.7 billion Wynn Las Vegas complex.

More after the jump...

This is a trip report from reader detroit1051. What I've done is to throw my new comments on Wynn into the mix as he discusses certain aspects of the resort. It's fairly long so you have to click through to read the contents. Enjoy.

June 23, 2005

Casino Design 2005: Wynn Las Vegas

Posted by Hunter

We're onsite for the conference.

Checked into Wynn and I can say at first glance, a lot of improvements have been made in the past 6 weeks.

I took some photos of Wynn and The Mirage's new high roller room.

They are going up on Flickr now: June 2005 Trip Photos

More updates to come tomorrow.

June 22, 2005

Gaming Executive Pay Scale

Posted by Hunter

VegasTripping compiled a nice little table of industry pay: Industry Pay Scales

Wynn's doing pretty well for not having a resort in operation until 2 months ago!

June 20, 2005

Wynn Las Vegas Marketing

Posted by Hunter

Today I received a marketing mailing from Wynn Las Vegas. I get these from Las Vegas casinos all the time but this one was different.

This was a fold-out booklet that included a multi-media presentation on a CD-ROM, plus it even works on MacOS X.

Just an FYI for those folks that are following Wynn closely.

According to some Wall St. research published recently in the LVRJ, analysts believe that Wynn Resorts will have the third largest annual revenues in the industry by 2006.

Still, their $2.8B is dwarfed by the $9B and $7.5B that are expected to be generated by Harrah's and MGM MIRAGE.

For the full article, check out this link (LVRJ).

A few quick notes for this Friday...

According to Norm! in the LVRJ, Wynn is trying to rescue his floundering nightclub, La Bete:
Norm at LVRJ

Wynn's Hiring Chief Discusses Ramping Up For The Opening (LVRJ)
Arte Nathan Talks

Could Lake Tahoe Have Scuttled the Harrah's Caesars Merger? (LVRJ)
FTC Looks At Tahoe

Gaming Win Down From March; Still Sets Record (LVRJ)
Gaming Win April 2005

June 9, 2005

Encore at Wynn on Ice?

Posted by Hunter

As has been the rumor since the opening of Wynn Las Vegas, the article below seems to indicate that the schedule for Encore is being moved a bit.

Reuters Article

Last month I posted a copy of the letter that I sent to Wynn execs Steve Wynn, Marc Schorr and Richard Cotter (EVP Hotel/F&B).

Well, I received a response and I can say I'm disappointed.

The letter I got back (from Cotter's office) was a generic form letter response, same as you would get filling in any guest card. I would print it here but it would be pointless.

Maybe I shouldn't have expected more, but I did. Past letters to other resorts have gotten much more personal attention.

For instance, a letter to then Mandalay chair Mike Ensign netted a response from his office with specific mention of the items I discussed in my original note. A later letter to TI management was followed by a phone call with the head of Table Games.

I think Wynn Las Vegas folks probably do care and appreciate the response but if I take the time to write them a letter, I expect a real response - not 'Guest Letter Response.doc' with my name at the top. Maybe that's just me.

For what it is worth, the stationary is nice!

June 6, 2005

More Details on Wynn 'Urban Village' Emerge

Posted by Hunter

From yesterday's LVRJ:

Steve talked about this a bit at the shareholder's meeting. This has been a long term plan for quite some time.

June 2, 2005

Wynn Las Vegas Earns $140.9M in 34 Days

Posted by Hunter

Wynn Resorts today released operating details for Wynn Las Vegas through May 31st, 2005.

The casino segment earned $64.3M while non-gaming revenues totaled $76.6M. The average daily rate was $308 with 91% occupancy (room inventory was not 100% available at the time of opening).

In it's first 77 days, Bellagio generated $3M of revenue/day. Based on the above figures, Wynn Las Vegas generated $4.14M revenue/day.

May 25, 2005

Coverage of 2005 Casino Design Conference

Posted by Hunter

I will covering the 2005 Casino Design Conference at Wynn Las Vegas, June 22nd-24th.

Beyond getting a chance to rub elbows with those folks that made the resort possible, I'll be touring back of house areas to get a good feel for how the property works behind the scenes.

Also, I'm booked back into the hotel so I can check up on my concerns from my last trip.

May 22, 2005

WSJ Slams Wynn Las Vegas

Posted by Hunter

The May 17th edition of the Wall Street Journal featured an article in the D section by David Littlejohn. The topic - Wynn Las Vegas.

It is clear from the first paragraph that Mr. Littlejohn has an axe to grind with Las Vegas, which he refers to as an 'ecstatically tasteless city'. From there he continues on to whine about his Wynn experience, piece by piece.

He describes Wynn's acquisition of the 200+ acre property as motivated mainly by the presence of a golf course, failing to realize the long term implications of taking on the strategically located parcel at millions below today's sky-high property values.

Other complaints are equally baseless - how does the Strip side mountain discourage pedestrian traffic, especially when compared to Bellagio's 8-acre lake, TI's Siren's Cove or the volcano at The Mirage. His critique of the pool simply doesn't stand up to popular opinion - the pool area has been regarded as one of the best at any Las Vegas resort.

Fortunately the article is not completely negative. Mr. Littlejohn describes positive experiences at several Wynn restaurants including Daniel Bouloud Brasserie and Bartolotta's Ristaurante. Perhaps surprisingly, Mr. Littlejohn praises the production show, 'Le Reve', which has been lambasted by critics elsewhere.

Overall, it is hard to see this article as anything more than just well circulated smear job.

For those with online WSJ access, the article is located here:

May 12, 2005

Dear Steve: Our Comments on Wynn Las Vegas

Posted by Hunter

This is a copy of the letter that we sent to Wynn Las Vegas management following our recent stay.

Dear Steve:

I'm writing to share my impressions of Wynn Las Vegas after a recent stay. I know that you are striving to create a perfect experience for your guests and so along with all of the great things I noticed, the end of this letter mentions a few items I think you can improve. I hope you'll indulge my opinions and I promise not to take up too much of your time.

Walking into Wynn Las Vegas makes you feel good.

Between the natural light in the casino, the magnificent flowers and trees(!), water cascading from the mountain and the whimsical use of color, your resort redefines Las Vegas and raises the bar in the entire hospitality industry.

I have an interest in resort and casino design and have studied what you've done in the past. I can honestly say that despite my extremely high expectations, Wynn Las Vegas exceeded them. Not only is the resort beautiful, it is extremely functional. I could go on and on about what I like about the resort but for the sake of brevity, I'll list just a few of my favorite things.

  • The use of color in the whole complex is stunning. The striking mosaics and carpet compliments the painted ceilings and canopies.
  • The casino is the best designed and most beautiful I have ever seen. A 100,00 square foot floor has never been so easy to navigate or flow so well but at the same time, the darker tones remind me of my favorite parts of The Mirage, which until recently was my preferred casino floor in Las Vegas.
  • Restaurants - We had the pleasure of trying several restaurants, including Corsa Cucina, the Terrace Pointe Cafe, SW Steakhouse, Wing Lei and room service. Perhaps needless to say, all of dishes we tried were fantastic. Even your room service offerings are the best in town! Having the chefs on site certainly keeps quality high. We got a chance to talk to Stephen Kalt as he was working with his staff and it is clear that your strategy makes a huge difference in the quality of the dining options at Wynn Las Vegas.
  • The 'little things' - The difference between a good resort and a great one is the attention to the hundreds of little details that define the experience. These may be things that many customers never identify directly, though some customers certainly do notice them. Nevertheless, the aggregation of these details is what lets the whole be greater than the sum of its parts. Wynn Las Vegas offers these in spades.

Now that I've gone over some of the standout features of your new resort, I wanted to share a few things that that I think you and your staff could improve at Wynn Las Vegas.

These are listed in no particular order:

  • The Tower Suites elevators make a jarring beeping sound when they pass each floor. Also, there were substantial creaking sounds passing certain floors - perhaps they are still being 'broken in'? I didn't have a chance to try the 'Resort' elevators.
  • The Terrace Pointe Cafe doesn't have any 'to-go' boxes or bags. To their credit, they did offer us a piece of foil but that is clearly an ad-hoc solution.
  • It seems that cell phones based on GSM technology don't work in most of the low-rise buildings. While CDMA cell phones from Verizon did work, GSM phones from Cingular, AT&T Wireless and T-Mobile didn't function at all. It is my understanding that many other resorts have installed repeater hardware toe alleviate the inherent difficult using phones in such dense structures.
  • In the Spa shower area (men's), there is no place to hang your towel or robe inside the shower stall, forcing guests to jump up and throw them over the top of the door. Interestingly enough, I spoke with four people about the spa and each separately mentioned this issue.
  • There didn't appear to be 'Do Not Disturb' signs or lights, which results in many eager employees knocking on the door earlier than we wanted to be disturbed.
  • Our golf course view Tower Suite room on the 32nd floor had very dirty windows.

Finally, I wanted to mention our check-in. We arrived Sunday May 1st, the resort's first day of major guest turnover. Between when we arrived at 2 p.m. and at 6 p.m. when we got to our room, we had to visit the registration staff four times before a room was available. Based on conversations I had with others in the line, we were not the only ones who were experiencing this problem.

I was surprised that this happened on such a massive scale, especially in the VIP check-in area. Perhaps this could have been mitigated if staff gave more realistic windows of availability from the beginning instead of having us check back so many times. Also, some of the tensions could possibly have been relieved if some kind of compensation had been offered, just to let the waiting guests know that hotel management understood the difficult circumstances - even something as simple as a snack at the cafe.

As a Wynn Resorts shareholder, I am thrilled the hotel is so busy but it was a frustrating experience to say the least.

Thanks for sharing your creation with the world. I look forward to visiting again soon.


May 9, 2005

Great Stuff Coming

Posted by Hunter

I'm expecting a whole series of great new posts coming in the coming weeks and months, including:

  • What's Wrong With Wynn Las Vegas - Our letter to Steve.
  • MGM MIRAGE + Mandalay = What's next?
  • An Introduction to Sports Betting - this is the first article by a guest author, soon to be named.
  • Project CityCenter - Will it Really Change Las Vegas?
  • High Rise Condo Buying Guide
  • Stripping: Caesars Palace, The Flamingo, O'Shea's, Imperial Palace and Harrah's
  • The Best Las Vegas Hotel Web Sites
  • What Casino Offers The Highest Return on Investment in Las Vegas?

Plus a lot more. I'm having a great time writing this stuff and this is just the beginning.

Love writing? Love Las Vegas? We're looking for contributors. Feel free to contact us at:

May 5, 2005

Wynn Las Vegas: Our Review

Posted by Hunter

Want to see hundreds of pictures of Wynn Las Vegas? Click here.

Wynn Las Vegas is the world's most expensive casino resort, costing $2.7B to design and build. At 2,716 rooms, that brings the per-room cost to about $1,000,000.

So, after all the money, the hype and the hoopla, how does the place stack up?

My expectations were extremely high. Did Steve Wynn deliver? Yes.

Here is my take on what I saw. It's pretty long, bear with me.

Lobby, Lounges and Public Areas

I think that most people who walk through Wynn Las Vegas will be reminded of Bellagio. Similar features include a large 'garden' area, marble used everywhere, water and even the same typeface used in the signage.

Compared to the lobby at Bellagio, Wynn's check-in area is simple. While it does feature a great view of the lake below, the Dale Chihuly piece at Bellagio is not replicated in any form at Wynn Las Vegas.

There are two garden areas between the main valet and the shopping area that are reminiscent of Bellagio.

The color and floral patterns are repeated throughout the resorts floors, as you can see here in this mosaic:

Between the two garden areas is one of two lounges, Parasol Up. Parasol Down is located at the bottom of a pair of escalators that lead to a patio over the lake. We had drinks at both locations and I was excited to learn that they use real fruit juice in their cocktails, freshly squeezed. 'Up' reminds me a bit of the Fontana Lounge at Bellagio in that they have live entertainment nightly. 'Down' features most of its seating outside in front of the Lake of Dreams.

Wynn wisely didn't attempt to duplicate the scale of the Fountains of Bellagio at Wynn Las Vegas. There is a small water feature in the Lake of Dreams - at night there is a multimedia light show and the lake changes color. I was a bit skeptical about this before I saw it but I can say that it is pretty cool. The colors are very deep and rich - they did a good job executing on this one.

The area right above Parasol Down was clogged with people every time I walked by... If you don't want to brave the crowds you have other options for a quick drink. Near the casino cage is the 'B Bar' (B is for baccarat). It's all sit-down, waitress service but it is a nice place to watch the action. There is a bar at Corsa Cucina that opens on the casino floor as well. Sugar and Ice, which I thought might have been a bar located in the shopping area is in fact a coffee/espresso outlet instead.

One of the things that really impressed me about the public areas was the details. The wallpaper is an incredible textured brown. The furnishings and plants are different all over.

How are the bathrooms? One neat feature is the trough like marble sinks instead of individual spots.

I could go on about the public areas for hours. I recommend you take a look at all of the photos to get a good feel for the place.

Casino and Sportsbook

This is Las Vegas, right? Wynn features a 100,000+ square foot casino with many of the standard games as well as a few new ones.

First off, let's talk about the look. To put it simply, imagine the casino at The Mirage and then add in some of the stylings from Bellagio and you have an idea of what it looks like. The table games are located all along the outsides of the aisles through the casino.

Wynn's slot club is called the 'Red Card' and when you check in to the resort you are automatically enrolled but non guests can also get the card. All the slots are new and state of the art, including small LCD screens that let you play a special bonus bingo game if your card is inserted.

I did see some 9/6 $1 VP but not a lot of machines had fantastic pay tables. Regarding table games, they do have some 6:5 blackjack and they do use continuous shufflers on many games.

The casino was a lot of fun to play in and the craps pit we hung out at was staffed by a great crew. I've long thought TI had some of the best dealers but I can see a lot of them have moved over to Wynn Las Vegas - in fact, there were dealers I recognized from all over town!

I don't play poker but I did give the room a look - pretty much what you would expect. 27 tables, nice digs, etc...

The sportsbook reminded me of a cross between The Mirage and Bellagio, with each seat featuring an LCD TV as well as giant screens.


For many, the pool is one of the most important parts of the Vegas experience. Wynn's pools are European looking, as at Bellagio. Wynn's pool is also much better designed than the pool at Bellagio.

First off, Suite Tower guests have two pools all to themselves. This pool includes a casino where you can play some blackjack. It's also just great looking. I'm not a pool guy but this was a spot I could see myself hanging out.

Some folks were worried that the hotel tower would shade the pool area. I checked several times during the day and good sun was to be had every time.


Wynn Las Vegas has so many interesting restaurants to try and I can't wait to head back and try some more! Here's a breakdown of what we ate this time...

  • Corsa Cucina - Lunch here was fantastic. I had a grilled lobster sandwich and it was prepared perfectly. True to the advertisements, the actual chef was there checking the food and we got a chance to chat with him for a bit. Highly recommended.
  • Terrace Pointe Cafe - This is Wynn's 24 hour cafe. We actually ate here twice, both late night and for lunch. Both times the food was great though the first experience had some spotty service. The breads they use are very good, all baked on site. I also recommend the chili - yum! Prices are in the $10-$20 range for the entrees. Highly recommended.
  • SW Steakhouse - Located next to Parasol Down, SW includes some lake front outdoor dining. Our meal here was simply fantastic. For years I have told everyone that my favorite steak in town was at Delmonico. SW might take that crown. The ribeye was fantastic and my wife fell in love with her filet. Lastly, they had a chocolate cream desert that was a deal closer for me. Prices are typical for high end steakhouses. Our bill for 2 with wine came to $300. HIGHLY recommended.
  • Wing Lei - One of the last additions to Wynn's restaurant lineup was Wing Lei, serving great Chinese food. Our meal was great but I would say it was my least favorite of the restaurants we tried on the trip. Service was top notch however. I got the feeling that this place wasn't quite ready to open. I recommend the Peking Duck Salad if you do give it a try. This restaurant is located near the Tower Suite check in area and is one of the only restaurants that doesn't feature great views of the lake or pool.
  • Room Service - I had to try the room service and it was great. The corned beef was top notch, the french onion soup the same as at The Mirage and the pot stickers were tasty. Not cheap though...

All of the food we tried at Wynn Las Vegas was either great or fantastic. I look forward to trying Alex, Okada and Daniel Boloud on my next trip out there.


By now anyone interested in Wynn Las Vegas has seen many pictures of the rooms. We were in the 'Suite Tower', which basically just means you get to use separate check-in and have access to the restaurant Tableau.

The first thing you notice about the room is that the ceilings are very high and the windows are huge. One thing that is nice is that the bed faces those windows - you get a great view.

The hotel is very high-tech - the TVs are all LCD HDTVs, the phones are IP based and feature all sorts of information about the property on a large LCD screen.

The beds are to die for - and if you really like it, they will sell it to you.

The bathrooms are well setup and include a TV visible from the bathtub. The included products are from Desert Bambu and seem very high quality.

Overall, the rooms are very comfortable. Things are where you expect them to be. Everything I needed, I found in the room.

I think it is the best standard room in Las Vegas... Yes, better than the Venetian. I'm not comparing the standard room to THEHotel since it's an all-suite hotel. Wynn's rooms just feel great.


The Spa is located on the second floor of the hotel tower and in many respects, is similar to all of the other 'nice' spas in town. There were a couple of design features I haven't seen in other setups, mainly glass ceilings and natural light in many of the rooms. Beyond that, it is exactly what you would expect in a high end hotel.


The Wynn Esplanade is located at the South corner of the hotel and is where the bulk of the shops are located. Most of the retail offerings are very high end. Think Dior, Chanel, Cartier, and more to get an idea... It's Bellagio type shopping.

Beyond that, the resort sells Wynn branded everything, from mugs to pens to shirts to chocolate. Honestly, everything is for sale.


The service was mostly excellent. The few places I saw some problems could easily be chalked up to opening jitters.

Employees were friendly and willing to help. I did have some long hold times on the phone when talking to the concierge.

How Does it "Feel"?

To me this is the real measure of the property.

Before I visited Wynn Las Vegas, my favorite property was The Mirage. Even though the Bellagio was snazzier, there is a certain magic to The Mirage that I didn't think was captured at Bellagio.

That magic has been captured at Wynn Las Vegas and it has been expanded. I can honestly say that I think Wynn delivers the best luxury experience in Las Vegas at this point. If you can afford it, Wynn Las Vegas has a lot to offer.


So, those are my thoughts based on my first visit. I'll be back on property tomorrow, though this time not as a guest.

If you have any questions, feel free to post them below.

Wynn Las Vegas at

May 3, 2005

Wynn Las Vegas Write-up Coming

Posted by Hunter

We're back from Wynn Las Vegas and I will be writing it up in detail very soon. Man, what a great trip.

In case you've forgotten, photos are here (most just added):
Wynn Las Vegas Opening Photos

May 1, 2005

Wynn: Day One

Posted by Hunter

I'll just jump right in...

The hotel is amazing. It looks fantastic and 'feels' great.

Quick Notes:

  • Terrace Pointe Cafe - Fantastic coffee shop, though pricey.
  • Cosa Cucina - Had a great lunch here today. The chef was there and we talked for a few minutes.

Check In Problems

In retrospect, I should have known the first Sunday check out/check in would be hectic. We couldn't get into our room until 5pm and lots of others were in the same boat. People were NOT happy. The staff did their best but it was frustrating. Also, it took 70 minutes for my bags to arrive from the bell desk.

Tonight is dinner at SW Steakhouse, so that should be a good time.

I can't imagine ever staying at Bellagio again. For the money, I would pick Wynn every time.

Most photos will be added shortly. I probably won't have a chance to write a super-in-depth article until I get back.

April 30, 2005

Wynn: First Impressions

Posted by Hunter

Just finished my first walk through of the property... I will be adding some pictures to Flickr in a moment.

What did I think? In short: Wow.

The place is amazing. The attention to detail is impressive. The place 'feels' great.

One thing that detracts a bit is that it is mobbed with people. I hope things settle down tomorrow through Tuesday so I can walk the floor without being pushed around. Parasol Up/Parasol Down in particular is just FULL of people.

The floors, carpets and chandeliers are great looking. The uniforms, glassware and casino tables are striking.

In general, this place looks great. Yes, some things remind me of Bellagio, which isn't a surprise. Wynn clearly learned from some mistakes at Bellagio and fixed them this time around.

Anyway, this is sparse on detail but I have a lot more to see. I will be posting more shots tomorrow, including the room and the pool. Also, dinner tomorrow is at SW, which should be a great time.

Wynn Las Vegas Opening Photos on Flickr

April 28, 2005

Wynn Las Vegas Opens!

Posted by Hunter

At 12:01 AM PT Wynn Las Vegas opened its doors to the public.

The casino was taking bets but most restaurants and retail outlets were closed due to the late hour.

Hotel guests begin checking in later Thursday morning.

The opening of Wynn Las Vegas marks 5 years of design and construction but also many years of Las Vegas expansion to come.

April 27, 2005

Wynn Casino Shot

Posted by Hunter

Bad quality. Sorry.

Wynn Las Vegas Casino Shot

April 27, 2005

Some Last Minute Wynn Photos

Posted by Hunter

Here are some last minute photos of Wynn Las Vegas prior to the opening:

Thanks to Brian Fey for letting us publish the photos.


Update: Don't forget that you can sign up for an RSS feed of our Wynn Las Vegas opening night photos using this feed URL:

April 27, 2005

Can We Get The Name Right Please?

Posted by Hunter

In the lead up to the opening of Steve's new property, I've seen many variations on the name...

It is NOT:

  • The Wynn
  • Wynn Resort
  • The Wynn Resort
  • The Wynn Las Vegas

It's called Wynn Las Vegas. Ok? Just like there is no 'The Paris' in Las Vegas, there is no 'The Wynn'.

Many of you have already seen the property map that has been posted on the Wynn Las Vegas Web site since it launched on February 1st. Leading up to next week's opening, I wanted to post a few comments based on the map, aerial photos, and other things I've heard. While I won't be revising this after experiencing it for myself, it will be interesting to see how our predictions and analysis stack up to the real thing.

If you want to follow along, the PDF of the map is located here:

The main entrance is located just North of Spring Mountain/Sands on Las Vegas Blvd. Immediately to the left is the Ferrari/Maserati dealership.

The lobby will feature at least partially glass ceilings in a nearby atrium and the desk will overlook part of the mountain and lake area, similar to how Bellagio's check-in overlooks a small garden.

Just past the lobby is a foyer where there are curving escalators to the lake level, where two of the resort's highest end restaurants (Daniel Boloud and SW Steakhouse) and a nightclub are located.

To your left is the main casino floor. To the right, the path curves and leads in a semi-circle to the Wynn Esplanade, the resort's main shopping area. Interspersed with the stores are several restaurants and a food and beverage outlet called 'Sugar and Ice', which we believe to be a bar/lounge.

Back in the casino, most of the gaming space is located smack in the middle of the low-rise building that makes up most of the public areas. The poker room and sports book are the two main gaming areas that are set a bit outside of the main casino area. There is a private gaming salon that overlooks the pool, but if you need more information on private gaming, you will surely want to hire me as your personal consultant to make sure you make it through your trip alive. Contact info is on the RateVegas site...

On the outside edges of the casino are additional restaurants until you reach the opposite side of the casino where the main tower guest elevators are located. Right next to those elevators is 'The Drugstore', Wynn's main guest oriented retail store featuring Wynn merchandise, newspapers, magazines, medicine, etc...

The spa and salon are located on the second level via the guestroom elevators. This level also includes the villa suites, which have their own small swimming pools. These villas in the tower are similar to the villas at Bellagio.

While there is only one hotel tower currently built at Wynn Las Vegas, management has divided the resort up into the main guestroom tower and what they call the 'Suite Tower'. These rooms have their own check-in area and a semi-private restaurant, Tableau, at which breakfast and lunch are restricted to these guests (dinner is open to the public). Suite Tower check-in overlooks the pool area and is serviced by a second porte cochere and valet off of Sands Avenue.

In this same area are a few additional restaurants, including Alex, Red 8 and Wing Lei, along with Lure, Wynn's ultra lounge.

The buffet is located back towards the casino floor, on the way to the pool and is quite large at over 600 seats. Further down the hall is the Terrace Pointe Cafe, which we believe will be a 24 hour 'coffee shop' type restaurant, similar to the Bellagio Cafe or Caribe Cafe at The Mirage.

Beyond the cafe is the Broadway Theater, home of Avenue Q which opens in September. The theater is still under construction.

The Wynn Golf Club features its own restaurant and pro shop. It is located just adjacent to the course and convention meeting rooms at the far end of the property. Also in this area are the 'Fairway Villas', the highest end room product at the hotel. One of these villas is being rented by Steve Wynn and his wife Elaine as their home.

There are other retail outlets scattered throughout the property in small clusters. Several areas are not identified in the key - they have either not been finalized or some of the details are being kept under wraps.

The pool is located on the East side of the high rise tower and features two areas reserved for 'Suite Tower' guests. Two large pools are for all hotel guests. The Cabana Bar and Casino provides drinks and gaming poolside. Expect the pool deck to be more akin to a Bellagio vibe than say, The Mirage.

As of today, April 24th, non-paying guests are in the hotel. Wynn invited select employees the opportunity to stay overnight before the hotel premiere, not only to test the systems for the opening but also to give them a feel for the product they are selling. Since Wynn employees are under heavy non-disclosure agreements with threat of termination, we don't expect many first hand accounts until the resort opens to the public later in the week.

Seven days from now I will be checked into the hotel and broadcasting live. It should be a fun time and I'm looking forward to it. Cheers!

April 24, 2005

Las Vegas Review Journal Covers Wynn Las Vegas

Posted by Hunter

Today's Review Journal has several articles on the opening of The Steve's new hotel:

Some have some good photos, take a look!

We're going to be at Wynn Las Vegas just a few days after it opens to the public and we're planning on sharing our thoughts and pictures with the world. I went out and bought a brand new digital camera just to make sure the pictures are top notch for you miserable addicts.

Live coverage begins Sunday May 1st, here on the blog. All photos will be posted here: Wynn Las Vegas Opening at (nothing there yet suckers!).

I expect to upload photos at least a couple of times per day and to post as often as I can. We'll see if I can stick to that or not... I guess I'll be springing the $12.99 for high speed access in the room!

We are in the 'Suite Tower' section of the hotel so we should get to check out all the amenities offered.

We recently asked our readers what they wanted to know about Wynn Las Vegas. We've compiled the following list of items to hit on our trip (in no particular order):

  • Bars and Lounges - Are there nice places to hang out and grab a drink? What kind of views and atmosphere in these areas?
  • Pool - What is it like? Is it shaded all day?
  • Cocktail Service - How is it? What kind of uniforms are they wearing?
  • Nightclub - Any good?
  • Casino - Limits? Slot cards? Games? Video poker?
  • Sportsbook - How does it compare with other high end books?
  • Parking - Easy access?
  • Shopping - Good selection or just the high end stuff?
  • Glass Ceilings - How many? Is light streaming in from the outside? (Based on aerial shots, it looks like the answer will be yes.)
  • Restaurants - How are they? Design? Decor? What is the buffet like?
  • Room Details - Are they nice enough? Views? Designs? Furnishings?
  • The Steve - Is his voice everywhere?

Those were the most common requests... Above all, I will be focusing on the following:

  • How does the place feel? Much has been made of the 'design from the inside out' philosophy that Wynn is employing here. I want to see if this plays out or if it is just a bunch of hype.
  • Details... For me, the magic in The Mirage and Bellagio is the attention to the smallest details. The stuff that 90% of the guests miss or cast aside but the kind of attention that MAKES the experience for the other 10% of the guests. That's what I'm looking for here and to be honest, if I don't get it in spades I will be disappointed. This is his chance to live up to the hype.

I've decided not to see the show. Why? Well, I made reservations at a few restaurants and to get the seats I wanted for the show I would have to cancel those reservations. I decided I would rather check out the food than the show. I'm sure many will write about the show. I am sure the theater will be amazing and I'm sure the show itself will be a spectacle... That said, these elaborate production shows take a few months to get the bugs out. I saw Zumanity early in its run and my understanding is that it is VERY different now. Same with Mystere... So, I will see Le Reve but it might be a few months.

Where are we eating? As it stands now, we're eating at the steakhouse (SW) and at the Chinese restaurant (Wing Lei). I considered swapping Wing Lei for Okada, since it is a fairly spectacular setting, but decided against it this time. We may try for Daniel Boloud for lunch... No matter how you slice it, there is a shortage of time! I guess some things are for the next trip.

So, that's the low down. This is your last chance to ask for some specific piece of info if there is something we're missing.

April 19, 2005

Wynn Offers the Sun a Look at Wynn Las Vegas

Posted by Hunter

The Sun gets the scoop!

With the resort opening in just over three weeks, I thought I would recap the restaurant information here for those that haven't seen it.

The prices break down as follows:

  • $ - Under $10
  • $$ - $11-$15
  • $$$ - $16-$20
  • $$$$ - $21-$30
  • $$$$$ - $31+
  • Alex (French) $$$$$ - Open for dinner, James Beard winning chef Alessandro Stratta moves from his previous home, Renoir at The Mirage. The restaurant seats 162 and overlooks the pool. Most likely a prix-fixe menu with optional wine pairings, this will be one the most high end restaurants in the resort.
  • Bartolotta (Italian) $$$$$ - Open for lunch and dinner, James Beard winning chef Paul Bartolotta has been a midwest fixture for years. This restaurant will feature fresh seafood and seats 226. It overlooks the Wynn lake and mountain areas near the shopping promenade.
  • The Buffet (Buffet) $$$ - Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, this buffet seats a whopping 574 and is located near the Wynn Theater. Expect prices to be similar to what is being charged at Bellagio and expect this buffet to rival or surpass that previous achievement.
  • Daniel Boulud Brasserie (French) $$$$$ - The only 'celebrity' chef on site Daniel Boulud is well known for several New York City restaurants. Open for lunch and dinner, this restaurant is located on the lower lake level and seats 304.
  • Corsa Cucina (Italian) $$$$ - Featuring pizzas from chef Stephen Kalt, this 118 seat restaurant is open for lunch and dinner near the main entrance.
  • Club House Grill (Variety) $$$$$ - Located inside the Wynn Country Club, this restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner for up to 100 guests. Update: Jimmy Snead reportedly is no longer with Wynn Las Vegas.
  • Okada (Japanese) $$$$$ - Located on the lake above La Bête, Okada features Japanese cuisine from James Beard award winning chef Takashi Yagahashi. Open for dinner, this restaurant seats 207 and is named after Wynn's financial partner in the resort.
  • Red 8 (Asian Bistro) $$$ - Near the Tower Suites check in, Red 8 is a combination of Hong Kong style dim sum and Cantonese noodle dishes. Open for lunch and dinner, the room seats 86.
  • SW (Steakhouse) $$$$$ - Award winning chef Eric Klein brings the classic American steakhouse to Wynn Las Vegas. Open for dinner, SW seats 284 and is located on the lower lake level.
  • Tableau (Variety) $$$$$ - American cuisine with some original flair, prepared by chef Mark LoRusso. Breakfast and lunch are available only to Wynn Tower Suite guests, while dinner is open to tall. This restaurant features 134 seats and is located just adjacent to the Tower Suite elevators.
  • Terrace Pointe Cafe (Variety) $$$ - This restaurant, open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, overlooks the pool. With seats for 486, we expect this to be a 24 hour facility.
  • Wing Lei (Chinese) $$$$$ - Open only for dinner, this Cantonese style restaurant seats 152 and is located near the Tower Suites entrance.
  • Zoozacrackers (Snack Bar) $$$ - Located near the sports book, a quick way to get a snack.

Along with these restaurants, there are several bars located throughout the property.

  • B Bar - Located near the Tower Suite elevators, this is an ideal meeting place.
  • Parasol Up/Parasol Down - Near the main lake terrace, featuring live music in the evenings.
  • Sugar and Ice - Located in the Wynn Esplanade.

Wynn Las Vegas will feature two main nightlife options when it opens. The addition of the Encore project in 2007 will bring even more options.

  • La Bête - A full fledged nightclub, La Bête will feature bottle service and lake views.
  • Lure - Wynn's 'ultra-lounge', Lure is located near the Tower Suites elevators.

Hopefully this rundown has been helpful. We'll have more details after the resort opens.

April 4, 2005

'The Revenge of Steve Wynn'

Posted by Hunter

Business Week has an article discussing the opening of Wynn Las Vegas. Some interesting info that hasn't been widely published until now.


April 1, 2005

Wynn Las Vegas - 28 Days Left!

Posted by Hunter

Wynn Las Vegas

Originally uploaded by VegasMediaGroup.

Coming soon to a gambling capital near you!

March 28, 2005

Wynn Las Vegas: What Do You Want to Know?

Posted by Hunter

As some folks already know, we have a trip booked arriving 5/1 and I plan on blogging the entire stay with pictures, etc...

Since they are having a media blackout of sorts, I'm hoping to provide some interesting coverage for folks.

So, I want to know...

What are you going to want to know about the hotel from the boots on the ground?

I'd like to have a coverage plan to make sure I check everything out for people.

Let me know!

March 24, 2005

Wynn Las Vegas Approved By Gaming Commission

Posted by Hunter

The Nevada Gaming Commission unanimously approved Wynn Las Vegas and all of its key employees for licensing today. That's the last regulatory hurdle that needed to be crossed for the resort to open.

March 20, 2005

Wynn Las Vegas

Posted by Hunter

Wynn Las Vegas

March 20th - Moving very quickly now. Looks like there will be water/lake/river right out on the street. They are building a bridge out to the street.

March 15, 2005

Encore at Wynn Las Vegas

Posted by Hunter

Originally designed as a second tower for Wynn Las Vegas, documents filed with the SEC show that the scope and cost of the project has expanded.

The 20 acre parcel will now be developed into a free-standing casino resort, still being planned under the codename 'Encore'. The hotel tower will feature 2,000 full suites and a significant amount of casino space. The two resorts will be integrated via their public areas.

Encore is expected to open in 2008.

March 12, 2005

Wynn Updates Web Site

Posted by Hunter

The Web site is up! All the details!

Wynn Las Vegas.

March 4, 2005

Wynn Las Vegas Resturants

Posted by Hunter

We've added all of the confirmed Wynn Las Vegas restaurants to our Wynn page:

February 23, 2005

Wynn Las Vegas: Summary of What We Know

Posted by Hunter

As we get closer to the April 28th opening of Wynn Las Vegas, the hype machine is already kicking into overdrive. Wynn interviews and news stories are all over the press at this point and the company is airing a commercial during the Academy Awards ceremony next week.

While Steve Wynn has kept most of the details under wraps, we wanted to summarize what we know so far in case you haven't been keeping track at home.

Here's what we know...

Design Focus:

While designing Wynn Las Vegas the team wanted to make the place feel a lot smaller than Bellagio, despite the complex being about the same size. According to Wynn this place has "...nooks and crannies and hideaways...". Wynn often talks about 'designing from the inside out' vs his previous creations being designed from the perspective of the Strip as an audience. Under this paradigm, the guest is treated as the focal point of the experience instead of the passer-by. To learn the secrets of Wynn Las Vegas you have to head inside, and Wynn is banking on the fact that is just what you will do.


2,700 rooms and suites starting at 630 square feet. The hotel tower is being reported as 50 stories and skips floors 40-49 due to Chinese superstition. The rooms feature high-end bedding that is supposedly being custom made for the resort. Wynn has a deal with Gateway to provide flat screen LCD and plasma televisions for the resort. The hotel details several different configurations of rooms and suites that will look familiar to anyone who has stayed at Bellagio, The Mirage, or Treasure Island. The suites feature access to the VIP check-in lobby and pool area (more details below).


You may have heard that Wynn is largely turning his back on the concept of using big name celebrity chefs to lure diners to his restaurants. Instead he has decided to go after excellent chefs that haven't made huge names for themselves nationally and paying them big bucks to be in their Las Vegas kitchens five or six nights per week.

From an design point of view, expect many of the restaurants to open out over the resorts lake and mountain and to create 'theaters' of performance in the restaurants. For instance, the Japanese restaurant will look like something out of 17th century Japan when you are sitting in the restaurant. You will feel fully immersed and according to Wynn, it will be a first for any hotel anywhere.

His restaurants will not open up directly on to the casino floor but instead be separated by waiting rooms, lounges and other constructs. As Wynn says, "People know how to find the casino...".


We believe Wynn will have at least one nightclub when it opens but it's possible there will be more. We also believe that at least one additional club will be part of the 'Encore' expansion that is slated to open in 2007.


Steve Wynn's collaboration with Franco Dragone began in 1992 with Mystere. The Cirque de Soleil show produced for Treasure Island was like nothing ever seen on the Las Vegas Strip. 'O' followed Mystere and once again, the show was sold out every night for years. Dragone is no longer with Cirque but his link to Steve Wynn remains strong. The original name of the hotel, Le Reve will open in April and showcase a theater in the round where no seat is far from the stage. The facility is basically a circular cage sitting over a bowl - the water will run underneath and all around you, like nothing you've ever seen before.

Beyond that, the hit Broadway musical 'Avenue Q' will open in the fall in its own theater.

Beyond that, Wynn has mentioned the fact that he'll have capacity for additional shows with the Wynn Las Vegas 'Encore' expansion scheduled to open in 2007. He realizes that entertainment is a huge draw and a lot of fun to put together. As Wynn says, 'My marquee has space for four shows....'.


Like Bellagio, Wynn Las Vegas will feature an assortment of high end retail. Expect stores from Brioni, Chanel, Dior, Jean Paul Gaultier, Cartier, and Manolo Blahnik. Additionally, there will be an onsite Ferrari and Maseratti dealership and full service station.


The only Las Vegas Strip hotel with an 18 hole PGA level course. What else can do you want to know? The course is designed by Tom Fazio and Steve Wynn, the same crew that build Shadow Creek, the course will sit on over 100 acres directly behind the hotel and feature a full pro shop.

If you are a golfer, you will want to give the course a try. A huge waterfall at the 18th certainly won't turn you off.

The rumor is that the course will be named after the original property - 'Desert Inn Golf Club'.

Pools and Gardens:

Expect a pool complex that is a cousin to the one you see at Bellagio. Large open spaces with a lot of landscaping, private pools for suite and 'tower deluxe' rooms and spacious main pools are the signature attractions.

For a look at the pool deck along with the meeting facilities: Wynn Las Vegas Pool Deck Map.


Steve Wynn and his wife Elaine own a small but incredible impressive collection of pieces that will be on display at Wynn Las Vegas. Perhaps the most amazing of these is Picasso's 'Le Reve', Wynn's original inspiration for the resort.

Casino and Other Additional Features:

Gambling? Wynn Las Vegas will feature a 110,000 square foot casino with every major slot machine and table game. Hotel guests will be able to use their room keys as slot cards in any of the property's 1,900 slot machines, cutting down on the number of cards carried.

The poker room will feature 25 tables along with an electronic paging system to alert players when their tables are ready.

Much has been made of the use of RFID casino chips and table equipment in the casino. It seems as if Wynn Las Vegas will be one of the most high profile joints to use this new technology.

Wedding Chapels:

The hotel will feature two luxurious wedding chapels that overlook the pool deck.

VIP Amenities:

Guests staying in a Tower Suite or above will be treated to separate check-in areas, private pools and first access to tables at restaurants, shows, and more. Wynn plans to pamper all his guests by especailly those that are looking for a 'Four Seasons' level of experience.

What's Next?

Well, there's still a lot more to know about Wynn Las Vegas. We'll update this article a bit over the next few days based on feedback we get from our readers. Plus, more articles will be coming down the pipe as we get more information.


January Construction Photos at Flickr.

February 15, 2005

Wynn On Wynn

Posted by Hunter

In an article in today's Las Vegas Sun Steve Wynn detailed some of the features of his upcoming resort, Wynn Las Vegas.

Due to open April 28th of this year, the resort has been in the planning and construction stages for almost five years and he's hoping that all of that planning is going to pay off. Wynn has claimed in past interviews that he has learned from the mistakes he made in designing The Mirage, Treasure Island and Bellagio and vows not to repeat them.

His main over-arching design goal seems to be intimacy, quite a challenge to make a 5 million plus square foot facility feel intimate. We'll see when the resort opens if he manages to achieve this goal. To do so would seem to require a break from the traditional hotel casino design principles, which have been basically unchanged for decades.

One thing is certain - the public will know this opening is coming. Wynn Resorts is already pushing their TV commercial out to many television networks and it will air during the Academy Awards.

Apparently the first pictures inside the resort will be published by Vanity Fair magazine in an upcoming issue, similar to the opening of Bellagio in 1998.

So, even as they prepare to open Wynn Las Vegas, Steve works with architects on the upcoming expansion, code-named 'Encore at Wynn Las Vegas'.

An interesting tidbit from the article was that Wynn considers Venetian owner Sheldon Adelson to be his 'enemy'. I guess that parking tiff really has put the two at odds.

January 30, 2005

Wynn Las Vegas!

Posted by Hunter

Wynn Las Vegas!

Wynn Las Vegas as seen from The Mirage.

January 18, 2005

Wynn Las Vegas - 5.1.05

Posted by LibMedia

We will be covering the opening of Wynn Las Vegas from the moment we check in on May 1st, 2005. Get ready for pictures, video and a lot of text on the world's most expensive hotel!