Monday, September 29, 2008

Wall St. Disaster

Well today was one of the worst days in Wall St. history. The Dow was off 778 points, the NASDAQ is under 2000 and the S&P 500 has lost 4 years of gains. All because a few Republican clowns in Congress suddenly "found principles" that they gave up long ago and voted down the Bailout package. Not without blood on their hands, 1/3 of Democrats also voted it down. It is inconceivable to me how this was not passed and the consequences were predictable. It is high time for a through and complete cleansing of Washington. Both McCain and Obama stood around the past 2 years and watched this happen. Neither deserves the White House.

I am tired of also hearing how this is a bailout of "millionaire bankers." Im sorry but it was myself and the 100s of millions of others with 401Ks and pensions who were the ones who lost $1.2 trillion today because of a few guys, who have sold their soul eons ago, picked today to find God. Everyone needs to get on-board with this package before all of us are screwed for a very long time. Its time for the class warfare crap to end and to get this plan into action before it's too late. The partisan bickering at a time

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Friday, September 12, 2008

City Center's ARIA Preview and July's Casino Numbers

The Los Angeles Times was allowed a sneak peek at the rooms in ARIA, the largest component of MGM Mirage's City Center. The rooms will be loaded with technology never seen in a hotel room before. Some of the nicest features include the drapes opening and lights coming on when you enter and the lights going off and the tempurature adjusting when you check out. You will also be able to control the lights and temperature, play music and video all run through the 42" flat screen and a joystick remote console. The coolest thing about the whole setup is that when the battery starts to run low on the console, it notifies housekeeping to replace it! That is pretty slick.

Of course, the downside to all of this technology is room rates that will assuredly be through the roof. It's been many years since Vegas has had a shortage of luxury hotel rooms and these 4,000 will certainly not help stretch your vacation dollar. Sadly, rooms at FountaineBleu will be similarly equipped (I-Macs in every room) and similarly priced it opens in 2009. It will be very interesting to see how the high end plays out once these additional 8,000 rooms comes on-line. Thus far, that sector has fared pretty well compared to the mid and low end places but this definitely won't help room rates that are already down 25%. If nothing else, this will benefit the Vegas visitor as places like Bellagio and Venetian will be forced to compete with better deals.

Along those lines... the casino number for July came out this week and showed a continue trend of declining revenue. Clark county, which included Vegas and all point south, was down 15% over last year with the strip showing similar results. This is the seventh consectutive month of declines and there is no sign of it letting up anytime soon. I did hear one analyst point out that "at least next year's numbers will be easier to beat." I guess you can always put a positive spin on $150 million less in taxable revenue! Let's hope that the casino companies pain is our gain in the way of continued discounting on everything from rooms to shows.

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Saturday, September 6, 2008

Death at Bally's and other Vegas Tidbits

In the early morning hours yesterday, an argument at the Front Desk of Bally's led to the stabbing death of a 22 year old woman. The female suspect fled on foot but turned herself in to the LVMPD 5 hours later. 23 year old Latrovia Reed from Milwaukee was also being held on an outstanding warrant for prostitution.

Ms. Reed looks like yet another example of the dregs of society that often migrate to Las Vegas. This is one of the uglier sides of Las Vegas. The sheer number of transients that show up in town looking for either riches or victims is just astounding. Stories like this serve to remind us that despite having more "security" than any other city on earth, you really need to be in "urban" mode at all times in Vegas. It is no different than any other big city in America and you need to have common sense and look out for yourself.

In other news, The troubled and foreclosed Cosmopolitan that is rising between City Center and Bellagio once again has a new party helping trying to get the thing built. Related Cos. of New York has been hired by owners Deutsche Bank to finish the $3.9 billion resort that Deutsche ending up owning through foreclosure on the original developer. The move is being cheered as a step towards completing what had the potential of being a giant unfinished eyesore in the middle of the strip.

Rumors of a partnership between Deutsche and Related have been floating around for months (see my May 30th Blog Entry.) This is Related 3rd try at getting a resort in Vegas and they may have to settle for just running one instead of owning it. Related track record has been questionable in Las Vegas but they do have some skill to get things done. They have built the enormous World Market Center downtown as well as the Time Warner Center in New York City, which is pretty impressive. With the financial muscle of Deutsche Bank and their apparently will to see this thing through, I believe that Cosmopolitan will eventually see the light of day. I think that bodes well for Vegas as a whole.

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