Thursday, February 26, 2009

M Resort Opens on Sunday

M Resort boldly opens sunday night to a worsening economic environment each day. Combined with the fact that it is 10 miles south of the strip, the place faces an uphill battle with a $1 billion price tag. However, owner Anthony Marnell is saying all of the right things to succeed in the new Vegas reality. The son of Rio builder/owner (as well as Wynn and a half dozen other casinos) Tony Marnell, his marketing pitch is similar to what made Rio successful when it opened, a nice place and a great value. No "$15 martinis and $90 Steaks."

He also plans on focusing on the customer, screening all employees for a "friendly attitude." Sure everyone says that, he will have to actually do it to pull it off. One thing he did say that shows me that he "gets it" in the new Vegas...

“People don’t care about all this bigger and better stuff. They come here with their hard-earned money — and every day they realize how hard-earned it is — and they’re going to spend it where they’re going to get value. They want to know that they are going be taken care of, and that you’re going to treat them like they want to be treated.”

I have been beating the same drum for almost a year now and its similar to the philosophy of his neighbor to the north at South Point. There was a time when Vegas was universally recognized as a cheap vacation. How quickly has it become the symbol of decadance? President Obama has basically made it criminal to book a convention in town because it is now the land of the $400 bottle of Gray Goose. Vegas needs to get back to value... in the hotel, restaurants and especially the casino.

If all goes well I should have some pics and a property map early next week. Good luck Mr. Marnell, may the gambling gods smile upon you!

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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Rob's Vegas Brain Droppings

Since Vegas is easily one of my top 5 things in life, I often ponder about my beloved city. I am fascinated by just about all aspects of the town so my thoughts vary from casino economics (one of my favorites) to the obscure like that just over 100 years ago, the population was zero, which still amazes me. I will often want to put these thoughts up on the home page but usually just never remember to do it! I have come up with solution, an idea whose time has come... The Brain Dropping!

I borrowed the phrase from the amazing George Carlin, R.I.P, which was the title of one of his classic books. I think it fits perfectly with what they are. Simply, a Brain Dropping is a random though posted online for the world to see and comment on. Kind of a cross between a Blog and a Twitter, much shorter than a Blog and more insightful (hopefully!) than a Twitter. Since they are intended to be short, I will be able to easily post one whenever a stroke of Vegas genius hits me, which I am not to humble to say is often! Check out the new section here... and let me know what you think!

Visit for the complete guide to Las Vegas Hotels and Casinos. Property maps of every major casino, 100s of pictures and a ton of other info all without annoying ads!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Boyd to Buy Station?

This afternoon Boyd Gaming announced it has made an unsolicited offer to purchase a significant portion of Station Casinos properties in the Vegas Valley. Here are some excerpts of the letter sent from the Boyd Executives to Frank Fertitta of Station Casinos...

"We believe that Boyd is uniquely qualified to operate the assets of Station. We are dedicated to operating first class casino entertainment facilities and have demonstrated this commitment within the Las Vegas market for over thirty years. "

"Based on available public information, we estimate that the enterprise value of the OpCo Assets is approximately $950 million."

"As of December 31, 2008, Boyd had approximately $2 billion in available liquidity under its Revolving Credit Facility. We have sufficient liquidity to finance a cash transaction consistent with the terms outlined in this Proposal."

The "OpCo" asset that Boyd is seeking includes Station's ownership interest in Green Valley Ranch and Aliante Station (Co-Owned with the Greenspun Family) as well as Texas Station, both Fiestas as well as Wild Wild West on Tropicana.

If they are able to pull it off, it would be committing highway robbery in my opinion. Less than a billion for those properties when Aliante went up 3 months ago for almost $700 million by itself? I can't imagine the deal going through as stated considering there are several other people out there fishing to get into the Vegas market, i.e. Ameristar, who coincidentially built the Fiesta Henderson back in the 90s as the african-themed "Reserve." Another person who might have some ability to pick up one or 2 of those places is Michael Gaughan, owner of South Point.

As a small side note to point out how far things have fallen in Vegas... Harrahs recently spent more than $950 million on the new tower at Caesars before deciding to not complete it but Boyd may get a whole collection of properties for the same price!

Visit for the complete guide to Las Vegas Hotels and Casinos. Property maps of every major casino, 100s of pictures and a ton of other info all without annoying ads!