A member of the Las Vegas Advisor community recently reported that on top of the $20 he was charged for 2 drinks at a bar in Encore last month, there was another $5 charge. When asked what it was, he was told it was because he ordered his drinks in the rocks. WHAT!?!? I'm sorry but it takes a brass pair to charge for ice cubes after serving you a $10 cocktail!
I am a huge fan of Steve Wynn and have consistantly sung his praise on these pages. What the guy has done for the city of Las Vegas is immeasurable and everything he does is usually first class all the way. However, if this truly is the policy at Wynn and Encore, it is totally and completely unacceptable and goes against all the good he has done lowering room rates. It is precisely this kind of crap, along with things like "resort fees," that have caused people to stay at home and why Vegas is no longer "recession-proof." One VCI.com visitor commented that he has seen the "ice surcharge" at clubs in Manhattan. Great, that is fine for NYC where they charge $299 a night for a dumpy hotel, not for Las Vegas where you used to be able to get a deal for your buck. Hopefully this was just one woefully misguided bartender and not the start of a horrible new trend.
In other news from Mr. Wynn, he gave an interview to Bloomberg News saying he was "kicking the tires" about perhaps purchasing some of MGM/Mirage's casinos if/when they have their property fire sale. He emphasized nothing certainly was imminent but said “I’d be interested, if at the right price, whether it’s Bellagio or Circus Circus.” I'm sure he would love nothing more than to steal back Bellagio at a bargain basement price but wouldn't it be interesting to see Wynn own Circus Circus?!?! Would he upgrade the place to have turn down service with clown-shaped Pez Dispensers on the pillows? Seriously though, any asset sales by MGM or Harrah's will open up the competition on the strip though I would much rather see some fresh new outside blood setup shop next to the big boys.
Lastly, in a huge piece of news... it was announced yesterday that MGM has secured the final piece of financing needed to complete City Center. In addition, the lawsuit filed against them by their partner in the project, Dubai World, has been dismissed. This is huge news for the city of Las Vegas in so many ways. Firstly, it ensures that thousands of construction workers will continue to get paychecks. Secondly, they expect to hire upwards of 10,000 employees once the place is completely open. I question if those numbers are still accurate given the weak environment it will be opening in but whatever amount they hire will be greatly welcomed. Lastly, it will hopefully bring positive publicity back to Vegas when there has been nothing but bad news for a long time.
I know there are many strong feelings out there amongst Las Vegans toward MGM/Mirage and City Center in particular but if this place is a success, the benefits with go far beyond those at MGM to the entire Vegas valley. Here's to it being finished SAFELY and on-time!
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