It was November 22, 1989 when "New" Vegas officially arrived with the opening of the Mirage. The first new building on the strip in years, it was a casino like no other. It sparked not only an unprecedented building boom on the strip but also around the world. Shortly after would follow Excalibur, Luxor, MGM and many others. More importantly, it created a casino explosion throughout the country and even the world turning places like Tunica MS and Macau China into gambling Meccas. It's hard to believe how much has changed since that day 20 years ago.
Steve Wynn has many critics but there is no denying the immense impact the man has had on Las Vegas and the gaming industry. His bold vision and fearless drive has made the city what it is today for none of the others would exist were it not for the success of the Mirage and Bellagio. The places he has built have provided the livelihood to tens of thousands of people and are largely responsible for turning a "sleepy" desert town into the sprawling metropolis of today.
Golden Nugget's New Tower
In somewhat ironic news, this week also welcomed the opening of the "Rush" Tower at the Golden Nugget downtown. Ironic because it not only was Steve Wynn's first casino and a blueprint for the Mirage but also because it just happens to also be the first new hotel tower downtown since... 1989. Think about that for a second. All of the construction that Vegas has seen in the past 20 years and ZERO was on Fremont Street. That pretty much sums up the situation down there, doesn't it?
As always, I wish the best for new endeavors anywhere in town but coming out of the gate, management is a bit delusional about the environment in which they are opening. The CEO is quoted saying "We're not going to drop rates just to turn dollars, I'd rather not have all the bodies. It's got to be profitable dollars for us to rent a room." Really? An empty room is better than a head in the bed? Once again, I am amazed at how some of these guys got to where they are. Fortunately, there is some sanity somewhere in the organization as despite the CEO's proclamations otherwise, the prices have been dropping steadily since the day they started taking reservation.
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