Monday, August 1, 2011

The Week in Vegas News - August 1

On Monday, the LV Business Press reported on the topping-off of the Harmon Corner shopping complex next to Planet Hollywood. The 110,000 Sq.Ft, 3-story enclosed shopping center will be anchored by a Walgreens drug store and will have 16 other shops. Started in February, it is expected to be completed before Christmas. It's good to see construction continuing on the Strip and the place looks to actually have places regular people shop like Walgreens and a Panda Express fast food joint. It's in a good location as well, at the foot of the pedestrian bridge from Cosmopolitan and City Center. This one looks like it might have what it takes to avoid being another skeleton on the Strip.

Speaking of the Strip bridges, the county is FINALLY looking into ways to "curb the disorder" on and near them that has sprung up in recent months. The Strip has always been plagued by "porn slappers" handing out cards but lately it has exploded into people peddling bottled water and trinkets and others dressed as Disney characters hawking pictures to tourists. There also seems to be a lot more  questionable people loitering about, particularly at night.

It's about time the county and hopefully the casinos start to address this problem. If a guy in his 30s who grew up in New York feels a bit worried about his safety, how does a couple in their 60s from the Mid-West feel? In all my years of going to Las Vegas, I never questioned my safety but in the last few trips it has happened more than once on those bridges at night. There is often a casino at the end of the bridge so its incumbent on them to make sure they are safe. If my livelihood was affected by what happened out there, I would put extra security on even if for nothing but appearences. Show a little force and the problem will solve itself.

In the week's financial news, Las Vegas Sands (owners of the Venetian and Palazzo) absolutely crushed it with revenues up 48% over last year, almost entirely on growth outside of Las Vegas and the US. Meanwhile, Boyd Gaming (The Coasts, Orleans, Sam's Town and 3 downtown casinos) who is heavily dependent on Las Vegas, had essentially flat revenues with the LV Locals segment down slightly over last year.

Lastly, a couple of "only in Vegas" stories... Ever wondered what it takes to do the laundry at the MGM Grand each day? Not many places have to wash the sheets and towels of 6,000 rooms! The scale of things in Vegas and the MGM in particular is simply incredible.

The LVRJ also ran an interesting piece on how everyone is using creative marketing to keep business alive during the Great Recession and Las Vegas' 32 Nudie Bars are no exception. Free drinks, buffets and half price lap dances are all the rage these days to get people through the door. Good stuff!

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