Thursday, May 24, 2012

Daily Vegas News Round-Up - May 24

White Cross Gets Grocery
Downtown residents won't have far to walk or drive for milk and eggs when White Cross Market opens this summer... (More)

Strip Pool Reprive
It's not closing time yet for Southern Nevada's famed pool parties. The Strip's hotel-casinos got a reprieve from a federal regulation that could require them to close their pools while making expensive retrofits to allow access to the disabled.... (More)

Stupak's Piece of the Moon
What are the odds that chips of rock from man's first visit to the moon would end up with a flamboyant Las Vegas casino owner who once had a place with a rocket ship logo, a sign declaring "Sky's the Limit" and an eatery called the Moon Rock Cafe?... (More)

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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Daily Vegas News Round-Up - May 23

Nevada not to see full recovery until 2017
With the nation’s highest unemployment rate at 11.7 percent, it will take Nevada more than five years to gain back all the jobs lost here during the recession... (More)

More Taxis for EDC
It shouldn't be hard to get a ride to the Electric Daisy Carnival next month as Las Vegas cab companies will field as many as 140 additional taxis for the busy weekend... (More)

Las Vegas' Biggest Jackpots
It's rare to leave Las Vegas with more money than you brought with you, much less go home a millionaire. But some do. The Florida man who recently walked away with $1 million from the Three Card Poker table at the Flamingo... (More)

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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Daily Vegas News Round-Up - May 22

Bellagio Robbery Attempt
Another set of geniuses thought it was a good idea to try to steal $150K in $5000 chips from Bellagio on Sunday. The guy with the chips was caught but the other got away. Do these morons really think that they could steal $5000 chips then cash them in later. Total and complete paralysis from the neck up...

Whitney's Daughter Hitting the Slots
Nevada gaming regulators are looking into allegations that Bobbi Kristina Brown, 19, the daughter of the late pop superstar Whitney Houston, was gambling at the MGM Grand last weekend. Awesome! She got train-wreck written all over her!

Blue Man at Electric Daisy
The Blue Man Group is scheduled to perform at the upcoming Electric Daisy Carnival in June. They will be performing with DJ Steve Aoki on June 9. The carnival at LV Speedway runs from June 8-10.

For all of today's Las Vegas casino, finance and economic news, visit's News Wire

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Monday, May 21, 2012

Daily Vegas News Round-up - May 21

Big Memorial Day Weekend
Tourism officials are expecting a big weekend in Las Vegas for this upcoming Memorial Day. Expectations are for as much if not more traffic than last year which saw a big jump from previous years.
Penn National's Moving Up
Penn National Gaming (PENN) is now the 3rd largest gaming company in America thanks to the opening of new casinos in Ohio this year.
Northeast Casino Glut
A commentary about the impending glut of casinos in the Northeast now that everyone in their mother has gaming. Really? Do you think?

For all of today's Las Vegas casino, finance and economic news, visit's News Wire

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Friday, May 18, 2012

Daily Vegas News Round-up - May 18

After a break for 4 awesome night in the City of Sin, the Vegas News Round-Up is back!

Cosmopolitan and Wayne Newton sued
The Cosmopolitan Las Vegas was sued by a former worker who says she was told she was fired for saying "Bye Bye" instead of "Good Bye." She claims in her suit that the real reason was because she was pregnant, which sounds far more plausible. I have to believe that if a company was looking for bullshit to cover for discrimination, it would be a better excuse that saying "Bye Bye."

Also having a bad legal hair day was Mr. Vegas himself, Wayne Newton. Plans to turn is estate into a museum/tourist trap have run around with various accusations being thrown around by the Newtons and the company that bought the right to build the place. Just another day of business in Las Vegas!

Boyd's Latest Acquisition
Boyd's Gaming (BYD) announced late yesterday that it intends to purchase Peninsula Gaming, a midwest operation of casino, for $1.45B. The deal was received with mixed reaction with some seeing it as a positive going forward while others concerned about adding additional debt to an already leveraged company. Count me with the latter as I tend to believe that a company that derives a vast portion of its revenue from the Las Vegas locals & downtown markets really shouldn't be taking on more debt right now.

SLS Las Vegas Preview
On the one year anniversary of the closing of the Sahara, the people behind the proposed transformation to "SLS Las Vegas" did a dog and pony show with fancy models. The Stiffs and Georges blog at Las Vegas Advisor has a good recap of the plan as well lists the many missteps this ownership group has made.

I couldn't agree more that the amount praised heaped on SLS principal owner, Sam Nazarian is completely unwarranted. He may have had success in Beverly Hills and Miami but so far in Vegas, he has done zero except put more people out of work and turn the north Strip into more of a ghost town and his plans to create Cosmo North show that he hasn't learned anything either. Good luck dude.

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Sunday, May 13, 2012

Live Trip Report

It's time for another trip and another "live" trip report. This trip will be 4 nights, at 3 different hotels, starting with 2 nights in a Sky Suite at Mandalay Bay then over to a "Classic" room at Caesars Palace then wrapping it up with a night in the Paradise Tower at Hard Rock Hotel. Check back in over the next few days for frequent reviews and commentary. You can also "Follow Us on Twitter" for an even more real-time blow-by-blow of the trip.

10:00AM - On the road towards Vegas. Let's hope for minimal Mother's Day traffic through the Inland Empire and zero truck traffic up I-15.

4:00 PM - Pulled into the valet at Mandalay Bay at 2:45 and was up to the room in less than 15 minutes. On the 60th floor looking west towards Orleans. The room is very big but oddly, doesn't have a work desk. Not crazy about that...

7:00 PM - Went down and checked out the cabanas at the pool then played a little while in the casino. We got good drink service for once! Now it's off to the San Gennaro Festival at Rio for some good Italian eats.

9:30 PM - TRIED to go to the San Gennaro Fest but gave up after trying to park for 20 minutes. Epic failure on the parking situation at the Rio. Ended up having a quick dinner on the patio at Pink's Hot Dogs at Planet Hollywood.

12:00 AM - Back in the room after a little play in the casino. Not much luck but not a terrible run.

8:45 AM - Got an early start with some morning coffee and gambling then went and got a cabana. Prices are up 300% over last year. The same one we got last year for $275 is now $650. Its a complete joke when 75% of them will be empty all day. Ended up with a "gazebo" which is a smaller cabana.

2:00 PM - Back in the room for a little break from the sun. I was a bit disappointed originally at the location of the gazebo but its worked out well.

5:45 PM - Ended up totally enjoying the Gazebo and definitely the way to go over a cabana that was $400 more. The evening's entertainment... 2 seats on the glass for Game 1 of the ECHL Championship Series at the Orleans Arena. Go LV Wranglers!

11:00 PM - It was a great game! The Wranglers won it 2-1 and there was a nice brawl right in front of us at the end of the 2nd period. Definitely a better time than some Cirque Du Soleil show and cheaper!

8:30 AM - Started the day with another ass-whipping downstairs. Not even the illusion of giving me some play. Those are the worse kind of sessions.

12:00 PM - Checked out of Mandalay Bay, went over to Luxor for lunch at Nathan's before heading over to Caesars.

2:00 PM - Used "Text Check-In" at Caesars Palace and it couldn't have faster. I walked up to an empty bell desk, give my ID and was handed my keys. The only problem... I reserved a smoking room and was given a non-smoking one. Schlep the 1/4 mile back to the front desk for a new room in the same tower. I've already got my exercise for the day.

2:30 PM -I was supposed to be in an original room and I was put up in the newer Forum Tower. Its a decent room; a bit tired but I'm sure better than an original room. One cool thing, the TV in the bathroom is embedded in the mirror!

6:15 PM - Dropped the wife off at McCarran to head home and its time for the solo portion of the trip. Off to the Palms to put a few points on the cards to keep it active.

12:00 AM - I hate the Palms! There is something about that place that keeps my ass glued to my chair for hours no matter the results. I will say that I did receive the best drink service I EVER had there. They are notoriously bad and have been since Day 1 but it was great last night.

10:30 AM - Went down for coffee and to give Caesars some obligatory play for my comp. Nothing terrible but still without an up session for the trip.

12:00 PM - Took pictures of the Caesars Pool, which is much nicer than I remember it. Time to pack up the room and head out.

2:00 PM - Went downtown to the Gambler General Store for some poker cards then hit LVH Hotel for a property map. Saw something rather interesting... A wine vending machine! Afterwards, I swung by Capriotti's for a "Bobbie" which is turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce and mayo on a sandwich roll. Pretty damn tasty!

2:30 PM - Checked into Hard Rock Hotel. I am in a "Corner Room" on the 14th floor of the Paradise Tower which has possibly the best view I ever had in a room in Vegas. With windows on 2 sides, I have an 180 degree view of the entire Strip, downtown and out to Boulder Station. Very nice.

6:00 PM - Did a little bit of work and caught an hour of sleep. Ready to head downstairs.

8:15 PM - Back in the room trying to decide where to use my $25 dining credit. Woo Hoo!

11:30 PM - Ended up eating at Mr. Lucky's 24/7, HRH's coffee shop. Decent BBQ burger, nothing to wrote home about and certainly not in the same league as Burger Bar. Decided to play my first 5 play video poker of the trip and ended up with my first winning session of the trip. Dealt quads twice and a couple other good hits helped!

12:30 AM - Heading over to Bally's to meet up with Mark and his wife from 360Vegas who just got into town.

5:00 AM - Had a fucking blast hanging out with Mark! 4 good hours of good Vegas bullshit, bartop VP and more Coronas than I remember!

8:00 AM - Wide awake with a NASTY headache. 2 Excedrins later, it now a headache AND nausea.

10:30 AM - Managed to get back to sleep for an hour and the Excedrin finally did its job. Thank god for late check-out!

11:30 AM - Packing up and heading out. Trip number 90 comes to an end and the planning for #91 starts during the drive home. My name is Rob and I am a Vegas degenerate!

4:15 PM - Despite not getting on I-15 until almost 12:30, I was still able to make the trip in less than 4 hours. Another awesome trip is in the bag with plenty of new material to be posted over the next few weeks! Thanks for following along with the "Live" trip report!

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Friday, May 11, 2012

Daily Vegas News Round-up - May 11

Gordon Ramsey finally hits Vegas
Celebrity Chef and First Class Asshole, Gordon Ramsey has finally made it to Las Vegas, joining every other celebrity chef. His steakhouse which opens today at Paris Las Vegas, of course named "Gordon Ramsey Steak." I'm sure it will be a success as people will surely line up to overpay just to say they ate at his restaurant and all the power to him!
Yet another loss at Cosmo
Another quarter and another, albeit smaller loss for Cosmopolitan Las Vegas. They reported at $26M loss compared to $56M last year in the first quarter and further proof that "Party Vegas" is as successful as "Family Vegas" was in the mid-90s. Cosmo is the coolest joint in town, packed with hipsters virtually every night of the week. Only problem? Those people are attending nightclubs, err Ultra Lounges, that are owned by 3rd parties and most of those people don't even know there is a casino on the first floor. It's only a matter of time before the casinos figure that despite a ton of press, these places add zero to the bottom line and may even drive away real customers that want to play in the casino. To make matters even worse, the geniuses running the place have cut back on comps to the few people who actually had been playing there. I love Cosmo but the current business plan is a failure.
Brown haze gone
The brown haze that blocked out visibility and lead to health warnings yesterday has cleared and its back to sunny Vegas skies!

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Thursday, May 10, 2012

Daily Vegas News Round-Up - May 10

March Gaming Numbers, Monorail Emerges from BK, Brown Haze over the Valley and More


March gaming numbers down big despite uptick in visitors
The Nevada Gaming Commission released the numbers for March and they weren't pretty. The Las Vegas Strip was down 14.91% from last year and the state as a whole was down 10.86%. This despite visitor numbers showing continued improvement. Total visitors were up 3.7% and hotel occupancy was up 1%. The main culprits seem to be a terrible run for Baccarat, being down over 50%, and a big convention last year that only occurs every 3 years. Still, the numbers takes some of the wind of the Vegas recovery talk.

LV Monorail emerges from bankruptcy
The long struggling Las Vegas Monorail that runs from MGM Grand to the defunct Sahara, is ready to exit Chapter 11 after a judge approved their reorganization plan. Since opening in 2004, the Monorail never came close to reaching its ridership projections.

Brown haze over valley leads to warnings
A brown haze has settled over the Las Vegas Valley causing health warnings to be issued. Believed to be caused by a dust storm in Arizona, visibility is down to near zero.

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Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Venetian Luxury Suite Review and Pictures

I arrived at the Venetian valet at 3PM on a Sunday and the line was about 10 minutes at the Front Desk. Once getting up there, I was told that a smoking room wasn't ready but they were being cleaned and it would "20 minutes tops." She offers me a room in the Venezia Tower. 2 elevator rides and a 1/4 mile walk every time I leave my room? No thanks. She offers a room at Palazzo. Not a bad choice normally but me, my luggage and my car are at the Venetian. She then offered to call my cell phone once the room was ready. No problem, I can wait 20 minutes. After eating a quick lunch and wandering around the lobby for 45 minutes, I go back to the front to inquire about the room and am told it still isn't ready and once again given the Venezia/Palazzo options. Apparently annoyed that I didn't like those options, she snips "Then we will call you when its ready!" Another half hour passes and I go back and unfortunately I end up with the same person. She immediately asks "Did we call?!?!" No, you did not and it's now an hour and 15 minutes to clean a room. She starts clicking and says "Oh it's ready. Are you sure you didn't miss the call?" Nope, I had my phone in my hand the whole time Tweeting about my experience! An hour and a half later, I am finally in my room - a "Luxury Suite" on the 29th floor overlooking the Venezia Tower and south Strip.

All of the standard rooms at the Venetian are mini-suites with a bedroom and seperate sunken living area, which is definitely the best part of the room. The bedroom space is a bit cramped with a king bed, 2 night stands and a armoire squeezed in but it's hardly noticeable with the large sitting area by the window. There is a big sectional couch that can easily seat 4 or 5 and a coffee table. Also a work desk and small dining table with 3 chairs centered around a TV Stand/mini-bar/safe. This is clearly where you will spend the majority of your time while in your room. The bathroom was the prototype for every other hotel bathroom built in Vegas over the past 10 years. Dual-sink vanity, seperate shower and tub, a toilet room plus enough open space that 4 of your drunken friends could sleep in it.

The amenities and details are what you would expect from a luxury hotel - DVD player in the living area, seperate make-up vanity with mirror, the snazzy assortment of bath products, comfortable mattress and it was all nice enough. Barely. The room was just on the cusp of officially hitting the "tired" state. Nothing most people would even care about, just some little things that added up. The couch was a bit saggy, the wooden furniture was a little roughed up and the bathroom fixtures were screaming old. However, by far the worst part of the room was the lack and difficulty of getting to a power outlet, especially at the desk. With the amount of devices people now travel with, they need to do something about it. Traveling solo, I have at least 4 devices to charge. How many does a family of 4 have? The new rooms at MGM, they got it right with an outlet in every lamp.

Outside of the room, The Venetian/Palazzo complex probably has the best collection of restaurants and shopping in Vegas. There are well over 30 places to eat between the two places with everything from fast food to top-notch gourmet in just about every cuisine. For the non-gourmets amongst us, I highly recommend the coffee shop - the Grand Lux Cafe. I had one of the best burgers ever on this trip but I have never been disappointed with anything on the giant menu. Run by the Cheesecake Factory people, this might be my favorite coffee shop in Vegas.

In the casino, I actually ended up playing a lot more than I planned. When you put in cash and don't lose it, it makes it hard to walk away. I gave them easily 6 or 7 hours of play and walked basically even. As for the service, I can only assume that the new standard for drink service on the Strip is outright crappy. This has been a consistant trend in every place I have placed over the past year or so from Bellagio to Riviera to Venetian. Did the Food & Beverage guy at the Palms send out a memo or something?

After getting off to a rough start at check-in, the stay at the Venetian overall, was pretty good. You can beat the size of the standard room with the seperate living area. Having a couch is such a bonus over a normal room if you plan on hanging out in it even the shortest amount of time. Aside from the huge room, the list of amenities downstairs is almost reason alone to stay there. The seemingly endless amount of restaurants, top night clubs, the Canyon Ranch Spa and huge pool deck plus a decent location make it an ideal choice for just about any Las Vegas visitor. However, if pure luxury is what you are looking for then you may be somewhat disappointed. Between the state of the room and the pure massiveness of place, it just doesn't exude that 5-star feeling. It certainly won't be mistaken for the Wynn next door, where it's ass-kissing and pretentiousness from the valet to the toilet. If that's not you want from your hotel but still want everything else a luxury hotel offers, the Venetian is a good pick. You can even get an almost identical experience in a fresher room at Palazzo and it's usually at the same price. While definitely not my favorite hotel in Las Vegas, there is a lot to like about the Venetian and I am sure I will be back in the future.

Venetian Luxury Suite Pictures

Venetian Luxury Suite Picture

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