Saturday, October 09, 2010

August Numbers look good for Strip

Gaming win on the Las Vegas Strip was up 21.09% in August 2010 compared to August of last year.

Baccarat continues to carry the load for the Strip. Amazingly the amount that Strip casinos won on Baccarat was more than all of the other table games combined. It looks like the super high rollers were back on the Strip in August. If these numbers for Baccarat continue for the foreseeable future that would be a huge boost for the high-end hotels on the Strip.

Downtown numbers weren't as good however, as they were down 1.41% year over year.

It looks like things are improving in Las Vegas, especially on the Strip. Gaming numbers are improving and room rates seem to be creeping up.

Source: Nevada Gaming Control Board:
August Gaming Revenue Report and Win Revenue Summary.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Penn National Buying M Resort

Penn National has bought the M Resort's debt, paving the way for the company to take ownership control of the casino. The Pennsylvania based company paid $230.5 million for about $860 million of total outstanding debt.

Penn National has been looking to get into the Las Vegas market for a few years now. They own 23 casinos around the country, so they have a pretty big customer base to lure to a Vegas property. M Resort is probably a good place to get their feet wet in Las Vegas, especially considering they are getting a brand new property for a fraction of the building cost.

Penn was a player in the auction to buy the stalled Fontainebleau project, but backed off in the later stages giving the property to Carl Ichan. They have also been long rumored to buy the Rio, but nothing ever came of that either.

While the M Resort is a good start, there is little doubt that Penn National would like to have a property on the Strip. Perhaps they will look to expand further into Las Vegas after they fully acquire M Resort. Who knows, maybe they will end up with Fontainebleau after all in a few years when Ichan decides to unload it. M Resort and a finished Fontainebleau would be a really nice foundation for Penn National to build on in the Las Vegas market.

Source: Bloomberg.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Plaza Buys Fontainebleau Furniture

A few days ago it was revealed that most the the furniture at the stalled Fontainebleau project would be sold off at auction.

Today a story in the Las Vegas Sun reported that much of that furniture was purchased by the owners of the Plaza hotel, which is scheduled to close for renovation this November. Plaza's newly remodeled rooms will be fitted with "Wallpaper, carpet, tile, sofas, chairs, desks, dressers, side tables and bed frames" that were originally intended to be used in the rooms at Fontainebleau.

It appears the owners of the Plaza might actually be serious about renovating the property. When it was announced that the hotel was closing, many people speculated that this would be another Lady Luck or Binion's situation, where the hotel would close and not actually be worked on for a long time. It looks like this is not the case, as the project has a set budget ($20 million) and re-opening date (September 2011). Now they have some brand new swanky furniture to go along with it, purchased for pennies on the dollar.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Harrah's Announces All Stage Pass

Following their successful Buffet of Buffets deal, Harrah's now has an "all you can see" show package.

For $99 (plus taxes and fees) you can see as many selected Harrah's shows as you can for a 48 hour period. There are currently 17 different shows to choose from and the clock starts ticking as soon as you buy your pass.

There are also "premium" shows that aren't included but you can pay $40 to see them during your 48 hours. Premium shows include Cher, Barry Manilow, Donny & Marie and Penn & Teller. It looks like Peepshow isn't included in this promotion even though you have to buy your pass at Planet Hollywood.

This has the potential to be a great deal, but like the Buffet of Buffets deal it requires some planning. You pretty much need to see 3 or 4 shows to get your money's worth. This is definitely possible since there are a few afternoon shows to choose from, and you could theoretically see 2 shows in the same night as well (say a 7:30 and a 10:00). I like seeing shows in Las Vegas, but I'm not sure how I feel about trying to cram 2 or 3 shows into the same day.

Another thing to consider is that the "retail" prices for many of these shows could be greatly reduced by using a coupon or discount ticket outlet. For example you might think you're getting $24.95 worth of show by seeing Mac King, but free passes or 2 for 1 coupons this show are often easily available. Similarly the retail price for X Burlesque is $49.95 but I've seen this show sold at the discount ticket brokers for under $30.

If you are looking to see as many shows as possible on a budget then this is probably a great deal for you. If seeing 2-3 shows a day seems a little overwhelming, then using coupons or discount ticket brokers might be a better option.

Source: Harrah's All Stage Pass. Please check them out for all the details.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

New Flamingo Food Court

A food court at Flamingo will be opening this fall. Restaurants will include Johnny Rockets, Pan Asian Express, LA Subs & Salads & Bonanno's NY Pizza. The food court will be near the main showroom at Flamingo.

I personally like the choice to add some fast food to the property. Previously guests would have to venture across the street to O'Sheas if they wanted to grab some food on the run. Flamingo isn't really known for its dining offerings, so this will add another choice for people who might not want to spend time sitting in a restaurant or waiting in line at the buffet.

Source: FlamingoVegas twitter.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Fontainebleau is Dead - For Now

In a sign that the Fontainebleau project is dead for now, owner Carl Ichan held a garage sale of sorts, selling off assets from the hotel. Beds, chairs, couches, lamps, door moldings and just about anything else that wasn't nailed down was sold recently to the highest bidder at auction.

I'm wondering why a hotel that was so far away from completion would have so much furniture. It seems that installing room furniture would be the very last step in completing a hotel, but apparently everything was ordered and ready to go via subcontractors when the project went bankrupt.

I guess this proves that Ichan never really had any intention to complete the Font, and is just biding his time until he can flip the property for a profit. My prediction is that two years from now the strip will be almost fully recovered and Ichan will unload the blue elephant for about $300 million which translates into a 100% return on his investment. Not a bad deal.

I still think that the property will open someday, but that date is getting pushed further and further back. I'm personally looking forward to a Fontainebleau / Echelon double grand opening party in December 2015.

Source: NY Post.