Saturday, March 26, 2011

Las Vegas Commercial - Big Time Couple

Las Vegas commercial highlights ways to "Do Vegas big-time without spending big-time." This couple takes advantage of Prix Fixe menus and free shows (Mirage Volcano, Bellagio Conservatory and Bellagio Fountains).

Friday, March 25, 2011

Earth Hour 2011 - March 26

Las Vegas will once again participate in Earth Hour. Most of the hotels on the Strip (and I assume downtown and off-Strip) will be turning off their exterior lights from 8:30pm to 9:30pm on Saturday, March 26th.

I think this is the third year Las Vegas is participating. I was on the Strip for the first one in 2009, but it wasn't widely publicized so I missed it because I wasn't outside at all during the hour.

It's probably an easy decision for Las Vegas hotels to participate. Along with the good PR, they must save a lot on the electricity bill for the night.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Caesars and Wynn sign Online Poker Agreements

Caesars Entertainment and Wynn Resorts have signed formal strategic agreements with online gaming companies. This is the first time agreements like this have been allowed by the Nevada Gaming Commission.

Wynn is partnering with PokerStars. Caesars is teaming up with 888 Holdings. I would imagine MGM will announce a similar agreement within days, if not sooner.

Political red tape is sure to follow, but these agreements seem to signal the start of a movement to make online poker and gaming legal in Nevada, and even the USA as a whole.

For more about the agreements, check out MSNBC and The Wall Street Journal.

UPDATE: April 17, 2011.

It looks like the US government is effectively shutting down online poker. As a result of this Wynn has cut ties with PokerStars. Some people are speculating that the government is taking this action to clear the way for legalizing poker. I'm not sure if that makes sense or not, but I guess we'll have to wait and see.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Flamingo Pool Changes for 2011

There are some changes scheduled to take place at the Flamingo pool this summer. Flamingo announced these changes on their facebook page.

They first posted:

The Beach Club Pool (formerly the Go Pool) is now open to Flamingo guests of all ages! The new 18+ Go Pool (formerly the Lagoon Pool) opens April 1.

The post sparked many comments of confusion which resulted in Flamingo posting this follow up:

Here's what we've been able to find out.

1) There is no fee for hotel guests to use either pool.
2) The waterslides will be open and accessible from both pools, they are scheduled to open on April 1.
3) The reason the new Go Pool (the larger p...ool) is not opening yet is because we are installing a new sound system and performing additional construction.
4) The new Go Pool will not offer European style bathing - it is simply restricted to 18+ guests.

We're still waiting for the dust to settle (literally and figuratively) but we will update you on the details as soon as we hear them.

And then finally:

Here's a few more details on our pools.

Part of the rationale for the change was to give all of our guests access to the Beach Club Café - previously, due to its location in a 21+ pool, grabbing a poolside bite to eat with the kids presented... a bit of a challenge.

Also, some of the additional improvements that we're making to the new Go Pool include new chairs, new day beds and a new bar.

We believe that these changes will provide a more pleasant pool experience for guests of all ages, by giving families a dedicated (and frankly, beautiful) space all their own, while giving our adult guests a place to party outside the presence of children.

Given the percentage of our guests who travel with their children, we do not anticipate overcrowding at the Beach Club Pool to be an issue.

We do appreciate your feedback on this matter, and rest assured that we have shared all of your concerns with our management team.


The biggest concern switching the pools is that the former Go Pool (now the family friendly pool) isn't very big. If I had to guess I would say that it only comprises about 25% of the total pool area. If they include the waterside pools in the family friendly area, the balance might be more like 50-50.

You may not think there are a lot of kids in Vegas, but Flamingo is a very popular choice for families because of the great pools. Reducing the amount of already crowded family friendly space might be a mistake.

Adults without kids might not like the change either, because they will have to switch from the quiet, secluded smaller pool to the larger, louder and likely more crowded big pool.

Personally I liked things the way they were before. I didn't even mind paying extra to get into the small, under-crowded adult only pool (with the added bonus of maybe seeing some European sunbathers back when they allowed that). In Las Vegas changes happen often though, so I guess I'll have to roll with the punches.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Loose Slots at Las Vegas Club

There is an interesting article about Las Vegas Club "loosening" their slot machines in Vegas Seven.

The idea is simple. Las Vegas Club lowers the hold percentage on a bank of slot machines by 40% (an example would be a 6% machine being lowered to 3.6%). They then post signs on the machines telling customers that those slots have been loosened.

The change has been successful so far, as the property has seen an increase in visitors and play. Most of the increase is by word of mouth too, as the property hasn't advertised except for signage.

I've wondered when a casino was going to try something like this. Usually when a property is struggling they do the opposite and make payouts worse for the customer, which eventually drives them away. This strategy looks to be having the opposite effect.

I've always thought that if a property offered low limit table games with fair odds (3:2 blackjack), full pay video poker and loose slots, that place would be crowded and successful. The house is going to win in the end so why not let the people play a little longer before losing their money?

Check out the full Las Vegas Club article at Vegas Seven.

Las Vegas Club loose slots ad:

Monday, March 21, 2011

Undercover Boss - MGM Grand

MGM Grand COO Scott Sibella was on the most recent episode of the CBS show Undercover Boss. If you haven't seen the show, the premise is that someone in upper management of a company goes undercover to work with the employees in order to see what's going on with the daily operations and to see if anything can be done better. Most of the time the employees are great, down-on-their-luck people and the boss ends up giving them a promotion or a raise.

In the MGM Grand episode Sibella worked on the casino floor as a blackjack and roulette dealer. He walked the slot floor trying to get people to sign up for players cards. He also worked the front desk of the hotel. All of the employees turned out to be great people (probably not a coincidence) and were rewarded for their efforts at the end of the show.

Aside from a few unique Las Vegas scenes (including a cool time-lapse of the Mirage construction) this episode was pretty much in-line with other episodes of Undercover Boss that I've seen. It gives some insight into the inner workings of a casino, but nothing that any true Vegas fan hasn't seen before.

You can watch the full episode at CBS.