Saturday, September 05, 2015

The Linq Hotel - Old and New

Now that The Linq hotel on the Strip has been completely transformed from it's former Imperial Palace roots, I thought it would be fun to compare the current Linq hotel with what it used to look like as Imperial Palace.

Here's a picture I took of Imperial Palace in 2009:

And here's a Linq PR photo of the new pool deck and hotel facade:

Friday, September 04, 2015

Diamond Ice at The Linq

This video caught my eye - the making of diamond ice at 3535 Cocktail Bar at The Linq.

Thursday, September 03, 2015

Crystals Expansion likely at Harmon Site

Jim Murren - speaking on the most recent MGM Resorts International earnings conference call gave some thoughts about what the never-opened Harmon Hotel land could become:

"For those of you who are out here, or are going visit soon you'll note, which is happy news for us - that Bobby Baldwin has finished deconstructing the nightmare that was The Harmon.

That allows us to spend really constructive time to develop ideas of what would maximize that two-plus acres parcel right on the corner of the Strip. And clearly, though we're not ready to explain all of the ideas we have, you'd have to believe that an expansion of Crystals is the overarching use of that property, and there could be others.

Crystals itself is an extraordinarily valuable asset, we've discussed it on prior calls, and don't think that we've lost sight of that. We believe it not only is more valuable today than it was even last quarter, but we believe with a growth plan it would be more valuable still going forward."

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Manneken Pis LV at The D Las Vegas

Owner of The D and master marketer Derek Stevens is back at it again as The D has unveiled their newest attraction - a replica version of the famous Manneken Pis statue in Brussels, Belgium.

The media frenzy started as The D published this wacky video of Derek Stevens holding an "executive board meeting" announcing that The D has signed the longest entertainment contract in Las Vegas history:

The next day a press conference was held to unveil the new bronze statue.

Photo: Kara Rutkin Instagram.

Here's what Derek Stevens had to say about Manneken Pis LV:

"Alright well today, I want to thank everyone for coming here. Today is going to be a great, great day. September 1st, 2015 will certainly go down as a great day in Las Vegas history.

First I want to start with just a little bit of history here. Manneken Pis, and it is pronounced that way - Manneken Pis was placed in Brussels, Belgium in the year 1619 and today has upwards of 5000 visitors a day come and visit with him.

He's created over 100 sustainable small businesses in and around a three block area in downtown Brussels. Manneken Pis in Brussels symbolizes the spirit of Brussels - which is youthful enthusiasm, an entrepreneurial spirit, a hard working attitude, while being friendly and fun loving. All various traits that we embrace here at The D Las Vegas.

When I was a very, very little boy, and then as I grew up, just as a little boy, and as a teenager, and really up to just a few weeks ago I visited Manneken Pis in Brussels, and I've always been amazed at the crowd that he draws, and the smiles that he brings. I've wanted to bring a version of Manneken Pis to Las Vegas for a number of years.

The D Las Vegas has now given my brother and I the opportunity to respect our Belgian ancestry, and also really give a tip of the cap to my parents who are both 100% Belgian. My mother was on the Belgian council for over 20 years, and my dad grew up in Brussels. He acutally attended the Royal Athenian high school of Brussels which is only a half block away from the original Manneken Pis.

Now today we've said that we signed the longest entertainment contract in Las Vegas history. A hundred year contract with the new and younger version of Manneken Pis, and today we unveil Manneken Pis LV.

In agreeing to this hundred year contract it was important for us to Vegas-size it. A lot's changed in the last 396 years. First and foremost Manneken Pis LV is more than double the size of the original Manneken Pis. Our version is over 500 pounds made out of bronze.

And also adapting to the modern day times, yet showing his youthfulness and entrepreneurial enthusiasm and his hard working attitude, Manneken Pis LV has committed to re-tweet every picture taken with him when he's tagged in a photo. Similar to his father who has over 900 outfits, Manneken Pis LV will begin to develop a seasonal wardrobe - it's going to be lighthearted, fun loving and friendly.

As a part of the long-term contract Manneken Pis LV is committed to bring in joy, a smile, a chuckle, and good fortune to all who visit. And lastly as part of our long term contract - in this day and age when TripAdvisor and Yelp are so important - Manneken Pis Las Vegas will always aim to please."

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

August 2015 Las Vegas Stock Recap

With the calendar now showing September 2015, let's take a look back and see how Las Vegas stocks did in the month of August.

Caesars Entertainment was the big winner in August soaring an incredible 83.3%. They had a strong earnings report combined with some positive bankruptcy news. Caesars stock is highly speculative given their possible bankruptcy, but those willing to gamble reaped the rewards in August.

MGM Resorts International also reported solid earnings, and their stock was up on the news that they are strongly considering a REIT conversion.

Penn National officially became the owners of the Tropicana, but their stock was down slightly in August. Fellow regional player Boyd Gaming was also down.

Las Vegas Sands and Wynn Resorts both declined significantly in August as they were affected by the Chinese stock market.


Monday, August 31, 2015

Downtown Grand moves Table Games

Downtown Grand has seemingly struggled to attract gamblers ever since they opened the remodeled Lady Luck property back in 2013.

Shortly after rumors surfaced that the property was for sale, Downtown Grand issued a press release highlighting some changes at the casino.

Perhaps the most interesting change is the decision to move all of the table games into what used to be high limit areas. Essentially relegating table game players to small nooks off the casino floor.

I have mixed feelings about this change. On one hand I think it would be kind of cool to play in a secluded area like this, almost pretending to be a high roller for a day.

On the other hand playing high energy table games in a small secluded area might suck the life out of the games. Craps comes to mind as a game that I wouldn't really want to play in a quiet area.

Hiding the table games off to the side makes it less obvious that they are only open during certain times, and having a slot parlor feel on the main floor might give the appearance of more excitement - with less labor costs.

Downtown Grand is a nice property and I think most people are rooting for it to succeed. Hopefully some of these changes help them turn the property around, but we'll have to wait and see.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Derek Stevens talks about Las Vegas Club

Derek Stevens is the owner of The D and Golden Gate hotels on Fremont Street. He was recently interviewed on Nevada Public Radio talking about his purchase of Las Vegas Club, among other things.

Stevens talked about how he's had his eye on Las Vegas Club for a while - unsuccessfully trying to buy the property five years ago.

His interest was renewed in a big way though when Las Vegas Club was talking about converting half of their casino into a drugstore. Stevens contended that people come to Las Vegas to see unique, spectacular things and he didn't want another run of the mill pharmacy as part of the tourist corridor.

The location of Las Vegas Club played a big role in the acquisition, as the Stevens owned Golden Gate is right across Fremont Street.

Renovation plans haven't been made yet as Stevens and team need to evaluate the "two separate, independent towers" that "were both built very differently."

One thing known though, when the property reopens it will have a new name. The previous owners of the property were staunchly unwilling sell the name as part of the deal, and Stevens wanted to re-brand the property anyway so it was a win-win.