Saturday, October 31, 2015

Fremont Street Performer Details

Last month I wrote about some new rules for downtown street performers. The rules still allow street performers to work for tips but restrict the time and place they are allowed to perform, containing them in selected six foot circles around Fremont Street.

Now the City of Las Vegas has announced more details on their blog:

Performers must first register online at in order to participate in the lottery. Performers may also register in person on Fremont Street from 2 p.m.-8 p.m. or at the Development Services Center during regular business hours (333 N. Rancho Drive). A performer is not entitled to more than one registration regardless of the number of characters or acts performed. The registration is valid for 180 days and must be displayed at the perimeter of the designated location being used by the performer.

The online registration process will soon be located on the city’s website at Registered performers will be able to sign up for the online lottery on the city’s website beginning Nov. 16. Performers will sign up for the lottery each day for the next day’s time slots for one of 38 available spaces. Performers will be randomly assigned spaces that must be used between 3 p.m. and 1 a.m. and will be notified via email their assignments, or can look online. Each spot is good for a two-hour time slot.

I'm guessing the street performers can't be happy with these rules, as from their perspective the process seems like a hassle. On the other hand from a tourist's perspective I'm pretty happy with the way this has turned out, as Fremont Street should be much more pedestrian friendly now.

Friday, October 30, 2015

September 2015 Revenue and Visitation Numbers

September 2015 Las Vegas Gaming Revenue and Visitor Statistics have been released.

Las Vegas visitation was robust increasing +6% in September year over year. This translated into citywide occupancy up 4% with average room rates and revenue per available room increasing significantly (+8.8% and +13.9% respectively). Total room nights occupied were up 3.6%. September was a particularly strong month for convention attendance, which was up 23.9%.

Downtown continued its winning streak with strong occupancy (+5.8%), average daily rate (+19.4%), and revenue per available room (+28.3%) all trending upwards.

Air traffic was also up again in September, increasing +5.9% year over year.

Gaming revenue on the Strip was up +2%. High end baccarat, which has been a struggle for casinos lately, had a better month on the Strip in September increasing +23.39% from last year.

Downtown had more good news with total gaming revenue up +9.3%. Slot machines (+7.55%) and table games (+12.33) both showed healthy increases.

The up and down Las Vegas locals market was down this time, as the Boulder Strip was -5.52% in September while North Las Vegas was -7.32% year over year.

All in all September was a really good month for Las Vegas. The Strip and downtown both showed strong hotel results. Strip gaming numbers seem to be improving, while downtown gaming is really going strong. It will be interesting if these impressive trends continue through the end of 2015 and into 2016.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

MGM Growth Properties REIT Announced

MGM Resorts International reported third quarter 2015 results earlier today. While the numbers were good, especially in Las Vegas, the big news was MGM's announcement that they are creating a REIT.

MGM Growth Properties (MGP) will consist of seven Las Vegas properties (Mandalay Bay, The Mirage, Monte Carlo, New York-New York, Luxor, Excalibur, and The Park) along with three regional properties (MGM Grand Detroit, Beau Rivage in Biloxi, and Gold Strike Tunica).

Notably excluded from the REIT are Bellagio, MGM Grand, and Circus Circus along with MGM's joint ventures including CityCenter, MGM China, Borgata, and the new Las Vegas Arena.

The parent company MGM Resorts International will own approximately 70% of the REIT. This is a big difference from the Penn National / Gaming and Leisure Properties REIT conversion from a few years ago which resulted in a complete and total split of those two companies.

Keeping 70% of the REIT will give MGM more control, but will also limit the potential sale price of the planned MGP IPO which will supposedly take place early in 2016 (that timetable seems ambitious).

Further tampering the REIT's potential is the $4 billion of debt which will be piled on to MGP's books. There are definitely questions about whether the ten properties included in the transaction can generate enough income to support that kind of debt.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Wynn Poker Room moving to Encore?

The rumor that Wynn's poker room is moving to Encore has been around forever, but it looks like it finally might be happening.

Las Vegas Advisor is in fact reporting that Wynn's poker room will be moving to Encore.

The closure of the Ferrari showroom at Wynn had people wondering what would happen to the nearby poker room. Moving it to Encore allows for a pretty big space for something new. The smart money seems to be on more retail.

While the difference between Wynn and Encore isn't much, poker players might have a longer walk from the parking garage to Encore than they had at Wynn. Poker players probably won't like that.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Gaming Roundup - Studio City Macau Opens

Studio City in Macau has opened. The 3 plus billion dollar hotel designed in part to bring more non-gaming amenities to Macau features a batman ride and a figure eight ferris wheel in the middle of the building.

Studio City should be a good barometer of how non-gaming attractions do in the Macau market, especially since the government only granted them 250 tables.

Next door to Studio City on the Cotai Strip is The Parisian. The 2.7 billion dollar Las Vegas Sands owned hotel and casino will open in late 2016 or early 2017. It was originally planned for a spring 2016 opening so it's being pushed back a bit.

Back here stateside Caesars Entertainment is halfheartedly trying to sell their bankrupt CEOC unit, but it appears there aren't any bidders likely because Total Rewards would be excluded from the transaction.

Boyd Gaming, Penn National, and Eldorado Resorts all reported earnings within the past few days. All three locals operators seem to be doing well growing EBITDA, but I like net income better which seems to be hard to come by.

Monday, October 26, 2015

New Bellagio Fountain Song Uptown Funk

It had been a while since I had heard about anything new on the Bellagio Fountains song list - but earlier today Bellagio announced the addition of the smash hit "Uptown Funk" by Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars.

Bellagio produced this video to promote the new song:

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Rio and Wynn Buffet Changes

Changes are coming to two of my favorite Las Vegas buffets.

The Wynn Buffet is undergoing a refresh and expansion. The buffet closed last week and will be re-opening on November 23, 2015. While the Wynn Buffet was already the best in the business they are attempting to be even better by adding a reported 100+ new menu items. I'm a little worried they're messing with a good thing here, but I'm sure it will still be good after the reopening.

The Village Seafood Buffet at Rio is also closing, and will be combined with Rio's pedestrian Carnival World Buffet according to the Las Vegas Advisor. I think this is likely a bad development. Village Seafood Buffet was an underrated gem, and although it will still exist within the Carnival World Buffet (for an up-charge) it likely won't be the same.