Saturday, November 21, 2015

Phil Ruffin on Ralston Live November 2015

One day after MGM Resorts CEO Jim Murren was on Ralston Live, Treasure Island owner Phil Ruffin made an appearance on the program.

Fighting back a cold, Ruffin talked about his failed attempt to purchase the Mirage for $1.3 billion, and his close relationship with Donald Trump.

I thought it was interesting there was no mention of Fontainebleau, which is currently for sale. I would have liked to hear if Ruffin is interested in buying the property, although by other comments in the interview I'm sure the answer would have been no.

Friday, November 20, 2015

SLS Focusing on Fundamentals

News of Sam Nazarian selling his 10% stake in SLS broke last month, but the transaction was officially approved this week.

The Vegas Inc story about the approval had some interesting quotes from current SLS boss Scott Kreeger.

Kreeger admitted that SLS has gotten off to a rough start financially, saying "It's probably fair to say that the first year at the property was a little tumultuous."

It seems that now Nazarian is out of the picture, Kreeger is taking a "back to basics" approach to the resort. He said they are going to focus on a more "fundamental Las Vegas casino model."

In addition to making those casino changes, SLS will be adding the new Foundry Hall concert venue soon, along with converting one of the hotel towers into a W Hotel.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Wynn Palace Opening Date now June 25, 2016

Wynn Palace, the new $4.1 billion dollar resort being constructed on the Cotai Strip in Macau has moved its opening date to June 25, 2016 pushed back from the original announced date of March 25, 2016.

Wynn Resorts issued a press release stating, "it was notified today by its general contractor, Leighton Holdings Limited, that the Wynn Palace project in the Cotai area of Macau will not be ready to open by the projected early completion date."

Recently Steve Wynn expressed frustration with the Macau government over uncertainty about the number of table games the company would be granted at Wynn Palace.

The Studio City development recently opened in Macau, but early reports indicate it hasn't done much to improve city-wide gaming results.

A three month delay in the opening of Wynn Palace probably won't mean much in the long term, but it's just another setback in what has been a very rough year for Wynn Resorts shareholders.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Jim Murren on Ralston Live November 2015

MGM Resorts International CEO Jim Murren was on Ralston Live on Monday. He talked about the company's REIT conversion, how he had offers to sell the Mirage, Macau, and more.

Murren wasn't asked about the controversial rumor that MGM Resorts will soon be charging for garage parking in Las Vegas.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Rio Carnival World and Seafood Buffet

Last month I wrote a blog post about how the Village Seafood Buffet was closing at Rio and was going to be folded into the Carnival World Buffet.

That transition is now complete, as Rio's new combined buffet has opened and is now called Carnival World & Seafood Buffet.

According to the Rio website the prices will be:

Lunch: $25+
Dinner: $33+
Seafood Dinner: $48+
Brunch: $32+

As much as I like the seafood option - $48 is a lot to pay for it. If I were looking to spend that much on a buffet I would probably just go all out and spring for Wynn, Bellagio or Bacchanal at Caesars Palace.

That being said I'm happy they decided to keep the seafood around in some form instead of getting rid of it altogether. If I find myself staying at Rio again I will likely be giving it a shot.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Marriott to Acquire Starwood Hotels and Resorts

Marriott International announced today their intention to acquire Starwood Hotels and Resorts. If the deal goes through it would create the world's largest hotel company, controlling over 1.1 million rooms.

Starwood currently has an affiliation with the Caesars Entertainment properties on the Strip, and recently signed a deal to convert one of the towers at SLS into a W Hotel.

Marriott has an agreement with Cosmopolitan, although it has been rumored that will be replaced with Hilton due to Cosmopolitan's recent sale to Blackstone.

I personally don't have a vested interest in either one of these loyalty programs, but from what I'm reading it appears that Starwood customers are worried about having their points devalued by Marriott.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Foundry Hall coming to SLS

The former Life nightclub at SLS Las Vegas is being transformed into an 1800 seat music venue called Foundry Hall, which will open early in 2016.

A Las Vegas Weekly article detailed the renovation project. The nightclub's DJ booth is being removed in favor of a stage. Audio improvements are being made, while keeping the nightclub's massive LED screens.

Live Nation will partner with SLS to book acts at the new venue, which will be a mix of permanent and standing room only seating.

The new music venue comes at a time when SLS is looking to make major improvements to the property to attract more guests. Last week it was announced that one of the hotel towers will be converted into a W Hotel brand.

SLS is still struggling financially. After reporting third quarter earnings they have lost $122.7 million so far in 2015. Parent company Stockbridge is banking on these improvements to help turn the property's fortunes around.