Ahhhh…The summer is unofficially over. Labor Day weekend is the beginning of the end of summer for tourist season. The day clubs will slowly wind down, then some pools will begin to close and summer concert season will come to an end. There should be a couple of quiet weeks of news in Las Vegas before the casino industry gathers for the Global Gaming Expo (G2E). That’s probably the next time we should hear some major casino news and rumors.
I’m not sure that the biggest news this week is actually big news but Lucky Dragon set an official Grand Opening date. The Asian-themed casino will open its doors on Saturday, December 3. There will be some kind of party celebrating this occasion but details haven’t been revealed yet.
Palms and Aliante Are One Step Closer To New Owners
Last week the Nevada Gaming Control Board unanimously recommended approval that would allow Palms to be sold to Red Rock Resorts and Aliante to Boyd Gaming. The deals should receive final approval when the Nevada Gaming Commission meets on September 22.
Aliante and two other casinos were purchased by Boyd Gaming in April while Palms was purchased by Red Rock Resorts (Station Casinos) in May. Expect the changeovers to happen quickly after September 22. Rumor has it that both of the new owners may have been unofficially working behind the scenes on both properties since the deals were announced.
Palace Station Renovations Moving Forward
According to Eater the first phase of renovations to Palace Station will begin in October. That’s 3 weeks from now. The official details from Red Rock Resorts/Station Casinos in July that was kind of vague seem to have been approved and scheduled. Eater says the first phase will add a bingo hall and new porte cochere. This phase should be finished around April 2017. You can read more about the planned renovation phases at Palace Station here.
Caesars Palace Upgrades Sports Book & Starts Taking Seat Reservations
Caesars Palace Las Vegas finally upgraded the main screens at the sports book. It’s 4 or 5 years overdue, but that’s another story. The sports book renovation includes upgrading much of the seating in front of those big beautiful screens.
Like most upgrades, these come with a price. Caesars Palace is requiring a $75 or $300 minimum drink commitment for football games. You can find the reservation page here. Requiring minimum wagers or food/drink orders isn’t new to Las Vegas for busy events like football games or March Madness. This practice is expanding to more properties on and around the tourist corridor of the Vegas Strip and downtown Las Vegas. You can read some more examples of where you might have to pay to watch football in Las Vegas here.
Your best bet for a free seat in a sports book is to visit a sports book off the Vegas Strip. Arrive an hour before kickoff and sign up for a mobile wagering account so you can place wagers once you have a seat. The Mirage, Wynn, MGM Grand, Treasure Island and Mandalay Bay are some casinos on the Vegas Strip where you should be able to find free seating for football games. Again, make sure you arrive early because they’re first come-first served.
Caesars Entertainment Prepping For Skill Based Gaming
Gamblit Gaming has been the most aggressive companies to market skill based gaming to casinos. They’re not selling a traditional slot machine with skill-based bonus rounds. The Gamblit games are closer to what you’d play on a mobile phone or tablet. Caesars Entertainment will be installing games in smaller cities this year and plans to offer them somewhere in Las Vegas next year. You can read the press release here. One of the first games to be in casinos will be based on Catapult King, which was downloaded over 35 million times.
Live Electronic Table Games at Bellagio
Bellagio just installed a live dealer electronic table game setup that includes roulette and baccarat. If you haven’t seen these games, the players will sit at individual terminals and place wagers on the game they prefer. The concept has been around for a couple of years and finally appears to be catching on.
It was a rare sighting but I actually saw people playing at the Stadium Gaming setup at The Palazzo on Tuesday night. The seats were about half full while many table games were actually empty. This doesn’t seem like a fun way to gamble to me but to each their own. You can read more about the installation here.
Yardbird, Sake Rok, and the Palm
I saw the Stadium Gaming on Tuesday because was walking through The Palazzo on the way to finally try Yardbird. This restaurant was number one on my must-visit list because of so many great reviews. I finally got around to visiting after being invited to a bourbon tasting. Yardbird lived up to everyone’s reviews. I can’t recommend it enough and can’t wait to return.
Sake Rok opened at The Park earlier this year. I was hesitant to try it because of the interactive entertainment. After seeing video of what the interactive experience is like I said that I’d never go. Well so much for that, I was coerced into visiting the restaurant and I’m so glad I was talked into it. My entire crew had a great time at Sake Rok! This is the kind of “only in Vegas” dining experience you hear about. The experience is definitely not for everyone but large groups who like to eat sushi and drink should have a blast.
The Palm inside The Forum Shops at Caesars Palace just reopened. Last week I learned that they ditched the very popular Happy Hour menu. I’m hoping to check out the steakhouse next week. It’s been about 7 years since I last ate at the New York City location.
Squashed Rumor Of The Week: Wayne Newton “Up Close and Personal” Continues
A few weeks ago there was a rumor going (see August 21 Vegas News) around that Wayne Newton “Up Close and Personal” at Bally’s would be closing. It looks like that isn’t the case. In fact, Caesars just announced that Mr. Las Vegas has shows set up for the following dates through the end of the year:
Wednesday – Saturday; 7:30 p.m. Beginning September 26, Monday – Wednesday; 7:30 p.m. There will be additional performances on December 29 and 30.
However, the show will be dark on September 21; October 19; 27 – 31; November 17 – December 26.
There aren’t any performance dates set for Wayne Newton in 2017 yet. The next few months may be your last time to catch Wayne live. I guess we’ll find if there will be dates next year at a later date.
New Rumor Of The Week: “Tournament of Kings” at Excalibur is Closing
This rumor from Vital Vegas shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise. There have been rumors about Excalibur floating around all year. Maybe there will be a shopping element added to the castle casino complex, maybe the property will lose its medieval theme, maybe Excalibur will be imploded. Throw “Tournament of Kings” closing in the mix now.
This particular rumor about the jousting knights comes at an interesting time. Earlier last week, the owner of the Las Vegas NHL team that will play across the street from Excalibur stated that the new hockey team name will include the word “knights.”
Even though they don’t own the team MGM Resorts owns 50% of the arena where the hockey team will play. MGM are masters of cross promotion and could probably find a way to use the hockey team to market the nearby casino. I don’t doubt this rumor is true because it makes sense with everything else I’ve been hearing since last year. However, I wouldn’t count out the re-imagination of the “Tournament Of Kings” show if MGM Resorts for some reason decides to keep the Excalibur theme.
Last night someone recommended a Game Of Thrones theme if MGM Resorts wants to keep the castle theme. Who’s in?!
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