Whew! ZorkFest, 360 Vegas Vacation, and Memorial Day Weekend are gone and life is almost back to normal! The combination of learning, partying, and a day off for a holiday weekend was something else. This weekend was more than just a hang or conference. There’s really a great supportive community that loves casinos in Las Vegas and beyond. It was great to see so many familiar faces and meet some new people. I even learned a few things.
I won’t write a full review of the weekend but I will touch on something that makes ZorkFest special to me (beyond the people). The plan included seeing seminars that occurred at the same time. I started with the new non-casino topic and expected to end with Eric Rosenthal possibly teaching me something new about casinos. Welp, I never made Eric’s session.
I was captivated by Richard Kerr from Award Travel 101 that I couldn’t leave. His session “Maximize Your Monthly Habits For a Plethora of Points” offered ways to maximize my daily spending outside of the casino. I’ve studied how to maximize casino comps for so long that I’ve forgotten to look at the other half of my life. This was a perfect discussion for that. I have a little work ahead to get my stuff together.
ZorkFest is having an impact on people that attend the sessions. During the weekend I spoke with guests that have started to use the casino, non-casino, and personal expense rewards in ways they never did before. Kudo’s to the team for putting together a conference that is helping people enjoy a better life.
Let’s get to the short Vegas News week.
Not so fast! The strike hasn’t started but could at any minute. On Friday, Caesars Entertainment and the culinary union reached a tentative agreement on new contracts for the workers. As I write this on Saturday afternoon, MGM Resorts is negotiating their deal. Much of this strike could be avoided by the time you read this.
My summer vacation will take place at Caesars Palace later this month, so I’ll be happy when that tentative deal is permanent.
Goodbye Hot Dogs, Hello Fried Chicken
Eater Vegas confirms that Pinks at Planet Hollywood has closed their overpriced hot dog stand. Vital Vegas says that Pin Up Pizza will close next and that a Chick Fil A will replace both. Whoop de damn do. Another fast food chain restaurant on the Vegas Strip.
The fried chicken restaurant should be extremely popular and will probably as busy as In N Out Burger at The Linq. If you’re craving fried chicken today you can head down the street to Blue Ribbon Fried Chicken at Bally’s.
Podcasters After Dark
The live podcasts are starting to be released by their respective podcasters. Be sure to check out:
MGM New York
MGM Resorts International purchased Empire City Casino and Yonkers Raceway for $850 million dollars last week. That’s a pretty penny to pay for a horse racetrack with a small casino with video poker and slot machines that serve as the face for video lottery terminals (VLT’s). These lottery style machines act differently than traditional slot machines. According to ProfessorSlots.com Empire City casino had a return to player percentage of 93.1% during the second quarter of 2017. That seems to be holding up according to the New York Gaming Commission.
This purchase continues MGM Resorts rapid expansion on the east coast. According to LoHud.com, MGM Resorts will have to wait for a full casino license if they want to expand on the property. Horse racing fans shouldn’t get too worked up yet about the ponies leaving since they’re needed to keep the VLT casino gaming right now. Expect to hear more about this next year.
There’s another point with this purchase that could make a lot of sense for MGM Resorts. Empire City is located 15 miles from the heart of New York City. If (when) sports betting is legalized in New York, this could open the company up to a large population of sports bettors. Legal Sports Report has more on that angle.
This should become another M Life Resorts casino for New Yorkers looking to earn and use players club points in Las Vegas. The deal expected to close in early 2019. New Yorkers looking to get some of that M Life on the east coast can visit Borgata and MGM National Harbor. MGM Springfield will open later this year.
Fun fact: This is the first horse track I ever visited and gambled. Yonkers Raceway was home to the Westchester County Fair during my high school years. Later it was home to more than 200 nights of harness racing where I first legally gambled once I was legally allowed to bet on the ponies. Another more fun fact: There’s a recording of me and my pubescent friends signing a Guns N Roses song from this fair somewhere online.
The short holiday week led to a short news week too. Here are a few more news bites to browse over while enjoying a cup of coffee.
The Vegas Golden Knights are in the Stanley Cup Finals and still playing. This is remarkable. Locals and tourists love this team. The next game will take place on Monday and temperatures will be closing in on the 110 degrees range for the first time this year. The outdoor viewing parties are great but you might want to head to a bar, restaurant or sportsbook to catch the action in the air conditioning. Keep up to date on the Golden Knights at their official website.
The Westgate SuperBook sports betting app just had a major upgrade. The biggest new feature is that funds can be added without visiting the casino after the account is first opened. Read more here.
It took nearly a year and a half but the Seinfeld slot machine is finally in casinos. Like The Simpsons slot machine, it’s fairly boring unless you get lots of bonus games. Check this video out from This Week In Gambling.
The Fremont Street Experience added a few more free shows to their summer concert series. Read the updated lineup here.
McCarran Airport had its busiest April ever recorded. This broke the record set in 2017. More than 4.18 million people arrived or departed on flights at the airport last month. Read more here.
Last but not least, the new Ghostbusters 4D game from IGT should be hitting casinos soon. I was able to preview the game last year at G2E and the new tech is definitely cool if you can handle the 3D screens.
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