The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) was in Las Vegas last week. The annual convention showed off the future of technology. This year there were a lot of items on display that fall under “The Internet Of Things” category. If you’re not familiar with the term, these are the “smart” items you see for your house. Smart door knobs, smart lights, smart washing machines, and smart sinks made up a lot of the random smart items. There even random wearable items like smart socks (seriously) . You may see some of these smart items in hotels someday.
I usually look at CES to see what new technology casinos will be using in the future. About 5 years ago, large and small tablets were a big deal. It wasn’t long after CES that casinos started to use tablets of all sizes in just about every venue. There wasn’t an obvious tech trend for casinos at CES this year besides better TVs that we see every year. We should expect bigger and better TVs in hotel rooms, bars and on casino floors.
Las Vegas Convention Center Expansion Phase 1 Complete
Part of the reason for buying, closing and demolishing the Riviera was for the Las Vegas Convention Center to expand towards the Vegas Strip. The unexciting first phase of the expansion was just completed. Part of the land occupied by the Riviera has been paved to make way for more parking and exhibition space. The new 26-acre Diamond Lot includes 20 acres of outdoor event space and 3,100 parking spaces.
The outdoor space was a requirement for the Las Vegas Convention Center to finish early this year so that the CONEXPO-CON/AGG would come to Las Vegas this year. The expo takes place from March 7-11. If you’re wondering why hotel rates are so high in early March, you can thank this expo and convention. This is expected to be the 2nd busiest convention in Las Vegas behind CES. Almost every hotel room will be filled during the week. NASCAR returns that weekend and many expo-goers will remain in town for the race. Successful Meetings has more information on the expansion.
The Venetian Debuts Co-Working Space
I’d be remiss not to mention this new office space while I’m discussing conventions. I’m probably way too excited about the new co-working space at The Venetian. This will come in handy if you happen to be in Las Vegas for a convention and are looking for a quiet place to work or have a meeting. As long as The Venetian doesn’t charge for parking, this could make a nice mobile office for Las Vegas locals.
The workspace is open to the public and intended to be a quiet place. The space should be useful for people that either needs to work or simply recharge their mobile devices. You can find more details in my article from last week.
New Bosses At SLS Las Vegas
Scott Kreeger, CEO of SLS Las Vegas, recently announced that he was leaving the company. His departure makes the second CEO to leave SLS Las Vegas since it opened 2013. The casino has hired Terry Downey to be COO (Chief Operating Officer) and Robert Schauffhauser to be CFO (Chief Financial Officer). Both previously worked at Aliante Casino. They helped turn around the former Station Casino into a locals favorite in North Las Vegas.
Kreeger helped to re-shape SLS Las Vegas from a modern/cool/ultra-hip casino to be more locals friendly. I expect that the new team will continue that trend. I visited the casino in December and it was fairly crowded, but not packed during NFR (rodeo) weekend. The Dana Carvey and Jon Lovitz residency kicked off this weekend. When the casino opened they were clearly going after younger visitors. Between hip-hop shows and 60-year-old comedians, I’m not quite sure who their target customer is today.
Cannery, Eastside Cannery, and Plaza Ditch Rebate Promotions
Among other things, the Las Vegas Advisor does a great job of keeping tables on players club promotions. In the past week, three casinos decided to end a popular promotion. First, the Plaza abruptly ended their $500 loss rebate promotion. That was followed by Cannery and Eastside Cannery ending their $200 rebate promotion. The latter is a little less surprising since they’re now Boyd Gaming properties and a part of the B-Connected players club.
A Barista and Farmer Finish 1-2 in Westgate SuperContest
The Westgate SuperContest is the most popular football contest in Las Vegas. The season-long football picks contest is often compared to the World Series of Poker with its participants made up of professional and amateur players.
This year the ever growing football contest seems to have hit a new level. Over the years the contest has seemingly been won by just about every kind of football bettor. This year a local Starbucks barista finished in first place and won just under $900,000 in the contest. The second place finisher is a farmer who won $360,000. You can read more about this odd combo at Covers.com.
New Entertainment at Wynn
John Fogerty: Fortunate Son in Concert moves from The Venetian to the Encore Theater at Wynn. There will be ten performances from March 3–11 and May 19–28. He’ll be performing Creedence Clearwater Revival classics as well as his solo hits “Centerfield.” Tickets start at $59.50 (plus fees). The response to last year’s series of shows at The Venetian was very good.
Wynn also announced their 2017 DJ residencies. There are tons of names that you can read about here. The Chainsmokers signed an exclusive deal with Wynn. They have a popular song on the radio, but I only think of them for #SELFIE. You can also watch this video below.
New Bar Opens At El Cortez
The last time I was at El Cortez they were building a new bar to replace the bar near Pizza Lotto and the Keno space. The bar is complete and kind of perfect for both existing casino customers and potentially new customers at El Cortez. The part of the bar that faces the casino has video poker. The other side of the bar has a dance floor, tables, and couches for anyone that just wants to hang out and drink. Vital Vegas has a bunch of pictures.
Hotel Tax Hike Approved
Last Year, I told you this increase was coming. The cities of Las Vegas, North Las Vegas, and Henderson approved tax increases on hotel rooms. Las Vegas and North Las Vegas approved the 0.5 % room tax hikes to help pay for the convention center expansion mentioned above. Henderson approved a 0.5% increase for the convention center expansion and an additional 0.5% increase to help pay for the new football stadium. The tax increases will be on your hotel bill beginning January 15.