There was so much news in Las Vegas last week that I really don’t know where to start. There weren’t any bombshells but there was a lot of interesting tidbits. I’ll try to keep the analysis somewhat brief so I can get to most of the news.
Legionnaires’ Disease At Rio
The most important news in Las Vegas right now might be that two guests at RIO All-Suite Las Vegas Hotel and Casino were found to have Legionnaires’ Disease found. This seems to happen somewhere in Las Vegas every few years. It’s not good. KNTV has details.
Not that there’s a good time for this to happen but this is especially bad timing for the Rio and Caesars Entertainment. The World Series of Poker is currently taking place. Take a look at this FAQ on Legionnaires Disease from the Southern Nevada Health District if you’re at Rio today or plan on visiting soon.
Vegas Strip Getting Bollards
It’s about damn time!
You may remember that a woman intentionally drove onto the sidewalk of the Vegas Strip near Planet Hollywood in December of 2015. Somehow the government hasn’t done anything to try and protect the area from this happening again. At least they’re finally starting the process. According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the city is taking bids for approximately 700 bollards to hopefully keep vehicles from driving onto the sidewalk again.
The soonest the project will be finished is December 1, 2017. That’s about two years from the last incident. Hopefully, nobody decides to drive onto the sidewalk in the next six months.
More Convention & Meeting Space Coming To Bellagio & MGM Grand
MGM Resorts International has been loud and clear with their plans to add convention space wherever possible. The increase in meetings allows them to sell more rooms for a higher price to meeting and convention guests. When occupancy rises the higher prices usually trickle down to leisure visitors on vacation. Convention space is relatively inexpensive to build and this is a good way for the company to increase room capacity and rates.
The great Stiffs and Georges blog is reporting that MGM Resorts is saying, but not officially announcing, that they will be adding convention space at MGM Grand and Bellagio. The latter might be open by 2020. The next major convention space expansion for MGM Resorts will open at Aria in 2018.
Say Goodbye To Vegas Vickie
The iconic Vegas Vickie neon sign at Glitter Gulch will be removed on June 12. Plans are TBD for the sign. However, this is really the beginning of the renovation to the casino formerly known as Las Vegas Club. The actual letters from the Las Vegas Club casino will come down on June 12 as well. Vital Vegas has a detailed blog entry explaining the construction about to happen at Las Vegas Club, Glitter Gulch, Mermaid’s Casino.
In related news, Las Vegas Club will “re-open” for a day on June 27 and Mermaids will “re-open” on June 28. In order to keep the gaming licenses intact, the casinos need to have activity for at least eight hours every two years. United Coin Machine will set up a trailer by each casino with 16 slot machines for eight hours on each day. The actual casinos won’t be open to the public. No fried Oreo’s at Mermaids. Sorry.
If you’re looking for a unique Las Vegas experience you might want to check this out. Developers have these trailers come to vacant land every now and again to keep the land available for potential casino operators. This isn’t a glamorous experience but it’s something you won’t see often.
Downtown Grand Expanding
Before Downtown Grand opened there were visions of the Downtown 3rd area becoming a major tourist destination in downtown Las Vegas. The casino got off to a shaky start but seems to be settling into a casino for locals and tourists. Pizza Rock, Triple George Grill, and Hogs & Heifers have always done solid business. Now it’s time to expand.
Eater is reporting that the expansion will be called The Quad. The plans are said to include a fitness center for hotel guests, a cafe/tavern, meeting space, and more. I’m looking forward to seeing this develop. It would be nice the area become another destination near the Fremont Street Experience in the way Fremont East has become its own destination.
Encore Getting A Sports Book
You may remember (February 5 News) that Wynn Las Vegas is renovating and expanding their sports book. The new space will be open sometime around August 1st. Well, it looks like the folks at Wynn are feeling inspired. Johnny Kats from the Las Vegas Review-Journal is reporting that Wynn is also building the first sports book for Encore as well. They haven’t specified details of the renovations but it’s being built next to the Players Lounge. The new sports book at Encore should open a week after Wynn.
Previously, Encore guests had to walk over to Wynn to place wagers and watch the games. I envision the new space combining the sports book environment with the Players Lounge. This would make the space feel more like the sports book at the Cosmopolitan. That space includes a video poker bar, blackjack, bar games, and electronic table games with the sports book.
Cosmopolitan Gets Recommendation For Approval To Operate Sports Book
The Cosmopolitan currently operates everything at the sports book besides taking bets on the games. CG Technology currently operates the sports book and takes the bets. That could be changing soon. The Nevada Gaming Control Board has recommended that the Cosmopolitan receive a license to operate the sports book. The two companies currently have a lawsuit about the space. Expect to hear more about this before the year ends.
The Simpsons Slot Machine Hits Las Vegas
Scientific Games debuted The Simpsons slot machine at the Global Gaming Expo (G2E) in 2015. The cabinet was unique at the time (you may have seen it used it for another Willy Wonka game recently). The Simpsons slot machine is out of control in the most fun way.
It’s so loud and there’s so much happening on all of the screens. What really sets it apart is the audio that sounds like it’s coming from everywhere. If you’re remotely a fan of the TV show you should love the game. It’s at a few casinos in Las Vegas including the Cosmopolitan (where I played) and The Mirage.
Space Invaders Just A Couple Weeks Away From Las Vegas
This is Scientific Games first skill-based slot machine and it also debuted at G2E in 2015. This game is currently available as an exclusive at Caesars Entertainment in Atlantic City. I’m told that Space Invaders will be in Las Vegas in a couple of weeks and it will NOT be exclusive to Caesars properties.
What makes this skill-based game unique is that it’s still a basic slot machine at heart. You have the option to use a skill or not to use skill during the game. When you reach the bonus round you can use your skill to play the Space Invaders game or you can let the RNG (random number generator) inside the game decide how much you win with free spins. Giving the player the option to use a skill or just have bonuses doled out randomly could be the way skill-based gambling reaches the masses since it wasn’t created specifically for the millennial generation.
Here’s a preview of the game.
- The Westgate is introducing a second NFL Contest this year alongside the popular SuperContest. This is for the high rollers. Read more here.
- The Showcase Mall next to MGM Grand is expanding. More shopping. Yay! Read more here.
- Marche Bacchus is one of the Top 100 places to dine al fresco in America. You can see the list here.
- DOGC is closing at the Cosmopolitan. Say goodbye to one of the more affordable restaurants at the Cosmo. Read more here.
- Eat is opening a second location in my hood. I can’t wait to visit so I’m sharing. Read more here.
- Total Rewards giving away more Diamond tier upgrades. Read More here.
- MGM Resorts has increased their take from poker games. Read more here.
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