Another Vegas Resort Fee Increase
The fee increases on the Vegas Strip continued for another week. Las Vegas Sands is now charging a $45 per night mandatory resort fee for The Venetian and The Palazzo. I remember the old days when the resort fee at these hotels was optional. Get off my lawn!
Hey, at least the parking is free at both casinos!
This is the third time we’ve had to update the Vegas Strip parking and resort fees overview in March. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see the other luxury hotels increase their resort fees soon. The respective resort fees under $40 per night at Cosmopolitan and Wynn are a relative bargain.
You may remember when we shared news (January 28) that Airbnb (Airbnb sign-up invitation) bookings doubled in 2017 from 2016. If you’re sick of dealing with resort fees and rising prices at casinos you might want to look into this or a similar travel service. You might be surprised by the options available. Just be careful, because the fees aren’t the same at all rentals.
Another Emergency Call From Wynn
The last time Wynn Resorts had an emergency earnings call was to announce Wynn West. Well, maybe it was to head off a major news story from the Wall Street Journal that was released the following day. Steve Wynn has since stepped down as CEO of Wynn Resorts and the new CEO, Matt Maddox, had no idea about nuthin. Moving on…
Wynn Resorts just had another last minute call with investors. This call is being positioned as a “CEO Update.” You can read the finances for the first two months of 2018 compared to 2017 here. Macau did bang up business, but you can read that yourself. I cover Las Vegas so let’s hop to the Vegas Strip.
Despite all of the negative press about Wynn, occupancy for the first two months didn’t fall too much from 82.3% in 2017 to 81.6% this year. I expect that we’ll see occupancy fall more when quarterly earnings are released. It’s a lot easier to cancel plans for 2 months and beyond than less than one month.
The one thing that really stands out from this report is the Average Daily Rate (ADR) for rooms at Wynn and Encore. The ADR for January and February this year was $354. That’s a substantial increase from $315 in 2017. Again, it will be interesting to see what rates look like moving forward.
The call was quick and there was no question and answer period. The Wynn Paradise Park expansion is now simply Paradise Park. I’m not so sure that plans for Paradise Park will still be bananas. The new CEO seems laser focused on increasing revenue than flash. He referenced a “phase 1” expansion of the convention center but nothing else. The hotel to the west of Wynn is also still being planned.
The Stiffs & Georges blog has more on this from a casino stock analyst. We should know more in a month or so.
Random Caesars News
- 2017 Earnings: The last-minute call from Wynn Resorts was at the same time a Caesars Entertainment reported earnings for 2017. You can read the earnings press release here. The earnings presentation is probably easier to digest. The financials from 2017 aren’t the highlight of the week from Caesars.
- Esports: Caesars Entertainment has entered the esports game. You can read about H1Z1 Pro League here. The players will all stay at Rio which is probably where people traveling to Las Vegas for the events will stay. The lower resort fees than Vegas Strip properties and free parking should be attractive for younger visitors.
- MMA Fight Dome: Caesars announced they are opening an MMA arena at Rio for Final Fight Championship. There will be approximately 50 fights this year starting in June. No word if there will be any crossover with the World Series of Poker. You can read more here.
- Gwen Stefani: Rumors have been flying all week that Gwen Stefani will be starting a residency at Planet Hollywood. One specific quote from this report caught my eye and I think her older fans will be stoked: “It’s possible the residency could be billed as Gwen Stefani With No Doubt, serving as somewhat of a reunion for the band. Details are still being worked out with the rest of the band, but either way Gwen will definitely be singing No Doubt songs.”
- Comedy Cellar at Rio: The new comedy club was announced a couple of weeks ago. I was able to track down the location of this new venue. The 300 capacity comedy club will occupy the space once home to Martorano’s restaurant. I haven’t asked if they will be serving the famous meatballs that you could once order in the restaurant.
SLS Sale Closer To Reality
Alex Meruelo of the Meruelo Group was recommended for a gaming license this week by the Nevada Gaming Control Board. This is the next to last step for his company to purchase SLS Las Vegas. The decision to approve the sale will happen on March 22.
He identified a problem many people have seen since SLS opened. According to News3LV, he told the board “We’re changing the slot machines, we’re gonna change the casino itself. ”The way it looks, I think it’s very dark.”
You can get an idea about the design aesthetic the casino might see based on pictures at his other property, Grand Sierra Resort in Reno. Video Poker players might have reason to look forward to more of that Reno charm. According to vpFree2.com Grand Sierra has plenty of playable games.
Even if the number of good games is reduced the new casino could have the best video poker on the Vegas Strip. I look forward to hearing more. I’m not too excited. Las Vegas has a way of changing customer friendly business practices.
ZorkFest 2018 Updates
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We have a crazy weekend ahead in Las Vegas. Beginning Thursday morning, the first weekend of March Madness tips off. The sports bettors will be joined by people visiting for Spring Break and St. Patrick’s Day. I’d love to stay and chat but I need to get ready. Here are a few more Vegas news nuggets before I go.
- Las Vegas Sands (The Venetian and The Palazzo) sold Sands Bethlehem. Read more here.
- Rumors of Hard Rock being sold are getting louder. Expect an announcement soon. Read more here.
- The new sportsbook opens at Monte Carlo/Park MGM tomorrow! Eater has some more updates on the property here.
- Pac-12 extends their agreement to play conference basketball championship at T-Mobile Arena. Women’s tournament moving to Las Vegas too. Read more here.
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