This is another big week for news in Las Vegas but I want to begin with something you can only do today in Las Vegas. First of all, you’re living life right if you’re on vacation and reading this to start your day.
I want to remind you that the Vegas Golden Knights fan fest is today at the 3rd street stage next to The D Las Vegas at the Fremont Street Experience. The fest takes place from 3 pm – 5 pm and you’ll have a chance to meet all of the players and the mascot, Chance. Read more information here.
Look For Fortune Cup In More Casinos Very Soon
The Nevada Gaming Control Board will tentatively meet on January to decide if Fortune Cup has passed the initial field test we told you about last year. If (when) the gaming commission approves it, Fortune Cup will be placed in multiple casinos on and off the Vegas Strip. Here’s a breakdown of where you’ll be able to play the newest horse racing game in Las Vegas:
- Play today: The Venetian and MGM Grand
- January 29: Red Rock Casino
- January 31: The Orleans
- Week of February 5: The Cosmopolitan and Bellagio
Here’s the initial review of Fortune Cup at The Venetian and video of the new horse racing game below.
Exclusive: Monte Carlo Sports Book Moving
When I visited Monte Carlo on January 4th a couple of construction workers told me that the sports book would be closing for construction this week. I spoke with some more reliable sources and they couldn’t confirm that. However, I can say that the sports book will be closing in mid-March.
After the sports book closes it will move to the new sports bar and restaurant that’s currently under construction. You can find more information on the bar in the December 12 Vegas News. The construction workers may have been referencing the sports bar outside of the sportsbook. I hear this will close before the actual sports book closes.
Drinkers can hang out at the newest bar just a few steps away from the sports bar that doesn’t actually have a view of the sports book. Construction on the west end of Monte Carlo is coming along nicely but the rest of the casino is still a construction zone. When you enter the casino from the Vegas Strip you’ll see a shuttered Ignite Bar and plenty of construction workers all around. This bar was a secondary option for sports fans looking to play a little blackjack while watching the games.
I’m hearing different things about the sports betting setup inside the sports bar and restaurant. We should receive official news about the new Park MGM sports book/bar/restaurant in a few weeks. Most importantly we should learn if the sports bar is on schedule to open in time for the first weekend of March Madness on March 15th.
Las Vegas Casinos Had A Great Year
The Nevada Gaming Control Board just released its annual “Nevada Gaming Abstract” for 2017. This report has income and expenses for casinos throughout the state of Nevada. You can see the full document with over 230 pages of data here. You can see the official two-page press release here.
Vegas Strip and downtown Las Vegas casinos of all sizes had a great year for generating more revenue and profit. The Las Vegas Review-Journal did a good job of highlighting some of the information.
What they don’t discuss is that casino expenses are decreasing. Expect cutbacks like we’ve seen from the MGM Resorts International Profit Growth Plan (PGP) to continue. They may not increase the cutbacks but streamlining expenses is proving profitable, so why stop?
Visitation Down, Hotel Room Rates Up
As predicted overall visitation to Las Vegas was down from the previous year in 2017. The Las Vegas Convention and Visitor Authority (LVCVA) says that 42.2 million people visited the Las Vegas area in 2017. That’s down 1.7% from to 2016.
The decrease appears to be mainly from a lack of people visiting Las Vegas for vacation. The number of convention visitors in 2017 was up 5.2% from 2016. The increase in convention visitors helped to offset fewer people taking a mid-week vacation.
Midweek hotel occupancy was down to 86.0% from 86.5% in 2016. Weekend hotel occupancy had a similar dip to 94.5% from 95.0% in 2016. Had convention visitors not increased, midweek occupancy would have been lower.
In 2017, the average daily hotel room rate was $129.45. That’s an increase of 2.8% from the room rate in 2016. There were 0.3% (442) fewer rooms available for the year. Renovations and the shooting in October really didn’t make much of a dent on the availability of hotels to sell rooms.
While the LVCVA has broken out prices, I expect to see midweek room rates continue to rise in the future. This year we’ll see the addition of new convention space at Aria, MGM Grand, and Park MGM. In the next few years, we’ll see the new meeting and convention space from the Las Vegas Convention Center, Caesars Entertainment (behind The Linq, Flamingo and Harrah’s), and Wynn.
- Us Weekly continues the rumor that Britney Spears will be signing a deal for a new residency at the Park Theater beginning 2019. Multiple media outlets are reporting this as a done deal but all reference this unconfirmed rumor from Us Weekly. Expect to hear more details on a new residency for Brit Brit soon. Read more here. You can listen to her “Piece Of Me” setlist here.
- South Point is getting a Denny’s! Eater Vegas reminds us that the Denny’s at Casino Royale is the top grossing Denny’s in the country. Read more here.
- The will be a Saw movie themed escape room coming to Las Vegas. Read more here.
- Apex Social Club replaces Ghostbar at Palms. Read more here.
- Information was finally released about the shooter at Mandalay Bay. Expect to see more soon. Read here.
- The Esports Arena at Luxor opens March 22. Read more here.
- Roy Choi will be opening an Asian restaurant at Park MGM. Read more here.
- New plan: Sign up for a marriage license online. Fly to Vegas. Pickup license at the airport. Enjoy Vegas! Read more here.
- Caesars Entertainment is now using the Ivy virtual concierge app at Caesars Palace and The Linq. Planet Hollywood will add the service in February. The other Caesars Las Vegas hotels will follow. Read more here.
This Week at TravelZork
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- In Memoriam – (Un)Lucky Dragon (2017-2018)
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