That collective noise emanating from Las Vegas that you’re going to hear this week is the sound of windows opening for the first time in a couple of months. High temperatures in Las Vegas will be between 90° and 100°F (32° and 38°C). DOUBLE DIGITS! Ahhhhhhhh!
We’re heading into my second favorite time of the year to be in Las Vegas. Temperatures cool but aren’t really cool. It’s warm but not hot. It’s still iced coffee weather but air conditioning isn’t necessary. It’s the best time to enjoy the great outdoors.
For me, this means al fresco drinking and dining. In fact, that started already with a delicious breakfast on the patio of Mon Ami Gabi at Paris Las Vegas. The thick-cut bacon and coffee are particularly delicious.
Enough about me, let’s get to the news in and around Las Vegas. There’s way more information than usual. In fact, this might be the longest Vegas News of the year!
NFL Season Is Here! – Vegas News
The NFL season kicked off this week with the Green Bay Packers defeating the Chicago Bears. Today is the first Sunday of games. Sportsbooks and bars will be packed for the action. The sportsbook and restaurants at Planet Hollywood were rocking on Saturday for college football.
Earlier this week we published a list of sportsbooks with free and reserved seats. I also included some sports bars on the Vegas Strip to watch the games.
Read: Watching Football in Las Vegas
Hilton Honors Promotion – Power Up
Triple Points In Las Vegas (and Every Other City)!
Petrossian Bar Renovations At Bellagio
Petrossian Bar at Bellagio has been one of my favorite bars in Las Vegas since my first visit. It’s currently closed for renovations that will be completed in December. Bellagio decided to use the lobby as a temporary piano bar.
One of the appealing factors of Petrossian is that the piano bar just off the lobby is amazingly relaxing despite the massive crowds walking around. This is one of the most crowded lobbies in Las Vegas. Walking through before the bar could feel suffocating. This new bar area will only clog up the busy lobby.
Ironically, Bellagio wasn’t too busy when I visited yesterday. The addition of the bar seemed to get rid of the masses that usually just stand around clogging the walkway. I don’t expect this will be the case when the casino is busy. Good luck dealing with this if you’re visiting Bellagio in the next couple of months.
New Service Fees In Las Vegas
Resort fees are one thing but fees to eat or drink in casino bars and restaurants are just obnoxious. Vital Vegas does a good job keeping track of “Concession Fees.” This is a 5% fee added to drinks and meals at some bars and restaurants.
The 4.7% fee is barely noticeable if you order a few beers but it’s noticeable when ordering a meal with those drinks. Hotels can charge a resort fee and say it’s for certain amenities that used to be free. This is a fee for nothing.
Well, this week numerous people started noticing a new service fee at different Las Vegas venues. This new service fee is an additional 10% or 20% on drinks.
Juniper and Mama Rabbit at Park MGM are charging the new fee and saying it “covers wifi and bartop machine maintenance.” Sure. The Foundry at Sahara is charging a 20% service fee on drinks at Blanc de Blanc.
I’m usually not bothered by extra fees. I’m from New York City where we had high taxes and prices for everything. I also just avoid the fees if possible. A business can charge whatever they want. I have a choice to give them my business. Sometimes I will return and other times I won’t. That’s my choice.
Having said that, it’s nice to know the actual price you’re actually paying when you order something – especially booze. Not everyone is sober when ordering drinks so it’s very possible that these fees aren’t noticed. The deception of adding as much as 20% to a bill for literally nothing new is certainly shady.
The fees probably won’t stop people from ordering a round of drinks at a certain bar or restaurant. My friends visiting Las Vegas once or twice a year will be annoyed but not really care if they’re having a great time. Maybe they’ll just go elsewhere for fun the next time.
A 5% fee on 4 beers isn’t all that impactful. However, 10% or 20% on $20 cocktails will certainly be noticeable to a couple or large group.
Consider this your warning that Juniper and Mama Rabbit at Park MGM and The Foundry at Sahara, respectfully charge an additional 10% or 20% service fee for drinks.
This week Aristocrat introduced the Winner’s World bartop video poker/keno/slot machine game. The new machines are a step up from the games most people play at bars. Video poker is the same but they have Buffalo, Buffalo Gold, and Wild Lepre’coins slot games. They also have a Buffalo keno game that people seemed to enjoy when I walked by a game being tested at Red Rock Casino.
The new machines also come with USB outlets for charging your mobile device while drinking and gambling. The machines also include Aristocrat’s “smart-drink” tracking light. Red Rock doesn’t have the drink monitoring enabled so you can play and drink as usual. Other casinos might operate differently.
The press release says these games will be installed Boyd Gaming casinos across the country. I’m told Station Casinos will begin testing the games at more casinos this week including Green Valley Ranch, Texas Station, and Boulder Station.
I’m always curious to try new games but the machines were being used both times I visited Red Rock this week. I might have to make an early morning visit if I want to jam out some BUFFALOOOOOOOOOO at the bar.
Big MGM Resorts Deal With Buffalo Wild Wings
This week MGM Resorts announced a nationwide partnership with Buffalo Wild Wings. Check out the press release if you’re a sports bettor of a fan.
The most important part of this release for Las Vegas is that there will be a Buffalo Wild Wings opening at Mandalay Bay next year. It seems as though more will open at other MGM properties but that’s not part of this announcement.
New Jersey bettors can download the new Bet MGM app. Nevada bettors still use the same underwhelming Play MGM app.
MGM Village Plans
MGM Resorts Las Vegas Village across the street from Mandalay Bay will be turned into a parking lot. Eventually, MGM Resorts plans to build a community and athletic center on the north end of the property. They also “plan to create a space on the property to remember the victims of the (October 1 shooting) tragedy.”
MGM Resorts is a for-profit business and will monetize this land. MGM Resorts will not allow tailgating in the parking lot. This will be useful for anyone visiting Allegiant Stadium for Raiders games and concerts. They even got aggro about it with a local writer about the topic.
I’m speculating by saying that I expect they will set up some kind of BBQ and drinking area in the parking lot. MGM can also just send people inside Mandalay Bay to pre-game at the existing venues and the new Buffalo Wild Wings we mentioned earlier. There’s plenty of time for them to announce a plan.
Some people are upset with MGM Resorts’ plans for the Las Vegas Village. Others seem happy that at least there will be some sort of memorial on the land.
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Quick Hits: “As ‘New’ Caesars Turns”
This is mostly corporate mumbo jumbo but I thought I’d share since everyone loves the Vegas News drama.
- The soon-to-be CEO of Caesars, Tom Reeg, has received a subpoena from the Securities and Exchange Commission. Read about it here.
- Caesars’ board of directors shuffle. Read more here.
- This is actually useful. Caesars Rewards has a new promotion tied in with its NFL partnership. You have to sign up for Play For Rewards HERE for the prizes. Every 50 tier credits earned receives an NFL game piece. The big prize is $1 million.
Quick Hits – Vegas News
There’s still a lot of Vegas News coming up in bite-sized nuggets.
- Derek Stevens is building a warehouse about a mile away from his downtown Las Vegas casinos. As you’d probably imagine, there’s an interesting story about this. Read about it here.
- Virgin Hotels Las Vegas announced its design partners. You can read the press release here. Rockwell Group has done a lot of work with Virgin Hotels and in Las Vegas. Vital Vegas scored a couple of renderings of the public space. Earlier this year we shared a rendering of a hotel room at Virgin.
- Hyde at Bellagio will be replaced by a Supper Club with fine dining. Read more here.
- Aerosmith added another 15 shows to their Las Vegas residency. Read more here.
- Fetty Wap was arrested at The Mirage. Read more here.
- Gordon Ramsay Steak is closing for renovations. Read more here.
- You already know this but Mama Rabbit at Park MGM is open! Read more here.
- RuPaul’s Drag Race Residency is coming to Flamingo Las Vegas next year. Read the press release here.
- KAOS at Palms is getting a roof. Read more here.
- A pizza fest sounds way more fun than it actually is. This is an industry event and not a place to stuff your face. Read more here.
- This one is for the locals and off-strip tourists. The Golden Knights express bus to T-Mobile Arena is back. Read more here.
- Planet 13 dispensary adding Cannabition museum. Read more here.
- A great travel advocacy website has some advice for anyone worried about a future grasshopper invasion in Las Vegas. Read more here.
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