Vegas News August 30, 2020
A strange thing happened during quarantine from March to June. I lost much of my desire to gamble inside of a casino. Specifically, solo trips to the casino just don’t interest me as much. Finding new ways to entertain myself isn’t new as an only child. But, Vegas Is Still Rockin’……
This is ironic because I prefer solo trips to gamble unless it’s part of a day and night hanging out with friends where we can enjoy everything the casinos have to offer from drinking and dining. EDGe (Eat, Drink, Gamble) Vegas didn’t come from nowhere.
Listening to friends visit casinos around the country again, I don’t think I’m alone with this feeling. We all enjoy the full casino experience – especially with others. Even missing part of our traditional casino visits changes how we feel about returning. I’ll get back to full casino trips eventually with and without friends, but that’s where I am today.
I still enjoy betting on sports and do so almost every day from somewhere that isn’t inside of a casino. I very rarely bet on sports with a human even when I’m in a casino. Mobile betting is the best. The staggered starts for most sports don’t leave me in the lurch for a place to watch all the action at once. That could change in a couple of weeks when the NFL kicks off its season. All those 10 a.m. games at the same time on a Sunday might make me rethink my casino visits.
That said, I still enjoy visiting casinos and even venues attached to casinos. Friday night I went to dinner at the Miracle Mile Shops expecting to be sad that PLANET HOLLYWOOD Las Vegas Resort is closed. Nope. I enjoyed walking around the mall and wasn’t said I couldn’t dump a few bucks in a machine to kill time before others showed up.
On a related note, Chosun Hwaro & Nara Teppan was good! The restaurants at the Miracle Mile Shops are hit and miss so this was a pleasant surprise. There are a lot of great Asian restaurants around town but this is a solid option if you’re a carnivore and enjoy All You Can Eat Korean BBQ at an affordable price and don’t want to leave the Vegas Strip.
Things aren’t the same for me and many people as we continue to try to get back to something resembling the normal from January and February. There’s not too much to update on COVID in Las Vegas this week so I thought sharing some personal effects might be interesting. I’m not alone but there are plenty of people that haven’t missed a beat visiting casinos daily.
In COVID related news bars are still closed. The entertainment available is still very small if non-existent. COVID is still real for some people. You can read about the horror show for some at the Cosmopolitan.
Travel to Las Vegas still down
Travel to Las Vegas is still down compared to last year. Duh. The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority monthly Executive Summary shares more details on travel and hotel occupancy and prices.
Overall visitor volume to Las Vegas in July is down 61% from last year. The 100% decrease in convention visitation has a lot to do with that. Regional leisure travel to Las Vegas by car is down less than 10% from July last year.
Hotel occupancy and pricing is interesting to me. Overall occupancy was 42.5% in July. Weekends saw a 54.4% occupancy rate while midweek hotel rooms were 36.9% full.
The average daily room rate for the month was only down 17.8% from last July. The average hotel room price per night in July was $104.39.
The price drop is coming mostly from locals properties. Average daily room rates on the Vegas Strip were down 15.2% to $115.68 per night. Downtown Las Vegas saw a smaller price drop of 13.5% to $59.74 per night.
Anecdotally, it sounds like more people are flying to Las Vegas for some time away. The experience is still different than before March but this is still Vegas, baby.
MGM still feeling the pain
MGM Resorts is still feeling the pain from COVID. Despite opening The Mirage this week, the company announced it’s laying off 18,000 employees. This accounts for around 25% of its workforce.
Strap in because it’s going to take a while for the casino business to get back to pre-COVID times.
I’m sure this is coincidental but for some reason, it became public on the same day that the layoffs were announced that MGM Resorts is suing Ocean Casino in NJ for hiring key employees away from Borgata. It’s isn’t difficult to see why employees might want to jump ship.
More importantly about MGM Resorts is this sweet deal Scott/Vital Vegas found at Heritage Steakhouse inside The Mirage. The Welcome Back prix fixe dinner is $68 for four courses. Not a bad price considering the 8-ounce filet is $55 alone. Add the appetizer, side, and dessert and you have a deal at one of the best steakhouses in Las Vegas.
Related: Eater has a list of restaurants open at The Mirage.
Dogs stay free at Virgin?
His face when you tell him the hotel isn't pet friendly. 😤— Virgin Hotels Las Vegas (@VirginHotelsLV) August 25, 2020
Lucky for you, we're pet friendly and their stay is always on us. pic.twitter.com/o0QDGXzPGn
Not only will the property be pet friendly but it appears as though your four-legged friends can stay for free. For comparison, MGM Resorts charges a green chip ($25) per night for pets. Caesars charges a black chip ($100) for pets for however long you stay.
ICYMI – TravelZork
9 Casino Tweets You Missed This Week
Las Vegas Quick Hits
Again the bulk of Vegas News will come via quick hits. Let’s get to it starting with a preview of a review that took me all week to write.
- Boyd Gaming did a soft launch of its new B-Connected Sports app. This is only available in Nevada. The IGT software is among the best in the state. The Boyd wagering menu is either the largest or close to it. This review still needs some editing but you can read a lot of words here.
- Olive Garden is coming to the Vegas Strip! It will be located in between Target and Chili’s in the middle America portion of the Vegas Strip across from Aria and in between PLANET HOLLYWOOD Las Vegas Resort and MGM Grand. Keep your excitement to a respectful level and read more here. PS: If people didn’t like these chain restaurants they wouldn’t keep opening on the Vegas Strip.
- No idea when we’ll be able to go inside Allegiant Stadium but Eater has a list of food and drink spots in the stadium. Read more here.
- Looking for unique stuff from the Flamingo Las Vegas? Read more here.
- Cleaning up the Arts District in downtown Las Vegas with more retail and restaurants. Read more here.
- Cowboy Christmas in December has been canceled. This seems like a prelude to NFR taking place elsewhere or without people in attendance. We should find out soon. Read more here.
- Want to buy Wayne Newton’s casa? Read more here.
- Vital Vegas got some renderings from The Drew. Check them out here.
- If I’m dreaming about what could have been with that big blue monstrosity I prefer looking further back at the renderings of Fontainebleau. See them here.
- Looks like the LVCVA is buying the monorail. Read more here.
- The ESPN studio at The Linq is now open. Say hi to the guys next time you ride the zipline. Read more here.
- As expected William Hill was approved to buy CG Technology sportsbooks. Read more here.
- Last but not least, a new pro golf event is coming to Vegas. Read more here.