Vegas News February 23, 2020
This was a somewhat surprisingly busy week for Vegas News. Looking at the calendar, we knew there was a lot happening. This just isn’t a week when Las Vegas traditionally busy.
This week Las Vegas was home to politics for at least six days. There was almost a week of promotion for a boxing match that became one of the biggest of all time on pay per view. Lastly, there were NASCAR races on the weekend. This specific week may or may not become one of the traditionally busy weeks in Las Vegas but it’s indicative of the future of travel to Sin City.
Business travelers continue to become more of a focus for casino operators in Las Vegas. There will be more midweek activity throughout the city with the new and expanding convention centers. This will often lead to weekend entertainment for leisure travelers.
The bottom line here is that there will be fewer midweek discounts. There won’t be as many Sunday-Thursday comp room offers as groups occupy more hotel rooms. The best way to maximize discounts is to sign up for hotel and casino rewards clubs. It may also be a good time to start frequenting properties without convention facilities. These hotels might not see the same bump in business travel.
When I first started visiting Las Vegas December was one of the least busy months of the year. The week before Christmas was particularly quiet with less than 50% occupancy in some hotels. I used to visit that week every year because hotel rooms were so cheap. Thanks to the popularity of the NFR (National Finals Rodeo) and new conventions (Amazon), that month continues to become busier than ever.
As you can see above the overall visitation was up more than 6% in December 2018 (full document here). Thanks to Amazon, the convention attendance was through the roof. All together revenue per available hotel room was up 11.2%. Expect to see more traditionally slow weeks filled with conventions and meetings. This will lead to higher room rates around town.
More people in Las Vegas often means more fun for most people. For many of us, it will just mean higher room rates.
New Caesars Will Be Different
Eldorado Resorts and Caesars Entertainment are in the process of merging. The new company will keep the Caesars name. The company will be run by Eldorado management. They’re currently getting regulatory approval in states where the new company will operate. For example, this week Eldorado received approval from the Mississippi Gaming Commission.
A Different Version of Caesars
Eldorado will be creating a different version of Caesars. While most of the properties will remain, there will be some that are sold. On various earnings calls, Eldorado Resorts says that they plan on selling at least one Vegas Strip property. Hard Rock Seminole (not related to the Hard Rock that just closed) has been looking to possibly buy PLANET HOLLYWOOD Las Vegas Resort or Bally’s Las Vegas since last year.
Semi-related: The Hard Rock guitar hotel tower is featured in the new Pitbull video.
This week Bloomberg had some more details on what else Eldorado may shed when taking over Caesars. According to the report, the company could sell Caesars online and sports gambling businesses. Eldorado currently owns 20% of William Hill US, a different national sportsbook operator.
Caesars will no longer look to license its name to non-gaming properties even though the company is still planning on opening Caesars Republic Scottsdale. Caesars also stopped trying to expand into Japan.
New information from Bloomberg is that Sands could be interested in buying Caesars Forum. The convention center hasn’t even opened yet. If this happens don’t expect to hear anything until after the NFL Draft in April. Caesars could also sell its entertainment venues such as the Colosseum at Caesars Palace.
New Caesars being a different company isn’t a surprise. The possibility of Caesars selling its online business (WSOP.com and sports betting), entertainment business, and convention center in addition to casinos will make this a much different company.
Caesars Quick Hits:
While we’re on the topic of Caesars, let’s hit some more news:
- Caesars just released its March Madness parties for Las Vegas. Read more here.
- Morrisey is doing a five-night residency at Caesars Palace Las Vegas on June 26 – 27, July 1, July 3 – 4.
- Slanted Door is opening at The Forum Shops at Caesars Palace. I’m told this is a San Francisco staple. Read more here.
- Last but not least, Caesars sports books are different outside of Nevada. Odds you may see on TV or your local market may not be available in Las Vegas. The same goes for MGM Resorts and BetMGM.
Resorts World Will Be A Hilton Property
This week, Resorts World Las Vegas and Hilton announced a unique partnership. Resorts World Las Vegas and Hilton have partnered to bring three of Hilton’s hotel brands together for the first time. According to the Stiffs and Georges blog, the 3,500 room property will be broken up as follows:
- Hilton Tower: 1,700 rooms
- Conrad Tower: 1,500 rooms
- LXR Tower: 300 rooms
Resorts World Las Vegas hasn’t announced its casino rewards program yet. Here’s the Genting Rewards NY page. TravelZork and LVA Travel are great resources to learn more about how to maximize traditional hotel rewards in Las Vegas casinos.
Besides the Hilton integration, this news also produced the first three interior renderings of Resorts World Las Vegas. They appear to be images of the lobby and lobby bar, but it’s something!
Fremont Casino Expansion Still Possible
Waaaay back in 2018, Eater had a scoop that the Fremont was planning on expanding. It’s 2020 and that expansion hasn’t started yet. During this week’s earnings call, Boyd Gaming representatives mentioned this is still on their mind.
If Boyd Gaming decides to expand the Fremont, it appears as though this will be to make the casino floor larger. They say the casino is currently at capacity. My eyes have seen this. The casino is often packed during the weekend. The initial blog post from Eater said this would include a new 700 square foot sportsbook.
There’s nothing to see here today, but a few more good quarters of business and we could see the expansion. You can see the earnings report press release here.
In Case You Missed It
Remembering Jimbo’s (CEO Jim Murren) Days At MGM Resorts
SLS Becomes New SAHARA Las Vegas
An Informative Overview With Lots of Photos
Saying Goodbye To The Hard Rock Hotel Las Vegas
There was so much news this week that this week we’ll have more quick hits than usual. Let’s just get to it.
- There’s a Dream Hotel (rendering above) coming to Las Vegas across the street from Mandalay Bay. Read more here.
- I missed this one last week. MGM Resorts is reducing the number of displays at the Bellagio Conservatory. Read more here.
- NBA announced its Summer League dates. Read more here.
- MGM Resorts had a data breach last year. Read more here. People are suing the company. Read more here.
- The great Las Vegas blackjack survey is live. Find out where in Las Vegas the best and worst blackjack games are here.
- There’s going to be more AEW rasslin at MGM Grand. Read more here.
- The Electric Daisy Carnival announced its lineup. Read more here.
- The Plaza now has a weekly podcast. Read more here.
- Downtown Grand topped off its new tower this week. Read more here.
- Todd English’s Olives used to be at Bellagio. The restaurant will re-open at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas. Read more here.
- @VitalVegas says Wynn Las Vegas is revamping the creepy Lake of Dreams show. Read more here. The newspaper hasn’t confirmed this yet.
- The SAHARA Las Vegas poker room is officially open. Read more here.
- Whiskey experience coming to Wynn in April. See the details here.
- San Manuel Tribe/Casino from California made a huge donation to UNLV. Remember this name. Read more here.
- Hotel Business says shared rooms are a thing customers want. Flamingo’s bunk bedrooms are an example. Read more here.
- Jeff Dunham has more dates at Caesars Palace. Read more here.
- In a surprise to nobody, PT’s will replace the mediocre bar/restaurant at The Strat. Read more here.
- Hash House A Go Go is opening another location across the street from Red Rock Casino. Read more here.
- Buddy V’s PizzaCake is now open at Harrah’s. Read more here.