Vegas News February 27, 2022
This week will be a very different edition of Vegas News. We originally started wishing you a Happy Super Bowl Sunday and are finally posting just before March.
Masks Off – Masks Now Optional
The big news in Las Vegas since the beginning of February is that masks are no longer mandated in public places and casinos. Wearing a mask in both locations is still optional for anyone that would like to wear one.
Additionally, businesses still have the right to request customers wear a mask. In the past day, I’ve been to one non-casino business that required a mask, another that didn’t, and two that still requested customers to wear a mask.
Don’t dump the masks just yet. You’ll need to wear a mask to get to Las Vegas and move around town. For the time being, airports, airplanes, Uber, Lyft, taxis, and buses still require customers to wear a mask. Additionally, some venues, shows, and artists might still have mask policies. Check the show venues for specific information.
Some casinos are celebrating that guests are no longer required to wear a mask. Other properties are moving on with masks for employees and guests now being optional. You can read the notice from the Nevada Gaming Control Board to casinos here.
In a perfect world, I’ll never have to write about Covid-19 again. You can read more about how Las Vegas casinos are now dealing with masks no longer required here.
MGM Resorts Earnings
This was an eventful call so I’m going to bounce around touching on different topics.
First Bit Of News – Cosmo
The first bit of news from the call was that MGM expects the deal for The Cosmopolitan to close in the second quarter (April, May, June). The company isn’t sharing plans until after the deal goes through. Everyone’s favorite dealer at The Cosmopolitan says this lines up to what she’s heard.
Like other casino operators reporting earnings, MGM had a great quarter and year. You can see the financials here. For the year, Las Vegas hotel occupancy was 86%. The average daily room rate was $201.
The company says this year looks better. January hotel occupancy was lower than usual in the 60% range. This month looks to be in the 70% range and that includes capacity over 90% for the weekend Las Vegas hosted the NFL Pro Bowl and NHL All-Star game. March is already trending into the 80% capacity range but that seems low.
During the earnings call, a rep mentioned the company will renovate the hotel rooms at New York-New York. There will also be updates to some rooms at MGM Grand – but not all. Look for changes to a specific hotel tower. There’s no timeframe for the renovations.
There was no mention about imploding Luxor or building a new hotel tower at Excalibur. The company once again mentioned how happy they are to have so many hotel rooms between T-Mobile Arena and Allegiant Stadium. I wouldn’t be surprised if they announce a way to increase revenue in these properties at some point.
MGM CEO Bill Hornbuckle mentioned an interesting bit of information that came from the Las Vegas Raiders. I haven’t seen this elsewhere but he said that 68% of tickets sold to Raiders games are to people not from Las Vegas. That’s a lot of hotel rooms they can sell.
To that point, the only people I know going to see Billy Joel and Metallica at Allegiant Stadium later this month are flying into Las Vegas for the shows.
About Those MGM Rewards Changes
During the call, the company mentioned the main reason for the changes to its rewards program is to increase revenue from non-gaming customers. You may have noticed this in all of the marketing materials about the changes to MGM Rewards.
A rep mentioned that 80% of gaming revenue comes from MGM Rewards customers. Meanwhile, only 40% of non-gaming revenue comes from MGM Rewards customers.
I guess the strategy to reduce gaming rewards (and associated expenses) will be used to cover the cost to increase revenue from the non-gaming MGM Rewards customers. There might be a better way to increase this part of the business but that’s their choice.
We’ll take a quick look at more casino earnings but will be briefer.
Caesars reported earnings last week. See the financials here. Caesars says they should be selling a Vegas Strip casino this quarter. During the call, it sounded like Caesars’ room prices will go up after the sale because of fewer rooms and high demand. If true, expect to see comp rooms gobbled up more quickly.
Overall, Caesars’ earnings were similar to MGM’s. One thing that did stand out was that new leadership was able to reach $1 billion in synergies (cost-cutting) instead of $500 million that was planned. You can read more in the full earnings call transcript here.
I met a friend for eating and drinking at Planet Hollywood this week and could see a noticeable difference in what used to be my favorite Caesars property. It just felt dark and unexciting. We had fun because we always have fun but it wasn’t the same as I remember.
Then again, that could just be me acting cranky because the comp cocktails were vile and I wasn’t in the mood for beer or wine. That said, dinner at Gordon Ramsay Burger was delicious. I didn’t feel like Gordon Ramsay was trying to kill me as I did back in the day.
The day Caesars reported earnings, it also revealed the renovations at Caesars Palace are mostly complete. See more here.
Wynn reported earnings recently. You can see the press release here.
A couple of interesting notes about Las Vegas from Wynn’s earnings. Fourth-quarter hotel occupancy was 86.3% and the average daily room rate was $441. Wynn also added Wynn more than 1000 slot machines from the same period in 2020.
Unrelated to Las Vegas, the company also announced it sold the real estate of Encore Boston Harbor. Read more here.
See the bottom of this week’s news for a fun treat from Wynn.
Resorts World Earnings
Genting reported quarterly earnings this week. There was very little about Resorts World Las Vegas. It sounds like the hotels are on target with 80% capacity in the fourth quarter. The company doesn’t expect to see higher capacity until conventions restart. See the full report here.
Not earnings-related, but Resorts World has a new concierge app. Read about Amelia here. Hopefully, this version can help, unlike the original AI concierge. For what it’s worth, Rose at Cosmopolitan works very well. Even Ivy at Caesars was useful.
The Venetian Has New Owners
During the hearing with Nevada Gaming Control prior to final approval, Apollo shared some ideas they have for the property. The company mentioned updating entertainment, restaurants, and bars.
The biggest possible news is that they also mentioned possibly adding rooms at the St. Regis tower space or elsewhere on the property. Research on this will should begin now that the company has taken over.
Apollo is an investment firm and will try to improve The Venetian and sell the operations in the future. The non-real estate arm at Blackstone did this with the Cosmopolitan.
Las Vegas Quick Hits
We have a huge list of quick hits this week. I broke them up into two parts in case you need a break.
- Adele says her residency at Caesars Palace Las Vegas “100% will happen.” She said some other stuff too. You can watch the interview here.
- On a related note, you can see the top opening night ticket sales for Las Vegas residencies by women here.
- Dig this! Restaurant Week will be back in June. Read more here.
- Bugsy’s steakhouse at Flamingo Las Vegas has a speakeasy with live entertainment. Read more here.
- Tony Hawk is bringing skateboarding and punk rock to downtown Las Vegas. Read more here.
- Resorts World Las Vegas has a deal to make NFT’s. Read more here.
- People of a certain age (like me) might have a special connection with chef Martin Yan. He’s opening a restaurant at the casino that will be named Horseshoe Las Vegas. Read more here.
- Caesars followed up rebranding Bally’s Las Vegas as a Horseshoe casino by rebranding another casino outside of Las Vegas with the same name. Last year the company said they would be using this brand more often. Read more here.
- Garth Brooks is still saying that he wants to do another Las Vegas residency. Read more here.
- Evidently, Golden Steer is one of the 100 most romantic restaurants in the US. Read more here.
- I’m sharing this article about places to get caviar in Las Vegas to make sure Mr. TravelZork is paying attention.
- Guy Fieri teamed up with a company to give away his pots, pans, etc. in casinos. Read more here.
- Nevada sportsbook apps are a bit behind other states in many ways. BetMGM has new depositing options. According to the app, you can’t take your winnings via the new methods. That’s fun. I shared some screenshots on Twitter this week.
- Mohegan Gaming reported earnings this week. There’s very little Las Vegas info here but you can read it here.
- The former owner of SLS Las Vegas has a company providing in-room dining and local deliveries at Mandalay Bay and Westin. Read more here.
Quick Hits Part II
- Las Vegas ranks #1 in Pollstar’s Concert Market Rankings. Read about it here.
- See the special formula Las Vegas uses to climb the concert market ranking chart here.
- Circa is dropping a Vegas Vickie NFT. Read more and sign up here.
- Luke Bryan has a residency at Resorts World. He likes to play blackjack. Read more here.
- I haven’t seen this elsewhere but Hard Rock may not take over operations of The Mirage ASAP. Read more here.
- Nevada casinos saw record Super Bowl handle this year. Read more here.
- New York-New York is getting a new Cirque Du Soliel show this spring. Read more here.
- Usher’s residency is moving from Caesars Palace to Park MGM. Read more here.
- Caesars announced the World Series of Poker schedule. Read more here.
- Remember Salt Bae from 10 years ago? His restaurant at The Park is open. Read more here.
- Resorts World is opening a vegan restaurant. Read more here.
- You can get free driverless car rides downtown. Read more here.
- The Oakland A’s are still using Las Vegas to leverage a new stadium in California. Read more here.
- West coasters might want to check out the new Alaska Airlines subscription plan. Read more here.
- NASCAR haulers will return to the Vegas Strip before the Las Vegas race. Read more here.
- South Point is hosting a $2 million Bingo event. Read more here.
- The Billboard Music Awards will return to Las Vegas in May. Read more here.
- Last but not least, a couple of dice got loose at Wynn. Hope everyone is safe!
Saw this on IG earlier. I think it moved. Love this. pic.twitter.com/MnAD8ji8lv— Marc (@MeltzVegas) February 11, 2022
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