Vegas News May 17, 2020
Closer to Las Vegas Casinos Opening
Heyo! Las Vegas is 115! I’m old enough to remember when the TV show “Las Vegas” celebrated Las Vegas turning 100 (originally and last week). This week’s big “maybe” revolves a lot around whether we are getting closer to Las Vegas Casinos opening.
On Friday, Governor Steve Sisolak had an update on Phase One of the Nevada Road To Recovery. The press conference wasn’t an update with too much new information. COVID-19 cases continue to decrease in Nevada and progress continues. That’s a good thing and it looks like Phase 2 shouldn’t be far behind.
Last week Sisolak mentioned that Nevada Gaming Control will reveal when casinos would reopen. He didn’t discuss the next phase of Nevada opening because this phase of recovery is supposed to last two weeks.
Closer to Las Vegas Casinos Opening — Maybe…
I’m guessing we’ll hear details on Phase 2 and casino openings next week but that’s just a guess. Any information you read that doesn’t come directly from the government about businesses opening is either a guess or someone wasting your time. So now we wait while casinos prepare to open.
It seems as though casinos will re-invent part of how they do business while improving health and safety measures for guests. Casino guests can take a similar approach to their future visiting casinos.
I’ve seen plenty of people pondering their return to casinos. When you return to a casino is a personal decision. Some will head right out to the casinos on the day they open while others will wait. Do what works best for you.
During this stay at home period, I’ve been watching all kinds of nonsense TV. While watching TV I’ve also been practicing my gambling for when I return to casinos to gamble.
I’ve been practicing basic strategy in blackjack and different video poker games to keep my skills sharp or improve them when I decide to gamble again. I’m not an advanced player. Like most of you, I want to play the games the best I can to have the most fun and possibly win while maximizing the loyalty club points I’m earning.
(Re)Approach the Casino Experience
This week Coach Kittie shared some basics on comps and cashback when playing video poker. This is a good time to re-educate ourselves on the best way to approach the casino experience.
While I’m practicing gambling, I haven’t been keeping tabs on players club news like I used to. Generally, I’m not as well read on casino math as I used to be. I don’t care to grind out comps like I used to. Today, I’ll visit on the occasional multiplier day so I can get points for a discounted meal or coffee at a local casino. That’s about it. Life is different for this Las Vegas resident.
Visiting Las Vegas won’t be the same as it used to be. It’s a good time to remember what you like and don’t like about visiting casinos. During a recent chat, we discussed how casino operators have been treating their employees. This is new information about that you might want to consider when returning to a certain property. It’s a good time to evaluate everything about visiting casinos.
Maybe it’s time to shake up where you stay, play, and party in Las Vegas. It’s also possible that the company(ies) you’re loyalty to treat you the way you want to. That’s fine too but it’s a good time to look at things.
Casinos Beginning To Open Outside Of Las Vegas
We’re starting to see the pent up demand for locals casinos that the operators have been mentioning. Arizona saw lines of people waiting to get into casinos this week.
Not all casinos are the same. Some are for tourists while others are for people who live nearby. You’re smart enough to know that casinos for tourists and locals are different. There’s a reason that Boyd Gaming plans on opening it’s Las Vegas locals properties before the downtown casinos.
As discussed last week, Nevada is taking a slow and steady approach to opening casinos – for better or worse.
Vegas Casino Dining
There are still no official opening dates for Nevada casinos but most are gearing up for a late May or early June opening. This week, the Nevada Gaming Control Board issued a note to casino operators about opening restaurants with exterior entrances.
During Friday’s Phase One update, Governor Sisolak said the intent of this was mainly for smaller casinos outside of Las Vegas. Some of the only restaurants in smaller towns are inside of casinos. This will allow those restaurants to open for Nevada locals.
Having said that, there are some Las Vegas restaurants that would be accessible should they decide to open. Here are just a few restaurants with restrooms that are accessible without walking into the casino:
- Margaritaville at Flamingo Las Vegas
- Yardhouse at Red Rock
- Lagasse’s Stadium at The Palazzo
I’m not sure about the restroom situation at the following restaurants but they’re all accessible without walking into a casino:
- Hexx and Beer Park at Paris Las Vegas
- Chayo at The Linq
- Eataly at Park MGM
- Nine Fine Irishmen and Tom’s Urban at New York-New York
- Cafe Americano at Caesars Palace Las Vegas
- Lucille’s and Blue Ribbon Sushi at Red Rock Casino Resort & Spa
I’m not entirely sure how this notice works but there are restaurants at The Park, The Linq and Bally’s Grand Bazaar Shops that are accessible without walking into a casino. Lastly, maybe Bellagio will ferry customers to its lakeside restaurants.
I haven’t seen plans for any restaurants inside of Las Vegas casinos opening yet but that could change by the time you read this.
Also, downtown Las Vegas restaurants can offer sidewalk dining if you don’t mind eating where anyone can breathe on you. You can read about that here.
New Casino Safety Plans
This week MGM Resorts and Caesars Entertainment released their new safety plans. There isn’t all that much new in either plan from others that have been released but here they are for your perusal:
- MGM Resorts 7 Point Safety Plan
- Caesars Plan
- I almost forgot, Treasure Island has a COVID page on its site.
Hard Rock Returning To Las Vegas?
During most weeks, this would have been the lead in Vegas News but it seemed right to get the opening info out of the way first.
This week, Hard Rock International purchased “exclusive full rights to memorabilia, signage, and merchandise, along with intellectual property rights for affiliated restaurant and entertainment trademarks and website domain names” in Las Vegas from Juniper Capital.
If you’re not aware, Hard Rock International had nothing to do with the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. Now Hard Rock owns the name and memorabilia from the old casino. A new Hard Rock could be rockin’ again!
This purchase opens up the possibility that there will once again be a Hard Rock casino in Las Vegas. There have been rumors about Hard Rock buying the Cosmopolitan going back to 2018. More recently, rumors have tied the company to buying a Caesars property.
I’m not sure I see the company building a new hotel tower but I’d sure like to see Hard Rock build a giant guitar hotel tower on the Vegas Strip. I’ve been a Pitbull fan since I lived back east and I’m always excited when I get to reference his art. You can see the guitar-shaped hotel tower at Hard Rock Hollywood below.
Hard Rock International is one of the few casino operators with enough money to expand. It would not be a surprise to see the company enter Las Vegas by purchasing a casino. Keep your eyes open, we could finally hear details on these rumors finally coming true.
#NewCaesars Related Earnings
I’ll combine some notes from the Eldorado Resorts and Caesars Entertainment earnings calls since they’re essentially the same company. Eldorado CEO Tom Reeg says the merger with Caesars will be complete by the end of June or July at the latest. Overall, both companies sounded happy with where Las Vegas was before casinos were closed down.
- Caesars Entertainment will do a phased opening similar to MGM Resorts. Caesars Palace will be the first property to open alongside a “value resort” on the east side of the Vegas Strip. Flamingo, The Linq, or Harrah’s is most likely. The company said they can scale up to four properties right away if there’s demand. Bars and restaurants at all properties will also be phased in. As usual, this sounds a lot like the MGM Resorts earnings call.
- Tony Rodio, CEO of Caesars Entertainment says that he expects locals markets will bounce back quicker than tourist markets like Las Vegas. He’s also sensing the pent up excitement for those local markets like every other CEO.
- Eldorado CEO Tom Reeg thinks Las Vegas hotel could open with 50% the capacity of normal. That might be high as MGM Resorts is planning to only reopen 25% of its rooms.
- Reeg hates buffets. He thinks it’s going to be a long time until customers eat at buffets. He says they’re inefficient. Most importantly, closing buffets will essentially pay for extra cleaning costs from reopening. Expect to see some of the Caesars buffets remain closed.
- January and February were great for Caesars. As previously stated the first quarter was setting up to be their best since 2008.
- The “casino block” (aka players club members) make up 40% of Caesars’ overall reservations. The company is proud of this since they depend less on OTAs (online travel agency) than the competition. Hosts have been in touch with customers and Caesars will target their most profitable guests with reopening offers. Reeg also touted Caesars’ ability to pinpoint the most profitable customers.
- On a related note, 40% of Caesars Las Vegas customers are from California.
- Reeg expects to see heavy slot play and low table play when his casinos reopen. He also mentioned that there could be more Stadium Gaming at their properties in the future. There’s also the possibility of more face-up table games being offered.
- I found this exchange interesting from an analyst but I missed his name. Rodio’s response sounded shady but this is something to keep in mind when all casinos reopen:
- Q (Analyst): Will you be tightening machines since there will be fewer positions?
A (Tony Rodio): I’d rather not say.
Here are some more news and notes that may or may not emanate from Las Vegas. However, everything here is related to Las Vegas in some way.
- McCarran Airport is selling masks and gloves in a vending machine. Check it out here.
- I hate math. Thankfully, this guy doesn’t. John Mehaffey broke down the profitability of blackjack games by the number of players. Read it here.
- Rampart Casino became a favorite last year. The company laid off most of its staff last week. Read more here.
- Rumor of the week: When we chat this week you can ask Scott from Vital Vegas about the untrue rumor of the week about Planet Hollywood. Read about it here.
- The Tuscany is opening its hotel but not the casino. See the tweet here.
- Will you stay at the Four Seasons because every hotel will have a dedicated hygiene officer? Read more here.
- Wynn golf club is open tomorrow. Read more here.
- Last but not least…want to buy an airline in Australia? Read more here.