Before heading into Las Vegas news, I want to take a minute to wish my father, Joe, and all the other dads a Happy Father’s day. Summer begins this week and that means temperatures in Las Vegas will be rising. An Excessive Heat Warning actually starts tonight and continues until at least Wednesday. Temperatures will be 108 to 115 degrees (°F) [ 42°C to 46°C] during those days in the Las Vegas Valley.
My #1 tip to anyone visiting Las Vegas in the summer is to keep your body hydrated. Water only does so much so make sure you have lip balm and use moisturizer provided in your hotel. Chapped lips and dry skin are almost as unappealing as passing out from lack of hydration. I’ll share more tips on dealing with the heat another time. This week will have more Las Vegas news than it will an analysis of the news.
Last week the Monaco Tower at the Riviera was imploded. Implosions are fun and we’ll see another implosion at the Riviera in August. Check out the video if you love the booms.
Independence Day is just a couple of weeks away and we’re going to see a wide range of fireworks shows. Since July 4th is on a Monday the casinos in Las Vegas will have their shows throughout the weekend so more people can enjoy. The biggest change in the July 4th fireworks world this year is that Station Casinos is moving their fireworks shows from Green Valley Ranch and Red Rock Casino closer to the Vegas Strip.
Here are the details on when and where you’ll find fireworks this Fourth of July weekend:
Friday, July 1: Palace Station – 9 p.m.
Saturday, July 2: Mandalay Bay – 8:30 p.m. (311 concert)
Saturday, July 2: Plaza – 9:30 p.m.
Sunday, July 3: Caesars Palace – 9 p.m.
Sunday, July 3: Stratosphere – 9 p.m.
Sunday, July 3: Mandalay Bay – 8:30 p.m. (311 concert)
Downtown Las Vegas News
La Bayou, Mermaids and Glitter Gulch on Fremont Street are all closing this week. Both casinos and the only gentlemen’s club at the Fremont Street Experience will be closing their doors for good on June 27. You may remember these closings were planned earlier this year when Derek Stevens purchased more frontage on Fremont Street. If you’re in Las Vegas this week you might want to stop by to see them for the last time. Plans haven’t been officially revealed for the properties after they close.
While we’re in downtown Las Vegas, I want to point out a random news bit that won’t receive much attention elsewhere. This week LV.Net announced that they’ve upgraded their free wifi service in Downtown Las Vegas. The connection speed went from 1 Mbps to 100+ Mbps. The free wifi was basically unusable before but this should really be helpful for anyone who needed wifi to work or use snapchat, periscope, skype or Instagram. My life runs through wifi, so this might be a bigger deal to me than most people.
About a year ago I was turned on to how big the eSports world was. I’ve been fascinated about eSports since that time. Most people who I know aren’t familiar with the topic so I don’t bring it up very often. Watching people play video games doesn’t appeal to many people my age. Younger people feel differently and that’s part of my fascination. Esports is a big deal with events selling out venues around the world as large as a stadium in Europe. In America, eSports is still growing but the League of Legends finals sold out the Staples Center in Los Angeles in 2013.
Earlier this year nearly 6,000 people per day went to Mandalay Bay for the North American League of Legends Championship Series spring finals. Downtown Grand has been trying to find its place among Las Vegas casinos and is hoping that eSports will be the difference maker. I’m not sure that hosting eSports is moving the needle yet but it’s something to keep an eye on. You can read more about that here. Leave a comment or tweet me if you’re curious about eSports.
Earlier this year we mentioned that Las Vegas city council was considering a new master plan for downtown Las Vegas. This week that plan was approved and a slew of changes to the area will be made over the next 30 years. Most of this is local-centric and you can read about it at the Las Vegas Sun.
The opening of Virgil’s Real Barbecue at The Linq has been delayed. The barbecue restaurant will no longer open this summer as originally planned. According to Eater, the opening timeframe has been pushed back to an unspecified date this fall. More importantly, there’s no new information on the opening date for the first In N Out Burger on the Vegas Strip. The fast food burger joint is scheduled to open sometime this fall.
On the other hand, Cracker Barrel is still on schedule to open its first location in Las Vegas this summer. According to a new(ish) billboard, the restaurant located near the Silverton is planning to open on July 25. Another Cracker Barrel is under construction at 2815 E. Craig Road but doesn’t have an opening date. If Cracker Barrel opening in Las Vegas is exciting news to you then you should take a few minutes to check out the location by the Silverton. You won’t find another casino like it in Las Vegas.
Vegas Strip News
It was only a couple of weeks ago when I wrote that there’s no end in sight for MGM Resorts’ growth. The article discussed the expansion of the MGM Resorts International as it relates to customers but you could have also taken that as a look at how the company should do financially. On top of the growth we can see, MGM Resorts International made their corporate consolidation efforts to increase their revenue available to the public.
Their Profit Growth Plan, which includes increasing revenue from everything from using fewer types of linens in their different hotels to charging for parking, will generate about $400 million by the end of 2017. That’s an increase from the initial projection of $300 million.
Many large corporations try to generate revenue by consolidate expenses (ever visit a Caesars Entertainment hotel and get the same Gilchrist and Soames soaps?) but few publicize it in the manner MGM Resorts International does. Frankly, it’s surprising it’s taken this long to realize this kind of corporate synergy. You can read the press release here for more information.
Do you remember Alon? That’s the casino that will be built next to the Fashion Show Mall and across the street from Wynn someday. The company building Alon has plans for the project but not much more. Not much is happening on the site and that shouldn’t change anytime soon. However, Crown Resorts has spun off their stake in Alon to a REIT. Sadly, there’s no other news to report on the status of this casino.
The Tropicana is one of the best values if you’re looking for a hotel on the Vegas Strip. The rooms were renovated a few years and since their purchase by Penn National Gaming they’ve become a part of a Marquee Rewards, a national casino players club. According to the awesome Stiffs and Georges blog the Tropicana has an occupancy over 90%. That’s much higher than I thought for a hotel that doesn’t seem to get much publicity. Most of the rooms aren’t booked through the players club yet so there’s a good chance that you’ll be able to get some of the nicer rooms if you book direct.
If you know me then you know that I love Britney Spears. I saw “Britney: Piece of Me” on opening night and loved it. The show isn’t for everyone but if you love Britney Spears jams then you should love hearing them on the ground sound system at the Axis Theater at Planet Hollywood. The jams sound great regardless if she’s actually singing. Anyway, if you haven’t seen the show yet, Caesars Entertainment announced this week that a slew of shows has been added from October 2016 through February 2017.