News weeks like this in Las Vegas are what give me goosebumps. The future of Las Vegas has always been interesting to me. I love Las Vegas today as much as I did when I started visiting the city just after turning 21. Las Vegas isn’t the same as it used to be and that’s great. I’m not the same person that I was 20 years ago and I’m happy to see the city change with me. The main stories this week continue to shed light on the future of Las Vegas. These changes might even bring you to parts of Las Vegas that you never thought of visiting.
Like many people, I never left the Vegas Strip when I first started visiting Las Vegas. There was so much to do on the Vegas Strip that there was no reason to explore anywhere else. The first time I left the Vegas Strip was to visit “Old Vegas.” My friends and I loved the dented cans of beer and burnt felt on the $3 blackjack tables at El Cortez. Downtown Las Vegas was so different from the Vegas Strip experience but it was fun – a different kind of fun – but fun nonetheless.
It wasn’t until I moved to Las Vegas that I explored the suburbs. I live near Summerlin now and I’m actually writing this at Red Rock Resort. The suburban (or locals) casinos have an entirely different vibe than the Vegas Strip and downtown Las Vegas. If you visit Las Vegas a lot, visiting a locals casino is an interesting and different way to experience the city because it’s so different. The casinos in the suburbs are built almost to act as mini-malls that have a casino. The movie theaters, bowling alleys, food courts, children’s play areas and restaurants all give the people who live in the area of those casinos things to do beyond just gambling.
Boyd Gaming Buys Aliante, May Buy Cannery
This week Boyd Gaming announced that they were purchasing Aliante hotel and casino in North Las Vegas for $380 million. This is quite a haircut in value as the property cost $660 million to build. Aliante was originally built by Station Casinos and opened in 2008. Station Casinos lost the property when they went bankrupt in 2009 but they continued to manage it until 2012. The 211 room casino-hotel has been operating independently since.
This is an interesting purchase for Boyd Gaming as Aliante is nowhere near any of their other properties in Las Vegas. Their expectation is the Aliante master-planned community being built will supply the casino with a slew of new customers in the future. They’re also banking that a plant being built for new car manufacturer Faraday Future will bring jobs and even more customers.
Aliante will be marketed mostly to Las Vegas locals but the 211 rooms will give tourists a chance to use their B-Connected rewards on a new location when looking for a change of pace. Boyd Casinos said that they don’t expect the deal to be complete until the 3rd quarter of this year so you shouldn’t get too excited to use your B-Connected rewards. Aliante looks very similar to Red Rock Resort and will become the nicest Boyd Casino once the deal is done. Here’s a quick tour:
There’s also a rumor that Boyd Gaming is looking to buy Cannery Casino from Crown Resorts for less than the $220 million to $240 million dollar valuation. If this is going to happen soon we should hear about it on their quarterly earnings call this week. Cannery Casino is only 15 minutes away from Aliante so this would be a major play for Boyd Gaming in North Las Vegas.
Downtown Las Vegas Is About To Get A Major Facelift
The real big news this week was probably that owner of The D and Golden Gate, Derek and Greg Stevens, purchased La Bayou, Mermaids and Glitter Gulch. The 3 small properties on Fremont Street greatly expands the potential footprint of the Golden Gate and the casino to be built on the bones of Las Vegas Club.
The 3 properties will close on May 27th so you have a couple of months to grab some memorabilia if you’re into that sort of thing. This real estate purchase will change the face of the casinos on Fremont Street. It’s exciting for those of us that like shiny new things. It’s sad for people that like the memories from these old properties. You can see specifics about the purchase here on TravelZork.
MGM Growth Properties IPO
MGM Growth Properties raised over $1 billion dollars with its initial public offering last week. If you’re not familiar with this company it’s MGM Resorts’ REIT (Real Estate Investment Trust). MGP (pending stock ticker) will own the land of 9 MGM Resorts and may purchase more property in the future. I don’t follow the stock market very closely but the response has been overwhelmingly positive. You can read more about this at the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Rumor: Improv At Harrah’s To Close
Johnny Kats from the Las Vegas Sun shares a rumor that the Improv at Harrah’s will close at the end of May. Caesars Entertainment hasn’t confirmed this, so it’s still just a rumor. Despite high ticket prices and lack of recognizable comedians, this comedy club somehow kept its doors open for over 20 years.
Kabuki Returns To Bellagio
One of the biggest surprises last year was the absolute love for the Kabuki shows at the Bellagio fountains. It was almost impossible to walk past Bellagio during the 3 nights of shows last year. I guess free entertainment on the Vegas Strip will do that. Traffic will be even worse this year as the shows expand to 4 times a day for 9 shows between April 29 and May 7. Here’s a short video of the show from last year from VEGAS.COM.
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