Mirage Las Vegas Resort Will Be Sold to Former Owners of Riviera

Another Las Vegas hotel bombshell is about to drop: The Mirage Las Vegas will be sold within the next three weeks.

There’s been no official confirmation of the sale, but that’s never stopped us from sharing such news in the past! (Suck it, journalism.)

Rumors are swirling that The Mirage, owned by MGM Resorts International, will be purchased by Starwood Capital Group, former owners of the now-closed Riviera for an undisclosed sum. We’re betting it will be “many millions of dollars.”

Parties involved with the sale have been sworn to secrecy, but the official announcement should be made in the next few weeks.

Mirage Mermaid

You’re not going anywhere, lucky mermaid. Call your union rep.

Once the sale of The Mirage is complete, the casino will be managed by Paragon Gaming, the company which took over operations of Westgate Las Vegas after the sale and closure of the Riviera.

Paragon Gaming managed Riviera’s casino for two years prior to the Riviera closing on May 4, 2015.

The sale of The Mirage comes as MGM Resorts International is shaking things up in a big way on the other end of The Strip. The company has invested heavily in the new MGM-AEG arena, a 5,000-seat concert theater and The Park, a new shopping and entertainment district. There are also plans for a major renovation and rebrand at Monte Carlo Las Vegas, including a new name for the hotel.

The windows of The Mirage are gold, from actual gold dust used in the tinting process.

Hopefully, ventriloquist Terry Fator can pull some strings and stick around.

The Mirage has a storied history in Las Vegas. It was built by Las Vegas visionary Steve Wynn at a cost of $630 million. At the time it was built, The Mirage was the most expensive casino-hotel in history.

The Mirage Las Vegas opened on November 22, 1989, a fact we knew off the top of our head, probably.

Mirage lobby

The Mirage boasts a 53-foot-long aquarium behind its registration desk. Which is definitely not there to distract you from the line you’re waiting in. Definitely.

The Mirage was built on the site formerly occupied by the Castaways Hotel & Casino (once owned by bajillionaire Howard Hughes), and before that the Red Rooster Nite Club. That was back before people realized spelling it “nite” is kind of annoying.

The hotel was home to the iconic Siegfried & Roy show, and later impressionist Danny Ganz was the hotel’s main entertainment draw. The well-reviewed “The Beatles – Love,” from Cirque du Soleil, continues to be a successful offering.

Love show

Given the relationship with Cirque and MGM Resorts in Las Vegas, the fate of “Love” would appear to be up in the air.

The Mirage recently made news for cutting back on the frequency of its free volcano shows.

One of the best things that could come out of a sale of The Mirage is the possibility new owners might take a long, hard look at the hotel’s Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat. Public criticism about the plight of the dolphins, especially has grown over the years, and now would be a great time to let the dolphins cash in their stock options and retire.

While details of the sale of The Mirage Las Vegas are few at this time, it’s yet another intriguing turn of events sure to spark conversation of what the change of ownership means for this beloved hotel and the Las Vegas Strip in general.

Stay tuned for more unverified rumors as they become available!

Share some Vegas. Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on Google+Share on RedditShare on StumbleUponEmail this to someone

Cosmopolitan Fire Wreaks Havoc On the Hotel’s Pool Deck

The 14th floor pool deck of The Cosmopolitan Las Vegas was trashed by a fire that created billows of smoke and a serious freak-out in social media. Billows, of course, are one of the most popular smoke formations, second only to plumes.

The fire, which happened just after noon on July 25, 2015, laid waste to cabanas and artificial palm trees. Injuries to humans were minor, with two people ending up in the hospital for smoke inhalation.

Damage to The Cosmo’s hotel tower was limited to a few broken windows and some heat damage to rooms on the hotel’s 14th floor.

Cosmopolitan fire

“It’s the hottest pool scene in Vegas!” Thanks to Courtney Cyr for the pic.

It’s been reported 110 firefighters responded to the two-alarm fire The Cosmopolitan. In firefighter parlance, a “two-alarm” fire means, “Relax, it’s plants and cabanas. Vegas will make more.”

The cause  of the fire is still under investigation, but as with many such incidents, we’re putting our money on somebody doing something bone-headed. Probably with a cigarette.

There have been reports of hotel guests flicking cigarettes off their balconies. They have to fall somewhere, including on cabanas and artificial trees (the likely culprit, as authorities have determined the fire started in one of the trees).

Thankfully, nobody was seriously hurt, and our Vegas firefighters kept the blaze contained.

The fire has caused minimal disruption at The Cosmopolitan, although the hotel’s valet was closed temporarily after the incident.

Marquee, the hotel’s nightclub, was on social media immediately after the fire was extinguished, letting visitors know they’re open and ready to take obscene amounts of money in exchange for a place to sit.

Share some Vegas. Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on Google+Share on RedditShare on StumbleUponEmail this to someone

Kabuki Actor Set to Battle Giant Carp at Bellagio Fountains

The Bellagio fountains, one of the best free things to do in Las Vegas, is about to be turned into a massive, high-tech Kabuki theater.

Japanese actor Ichikawa Somegoro will take to a 165-foot stage on Lake Bellagio to perform a Kabuki piece called “Koi-Tsikami,” or “Fight With a Carp.”

The special performances are scheduled from August 14-16, 2015.

Bellagio Kabuki

Yes, there’s a plot! A man falls in love with a woman who is really a carp. She takes human form to exact revenge upon humans because they killed her fiance, also a carp. It only sounds like the origin story for Aquaman, trust us.

The schedule for the “Fight With a Carp” show, which we can’t believe we’re actually typing, is as follows:

  • Aug. 14, 9:15 p.m.
  • Aug. 15, 9:15 p.m. and 11:30 p.m.
  • Aug. 16, 9:15 p.m. and 11:30 p.m.

Each performance will run 30 minutes.

During the performance, animations of a battle scene will be projected onto the Bellagio fountains. Shout-out to projection mapping! Water screen projections can be amazing. Why, here’s one now.

This Kabuki performance is “part of MGM Resorts’ larger commitment to celebrating Japanese culture and the arts.” Which, in casino parlance, translates as, “MGM Resorts is very interested in attracting Asian gamblers.”

The performance is free and open to the public. We’re assured no carp will be harmed in the making of this Kabuki spectacle.

Share some Vegas. Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on Google+Share on RedditShare on StumbleUponEmail this to someone

Las Vegas Ownership Group Officially Applies for NHL Expansion Team

A group of rich guys is another step closer to bringing an NHL team to Las Vegas.

The ownership group submitted their application with a fee of $10 million, $2 million of it non-refundable. The fee is to ensure applicants are serious about wanting a pro hockey team.

The Las Vegas contingent was one of two entities applying for an expansion team, the other was Quebec City, which we assume would on a map had we the time to look such things up.

Here’s a look at a potential uniform for the new team, likely to be called the Black Knights, or perhaps just The Knights.

Las Vegas Black Knights

Counting down the minutes until we see a Black Knights ad containing the phrase, “In Vegas, always bet on black!”

The Las Vegas owners, collectively called Las Vegas Hockey Vision, includes Bill Foley, a super rich guy, and the Maloof family, consisting of several rich guys.

The rich guys will need their riches if an expansion team is awarded. The expansion fee is expected to be $500 million. That sounds like a lot, but we’re pretty sure that’s billionaire Bill Foley’s average cocktail waitress tip.

If the NHL expansion plan succeeds, it’s expected the Black Knights (the name isn’t set in stone) would take up residence in the new MGM-AEG arena being built on The Strip behind New York-New York. The arena will hold about 18,000 people during hockey games.


The MGM-AEG Arena is likely to have a new name when it opens. We’re thinking Vital Vegas Arena, but we may not be completely objective about this.

Las Vegas seems primed for a professional sports team. During an NHL ticket drive in Las Vegas, Las Vegas Hockey Vision got about 13,000 commitments for sports fans to purchase season tickets if Sin City gets its team.

News of the official expansion team application has whipped many Vegas sports fans into a frenzy.

This blog doesn’t know anything about hockey, so we’re sort of neutral about the possibility of an NHL team in Vegas. Unless there are cheerleaders. In which case, go rich guys!

Share some Vegas. Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on Google+Share on RedditShare on StumbleUponEmail this to someone

Riviera Slot Machines Get Second Life at The D Las Vegas as Vintage Vegas Floor Goes Ticket-In, Ticket Out

If you’re missing the now-closed Riviera, you’re in luck. The D Las Vegas has integrated dozens of Riviera slot machines into its Vintage Vegas floor, while phasing out its coin machines.

The D Las Vegas

The Vintage Vegas floor at The D is also the Vue Bar floor, or as we like to call it, our home away from home.

Ever since The D purchased more than 850 Riviera slot machines back in June, the downtown casino (formerly Fitzgerald’s) has been swapping out 15-20 per week with existing machines on its second floor, a floor devoted to classic machines.

Now, the only coin-operated slot machine at The D is the popular Sigma Derby.

Sigma Derby

When you play Sigma Derby, you don’t just win money, you win lifelong friends. Which we should totally trademark.

The move to TITO (ticket-in, ticket-out) means The D’s second floor cage will be dismantled, and coin redemption from Sigma Derby will be handled in the casino’s main cage, downstairs.

The D Las Vegas

It’s curtains for The D’s second floor cage.

The integration of the Riviera’s machines means a greater variety of games for players, and far fewer headaches for The D.

There’s a long list of reasons most Las Vegas casinos don’t offer coin-operated machines. Some of the reasons are obvious, others are a little more technical.

The owner of The D Las Vegas, Derek Stevens, says, “The games from the Riv had some advantages over the machines we previously had on the second floor. For example, many of the games at The D previously wouldn’t accept the new $5 or $20 bill. There wasn’t any ability to fix this problem, as the bill validator manufacturer for those machines had long since gone out of business, and those slot machines couldn’t run without that specific type of bill validator. It forced us to keep ‘old’ bills in our cages and slot techs with wallets of old bills to swap out for new bills from customers.”

The technical term in casino parlance is “huge pain in the ass.”

The D

We have personally found those Wheel of Fortune machines on the right to be very loose. Especially after a couple of cocktails.

Stevens comments, “I decided to keep the Vintage Vegas theme, but just change the games out so all the games have TITO and bill validators that not only work but also have the ability to detect counterfeits, something that has become epidemic over the last 3-4 months. In some cases, we replaced old machines with older machines, but with the necessary TITO and bill validators.”

It goes without saying the cost of maintaining a coin-operated slot floor is far more expensive than having non-coin machines. Although we just said it, so perhaps it doesn’t go without saying after all.

While there’s a certain charm to grime-covered hands and the “clink” of coins falling into a “hopper,” it can get old. There are still a few spots in Las Vegas where you can play coins, but the demand for such machines is fading fast.

Derek Stevens says he’s seen the demand for coin-operated slots dwindling, especially within the last five years.

The D Las Vegas

“We don’t need your validation!” scream the bills. Um, wrong.

Overall, about 200 slot machines from the Riviera have been placed on the casino floor at The D and its sister casino, Golden Gate.

The second floor of The D is a great place to get intimate with the history of Las Vegas. If your hands are feeling too clean, bust open some rolls of quarters and bet on your favorite Sigma Derby horse. Otherwise, give a former Riviera slot machine a try.

And before you do any of that, rub the casino’s Blarney Stone. Long story.

Full disclosure: The D Las Vegas is a member of the Fremont Street Experience family of casinos. We work at Fremont Street Experience. Our opinions remain our own.

Share some Vegas. Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on Google+Share on RedditShare on StumbleUponEmail this to someone

Bunkhouse Saloon Closes in Downtown Las Vegas

The baffling news just keeps on coming from downtown Las Vegas. The latest: Live music venue Bunkhouse Saloon has closed.

The Bunkhouse Facebook page shared this statement about the abrupt closure: “The Bunkhouse Saloon regrets to announce that we have closed our doors, effective immediately. Ticketholders for future shows will be contacted by Ticketfly regarding refunds. On behalf of our staff, management, and production team we would like to thank every artist who graced our stage and every person who visited us for a show or a cold beer. You made Bunkhouse something we will never forget.”

Bunkhouse Las Vegas

We have no idea why Bunkhouse closed. This is the best one we could fabricate on short notice.

DTLV.com (a subsidiary of Vegas Seven magazine) says some currently-scheduled shows may proceed as planned.

Here’s a look at the shows, some of which may still happen. Or not.

Bunkhouse Las Vegas

Numb Bats and Rabbit Hole should play together sometime, if you get our drift.

It’s also being reported “several new operators” have expressed interest in taking over the venue.

Not to be confused with The Venue (unrelated to Bunkhouse), of course, a new “multifunctional facility” near the Downtown Container Park. Which we just today noticed is looking like a real thing.

The Venue

Yes, it’s really called The Venue. Stop your sniggering. (Look it up before you say something mean about us in social media.)

Bunkhouse Saloon was a beloved live music venue, although apparently not beloved enough to make it a viable business. Downtown Project purchased Bunkhouse for $1.4 million in 2013. Downtown Project has operated Bunkhouse for about a year. The closure of Bunkhouse follows rumblings that Downtown Project is becoming increasingly impatient with its business endeavors and partnerships that aren’t turning a profit.

Bunkhouse closes on the heels of the shuttering of another beloved bar, Insert Coins (unrelated to Downtown Project), Bar + Bistro restaurant and a clothing boutique, Coterie (a Downtown Project joint). Here’s a list of Downtown Project endeavors.

There seems to be a consensus that the recent string of downtown closures has to do with “growing pains,” including increased competition in the area. It’s also been suggested each lacked “various keys to business success.” Read more.

We’ll keep an eye on all things downtown to see how all the recent changes shake out. If you hear anything juicy, let us know. We hate hearing news from other Web sites. It’s embarrassing.

Share some Vegas. Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on Google+Share on RedditShare on StumbleUponEmail this to someone