Monthly Archives: May 2015

Failed, Dismantled Harmon Hotel is Now Little More Than a Nub

The Harmon Hotel on the Las Vegas Strip never hosted even a single guest, and now, it’s almost a memory.

Harmon Hotel Las Vegas

Engineers determined the Harmon would topple in a 7.7-magnitude earthquake. Because Las Vegas gets those, never.

Construction of The Harmon, part of CityCenter, was halted after serious defects were found, and the building has been painstakingly dismantled over time, floor by floor.

The Harmon was originally supposed to have 49 floors, but in the end, the structure had 28.

The deconstruction process is nearing completion, with just a few floors remaining.

Harmon tower

Another item for the “What were they thinking?” file.

Lawsuits resulting from the Harmon fiasco have been settled, with MGM Resorts paying $173 million to resolve the matter.

Here’s a “before” photo, for scale.

Harmon demolition

The Harmon was supposed to have 400 hotel rooms and 207 condos. Construction defects, then, resulted in fewer condo salespersons in Las Vegas. Not a total disaster after all.

The dismantling of The Harmon is expected to cost $11.5 million.

Harmon tower

Shrinkage.

Soon, The Harmon will be just another quirky, funny-sad twist in the story of Las Vegas, a pre-emptive “implosion” sans fanfare.

Only in Vegas, baby.

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Downtown Grand Offers “Rebate” of $1,000 in Slot Losses

Downtown Grand appears to be getting serious about making its floundering casino a success. The casino is offering to “rebate” up to $1,000 in slot losses.

The shiny new promotion at Downtown Grand is similar to other rebate offers, including previous reimbursement programs at the now-closed Riviera and the Palms. Other Vegas casinos have also offered rebates as well, for smaller amounts, including The Trop and Cosmo.

The Downtown Grand $1,000 rebate offer is so new, they don’t even have the brochures printed up yet. But they do have these signs dangling from slot machines throughout the casino.

Downtown Grand $1,000 rebate

Believe everything you read?

The sign above is significant in that: 1) you can lose, actually, 2) you don’t actually get a grand from the Grand, and 3) it’s not a rebate, per se. But other than that, it’s on point.

Here’s the way it works.

The promotion is for new loyalty club sign-ups only. Hey, everything in Vegas has small print!

The offer covers losses up to $1,000 within the first 24 hours of signing up for the loyalty club. By “covers,” though, we don’t mean you get your losses back. You do, however, get free slot play equivalent to what you lost. Except you don’t get your “rebate” all at once.

If you live in Las Vegas, you get half the value of your losses right away, then 25% a week later (the Monday following your membership sign-up), and the remaining 25% a week after that (again, the following Monday).

If you don’t live in Vegas, they change up the payback schedule a bit. You still get your 50% in play right away, but the window to get the rest of your play is three months.

The idea here is Downtown Grand wants you to visit again, preferably multiple times, as all casinos do. Staggering your “rebate” gets you back in the casino.

As long as you know what you’re in for, this is a perfectly good way to see some additional play for your investment.

The ideal scenario, of course, is to win, which means you get to bypass the rebate process altogether. Win big enough and you can buy the Downtown Grand outright and you get to make up the promotions.

Stranger things have happened in Las Vegas. Some of them in our pants.

Thanks to our friends at Las Vegas Advisor for the tip about this new promotion. The Downtown Grand’s $1,000 rebate promotion will run through the end of 2015.

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Hooters Casino Hotel Sold to Company Nobody’s Ever Heard Of, Trinity Hotel Investors

Yet another Las Vegas hotel-casino is changing hands.

Riviera was recently sold to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, and closed May 4, 2015. Tropicana is going to Penn National Gaming by the end of 2015.

Now, the entirely unremarkable Hooters Casino Hotel has been purchased by a company called Trinity Hotel Investors for $53.8 million.

The sale happened under the radar on May 1, 2015, a mere day after employees were informed of the purchase. Way to keep it classy, owner persons.

Hooters

Hooters Casino Hotel has 696 rooms, exactly none of which you’d stay in unless you lost a bet.

We first saw word of the sale on the excellent Stiffs and Georges blog, and it was later confirmed by the Las Vegas Sun.

Compared to other recent sales, Hooters was had for a song. Riviera sold for $182.5 million. The Trop cost $360 million. Hooters was so inexpensive at $53.8 million, it’s believed Vegas mogul Steve Wynn has roughly that amount of cash in his pocket right this very minute.

The new owners of Hooters are expected to rebrand it. Rumors are Holiday Inn will take over operation of the resort, but not under that name.

Hooters Casino Hotel, previously the San Remo, has been a financial cluster for some time now. In fact, several times, it’s nearly gone bust. Because you know damn well we weren’t going to do an entire story about Hooters without a “bust” joke.

Hooters

And Riviera is the one they’re going to blow up?

New ownership is a glimmer of hope for the only casino in Las Vegas known to have given this blog alcohol poisoning with its policy of swapping out a call liquor for some blasphemous, generic crap without informing us it was doing so. Asshats.

While for years we’ve been hoping Hooters would burn to the ground after a lightning strike, we’re cautiously optimistic a new owner could make something of the joint.

Hooters Las Vegas

Hooters opened as a Howard Johnson Hotel. Then is was the Paradise, the Polynesian Paradise and Treasure Hotel before becoming Hotel San Remo and eventually Hooters. Sign-makers love the place.

The stated “singular purpose” of Trinity Hotel Investors is “investing in and enhancing the value of hotel real estate.” They also tout their acumen at “identifying investment opportunities with strong risk-return profiles.”

So, yeah, we’re not holding our breath about the whole “making something of the joint.”

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Caesars Entertainment Tests the Waters With The Spread Sportsbook and Beer Hall and Garden

Caesars Entertainment has sent out a survey to its customers, testing two new concepts for its Las Vegas casinos and beyond.

Caesars is all about analysis and numbers, so doing market research is a big part of its strategy for rolling out new offerings.

It’s latest survey sends customers down one of two survey paths, one asking for feedback about a sportsbook concept and another for a dining concept.

Caesars survey

Whenever we get these surveys, we’re giddy as a schoolgirl. Nothing against schoolgirls. Or giddy people. Or similes.

First up, The Spread Sportsbook. Here’s how the potential offering is described:

“The Spread Sportsbook–a network of physical sportsbooks located in casinos, primarily on the Las Vegas Strip, as well as in other locations in Nevada such as Lake Tahoe, Reno, and Laughlin. At any The Spread Sportsbook location, players may bet on sports and horeseracing, watch both on large high-definition screens, and enjoy food and beverage (including alcoholic beverages).”

So, a lot like a sportsbook.

But the next element is new, at least at Caesars Entertainment resorts.

Caesars slogan

We love the new Caesars tagline!

The new thing is described like this: “We will also be launching www.thespreadsportsbook.com, a mobile betting app where anyone 21 years and older who is located in Nevada can bet on sports directly from their mobile devices (e.g., smartphones and tablets). Customers will be able to wager on in-play events happening in real-time, such as betting the spread, moneyline, and over/under, which update throughout the game. Customers will also be able to bet on a variety of markets that currently do not exist such as ‘the highest scoring quarter,’ ‘will an individual player exceed a certain number of points scored,’ and ‘which team will score a certain number of points first,’ all in real-time while games are in-progress.”

This is no doubt an intriguing idea for those who, as insiders call it, “give a rat’s ass about sports.”

The mobile betting app hasn’t lauched yet, but this one seems far enough along that it’s likely to down the road.

If a survey recipient expresses no interest in sports, they’re asked about another potential venue, a Beer Hall and Garden.

Questions about the Beer Hall and Garden are prefaced by this disclaimer: “We would like to show you a description and images of a new venue that may be opening in Las Vegas.  Because we are still in the very early stages of planning and design, the descriptions are broad and the photos/images are stock, on purpose. We want your reactions to some initial ideas being considered.”

Caesars survey

Sadly, stock photos give us no indication where the Beer Hall and Garden will be. Other than in close proximity to lots of white people.

And here’s what it says about the Beer Hall and Garden:

“Beer Hall and Garden–a restaurant where you’ll find an extensive selection of domestic and import beers, and food (e.g., sausages, pretzels, etc.), all served in generous portions, for sharing. The atmosphere will be very social, a great place to hang out with friends or make new ones.  Entertainment (e.g., local performers, DJs) will be available nightly.”

So, a lot like a beer garden. And hall.

Assuming existing Caesars respond positively to these potential offerings, they’re likely to arrive at your favorite Caesars Entertainment resort soon.

We’re always up for some Vegas newness.

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Genting Group Breaks Ground on $4 Billion, Asian-Themed Resorts World Las Vegas

Las Vegas-watchers have grown a little jaded in recent years, given a string of high-profile projects which have made grand promises but faltered or failed to materialize at all.

Now, another massive project has broken ground and all eyes are on Genting Group and its sprawling Resorts World Las Vegas. Genting broke ground on Resorts World on May 5, 2015.

Resorts World Las Vegas

The completed Resorts World Las Vegas will be 21,847,314 square feet, mainly because that square footage just has a nice ring to it.

Genting Group was founded in 1965 and operates resorts in Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, the U.K, the Bahamas and the U.S. The company is also a major shareholder of Norwegian Cruise Line.

Let’s take a quick look the possible future of the Las Vegas Strip. It looks like Sin City’s ball is about to drop!

The Resorts World Las Vegas groundbreaking was accompanied by speakers speaking, politicians politicianing and Chinese lions lioning.

The groundbreaking hoopla was accompanied by renderings of Resorts World Las Vegas we haven’t seen before, including this one of the casino.

Resorts World Las Vegas

Happily, the Asian theme in the casino avoids being too on-the-nose or cheesy. For the win.

Resorts World will be built on the site of the former Stardust, this blog’s all-time favorite casino, and even the potential of a panda habitat (no, really) at Resorts World is unlikely to change that.

Resorts World Las Vegas

Because it’s Asian-themed! Look, we’re just spitballing here.

Resorts World is next to Circus Circus, but don’t hold that against it. Resorts World is being built on the site of the abandoned Echelon project.

Construction on Echelon was stopped in 2008 due to the economic downturn, not to mention a fair amount of what’s commonly called “bone-headedness.”

Resorts World Las Vegas

The current Resorts World Las Vegas site. In other words, the “before” shot.

If Resorts World becomes a reality (because, again, groundbreakings are the easy part), the expansive destination will feature 3,000 rooms in its first phase, as well as 3,500 table games and slots.

Here’s another view of the finished product.

Resorts World Las Vegas

Gorgeous pool area! Because if Las Vegas has too much of anything, it’s water.

The resort will also presumably boast an indoor water park, aquarium, outdoor amphitheater (lower right, above), Chinese gardens (below, possibly), a bowling alley, observation deck, a 4,000-seat theater and a Panda Express.

Just wanted to make sure you’re still paying attention.

Resorts World Las Vegas

Seriously, Genting, don’t screw around with us. Let’s make this happen, thanks.

Resorts World is slated to open in 2018.

Las Vegas mogul Steve Wynn described that 2018 opening timeline “ambitious.” Then again, what would Steve Wynn know about building Las Vegas resorts?

Find out more on the official Resorts World Las Vegas site.

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