Monthly Archives: December 2016

Gird Your Loins: Year-End Las Vegas Predictions Past and Future

It’s that time again! It’s time time to reflect upon last year’s predictions for this year, and to make new predictions about 2017. Most of all it’s time to pour some Captain Morgan, break out the crystal ball and revel in all the Las Vegas WTF.

First, let’s roll around naked in our 2016 prediction successes. You can read our full list of 2016 predictions here.

What’d we get right last time around? Well, the results aren’t yet about whether Cosmopolitan had its first profitable year, but we’re betting they did it.

Chandelier Bar at Cosmopolitan

A revamp of the Cosmo’s Chandelier Bar is just one element of the newness, with more to come in 2017.

While our prediction Las Vegas would have its first professional sports team in 2016 seems like a no-brainer now, back in 2015, it was anything but a sure thing. You go, Las Vegas Golden Knights.

Alon not only sputtered as we predicted, it outright expired. Executives with the proposed resort still cling to the hope they can find financing, but the writing’s on the wall.

Alon Las Vegas

Alon is a French word meaning, “This definitely isn’t a French word.”

We nailed the prediction about Las Vegas taxi ridership plummeting thanks to Lyft and Uber. Ridership tanked 19% year-over-year as of November 2016.

On the festival front, we nailed the fact Rock in Rio USA won’t be back. The behind-the-scenes drama with this music festival are the stuff of Las Vegas legend now.

We were more optimistic about the return of Life is Beautiful, and correctly predicted its return. Reduced costs make it more likely this year’s event won’t be the last, but official numbers have yet to be released.

Life is Beautiful

Life is Beautiful still has a heart on for Las Vegas.

Our prediction “Multiple Strip Shows Will Close” wasn’t just correct, it turned out to be the understatement of the year. A whopping 30 Las Vegas shows closed in 2016.

But enough with 2016, “The Year of the Giant Sucking Noise,” it’s time to look ahead and make 10 uncannily accurate Las Vegas predictions for 2017.

2017 will be:

1. The Year of Bankruptcy Protections

Sorry to start things off with a buzzkill, but this one’s coming and you’d better hold on tight. Due to tectonic changes in China, Las Vegas Sands Corp. will file for bankruptcy protection in 2017. But that’s not all. So will Wynn Resorts. Think we’re kidding? Bajillionaire Sheldon Adelson (owner of Las Vegas Sands Corp.) recently lost $3 billion in 30 minutes. While this prediction may seem outlandish, we’ve heard bankruptcy discussions are already in the works, including the involvement of a high-power New York attorney handling the case for one of the casino companies. So, look forward to hearing more about “The Year of Debt Restructuring.” (For some perspective: Wynn, MGM Resorts, Las Vegas Sands and Caesars Ent. have about $39 billion in long-term debt.) The good news is Caesars Entertainment will finally get clear of its bankruptcy, but the possibility of other Vegas players filing means announced projects like Wynn Paradise Park (pictured below) may be put on hold indefinitely. Time will tell.

Wynn Paradise Park

We can wait.

2. The Year of Gridlock on The Strip

During 2016, lots of new offerings have made their debut on The Strip, like T-Mobile Arena, The Park and Park Theater. MGM Resorts has gone to great lengths to deal with traffic and parking issues, but The Strip simply can’t handle the influx of vehicles. Add NHL games, and it’s going to be a doozy. Yes, that’s the technical term.

3. The Year of Free Parking Promotions

Yes, 2016 was the year pretty much every Las Vegas hotel started charging for parking. In 2017, everyone will jump on the bandwagon and we’ll see a new twist. Free parking promotions. Casinos will start using free parking as a perk, as if paid parking were always a thing, and now getting it free is something customers should get excited about. Suck it, Capitalism.

4. The Year of Awkwardly Wooing Millennials

Yeah, the millennial thing isn’t going away any time soon. Las Vegas casinos are fumbling awkwardly in the dark in an effort to win over millennials with social spaces and skill-based games. Hint: They’re doing it wrong. In 2017, skill-based games will prove to be a flop and eSports will be seen as the false hope it is (not the pursuit itself, but as a profit source for casinos, any more than conventions are). If you want to woo millennials, institute lower table minimums, be generous with comps and stop awkwardly using terms like “on fleek” in your social media marketing.

Gold Spike Las Vegas

Every casino executive in Vegas has visited downtown’s Gold Spike, the Holy Grail of millennial wrangling.

5. The Year of Show Openings

Yes, there’s good news in 2017. Having 30 shows close in one year means there’s a lot of space to be filled. We predict about half that number of shows (15, in case you’re as drunk as we are) will open in Las Vegas during 2017. A fan favorite, “Jersey Boys,” will be back, too, mark our words. “Tournament of Kings,” sadly, will close in 2017 as we first reported in 2016, despite the vehement denials of The Man. Ditto “Baz.” Don’t hate.

6. The Year of Still No Resorts World

Hopes are high the Resorts World project will kick into high gear in 2017, but alas, it’s not going to happen. Blame China. (Oh, and 2017 will also be the year Fontainebleau won’t be sold, but we don’t want this story to be too much of a downer, so we won’t mention it.)

7. The Year of Chick-fil-A

In possibly the best news ever, no fewer than three Chick-fil-A locations will open in or near Las Vegas (a couple in Henderson) in 2017. Other exciting news will include an official announcement of a White Castle on Fremont Street, and In-N-Out at Linq promenade will become the chain’s top earning location in the history of the company.

Chick-fil-A Las Vegas

Get in our belly.

8. The Year of No Resort Fees

In 2015, we predicted resort fees would be legislated out of existence. That didn’t happen, but there were signs of hope. It’s time for legislators and the FTC to deal with this asshattery once and for all.

9. The Year of Las Vegas Taxi Companies Getting a Clue

While it’s been gratifying to see taxi companies taking it in the trunk from ridesharing services, we predict the Las Vegas taxi industry will get a clue in 2017 and clean up its act. Not because it’s the right thing to do, but because the threat of extinction is a great motivator.

10. The Year of T&A

With the loss of the classic “Jubilee” and fleeting “Cherry Boom Boom,” 2016 wasn’t the best year for toplessness in Las Vegas. In 2017, though, disrobement will make a serious comeback. There’s a new flesh-filled show in the works for Bally’s (the former home of “Jubilee”), and at least two male revues will make their debut. “Men of the Strip” is rumored to be landing at The Stratosphere (“Pin Up” may be out, but let’s keep our eyes on the prize) and Channing Tatum’s “Magic Mike Live Las Vegas” will open at Hard Rock casino starting in March 2017. Let’s toast to the return of T&A in Vegas!

Cherry Boom Boom

Keep doing you, Vegas.

11. The Year Casinos Stopped Being Open 24/7

This one’s a late entry, but it occurs to us that as Las Vegas casinos explore ways to save money (and by extension make more money), they’ve gotten all the low-hanging fruit, but have failed to go after one long-standing practice that may not make sense forever. Casinos have always been open 24 hours a day, but it could be cheaper to close in the early morning hours. Don’t be surprised if this one pops its head up in 2017.

12. The Year Casinos Stop Giving Comped Drinks

Our final prediction is the most bleak. For years, we’ve known the casinos are scrutinizing the tradition of providing comped drinks to slot machine players. In 2016, casinos in Las Vegas downsized their liquor pours and rolled out comp monitoring systems as casino bars. It’s quite possible 2017 is the year some brave Las Vegas casino or casino company decides the era of “free” drinks has come to an end. Sounds crazy, but a year ago, people thought free parking at Las Vegas casinos would last forever. Once a casino pulls this trigger, all the rest will fall, too.

So, what do you think? What will 2017 hold for Las Vegas? Who will be the winners and losers? What lies ahead for Sin City during the next year and beyond? Your guess is as good as ours.

And possibly much better given our current alcohol level. Just saying.

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The Dorsey Lounge Replaces Bourbon Room at Venetian

A swanky new lounge has opened at Venetian, The Dorsey.

The new lounge sits in the former Bourbon Room space. Bourbon Room was a lounge themed to complement the hotel’s departed show, “Rock of Ages,” which relocated to Rio Las Vegas. “Rock of Ages” closes, once again, on Jan. 1, 2017.

There will be a quiz.

The Dorsey Venetian

The Dorsey. Just the right amount of fancy.

The Dorsey does a 180 from the “rockin’ loud” Bourbon Room, delivering a more refined experience in well-appointed surroundings. (The 180-degree change is punctuated by the fact the bar no longer has video poker.)

The Dorsey Venetian

The Dorsey cost $2.5 million and was worth every penny.

The Dorsey’s signature cocktail menu is replete with unique libations “designed by award-winning barman Sam Ross of New York City’s Attaboy fame.” We are clearly a dim-witted muttonhead because we have no idea what an “Attaboy” is or why it’s famous. However, we can attest to the fact Sam Ross knows his hooch.

We tried the Banana Hammock and our socks were blown.

Off.

Related: Punctuation is hard.

The Dorsey Venetian

The Banana Hammock features two rums, lime, banana, orgeat and cinnamon. It was infinitely better than it sounds. Especially the orgeat thing. Which you’ll be Googling in three, two…

Here’s The Dorsey cocktail menu in a resolution that won’t make you squint like an albino in a tanning booth. Here are more cocktails (including “Stirred & Boozy,” “Shorties” and “Punch Bowls”). Look here for the champagne, wine and beer.

Signature cocktails run in the $18 range, which may cause some Las Vegas regulars sticker shock. But $18 is the new $8, so it’s best to just settle in and enjoy the creativity of the cocktails.

Or the ambiance.

If you get our drift.

The Dorsey Venetian

Your elevated heart rate is duly noted and completely warranted.

The model-servers are friendly and helpful, as are The Dorsey’s bartenders.

The Dorsey is 4,500-square-feet, in case square footage somehow adds to your enjoyment of a lounge. You freak.

The space is warm and as comfortable and sophisticated as The Dorsey’s news release claims. There’s a lot of oak and brass and leather and marble.

There are two areas in The Dorsey that provide a semi-private feel, the Cage and the Library.

The Dorsey Venetian

If you guessed this isn’t the Library, you’re right. Your future as a detective is assured.

The Library, lined with hundreds of books, has a sweet fireplace. It blows smoke and it lit in a way that makes the smoke look like fire. It’s cozy, trust us.

The Dorsey Venetian

You remember books. It’s how people occupied themselves before memes and Facebook stalking.

The walls of The Dorsey are lined with digital displays featuring the work of a number of artists whose names we don’t recognize, such as Marilyn Minter, Poyen Wang and Jason Salavon.

The Dorsey is on par with Clique at Cosmopolitan and Skyfall Lounge at Delano.

The Dorsey Venetian

Beyond its dreamy bar, The Dorsey also has a DJ booth. We won’t hold that against it.

If you’re looking to knock something back on the cheap (ditto slamming or chugging), this probably isn’t the place. The Dorsey is, however, a place with an air of class, memorable cocktails and waitresses who will make you feel like the most interesting, attractive person in the world.

The Dorsey Venetian

Let’s infuse something, already.

The Dorsey is open nightly from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m. It’s located just off the main floor of the Venetian’s casino, near the hotel’s restaurant row.

The Dorsey at Venetian

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Las Vegas Eccentric Lonnie Hammargren Bares All on “Hoarders”

Lonnie Hammargren is a bit of a Las Vegas legend.

The former Las Vegas Lt. Governor has spent his life collecting curiosities, displaying thousands of objects in three adjoining houses in a residential Las Vegas neighborhood.

Lonnie Hammargren

The indefatigable Lonnie Hammargren.

Each year, Lonnie Hammargren and his wife Sandy open up their home(s) to the public on Nevada Day, showcasing about 10,000 pieces of memorabilia, much of it related to Las
Vegas.

Hammargren Hoarders

Lonnie Hammargren’s collection of stuff spans three homes and a lifetime.

This blog is an avid collector of things, so we’ve always sort of admired Lonnie Hammargren for his commitment to the acquisition of stuff.

Now, we don’t know how to feel. The premiere episode of the ninth season of reality series “Hoarders” featured Lonnie and Sandy Hammargren, and it turns out trouble’s afoot in the “Hammargren Home of Nevada History.”

Lonnie Hammargren Hoarders

What could possibly go wrong?

“I estimate I’ve spent about $10 million on things I’ve collected,” says Lonnie Hammargren on the show. “It wasn’t a lot for me at the time. Like Frank Sinatra, I did it my way.”

For many years, Hammargren could afford his passion for collecting, as he was the first first neurosurgeon in Nevada.

Things have changed, however. During the “Hoarders” episode, it’s revealed Lonnie and Sandy Hammargren are $750,000 in debt.

Hammargren Hoarders

We feel you, Lonnie.

The episode highlights the growing conflict between the Hammargrens, with Sandy stating, “Lonnie has spent an enormous amount of money on his collections. I’m done with it. We’ve acquired a lot of debt and now it’s time to start selling things so that we can live off it.”

“I don’t have the money to continue paying my mortgage, says Lonnie Hammargren. “If I don’t pay the mortgage, I could lose my house.”

As is the “Hoarders” way, experts are brought in to assess the situation. On the case are a clinical psychologist specializing in hoarding disorder, Dr. David Tolin, and an “Extreme Cleaning Expert,” Matt Paxton.

Hoarders Las Vegas

Time for some “Hoarders” realness.

Tolin pulls no punches, saying, “Rich hoarding and poor hoarding can look very different, but they’re both still hoarding.”

Tolin continues, “Lonnie really wants people to notice him and he wants people to like him. There definitely is an element of Las Vegas culture. I also get a sense that behind that, there’s a little bit of a fear there. Maybe I will die and be forgotten. And I get a sense that terrifies him.”

Sandy Hammargren

If they gave awards for patience, Sandy Hammargren would have a house full of trophies rather than Nevada memorabilia.

The awkwardness continues as the experts try to convince Lonnie Hammargren it’s time to sell off some of his prized possessions. Or at the very least some he doesn’t prize.

Hammargren resists until the psychologist points out how much his wife is suffering, and asks, “What would you sacrifice for your wife’s happiness?” Lonnie Hammargren answers, “Anything.”

Of his 10,000 items, Lonnie Hammargren agrees to sell 27.

“Hoarders” brings in a familiar face to help with the process of estimating the value of Hammargren’s things, Mark Hall-Patton. Hall-Patton (pictured below, at right), of course, is a regular on another reality series, “Pawn Stars.”

Hoarders Hammargren

In the realm of nonverbal communication, folded arms don’t scream, “This is going really well!”

It becomes clear quickly Lonnie Hammargren’s view of the world is a special one. Then again, this is the man who has a tomb with a sarcophagus in his garage where he plans to be entombed.

Hammargren tomb

Lonnie Hammargren with his tomb.

At auction, the 27 items bring a soul-crushing $4,112.

Hoarders Hammargren

You thought we were kidding? This is an actual “Hoarders” title card.

The cringeworthiness peaks when Hammargren states he’ll use the proceeds of the auction not to pay his mortgage, but to publish his life story.

The psychologist adds, “Unless Lonnie really wakes up to his wife’s suffering, unless he really makes a decision to change things, I don’t know if things are going to get any better.”

Unlike so many episodes of “Hoarders,” this one doesn’t have a happy ending. Lonnie Hammargren remains an enigma, seemingly oblivious to the distinction between a collector and a hoarder. We’re actually not too clear about that ourselves.

Hoarders Hammargren

A typical day for Lonnie Hammargren includes organizing artifacts, cataloging new acquisitions and not getting any.

Ultimately, the experts packed it up. Dr. David Tolin summed things up by saying, “At the end of the day, Lonnie wants to be left alone, so that’s what we’re going to do.”

After watching “Hoarders,” we’re not sure how to feel about the Lonnie and Sandy Hammargren saga. The emotions range from admiration to pity and concern.

Is Lonnie Hammargren a dreamer of big dreams or painfully out of touch with reality? We’re thinking he’s a little bit of both.

Hoarders Lonnie Hammargren

Hang in there, Lonnie. Nobody ever became legendary by paying a mortgage.

During the “Hoarders” episode, he says, “I want to be a spectacle. Mohammad Ali was a spectacle. Jesus was a spectacle.”

One of the experts says, “I don’t think Lonnie is able to let go. Lonnie doesn’t really own his things. They own him.”

You can watch the entire episode of “Hoarders” online, and we’d love to hear what you think.

On thing is for certain. It took courage for the Hammargrens to air their drama on “Hoarders.”

Financial woes aside, many in Las Vegas would be devastated to see Lonnie Hammargren’s collection sold off.

We truly hope there’s a way for Lonnie Hammargren to fulfill his financial obligations without having to dismantle his legacy.

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15 Things You Didn’t Know About the Rat Pack

The “Rat Pack” will forever be associated with Las Vegas.

We decided to learn more about this merry band of miscreants, and quickly realized there’s a lot we didn’t know. Some of these Rat Pack facts might surprise you, too.

1. Originally, the Rat Pack was a group of friends centered around the group’s leader, Humphrey Bogart. The original members included Errol Flynn, Nat King Cole, Mickey Rooney, Jerry Lewis and Cesar Romero.

Humphrey Bogart

In “Casablanca,” Humphrey Bogart wore platform shoes so he wouldn’t have to look up to Ingrid Bergman.

2. Nobody’s sure where the “Rat Pack” name came from, but most attribute it to Lauren Bacall. Bogart and Bacall lived in a neighborhood called Holmby Hills, so their house and the original group were sometimes called the Holmby Hills Rat Pack.

3. The original rat pack had a coat of arms, a rat gnawing on a human hand. The group’s motto was “Never rat on a rat.”

4. Later, the name was used for a variation of the group with Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Peter Lawford and Joey Bishop. The group didn’t call itself the Rat Pack, though. They used “The Summit” or “The Clan.”

The Rat Pack

‎Peter Lawford and ‎Joey Bishop are the ones you don’t recognize.

5. The Rat Pack had several “associate” members, called “Rat Pack Mascots,” including Marilyn Monroe, Angie Dickinson, Shirley MacLaine, Lauren Bacall, Juliet Prowse and Judy Garland.

6. The Copa Room at the Sands was considered the “home” of the Rat Pack. The Sands was opened in 1952 and was imploded in 1996. The Venetian now stands on the former site of the Sands.

7. In Las Vegas, when a member of the Rat Pack would be scheduled for a performance, the rest of the Rat Pack would turn up for an impromptu show. The multi-talented performers sold out almost all of their appearances, and visitors would stream into Las Vegas, often sleeping in their cars if they couldn’t find rooms. Hotel-casino marquees were known to tease the Rat Pack’s appearances. For example, the Sands marquee read: “Dean Martin, Maybe Frank, Maybe Sammy.”

8. Peter Lawford was John F. Kennedy’s brother-in-law. Kennedy would sometimes hang out with the Rat Pack in Vegas, and when they did, they referred to themselves as the “Jack Pack.” A falling out between Sinatra and the Kennedys about Sinatra’s links to the mob got Peter Lawford booted from the group.

9. Frank Sinatra once ordered 300 Bloody Marys from room service for a Rat Pack party.

10. Dean Martin’s son, Dean Paul Martin, died in a plane crash in 1987 on the San Gorgonio Mountain in California. Frank Sinatra’s mother, Dolly, was killed in a plane crash 10 years earlier on the exact same mountain.

Dean Martin

Dean Martin’s real name was Dino Paul Crocetti. He changed it to Dino Martini, then to Dean Martin. Martin only read one book in his lifetime, “Black Beauty.”

11. Among the Rat Pack, Sammy Davis Jr.’s nickname was “Smokey.” While not commonly known, he was an accomplished quick-draw artist. When Davis was denied entry into the Copacabana, Sinatra used his clout to ensure he got in the next time. When Davis wasn’t allowed to stay in the Las Vegas hotel where he was performing, Sinatra helped Davis sidestep the racist practices so prevalent in Las Vegas at the time.

12. Rat Pack member Dean Martin would often deal blackjack at Las Vegas casinos.

13. The first movie all five Rat Pack members appeared in together was “Ocean’s Eleven.” It was released in 1960. Frank Sinatra played Danny Ocean.

Oceans 11

That’s right, they “blew all the lights in Las Vegas.” We’ll wait.

14. The Rat Pack recorded five live albums together, including “The Rat Pack Live at the Sands” in 1960.

15. The last time Sinatra, Martin and Davis would appear in a movie together was “Cannonball Run II.”

Now you know! Have any fun Rat Pack trivia? We’d love to hear it.

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“Xavier Mortimer’s Magical Dream” is the Best Las Vegas Show You Haven’t a Seen Yet

“Xavier Mortimer’s Magical Dream” may not be the easiest Las Vegas show name to remember, but the show itself is absolutely unforgettable.

This inspired, captivating, idiosyncratic show at Planet Hollywood is nothing short of a revelation. And we’re just getting started with the superlatives.

Xavier Mortimer's Magical Dream

Forget what you know about Las Vegas magic shows. Xavier Mortimer turns all that on its head.

“Xavier Mortimer’s Magical Dream,” which we’re going to shorten to “Magical Dream” to avoid developing carpal tunnel, sounds like it’s probably a magic show, and it does have a lot of magical elements.

But “Magical Dream” isn’t entirely magic. It’s not entirely anything, other than awe-inspiring.

“Magical Dream” is, ultimately, a Cirque du Soleil-style show, but performed by one guy (Xavier Mortimer) and his co-star (Lauren Metter) who serves as a romantic interest and dance partner.

Xavier Mortimer's Magical Dream

Xavier Mortimer will make you feel like a kid again. And make your kids feel like embryos. Or something.

The Cirque influence isn’t a coincidence. Mortimer was previously a Cirque performer, including a stint in “Michael Jackson One,” and this is the first time a Cirque performer has launched a headlining residency on the Las Vegas Strip.

The breadth of Mortimer’s talent is stunning. The show is equal parts music, dance, juggling, clowning, mime and mentalism. And that doesn’t begin to do it justice. Oh, and Mortimer is also a masterful quick-change artist. Just for kicks.

Xavier Mortimer's Magical Dream

Just when we thought we were over magic shows, Xavier Mortimer and his evil twin pulled us back in.

“Xavier Mortimer’s Magical Dream” delivers what many shows claim to inspire, but too few actually can: Surprise and wonder.

Each sequence of the show is inventive, meticulously rehearsed and flawlessly performed.

Mortimer is so talented, we’re not entirely convinced audience members fully grasp how difficult his feats actually are.

From close-up magic to levitation, Mortimer’s performance is so effortless, he makes the miraculous look like no big deal.

Xavier Mortimer's Magical Dream

We didn’t forget you, Lauren. How could we?

What’s miraculous is that “Magical Dream” takes place in a theater roughly the size of your living room. The Sin City Theater, on Planet Hollywood’s mezzanine level, is intimate to say the least. Mortimer fearlessly performs his illusions just feet away from the front row, and overcomes the challenges of a tiny stage and peculiar sight lines to give audiences a show so good, it’s a crime it hasn’t gotten more buzz.

How good is this show? About halfway through, we wept.

Well, maybe not a full weep, but we welled up. It was a definite well. We welled up because as each sequence unfolded, we realized we were in the presence of something incredibly rare: Sheer creativity.

Some of the sequences in “Magical Dream” feature props and illusions that seem familiar at first. In one case, it’s the diabolo (see below), sometimes called a “Chinese yo-yo.” As the routine progresses, though, you see things you’re fairly sure are impossible. Every sequence defies and surpasses all expectations.

Xavier Mortimer's Magical Dream

Just when you think you know what’s next, you’re Mortified. Which Xavier Mortimer should totally steal to use in his advertising.

“Magical Dream” flies by, running just over an hour long. By the end, you’re left breathless and baffled and in disbelief. Unlike too many Las Vegas shows, this one leaves you wanting more.

If we have any quibbles with the show, it’s the sometimes awkward patter between the vignettes. To his credit, Mortimer says he believes a show isn’t great until it’s been performed 100 times, and he’s constantly striving to make it better, even tweaking the show during the show. While performing in the show. Seriously.

Xavier Mortimer's Magical Dream

Both silly and sublime, “Xavier Mortimer’s Magical Dream” is an hour-long exercise in whimsy.

“Magical Dream” is family-friendly fare, and tickets are $49 general admission, $69 VIP. Find out more at the show’s official site.

After the show, Mortimer and Metter invite guests to take part in a free meet-and-greet, the perfect opportunity to gush over these gifted performers.

Have we talked up the show too much? Possibly. We love what we love. Here’s the thing. See it, and let us know what you think. Especially if you agree. We love when that happens.

If you’re looking for an ingenious, fresh, spellbinding departure from the average Las Vegas magic show, “Xavier Mortimer’s Magical Dream” is truly a dream come true.

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Las Vegas Visitors Give Cab Companies Giant Middle Finger

Las Vegas visitors are fed up with unscrupulous taxi practices and aren’t going to take it any more.

Recent numbers released by the Nevada Taxicab Authority show taxi trips are down a whopping 19.2% year-over-year (November 2015 to November 2016).

That’s a drop of of more than 4.2 million riders, many looking to avoid price gouging and “long-hauling” (taking riders to their destination via longer, more expensive routes) by using rideshare services Lyft and Uber.

Taxi companies also say yearly revenue is down 13% since October of 2015.

Boo, meet hoo.

Boo, meet hoo.

While many taxi drivers operate ethically, a few bad apples have undermined trust in the Sin City taxi industry.

One example of an awful business practice on the part of taxis is a $3 fee for using a credit card to pay one’s fare. An audit claimed taxi companies overcharged riders $47 million in one year with gratuitous fees. Read more.

The arrival of Lyft and Uber in Las Vegas has shaken up a decades-old monopoly, and the taxi industry is scrambling to make sense of the skyrocketing demand for “convenient” and “reasonably-priced” transportation.

Lyft Line Las Vegas

Ridesharing services are truly a gyft.

Here’s to the continued success of Lyft and Uber in Las Vegas. When Lyft and Uber win, we all win.

Now’s a great time for cab companies to take a long, hard look at the way they do business. Rather than deflecting or blaming, it’s time to institute change and rehabilitate their badly tarnished image. It’s time to get a clue and transform the taxi culture of greed and being tone deaf to the needs of customers.

In Las Vegas, evolution isn’t optional, it’s essential to survival.

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