Monthly Archives: March 2017

All Net Arena Takes Part in Las Vegas Ritual of Pointlessly Pushing Dirt Around

For Las Vegas projects that can’t get financing, there’s a time-honored tradition: The technical term is “Pushing Dirt Around.”

Alon did it before its plug was pulled, and now workers at the All Net Arena and Resort site, between SLS Las Vegas and the abandoned Fontainebleau resort—the former location of the Wet ‘n Wild water park—are doing some dirt pushing of their own.

All Net Arena construction

Of all the projects not happening in Las Vegas, All Net Arena is certainly one of those.

The folks behind the troubled All Net Arena and Resort project, led by ex-NBA player Jackie Robinson, are grading the site, which is a fancy way of saying, you guessed it, “moving dirt around.”

Presumably, there are plans to build underground parking and install utilities as well. Why one would do these things, when there’s virtually no hope the project’s ever going to fly, we have no idea. Las Vegas developers may not always have financial backing, but they rarely lack optimism.

Along those lines, Robinson says the project should open in December 2019, or roughly around the time we all have flying cars.

All Net Arena construction

“Grading” is the process of ensuring a site’s subsoil is level to provide a solid base for an erection. Oh, just make up your own joke.

The All Net Arena and Resort will cost $1.3 billion, and is supposed to have a 22,000-seat arena, a retail and restaurant complex and a 500-room hotel.

There’s been lots of asshattery behind the scenes with the project, including lawsuits galore. Read more from the Las Vegas Review-Journal, currently the only entity with the patience to wade through all this crap.

All Net Arena construction

It’s the construction site version of “Where’s Waldo?”

Despite the bleak outlook for All Net Arena, we’re rooting for its success, because we love new Las Vegas things, and the north end of The Strip can use all the help it can get.

Somebody obviously scraped together the cash to do the grading of the site (trust us, nobody’s working on credit with this organization), so anything’s possible.

All Net Arena Las Vegas

Sure, there’s a whole lot of nothing at the All Net Arena site now, but just wait until you see the amount of nothing there will be in 2019.

Whether All Net Arena gets off the ground or not, abandoned underground parking is far less an eyesore than a hulking carcass like Fontainebleau or 250-foot concrete pillars.

We’re looking at you, SkyVue observation wheel.

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Las Vegas Gets First Strip Club to Accept Bitcoin

A new strip club in Las Vegas, The Legends Room, will be the first in Sin City, and possibly the world, to accept Bitcoin.

Bitcoin is a digital currency understood by approximately four people, total.

The Legends Room strip club (sorry, “gentlemen’s cabaret”) opens in April 2017, and announced it will accept Bitcoin in addition to traditional forms of payment for its services.

Legends bitcoin

The Legends Room will accept not only Bitcoin, but 29 other equally baffling cryptocurrencies.

The club, located at 4416 Paradise Road, near the Hard Rock Hotel (a partner in The Legends Room), is the site of the former Club Paradise. Club Paradise closed after being embroiled in a credit card fraud scandal.

A visit to the official Legends Room site sheds no light on how the whole Bitcoin experience will work. A news release states the club’s memberships are “recorded using blockchain technology.”

We have personally read the club’s news release 141 times, and are still confounded by the cavalcade of terms like “Winklevoss ETF,” “fractional ownership,” “active aftermarket” and “liquidity opportunities.”

We’re sort of just here for the lap dances.

Bitcoin Las Vegas

How to purchase Bitcoin: 1) Create a Bitcoin wallet (like a Bitcoin bank account). 2) Find a Bitcoin ATM. 3) Scan your hand. 4) Become confused. 5) Ask the Internet for help.

Kudos to The Legends Room for being the first strip club to accept Bitcoin, or perhaps more accurately, Titcoin™. Admit it, we’ve shown extraordinary restraint and maturity not using that term before now.

In the name of giving you the exhaustive investigative journalism you so richly deserve, we’ll have to drag our prized 0.31725361 Bitcoin (currently valued at $402.76) to The Legends Room when it opens. Naturally, we’ll need to brush up on our strip club slang first.

While The Legends Room can claim it’s the first strip club to accept Bitcoin, it’s not the first adult-oriented business in Las Vegas to do so. Back in May 2014, the Bunnies of Las Vegas escort service was the first business of its kind to accept Bitcoin.

Talk about liquidity opportunities.

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Lit eSports Arena Opens at Downtown’s Neonopolis

We should probably say it right up front: It might be called “eSports,” but it’s not sports. In sports, there’s activity involved.

ESports, on the other hand, is competitive gaming, featuring things like sitting, the polar opposite of sports. In this context, by the way, when we say “gaming,” we’re not talking about the casino kind (gambling), we’re talking about the millennial kind, involving videogames like Halo, League of Legends, Counter-Strike and others.

Now that we’ve provided some context, a new eSports arena has opened in downtown Las Vegas at the Neonopolis shopping complex. Let’s blast something to smitereens.

eSports Arena Las Vegas

Note: Millennials don’t use the term “smithereens.”

The eSports arena is called, wait for it, “thE Arena.” We are not kidding. In the news release for the arena (which we are fully committed to never calling “thE Arena” again), says, “The ‘E’ stands for eSports, the ‘A’ stands for ‘arena.'”

Which is adorable, you have to admit.

The 15,000-square-foot facility, in a part of Neonopolis formerly occupied by movie theaters, officially opened March 3, 2017. The arena hosted a three-day Halo tournament to launch the new venue.

The eSports arena consists of two spaces. One area is a 200-seat arena that looks a lot like a movie theater, but with a dozen screens of varying sizes rather than one large screen.

eSports Arena Las Vegas

It’s fun watching other people have fun, isn’t it? Just like porn, but with controllers.

The other area is the Main Hall, which can accommodate 900 people.

That area (pictured below) can hold up to 15 “player stations,” with each of those having space for 14 players.

eSports arena Neonopolis

The percentage of females taking part in eSports has skyrocketed in recent years. Specifically, to about 2%.

The facility boasts an Internet speed of a gigabit, whatever that might actually be.

Approximately three miles of CAT cables were required to make the venue tournament-ready. From what we can tell, “CAT” stands for “Category 5.” Some people capitalize “CAT” to make it sound more important. Let’s just say it’s an Ethernet thing, and that’s a lot of cable.

The eSports arena at Neonopolis is impressive and was bustling with activity during our visit. There’s already evidence eSports can draw big numbers of people to a venue. Thousands of people, for example, filled the Mandalay Bay Events Center in 2016 for the North American League of Legends Championship Series Spring Finals.

eSports arena Las Vegas

Like we weren’t going to point out the fact we used “lit” in our headline ironically. Related: Get off our lawn.

Just about everyone in Las Vegas is hot to attract millennials, especially casinos, despite the fact millennials don’t seem all that into gambling.

For a long-struggling venue like Neonopolis, having large numbers of people in the building can presumably only help. A likely beneficiary of the new foot traffic, the Fremont Arcade, hasn’t seen any lift in business, but we did see a small group of gamers dining at Denny’s. From what we could tell, each ordered a glass of ice water, so there’s that.

Others brought their own water.

ESports millennials

Please join us in perpetuating a millennial stereotype, thanks.

We’re a big fan of new Las Vegas things, so we look forward to seeing the eSports arena flourish. Given the fact the Halo World Championship finals have a $1 million prize pool, we’re also excited to learn more about “containment protocol,” “orbital bombardments” and “Plasma Frag Rockets.”

Because while we may not personally get eSports, we are a huge fan of prize pools. In fact, if Megabucks isn’t careful, it might end up getting smithereened.

ESports Arena at Neonopolis

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Vital Vegas Podcast, Ep. 43: Neil Sedaka, Big Elvis, Rumors, Speculation and More

It’s time to lube up your aural orifices for another unlistenable installment of the Vital Vegas Podcast.

In this week’s dog and pony show, we have a special guest, music legend Neil Sedaka. No, really. The man responsible for 90% of the pop hits in the last century is performing at The Orleans, March 17-18, 2017, so we took the opportunity to ask him about his singular career.

Sedaka, of course, is the singer-songwriter responsible for more than 500 chart-topping songs, many covered by talents like Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, Tom Jones and many others.

Neil Sedaka

Fun fact: When he was in high school, Neil Sedaka dated Carole King. She inspired his hit, “Oh! Carol.” Carole King’s real name was Carol Klein.

Also in this episode, we chat about our pal Pete “Big Elvis” Vallee getting a star on the Las Vegas Walk of Stars, and the opening of a new eSports arena in downtown Las Vegas.

eSports Arena Neonopolis

The new eSports arena is named “thE Arena.” Which, not going to lie, is aNNoyIng.

We also rattle off the latest Las Vegas news, including scoop about the possible sale of the Hard Rock Hotel Las Vegas, the new Brightside restaurant at Plaza, Born and Raised Craft Pub at Grand Bazaar Shops and a new Las Vegas strip club that accepts Bitcoin, The Legends Room.

We double down on our “Listicle of the Week,” with two lists: “Five Las Vegas Things People Care Too Much About” and “Five Las Vegas Things People Don’t Care Enough About.” Guess which list resort fees, paid parking and 6-to-5 blackjack are on.

For “This Week in Vegas History,” we explore the history of the aforementioned Hard Rock Hotel Las Vegas. The resort opened March 10, 1995.

The Vital Vegas Podcast is everything a podcast should be and much, much less. So, strip down to your Spanx and revel in all the Las Vegas you can carry without herniating yourself.

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Caesars Entertainment Toys With Renaming Cromwell Hotel Las Vegas

It appears Caesars Entertainment is considering a name change for The Cromwell Hotel Las Vegas.

The company sent out a survey testing what we assume is one of several names in contention, Caesars Republic.

The customer survey suggests Caesars Republic “commands attention” and says “the air is filled with magnetic energy.” The survey also claims, “At every turn, guests are enveloped by sumptuous, contemporary design, while fun, whimsical accents keep things interesting.”

Here’s a look at the survey sent out by Caesars Entertainment’s market research company, CMB (Chadwick Martin Bailey).

Caesars Republic

Let us not judge marketing copywriters, as we were one of those at Caesars Entertainment at one point.

While Cromwell has been doing well for Caesars Entertainment, it’s possible the company sees challenges with the Cromwell name.

Prior to the hotel becoming The Cromwell, it was Bill’s Gamblin’ Hall & Saloon, and before that it was Barbary Coast.

For a moment, the plan was to call the hotel Gansevoort, until is was discovered one of Gansevoort’s investors had ties to Russian organized crime. The Nevada Gaming Commission tends to frown upon such things, so the name was nixed.

The Cromwell name was presumably inspired by the Cromwell current, “an eastward-flowing subsurface current that extends the length of the equator in the Pacific Ocean” discovered by Townsend Cromwell.

Nothing says “sexy Las Vegas resort” like an eastward-flowing subsurface current.

While the survey doesn’t mention The Cromwell by name, it features a number of images of The Cromwell’s distinctive pool, casino and rooms.

Cromwell Caesars Republic

Holy crap, we were just enveloped by whimsical accents.

Our astute Twitter follower Ryan O. floated the possibility Caesars Entertainment is actually looking to find a new name for Nobu, the boutique hotel inside Caesars Palace. The Cromwell photos may have been included in the survey as a diversionary tactic.

We’re betting Caesars Republic won’t end up being the new name of The Cromwell, as it doesn’t exactly sing.

It’s clear, though, Caesars Entertainment is trying to exploit its flagship brand, Caesars, but it remains to be seen how that might happen without causing confusion between The Cromwell and Caesars Palace, just across the street.

If you got the survey with other potential names for The Cromwell, please share! Thanks to reader Mike C. for sending the survey our way.

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Don’t Be Surprised If Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Las Vegas Is Sold

We fully realize we’ve been light on the rumors and speculation lately, but we’re about to make up for it. From what we hear, the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas is being sold, so don’t be surprised if the purchase is announced soon.

Hard Rock casino Las Vegas

Fun fact: Hard Rock International boasts 80,000 pieces of music-themed memorabilia. Hard Rock Las Vegas has about 2,000.

Signs point to the Hard Rock casino in Las Vegas being purchased by Hard Rock International, which is owned by the Seminole Tribe of Florida.

The Hard Rock in Las Vegas is currently owned by Brookfield Asset Management. It’s operated by Brookfield and Warner Gaming.

Rumors of a sale come on the heels of a recent announcement the Seminole Tribe of Florida has purchased the closed Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City from bajillionaire Carl Icahn. That’s the same Carl Icahn who owns the abandoned Fontainebleau on the Las Vegas Strip. We’re hoping Icahn uses proceeds from the Trump Taj Mahal to buy the Fontainebleau a wrap. No, seriously, it’s an eyesore.

Hard Rock casino Las Vegas

The off-Strip Hard Rock casino in Las Vegas opened in 1995.

Hard Rock International seems to be in expansion mode, so the purchase of the Hard Rock casino in Las Vegas makes sense.

Insiders say reps of the Seminole Tribe of Florida have visited the Hard Rock in recent months, and a number of internal organizational changes at the Las Vegas Hard Rock lend credence to the rumblings about the resort’s imminent sale.

Hard Rock employees have been informed of a resort-wide meeting on Monday, March 6, 2017, which may involve word of the sale.

The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino is not to be confused with its neighbor, the recently-shuttered Hard Rock Cafe, just outside the casino. The Hard Rock Cafe Las Vegas, which leased the name but wasn’t affiliated with the hotel, shut down on Dec. 31, 2016. The Hard Rock Cafe had been in operation for 26 years. The Hard Rock Cafe was snapped up by Brookfield and would presumably be part of the sale to Hard Rock International.

Hard Rock Cafe closes

The former Hard Rock Cafe sign.

Hard Rock International owns or licenses venues in 74 countries, including 175 cafes, 24 hotels and 11 casinos.

The Hard Rock brand was consolidated in October 2016, after being split between a variety of owners for 30 years.

If a sale of Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Las Vegas happens as we believe it will, hopefully it won’t disrupt plans for a new steakhouse, MB Steakhouse. Because steak. The “MB” stands for Morton Brothers, specifically, Michael and David Morton. The new steakhouse is slated to open in May. The resort recently got a new Oyster Bar.

There’s also been talk of changes coming to the resort’s Vanity nightclub, although specifics aren’t yet available.

The Hard Rock is set to debut a new male revue, “Magic Mike Live Las Vegas” on March 30, 2017.

The Hard Rock resort recently unveiled a renovated Center Bar, which we’re really only including here because we know how much you like pretty pictures of Las Vegas bars.

As rumors go, the potential sale of Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Las Vegas is an especially juicy one. We’ll keep an eye on the potential sale as the story unfolds. Then we’ll fold it up again, because we’re tidy like that.

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