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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.