Monthly Archives: July 2017

Wynn Las Vegas, Encore to Begin Paid Parking Aug. 7, 2017

Two of the few remaining Las Vegas Strip resorts without paid parking, Wynn Las Vegas and Encore, will begin charging on Aug. 7, 2017.

Customers will have to pay for parking whether they use valet or self-park.

There’s been a charge for valet parking for several months. Valet fees are going up. Valet will cost $15 for up to four hours, $20 for 4-24 hours and $20 for each additional 24 hours. (Those rates are $2 higher than when they were first announced in Nov. 2016.)

Now, brace yourself.

Fees for self-parking will be: $7 for 1-2 hours, $12 for 2-4 hours, $15 for 4-24 hours and $15 for each additional 24 hours.

While there are no specifics yet, certain levels of play in the Wynn and Encore Red Card loyalty program will warrant free parking, a common practice at Las Vegas casino resorts on The Strip. Wynn has officially said, “Parking is validated for Red Card members under certain circumstances.”

Wynn Encore paid parking

Hey, Wynn and Encore held out longer than most, so there’s that.

The start of paid parking at Wynn and Encore has been anticipated for some time.

The first major Strip company to “break the seal” of charging parking fees, traditionally free at Las Vegas casino resorts, was MGM Resorts back in 2016.

The other major casino company in Las Vegas to institute paid parking was Caesars Entertainment, in early 2017.

Cosmopolitan began its paid parking program in June 2017.

While the list of Las Vegas Strip casinos with free parking continues to dwindle, you can still park free at Stratosphere, SLS Las Vegas, Circus Circus, Venetian and Palazzo, Treasure Island and Tropicana.

The major shopping malls on The Strip (often adjoining resorts) also continue to offer free parking, including Fashion Show Mall, The Shops at Crystals and The Shoppes at Mandalay Place.

Las Vegas Monopoly

You knew we’d share this classic again. Read the full story.

Fees for paid parking have resulted in a windfall for Las Vegas casinos which, remarkably, had not turned a profit for eight consecutive years prior to 2016 when they broke their losing streak.

While paid parking isn’t a welcome cultural shift in Las Vegas, revenue from gambling isn’t what it used to be (gambling once paid for perks like free parking), so we have to collectively help pay for all the shiny, pretty things in the most exciting city in the world.

Update (7/14/17): Wynn Las Vegas has confirmed our story. See the FAQ on the official Wynn Web site.

Double Murderer O.J. Simpson’s Las Vegas Crime Scene Is Being Demolished at Palace Station

One of the proudest moments in Nevada history was when a Las Vegas judge and jury put double murderer O.J. Simpson behind bars.

While the court system failed in 1995, it was redeemed in 2008. Exactly 13 years, to the day, after Simson was acquitted of Nicole Brown and Ron Goldman’s murders, he was sentenced by a Las Vegas judge to nine-to-33 years for being a world-class asshat.

Well, that and 10 other charges including kidnapping, armed robbery and assault with a deadly weapon.

Now, the hotel room where Simpson’s crimes took place, at Palace Station in Las Vegas, is being demolished.

The demolition is part of a larger project at Palace Station, and we’ve got all the demolition porn you could possibly ever want.

Palace Station demolition

Las Vegas is always making new things. It often makes a mess first.

An entire swath of Palace Station is being leveled.

Palace Station demolition

This whole area used to be a thing. Now, not so much.

The extensive Palace Station demolition includes the resort’s Courtyard Rooms.

It was in room 1203 in Palace Station’s courtyard complex that O.J. Simpson and his six bumbling cohorts confronted two sports memorabilia dealers, leading to Simpson’s arrest, conviction and incarceration in the Lovelock Correctional Center in Lovelock, Nevada.

Palace Station demolition

The stories those headboards could tell.

Here’s a look at where room 1203 resides. But not for long.

Palace Station demolition

It’s time to bid farewell to a Las Vegas landmark. We trust that giant red arrow will be demolished as well.

Here’s a handy map of the former Courtyard Rooms at Palace Station in case you’re a Las Vegas nerd.

Room 1203 became inexorably linked to Simpson’s downfall when jurors made a secret field trip to Palace Station in September 2008. Judge Jackie Glass apparently felt it was important for the jurors to see the site of Simpson’s misdeeds.

For a time, Palace Station kept room 1203 off-limits to guests. Over time, though, guests could stay in the infamous room.

O.J. Simpson’s crimes weren’t limited to the murders of Nicole Brown and Ron Goldman, of course. He is responsible for the rise to fame of the Kardashian family, also an unforgivable transgression.

The demolition of its Courtyard Rooms (ah, the irony) is part of a multi-million-dollar renovation project at the 41-year-old, off-Strip casino.

If you look closely, you can see the remnants of the resort’s train theme. The theme is being phased out as part of the overhaul.

The renovations have already resulted in a new valet area and bingo room, among other changes.

O.J. Simpson has a parole hearing on July 20, 2017, and we can only hope his being a model prisoner will have no impact on the decision to let him continue to rot in jail. The former athlete has served nine years to-date.

Palace Station demolition

We are not cleaning this up.

Big thanks to eagle-eyed reader Troy S. for bringing this story to our attention.

Here’s a plethora of photos from the Palace Station demolition.

Demolition at Palace Station

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Rideshare Drivers Reap Windfall From Legalized Weed

Vegas can’t help but be Vegas, so it’s perhaps no surprise Lyft and Uber drivers are getting some of the perks of their taxi-driving counterparts.

It’s an integral part of Las Vegas culture for cabbies to get kick-backs from places like strip clubs. Drop off customers, get cash from the strip club. (This is why it’s smart, by the way, to tell cashiers at strip clubs you’re a Las Vegas local or that you arrived in your personal vehicle. When they don’t pay the kick-back, your cost of entry is lower.)

Now, that time-honored Las Vegas custom is creating a windfall for Lyft and Uber drivers.

We’ve learned marijuana dispensaries are handing out hefty cash perks for drivers who deliver customers to their doors.┬áRecreational marijuana became legal in Nevada on July 1, 2017, and demand has been high ever since. We’ll wait.

While we don’t know the exact dollar amount for Uber drivers, a Lyft driver confirmed they get $25 for any customer they deliver to a dispensary. The driver gets $15 for each additional passenger.

Uber Lyft sign

Las Vegas strip clubs pay taxi drivers as much as $120 for each passenger they deliver. Step up your game, weed dispensaries.

Our source says that on certain days, as many as 20% of his customers ask to be dropped at a marijuana dispensary.

The dispensaries pay the kick-backs in cash at the time of drop-off, often from a stand outside the establishment.

That’s a pretty sweet incentive to steer customers to a given dispensary, especially when you consider the average Lyft fare is about $12. The average fare for an Uber driver hovers around $16.

We’re not aware of any prohibition of such practices by the rideshare companies.

20 dollar bill

Not gonna lie, somebody’s being super judgmental right now.

We trust cabbies are getting a piece of the action as well, but have yet to hear a first-hand account along those lines.

Rideshare services have changed the transportation game in Las Vegas in a variety of ways, and getting financial perks from marijuana dispensaries has been an unexpected boost for this budding industry.

Sorry, burgeoning. We probably meant burgeoning.

Update (7/21/17): Big thanks to our friends at KTNV for their follow-up to our story. Take a look.

Glee, Skepticism Battle It Out at Resorts World

New signs of life at the long-delayed Resorts World project site have been received with cautious optimism by Las Vegas observers.

Resorts World recently erected its first construction crane, sparking hope the project is moving forward as promised by the Malaysia-based Genting Group behind the $4 billion resort.

Resorts World crane

Well, hello, sexy.

Resorts World sits on the site of the abandoned Echelon Place project. Before that, it was home to the Stardust.

Before the economic downturn, cranes dotted the Las Vegas skyline. Now, not so much.

Let’s take another look at this bad boy.

Resorts World crane

Quite tall, but suited to light work. We’ll take it.

Genting officials had promised cranes this summer to start on the casino’s “podium” and hotel towers. It’s expected 1,000 construction workers will be on-site in 2018.

The company also claims a good deal of work has been done at the site already, including installing utility lines and building a parking garage.

Resorts World crane

Here’s a look at the site from the Circus Circus side. It’s full of not a lot happening.

Resorts World is still shooting for a 2020 opening, but that date has been pushed back several times, causing concern Resorts World might fall victim to the same financing challenges that killed the Alon project and continue to plague the All Net Resort and Arena.

Genting Group has a long track record of successful projects, and was founded back in 1965. The company hired a casino veteran to help the project, Edward Farrell, president of Resorts World Las Vegas. Farrell helped open the Mirage in 1989.

The Resorts World Las Vegas team works out of Genting’s offices in Miami, Florida.

Resorts World crane

Let’s just think of this as the “before” photo. It’s more fun that way. Here’s a bigger version.

Some decorative flourishes have appeared recently on one of the Resorts World towers.

Check them out.

Resorts World

We have no idea what those are, but that’s beside the point. They’re new.

Let’s get in close, already.

Resorts World

We figure these facade pieces are like sample paint patches, a way of giving the colors a try before you commit.

Resorts World will have two hotel towers, one with 1,800 rooms and one with 1,400. When it broke ground back in May 2015, the resort was supposed to have 5,000 rooms.

The resort’s theme will be “modern Chinese,” another change from what was originally announced. At first, the resort was going to have a more traditional, Forbidden City-style, Asian theme.

Whatever it ends up being, we’re just glad to see Resorts World becoming something.

We’re ready to once again set aside our skepticism because of our deep and abiding love for shiny new things.

As always, we’d love to hear your thoughts.

Free Downtown Loop Shuttle Service Launches

There’s a new way to get around downtown Las Vegas, and it’s free.

The Downtown Loop shuttle service is a six-month pilot program paid for by the City of Las Vegas.

The service runs daily, and bumps uglies (probably not the official term) with seven stops in downtown Las Vegas.

Downtown Loop Las Vegas

The folks at Pawn Plaza and the Mob Museum must know a guy.

The Downtown Loop stops at Bonneville Transit Center, The Arts District, Pawn Plaza, Fremont East (on Las Vegas Boulevard, south of Fremont Street), the Mob Museum, Fremont Street Experience (Main Street, south of Fremont) and Las Vegas North Premium Outlets.

The free shuttle runs from 11:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday, 3:00 p.m. to midnight on Friday and Saturday and 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Sundays. The 19-passenger buses hit their stops about every 20 minutes.

The new shuttle is a great way to explore parts of downtown you might not otherwise venture to, especially Fremont East, the Mob Museum and Pawn Plaza.

The shuttle costs a pretty penny, $550,000 ($275,000 for the first six months with an option to extend), but would likely be continued if deemed successful, based upon ridership and economic impact.

It remains to be seen what the interest level is. It’s likely the City of Las Vegas will want businesses benefiting from the shuttles to pay for them if they become a permanent offering.

Vital Vegas Podcast, Ep. 55: Tipsy Robot, Resorts World, Ellis Island and Pointless Rambling Galore

Rambling, it’s what we do.

In this week’s podcast, we chat up Rino Armeni, owner of Tipsy Robot. Tipsy Robot recently opened at Miracle Mile Shops, with two robotic bartenders.

Tipsy Robot Las Vegas

Don’t think of them as robot bartenders. Think of them as buzz delivery systems.

We’ve also got the latest scoop about all things Las Vegas, including activity at Resorts World, the pop-up casinos at Las Vegas Club and Mermaids, openings and closings and everything in between.

There’s a metric hell-ton of Sin City news, including stories about Smooth Eats and 7th & Carson opening downtown, Bally’s getting minigolf and a new convention center, the new Downtown Loop shuttle (route below), Level Up’s virtual reality attraction, a pipe leak at Planet Hollywood and the weed shortage in Las Vegas.

Downtown Loop Las Vegas

The free Downtown Loop shuttle travels in a route inspired by the Mob Museum’s faux electric chair. Probably.

You won’t want to miss our “Listicle of the Week,” featuring “10 Surprising Things About Las Vegas Strippers.”

Podcasts are the new reading books, so shove us in your earholes, already.