Monthly Archives: December 2018

Our Most Popular Tweets of 2018 Month-By-Month

Doing a blog is awesome, but it’s just a sliver of the Las Vegas conversation.

Much of the buzz about Las Vegas unfolds on Twitter, and we thought it would be fun to take a look back at our most popular Tweets of 2018.

Partly because they tell a story, partly because everyone else is doing 2018 round-ups and partly because it gives us an excuse to humblebrag by saying we got just shy of 60 million (59.3 million to be precise) Tweet impressions in 2018.

Or maybe that’s bragging, not humblebragging. We can never keep those two straight.

Here we go!

January 2018
216,000 Tweet Impressions

Our most-shared Tweet of 2018 happened right off the bat, and we’re not even sure why it was so popular. The Tweet made mention of the doomed Lucky Dragon, an Asian-themed casino that never saw dime in profit during its two years of operation. Its casino and restaurants closed in January, and the whole resort shuttered on Oct. 2, 2018. Lucky Dragon got zero bids at a foreclosure auction and its future is unknown.

Lucky Dragon

Define “lucky.”

February 2018
25,000 Tweet Impressions

A hot topic this year has been changes in the perception of Las Vegas as a value destination. Our most popular Tweet of February questioned whether a “tipping point” has been reached, and we’ve been asking that question ever since. Here’s the op-ed piece by our kindred spirit Ted Newkirk that sparked the Tweet.

Vital Vegas Tweets

Point, meet tipped.

March 2018
37,000 Tweet Impressions

March’s Tweet also spoke to the evolution of Las Vegas. Our friend Las Vegas Locally shared the amusing, “We’re going to build a Vegas hotel with free rooms and $279 resort fees.” We added the observation that’s sort of always been the business model of Las Vegas hotels, but it was casinos that subsidized the free or cheap rooms. Resort fees continue to be a source of ongoing frustration for Las Vegas visitors, despite the fact Vegas still offers some of the best room values anywhere, even if you include irksome fees.

Las Vegas Tweets

Fingers crossed legislators will make resort fees go away for good in 2019.

April 2018
160,000 Tweet Impressions

Finally, some breaking news. In April, we shared exclusively that a Chick-fil-A would be coming to the Las Vegas Strip. Our scoop was finally confirmed five months later, in Sep. 2018. The news was even juicier because we heard this location would be open on Sundays, which Chick-fil-A later denied. What hasn’t been clarified is what time they’ll close Saturday nights. If they’re open past midnight, they’re “open on Sunday” and we still get to say “boom.”

Vital Vegas Tweets

Don’t laugh. Chick-fil-A is a big deal in Las Vegas.

May 2018
34,000 Tweet Impressions

While we aren’t a sports person, there’s no denying the Vegas Golden Knights were one of the hottest topics in 2018. We got into the spirit of the team’s impressive first season with some trash talking. When asked, “Do you know where out-of-town hockey teams stay when playing in Las Vegas?,” we replied, “In the loss column.” Shade, consider yourself thrown.

Vital Vegas Tweets

We are far better at jokes than understanding puckball.

June 2018
37,000 Tweet Impressions

Our most-shared Tweet in June was a straight-up listicle of 10 must-see shows in Las Vegas. Catch any of these shows and you won’t be disappointed, unless you sleep with us afterward.

Vital Vegas Tweets

We don’t know it all, but that certainly doesn’t keep us from sounding like we do.

July 2018
70,000 Tweet Impressions

Hell, yes, we get sassy on Twitter. July’s most popular Tweet included our sweet, over-saturated photo of Exacalibur and a one-liner about threesomes. We expect to hear from Disneyland’s lawyers any minute now.

Las Vegas threesome

The key to having a threesome in Las Vegas is bringing two-thirds of it with you.

August 2018
54,000 Tweet Impressions

Once again, our top Tweet in August tapped into growing sentiment Las Vegas casinos are nickel-and-diming customers to the point of changing travel habits. We’ll be watching in 2019 to see if the concerns are reflected in room occupancy and gambling revenue. The ready availability of legal gambling in so many other places means Vegas has lost its virtual monopoly, and with a potential recession looming, there are a lot of unknowns heading into the New Year.

Vital Vegas outrage

Outrage and social media go way back.

September 2018
93,000 Tweet Impressions

In our top September Tweet, marking the anniversary of our move to Sin City, we waxed poetic about why we love this town so much. It struck a chord, probably because it’s hard to deny when you’re in Las Vegas—temporarily or permanently—you know you’re living an extraordinary life.

Vital Vegas Tweets

Our Twitter followers just get it.

October 2018
53,000 Tweet Impressions

Our Twitter account is known not only for snark, but for an epic ass-ton of rumors and speculation as well. October’s most-seen Tweet included not only a rumor about the sale of Rio, but also chatter we’ve heard about the resort being demolished to make room for a Major League Baseball stadium. Rumors aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but we love the ensuing conversation and they turn out to be right more often than you’d think. Read more of our favorite Las Vegas rumors.

Vital Vegas Tweets

For someone who hates sports, we sure do talk about sports a lot.

November 2018
114,000 Tweet Impressions

November’s most memorable Tweet was a retweet of a goodie from Caesars Palace. Gordon Ramsay’s new Hell’s Kitchen restaurant serves a cocktail with quotes from the supremely quotable chef. Best. Garnish. Ever.

Vital Vegas Tweets

Curious if one of the quotes is this Gordon Ramsay classic, “Please pay me my 5.5% of gross sales, thanks.”

December 2018
131,000 Tweet Impressions

Wrapping up our 2018 round-up is the sequential royal heard round the world. A player at Red Rock Resort won $217,592 at video poker on a $5 bet. See the details. We’ve never gotten a royal flush at video poker, in any order, so this win was a reminder to foolishly persevere until we get one.

sequential royal flush

Please join us in pretending to be happy for the lucky winner.

Thanks for skimming the year in Las Vegas Tweets. You know how you are.

We’re thankful for our passionate Twitter followers, many of whom like and share
our Tweets. Sometimes they’re even sober when they do so. Nobody’s perfect.

Here’s to a 2019 full of breaking news, Retweets and stirring the pot.

If you’d like to join the fun, follow us on Twitter. When news breaks, it tends
to break there first, and you wouldn’t want to miss a minute of the Las Vegas
action.

Bomb Tacos Restaurant Closes Abruptly Downtown

A downtown taco spot, Bomb Tacos, has closed in what has proven to be challenging for any restaurant that opens in the space.

The place was fairly busy whenever we visited for lunch (both times), but a busy lunch doesn’t necessarily translate into a financially successful eatery.

We’re hearing there was some behind-the-scenes drama that led to the closure, with tensions running high between the partners in the business.

Bomb Tacos

Adios, tacos de bomba.

Bomb Tacos, owned by chef Robert Solano, was located a block off Fremont Street on Carson Avenue, near Vegenation and 7th & Carson restaurant.

Given the deliciousness of the fare, we hoped the third time would be a charm for this location in downtown’s “restaurant row.” Bomb Tacos is the third establishment to close in recent memory. Previously, it was Zydeco Po-Boys and Two Bald Brothers.

So, the location has hosted Mexican, Cajun and Mediterranean cuisine to-date. Time for some Italian, already. Or at least something with booze.

Downtown doesn’t have a vast assortment of taco options, but La Comida is nearby and Pinches Tacos, at Downtown Container Park, will do in a, well, pinch.

Farther west on Fremont Street, try Taqueria El Buen Pastor or Wana Taco at Four Queens.

Thanks to Twitter follower John L. for sending this tip our way. As John observed, “If they couldn’t make it, not sure anyone can.”

You can find another Bomb Tacos location at 3655 South Durango Dr., wherever that might actually be.

Wynn Resorts Sues Resorts World for Being a Copycat

Imitation might be the sincerest form of flattery, but when it comes to Resorts World, the lawyers for Wynn Resorts are having none of it.

Wynn Resorts has filed a federal lawsuit against Resorts World claiming its under construction hotel infringes on Wynn’s trademarked design.

Oh, the glorious drama!

Here’s a look at the current state of Resorts World, the $4 billion Asian-themed casino being built across the street from Wynn Las Vegas.

Resorts World

Just when you’re starting to take flight, somebody tries to clip your wings. Or something.

Here’s a closer look at Resorts World.

Resorts World

Lawyer up, Resorts World.

Below is the Wynn hotel, for comparison purposes, in case you’ve been living under a rock.

Concave facade, check.

Curved, bronze glass, check.

Horizontal banding between the lines of glass panes, check.

Wynn Las Vegas

This design has been used by Wynn not only in Las Vegas, but also Macau, Boston and 14 feet away at Encore.

Wynn’s lawyers make a convincing case that the similarities between the buildings (the technical name is “trade dress”) could cause customer confusion and constitutes unfair competition.

The Wynn Resorts lawsuit contains five counts: 1) Federal trade dress infringement, 2) unfair competition and false designation of origin, 3) federal trademark dilution, 4) state trademark dilution and 5) Chocula.

We were just making sure you were paying attention. The fifth count is state trademark dilution and copyright infringement.

This, by the way, is why lawyers are paid so much. They have to read crap like that all day.

Through the miracle of the Interwebs, you can just read the lawsuit yourself.

If you do take time to read the lawsuit, please note this very blog somehow got a shout-out as an exhibit. Because, of course, we have to make everything about us.

Wynn sues Resorts World

Not only were we mentioned, we were also called out for a typo. Rude.

Here’s our article referenced in the lawsuit. You’d be surprised how little traffic a site gets from a link in a lawsuit. Just saying. And if you can’t get enough of us, check out this news segment on Channel 8 in Las Vegas.

So, this has all the makings of a good, old-fashioned Las Vegas feud.

Which is odd, because we’d heard from Wynn Las Vegas employees the similarities between the buildings has been the source of chatter inside Wynn for some time, and company executives appeared to be taking it in stride.

At an employee town hall in mid-November, Wynn leadership was asked about the Resorts World design, and it was shared top executives of Wynn and Resorts World are fairly cozy. Wynn Resorts leadership revealed, reportedly in a light-hearted way, the fact Resorts World executives were open about “copying” the design of Wynn Las Vegas because they admire it.

As it turns out, they may have admired it a bit too much.

While Resorts World is only partially complete, from what we’ve seen over the construction wall, millions of dollars in glass has already been purchased and delivered to the site.

Resorts World

You can see tons of windows ready for installation in the foreground.

If Wynn Resorts prevails, changing course at Resorts World would be massively expensive. And should they be forced to send back all that window glass, just imagine the restocking charges.

Fun fact: The window manufacturer shown on the product at Resorts World is Enclos, the same company that made the windows for Wynn and Encore. Check it out.

The Wynn Resorts lawsuit is anything but a slam dunk, however.

We’re no lawyer, but if we were fighting this lawsuit, the first thing we’d do is share the most recent rendering of Resorts World (see below).

The finished product looks less like Wynn and Encore, making Wynn’s lawsuit a bit more wobbly. Which may not be the exact legal term, but you get our drift.

Resorts World Las Vegas

Our bullet-proof Resorts World defense: “Chill, bro, we’re not done yet.”

It’s worth noting Resorts World has changed quite a bit since its early renderings.

Resorts World rendering

Resorts World sort of took a turn for the Wynn somewhere along the way.

We’re thinking Wynn’s window manufacturing company had a clearance sale, and Resorts World saw a bargain it just couldn’t resist.

It’s unknown how the Wynn Resorts infringement lawsuit will affect Resort World’s opening date. Resorts World has already had numerous delays.

The LVCVA says Resorts World is unlikely to open until 2021, even without its legal woes.

Wynn West Resorts World

We Tweeted this two weeks before Wynn’s legal action. We pride ourself on being an endless source of lawsuit exhibits.

While we enjoy the occasional casino one-upmanship, we also tend to like when neighbors play nicely together.

Let’s hope Wynn Las Vegas and Resorts World can resolve the lookalike issue amicably and move forward with some friendly competition and the mutual goal of lifting all the boats on the north end of The Strip, already.

Update (1/28/19): The lawsuit between Wynn Resorts and Resorts World has been resolved in the most boring way possible. Ultimately, the suit was a shot across the bow to ensure Resorts World’s design veered sufficiently from the Wynn/Encore look. Here’s the joint statement about the settlement.

Resorts World rendering

Our 15 minutes of trade dress lawsuit fame are, apparently, over.

Hard Rock Las Vegas to Close Four Months During Transition to Virgin Hotel

As we were the first to report via the Twitters, Hard Rock Hotel & Casino will close entirely for four months next year as it transitions to Virgin Hotel Las Vegas.

Specifics of the hotel’s rebrand were shared with hundreds of employees on Dec. 19, 2018.

Hard Rock’s overhaul will start around Labor Day of 2019 and will last a total of eight months. The full closure will happen during the last four months of that renovation window.

(Updated 3/21/19): To make it easier for the search engines: Hard Rock Las Vegas resort will close around April 1, 2020 and will remain closed through August 2020.

It’s expected Virgin Hotel Las Vegas will debut in early 2020, probably around August 1.

Virgin Hotels

It’s unclear how long Virgin will stay that way when it gets to Las Vegas. Because Las Vegas.

The hotel’s new owners say every part of the resort will be touched by the renovation and rebrand.

The upgrades will include: newly-designed Virgin rooms, new bars and restaurants, a redesigned pool deck, a new hotel exterior and landscaping, an expanded and redesigned casino floor, upgraded and expanded event space and new security systems.

Hard Rock Center Bar

The original Hard Rocks Center Bar was around for 20 years. The current one is likely to go away after just four.

Virgin Hotel will have a sports book, described as “a food and beverage sports viewing environment with app-generated gaming.” It’s unknown who will operate the sports book, or if it will continue to be “powered by CG Technology.”

Owners also mentioned the Virgin rebrand will bring with it “powerful loyalty programs,” including hotel, gaming and event customer databases.

The importance of this element of the evolution of the hotel and casino can’t be overstated, as it shows the new owners understand it takes more than resort improvements to succeed, especially in a challenging location.

It sounds like the Hard Rock’s ownership is addressing another key component needed for future success: Union negotiations.

Back in Sep. 2018, the Hard Rock’s new owners took the fairly uncommon step of signing a “card check neutrality agreement,” a contract between unions and an employer where the owner agrees to support the union’s attempt to organize workers. Hard Rock employees voted to unionize, and negotiations are currently underway.

The resulting union contracts are expected to take effect in early 2019. Read more.

Virgin Las Vegas rebrand

We hear the new owners of Hard Rock loved our Virgin rendering, complete with chastity belt. They were probably just being nice.

The renovation will also include a modernization of The Joint, the hotel’s entertainment venue.

Owners mentioned to employees plans for a “huge act” to perform at The Joint in June, a symbolic send-off to Hard Rock and a nod to the metamorphosis to come.

The act has not been named, but an announcement is expected around the time of the Super Bowl (early February).

Hotel ownership has said it has gone to great lengths to assist employees with the disruption caused by the renovation and temporary closure. There will be incentives for staff members to stick around until the hotel shutdown, and those wishing to return following the rebrand won’t have to apply again.

Estimates of the investment in Hard Rock’s rebrand to Virgin range from $50 million to “hundreds of millions.”

While the Hard Rock’s new owners—including Juniper Capital Partners, Bosworth Hospitality Partners, J.C. Hospitality, Dream Alternatives and bajillionaire Richard Branson—haven’t shared many details of what’s in store for Virgin Hotel Las Vegas, the brand has been described as “disruptive.”

Here’s a snappy video that highlights some of the things Virgin considers brilliant and “unbrilliant.”

They had us at “beds that do tricks.”

While we’re in the vicinity, there was some recent news about Pink Taco (which currently resides in Hard Rock) and the aforementioned J.C. Hospitality which we didn’t understand, but maybe you will.

Because we have to make everything about us, here’s us talking about plans for the Hard Rock on Channel 8.

We look forward to watching what Virgin Hotel Las Vegas has in store. As you might suspect, we’re a big fan of disruptions.

Confirmed: Total Rewards Will Become Caesars Rewards

Caesars Entertainment has been kind enough to confirm a story we first broke back in October 2018: The company’s loyalty club, Total Rewards, will be rebranded as Caesars Rewards.

We are not a psychic, we just play one on the Interwebs.

The switch from Total Rewards to Caesars Rewards will take place Feb. 1, 2019.

Here’s a look at the new Caesars Rewards cards.

Caesars Rewards

Caesars Entertainment is resting on its laurels.

Beyond the name change, Caesars Entertainment assures the program itself won’t change. “You will continue to receive all of the same great benefits with Caesars Rewards and more,” says the Caesars Rewards Web site.

Most Caesars Entertainment loyalty club members will barely notice the rebrand, and they can continue to use their Total Rewards cards until they take part in the time-honored casino tradition of forgetting them in a slot machine.

There are a couple of tweaks to the loyalty club for certain tier levels. For example, Platinum members will now get a free night in Las Vegas or Atlantic City (so, a free night in Las Vegas, because Atlantic City) for every 5,000 tier credits earned in 2019, up to seven nights.

Diamond tier members will get that new perk, plus they’ll get two free nights at the new Caesars Resort Dubai. Which is an inexpensive freebie for Caesars, as only four Caesars Rewards members are likely to take advantage of the offer, ever.

Seven Stars members, the folks who gamble the most at Caesars Entertainment casinos, already get some great benefits, and will get even more as the Caesars Rewards rebrand rolls out. Translation: Some of these folks might actually take Caesars up on its Dubai benefit.

That’s about it. It’s a name change.

It’s worth noting Caesars Entertainment spent about $40 million to relaunch its Total Rewards program in 2012.

Total Rewards Diamond

The Caesars Entertainment loyalty club, with 55 million members, employs an aspirational strategy designed to get players to seek higher tier levels. The higher the tier, the greater the level of ass-kissery.

So, why is Caesars Entertainment tossing a valuable and established brand like Total Rewards? We can only guess.

It’s likely the powers that be have simply decided to make the most of the Caesars brand. It’s the name on the company’s flagship casino resort in Las Vegas, and has international heft as well. Caesars has casinos on four continents.

The company’s most recent deals have involved slapping the Caesars name on non-gaming resorts like the aforementioned Caesars Resort Dubai and another in the works, Caesars Palace Puerto Los Cabos.

As the Caesars Entertainment business model moves from building and acquiring to licensing, the value of its Caesars brand is more important than ever.

Overall, Las Vegas casino companies are pivoting toward being perceived as entertainment companies rather than casino companies. Hence, it’s not Harrah’s Rewards or Horseshoe Rewards.

The outgoing CEO of Caesars Entertainment, Mark Frissora, has said we’ll be seeing more of the Caesars brand, including the possibility of adding “Caesars Entertainment presents” to the name of all its hotel-casinos.

So, get ready for Caesars Rewards!

Since you’ll be replacing your Total Rewards cards, it’s a great time to take another look at our 11 Alternate Uses for Your Casino Players Club Card. You’re welcome.

Player Hits Rare Sequential Royal Flush for $217,000 Jackpot

Lots of video poker players dream of hitting a royal flush. Some of us have even played on and off for, oh, 20 years and have never hit one.

Not bitter. At all.

One lucky video poker player at Red Rock Resort not only hit a royal, they hit a rare sequential royal flush.

The player’s $5 bet reaped an incredible $217,591.55 jackpot. And the Internet went wild.

Sequential Royal Flush

The stuff gambler’s dreams are made of. Photo Red Rock Resort.

We shared a photo of the sequential royal on our Twitter account, resulting in more than 130,000 Tweet impressions. This has nothing to do with the story, we just like to show off.

The sequential royal flush jackpot is remarkable for several reasons.

First, it’s remarkable we didn’t even know this existed.

Apparently, some video poker games require sequential royal flushes appear in order, left to right. The player at Red Rock nailed a “reversible sequential,” reading right to left.

Second, that’s a metric hell-ton of money.

Third, seriously, 20 years. Just saying.

The jackpot was won on a game called Video Poker Deluxe. Note to self.

How rare is a sequential royal flush? Well, the elusive royal flush (where cards can appear in any order) is 1-in-40,000. No small feat, obviously.

The odds of getting a sequential royal are about (wait for it) 2.4 million-to-1.

Or as we call it in Las Vegas, Saturday.

Defying the odds is what Vegas is all about. Well, that and cleavage. But mostly that first thing.