Monthly Archives: June 2020

MSG Sphere Resumes Construction in Las Vegas

Officials have been reluctant to confirm the news, so we will: Construction has resumed at MSG Sphere following a halt activity due to the COVID-19 crisis.

The site was shut down in late March 2020 due to concerns around the pandemic, but when we hit the site, it was bustling with activity.

MSG Sphere

MSG Sphere is back in action!

The $1.66 billion entertainment venue is a partnership between Madison Square Garden Co. and Las Vegas Sands, owners of Venetian and Palazzo.

The previous plan was to open the Sphere in 2021, but officials say those plans have been dashed by the pandemic.

While other Las Vegas construction projects continued through the shutdown—including Resorts World, Allegiant Stadium and Circa Las Vegas—Sphere was down for the count until recently.

Construction projects across Las Vegas have been impacted by disruptions in the supply chain, the Sphere included.

MSG Sphere Las Vegas

If our supply chain could stop being interrupted, that’d be great. It’s affecting our orbs.

In recent news reports, company reps have been cagey about publicly announcing construction has resumed at the MSG Sphere. A spokesperson told the Las Vegas Review-Journal, “there is no update on the resumption of construction.”

The hell there isn’t! You just got one!

It’s likely the project would prefer as little attention as possible given the metric ass-ton of drama behind the scenes at Allegiant Stadium and other Vegas construction sites.

MSG Sphere Vegas

The Sphere is currently topless. It is Vegas, you know.

It’s great to see MSG Sphere springing back to life!

The massive budget has been a source of some concern about whether the project would be completed, especially given the uncertain future of live entertainment. The question of demand versus supply in Las Vegas was a hot topic even before the pandemic. It was mainly us questioning that, but ignore our crystal ball at your peril.

At this point, it appears MSG Sphere is full steam ahead, and the company announced Ted King, the longtime veteran behind “Caesars Magical Empire” at Caesars Palace and “Star Trek: The Experience” at what’s now Westgate, will oversee content creation for the Sphere’s massive screens.

Logistics and cost aside, MSG Sphere has the potential to rock the world of Las Vegas entertainment.

MSG Sphere Arena Las Vegas

Las Vegas is about to get an injection of OMFG.

MSG Sphere will accommodate about 17,500 people and will stand 366 feet tall.

The venue will feature inner and outer high-definition screens covering about 160,000 square feet.

Sound quality is expected to be off-the-chart, mainly because the Sphere will use an infrasound haptic system. We’d tell you what that is, but that would involved “effort,” and we are very busy
drinking for further field research involving a Top Dollar slot machine, so lower your expectations.

MSG Sphere is one of the shiny new toys Las Vegas desperately needs to help jump start Sin City again.

Keep those cranes craning, MSG Sphere.

Update (7/22/20): Construction has been halted again at MSG Sphere. Our sources say the reasons are financial. Many trade folks haven’t been paid in months. Big red flag this project is stalled indefinitely.

Update (8/14/20): Construction has resumed at MSG Sphere. Starting to see a pattern here.

Gaming Control Board Requires Table Games Players to Wear Masks

These are surreal times, and here’s more evidence: Nevada’s Gaming Control Board is now mandating guests wear masks at casino table games when there’s no barrier between themselves and dealers.

The move has the stated purpose of “mitigating the spread of COVID-19 between people who are in close contact with each other for at least 15 minutes.”

Las Vegas smizing

This is not a customer customer, but you get the idea.

The mandate came down from the Gaming Control Board on June 17, 2020, and casinos immediately began enforcing the new rule.

The new mask rule applies only to those patrons who are playing table games. Masks are recommended, but not mandatory, for other casino guests.

Casinos are required to provide masks for table games players upon request.

Bellagio Plexiglas dividers

Some of the aforementioned barriers.

Casino employees, including dealers, are already required to wear masks. The new protocol began when Las Vegas casinos reopened after a two-month shutdown on June 4, 2020.

Here’s a look at the notice from the Gaming Control Board.

Table games masks

Gaming should try Comic Sans, just to change this up a little.

The mask requirement “applies to table and card game players, spectators and any other person within six feet of any table or card game.”

Also falling firmly into the “surreal” category, the notice also included this gem: “Musical performances, live entertainment, concerts, competitions, sporting events, and any events with live performances may resume, but shall remain closed for public attendance.”

As with everything that’s happened around the COVID-19 crisis, casino guests seem to be taking these restrictions in stride. It’s created some chaos for casinos, but they understand the need to make their guests feel comfortable and safe.

Everyone understands these changes in Las Vegas casinos are temporary. And the temporarier the better.

Checking in on Resorts World’s Bigass Video Display

Installation of Resorts World’s massive video display continues, and we’ve got an update.

During daylight hours, one can see the outline of the video screen being put into place at Resorts World.

We’d share “technical details” of the product being used, or the “specifications” of the screen, but that would involve “research,” more commonly known as “exerting effort,” and you know that’s not happening, so here’s a photo.

Resorts World video screen

Yes, we took this photo from our car. At a stop light. You’re not our mom.

After dark, the sheer enormity of the screen become evident.

The screen takes up virtually the entire side of Resorts World’s hotel tower.

Resorts World video screen

We trust it’s too soon to suggest they play Duran Duran videos on this bad boy.

Resorts World is expected to open in the summer of 2021, and we can’t wait to see what’s in store with this mammoth screen.

Multiple Locations of Sin City Brewing Co. Close Permanently

A popular chain of Las Vegas bars, Sin City Brewing Co., has announced it will shut down operations permanently.

Sin City Brewing

Sin City Brewing Co. has tapped out.

Sin City Brewing Co. had locations at Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood, Grand Canal Shoppes at Venetian, Harmon Corner mall and Grand Bazaar Shops at Bally’s.

The company shared the news in a painfully-designed message in its social media channels. Apologies in advance, but it’s for posterity.

Sin City Brewing closed

Bottoms up to a Las Vegas fixture.

According to the Sin City Brewing Co. Web site, the company was “launched by long-time Gordon Biersch Director of Brewing Operations Richard Johnson.”

Sin City Brewing Co. is the latest in a string of permanent closures resulting from the COVID-19 crisis.

We’re sad to see Sin City Brewing Co. go as it was generally well-regarded and while we are not a beer person, we always liked their logo.

We trust staffers will find other opportunities, and we hate to see small businesses going under during this painful, surreal time.

Elon Musk’s People Mover to Include Stops at Wynn and Resorts World, Downtown “Likely”

Following the recent completion of two underground transportation tunnels at the Las Vegas Convention Center, Elon Musk’s Boring Co. is setting its sights on expanding to Resorts World, Wynn Las Vegas and beyond.

Elon Musk even confirmed our news Boring Co. is confident the new system will connect the airport to downtown Las Vegas.

Elon Tweet

That’s a pretty well-placed source.

Chatter about the airport-to-downtown expansion follows on the heels of two major Las Vegas resorts officially signing up for passenger stops, Resorts World and Wynn Las Vegas.

Here’s the map for the Resorts World tunnel plan.

Resorts World tunnel map

So, so close to Sapphire strip club. Just saying.

In case you suspect this is all a little whimsical, here’s the letter from Resorts World to the powers that be.

Resorts World tunnel

It’s official-official.

The Wynn tunnel will stop at Encore. Yes, there’s a map. We wouldn’t leave you hanging like that.

Encore tunnel

Everybody in town is going to want a piece of this action.

Here’s the official letter from Wynn Resorts, and here’s more about the announcement.

Wynn Resorts Boring letter

Wynn Resorts is clearly saving its paragraph breaks for a rainy day.

Each of the resorts clearly sees the benefit of having conventioneers dropped off at their doorsteps via this new transportation system.

See the full applications at TheVerge.com.

We anticipate more resorts jumping onboard, especially since we’ve been told Boring Co. is footing the bill for the tunneling. Casinos will be expected to contribute just the cost of the
“station” at their resort.

We’re putting “station” in quotation marks because we understand Boring Co. learned a lot from its tunnels at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Specifically, they learned stations are expensive and not really needed.

Elon Musk tunnels

The goal is for these Teslas to be autonomous, eventually, using the lines as visual “tracks.” They’ll start with drivers because people are babies.

The casino stops are more likely to be like openings in the tunnel, where Tesla vehicles can emerge for drop-offs and pick-ups, then head back underground with minimal need for expensive structures and amenities.

Translation: The cost to casinos will be dozens of thousands of dollars, not millions.

You can get a sense of what’s involved in this ramp/igloo rendering thingy. Pardon the technical jargon.

Boring Co.

Internally, this move is referred to as “porpoising,” which is undeniably adorable.

Here’s what the drop-off will look like at Resorts World.

Resorts World tunnel station

It’s basically like another roadway underground, but without traffic delays and crappy drivers.

We learned another fascinating fact gleaned from the convention center project. Boring Co. is saving about $20,000 a pop for the controllers used to direct the drills. The company now uses Xbox controllers. We are not making this up.

Such efficiencies are why Boring Co. has been able to do two .8 mile tunnels at the Las Vegas Convention Center for a relatively paltry $52.5 million.

Elon Musk and his Boring Co. have silenced many skeptics, and Musk’s team is now reaching out to resorts to find more partners, including at least one downtown.

Elon Musk Las Vegas map

How will all this happen? You know the drill.

It appears at least some of Boring Co.’s “conceptual future expansions” are already in the works.

Just give it a minute.

Best Man Recreates Flamingo Experience After Wedding Delayed Due to Pandemic

The COVID-19 crisis has thrown a wrench in a lot of Las Vegas plans, especially for those overseas.

When travel restrictions forced a U.K. couple to delay their Las Vegas wedding plans, the best man was having none of it and created a Flamingo experience at home to mark the day the couple would’ve tied the knot.

The groom, James “Shamus” Foyster, shared the mind-blowingly thoughtful gesture on Twitter.

Flamingo fans will immediately recognize elements of the U.K. replica of Flamingo, including Bugsy’s Bar, Carlos’n Charlie’s and the resort’s wildlife habitat.

Flamingo wedding

Until you can Vegas, do this.

The folks involved in this fun homage to Las Vegas live in Crawley, West Sussex in the U.K.

Dave Morrison is the best man whose imagination and obvious appreciation for Las Vegas will live in infamy. Or whatever the positive version of “infamy” is. It will live in “famy.” Let’s go with that.

The group was supposed to arrive in Las Vegas on June 9, 2020, with the wedding on Sunday, June 14. But, alas, the best laid plans.

About 35 people were expected to fly into Las Vegas from the U.K., with additional relatives from Los Angeles.

The meticulously-constructed Flamingo would have to do. Any lapses in meticulousness were bridged by copious amounts of liquor, we are told reliably.

Carlos'n Charlie's

We are incapable of loving this homage to Carlos’n Charlie’s at Flamingo more.

In true Vegas fashion, Shamus proposed to Tina at Coyote Ugly last year in Las Vegas.

The postponement of the wedding was doubly disappointing because the couple’s son just turned 21, and this would’ve been his first visit to Las Vegas.

In some ways, though, the delay of the wedding will make a much better story.

Flamingo habitat

Dave thought of everything. We love Dave.

We get misty-eyed every time we look at these photos, mainly because we realize we need to find better friends (like Dave). Which helps us avoid thinking about the fact we probably need to
be a better friend (like Dave).

We also get a little weepy because of the obvious passion for Las Vegas being exhibited in Dave’s expression of love for his pal.

Flamingo wedding

Flamingo needs to hire Dave to do its marketing.

We have invited ourself to Shamus and Tina’s wedding next year, and we’re hoping this blog post will make it too awkward to say “no.”

Here’s to when we can all do Vegas properly again. In the meantime, some will have to make due with re-creating the Flamingo in their backyard.

Ultimately, Las Vegas isn’t really so much a place as a spirit, an experience best enjoyed with the people we love. Las Vegas can’t be duplicated, that spirit of unbridled fun clearly can.

Big thanks to Shamus and Dave for sharing their story, and Las Vegas spirit, with us.