Monthly Archives: October 2020

Judge Dumps “Ill-Considered” Sahara Lawsuit Against Adorable Las Vegas Blogger

Hey, it’s our blog, we get to write headlines the way we like.

We’re thrilled to share a Las Vegas judge and our personal hero, District Judge Trevor Atkin, has dismissed Sahara’s defamation lawsuit against this blog.

Censorship

You go, freedom.

The lawsuit was related to a July 2020 rumor we shared that Sahara could close in September.

On the bright side, Sahara hasn’t closed yet. On the bummer side, in fighting for our First Amendment rights, we had to put a lot of evidence on the record that supports the view Sahara isn’t doing well.

When Sahara first raised concerns about our story, we retracted it as a courtesy. That, apparently, didn’t satisfy Sahara. So they sued us, anyway.

We’re still a little unclear about how you “retract” something clearly reported as a rumor, but moving on.

On Sep. 19, 2020, we filed what’s called an anti-SLAPP motion.

Nevada’s anti-SLAPP statue protects free speech and prevents rich people from suing journalists into silence and potentially even bankruptcy. As you may know, we don’t really do silent.

The attorney who filed our anti-SLAPP motion is Marc Randazza, the “father” of Nevada’s anti-SLAPP statute.

Marc Randazza

We’d hug Marc Randazza, but social distancing.

Once Sahara got our Anti-SLAPP motion, four of the five counts in the lawsuit were dropped.

The anti-SLAPP motion was a thing of beauty, and our new favorite person, Judge Atkin, obviously agreed.

The hearing had a number of highlights, including Marc Randazza at one point calling the plaintiff’s argument “adorable.” That’s because you can’t call another lawyer’s argument “moronic,” at least not in court.

Anyway, case dismissed and Sahara pays our hefty legal fees. They can appeal, but then they’d be on the hook for those fees, too, so we’d love for the judge’s ruling to be the end of this unfortunate ordeal.

Well, it was an ordeal for us. Sahara, not so much.

From day one, we tried to work with Sahara to mitigate their concerns. We reached out early and often to try and find some common ground, despite the fact our wish to extend an olive branch to Sahara was sometimes met with billable eye-rolls from our attorney.

If you think about it, it’s so strange olive branches are our symbol of making peace. That dove on the Ark could’ve brought back so many other things. Had things gone differently, we would be extending snails or earthworms.

Olives

Typically, this is the closest Vegas gets to an olive branch.

But back to the legal kerfuffle.

This saga was so unnecessary, and the fallout includes Sahara losing our support when we were one of the casino’s biggest cheerleaders.

We’ve rooted for Sahara’s success all along, and certainly never intended to cause Sahara employees undue alarm. They have enough to worry about.

We’ve shared hundreds of rumors and done many stories based upon industry chatter. It’s how we beat traditional media to the punch time and time again, and it’s one of the reasons we are so beloved. Well, that and 69 jokes.

Not every rumor pans out. Our sources aren’t fortune tellers, nor are we.

But here’s an irrefutable fact: We’ve never made anything up that wasn’t satire.

We had a source for our Sahara story, a representative of a liquidation company asked to bid for the removal and sale of all the physical assets at Sahara. The liquidation bids were set to expire at the end of September, according to the source, hence his belief the resort might close at that time.

We did share an unconfirmed rumor, but it wasn’t a “baseless” rumor.

The bottom line is Sahara didn’t meet the requirements for prevailing in a defamation lawsuit, so it was tossed.

Anti-Slapp Dismissed

This is some of our favorite boom of 2020.

While we will get our legal fees back, we won’t get back the three months we spent dealing with this legal shitshow.

Sahara made numerous demands to settle, demands we considered unreasonable.

We refused to give up our sources.

We refused to never write about, or share industry chatter about, Sahara again.

We refused to allow Sahara “prior restraint,” or review and approval of our stories about Sahara before their publication.

Yes, those were among the demands.

SLS Las Vegas

Here’s to simpler, less litigious, times.

This was never about the money for Sahara, it was about shutting us up. Actually, shutting me up. Scott Roeben. Because while I use the first personal plural (“we”) on this blog, it’s just one person. Holy crap, that was the first time in the history of this blog where I used the first person. That’s so weird.

Back to your regularly scheduled first person plural.

We did everything we could to work with Sahara, to try and salvage the relationship, but nope.

We’ve even been “evicted,” a casino term for banning someone, from Sahara. Which is a shame, because we’ve always talked the place up. Any remaining goodwill has been exhausted.

Emphasis on exhausted.

It’s a wonderful feeling to be vindicated in court, due in no small part to the brilliance of First Amendment champion Marc Randazza.

But mostly we feel spent. The cost, the stress, the continued attacks from Sahara. We’re ready to move on.

But no way we’re moving on before taking a victory lap. Do you know this blog at all?

We beat their ass, and free speech won.

A Sahara spokesperson said they’re disappointed with the judge’s decision.

During the lawsuit, and upon announcement of the judge’s dismissal, we’ve received an incredible outpouring of support. Your support has meant the world to us during this trying time.

The only real bright spot in this mess is Sahara has probably stayed open just to spite us. That’s great for the employees, and while we won’t be able to tell them our feelings in person, they know we love them and miss them. Especially the bartenders at Bazaar Meat and Casbar Lounge and the taco place. You know who you are.

As you know, 2020 has been a complete dumpster fire. Not all the news is going to be good news.

The dismissal of this case is good news, not just for us, but for all the journalists and broadcasters and bloggers and podcasters and Twitter enthusiasts out there.

The First Amendment is worth fighting for, and we’ll keep doing what we do. Gird your loins.

Source Says Cromwell Resort to Reopen Oct. 29

An employee says the lone remaining closed casino on the Las Vegas Strip, Cromwell, will reopen on Oct. 29, 2020 at 10:00 a.m.

Cromwell Hotel Las Vegas has been closed since March 18, 2020.

Cromwell

Welcome back, you boutique beauty, you.

The other Las Vegas casinos still closed due to the pandemic are: Palms, Rio, Main Street Station (Downtown), Fiesta Rancho (North Las Vegas), Texas Station (North Las Vegas), Fiesta Henderson (Henderson), Eldorado Casino (Henderson) and Eastside Cannery (Boulder Highway).

While Cromwell was closed, it played host to a reality TV show, “Love Island.” It’s worth noting we’re using the term “reality” very loosely here.

Cromwell is a beloved Vegas casino, with a player-friendly casino, the excellent Giada restaurant and the popular Drai’s Nightclub.

It’s unknown which of Cromwell’s venues will be back upon reopening.

The Cromwell

Sexy AF. Formerly, the quasi-sexy Bill’s Gamblin’ Hall and the old-school sexy Barbary Coast.

Midweek demand remains soft at Las Vegas hotels, but Cromwell only has 188 rooms, so it should fare relatively well upon reopening.

We’re thrilled for the employees of Cromwell, as it’s been a long period of uncertainty about the future of the resort.

We’ve heard several parties have explored a potential purchase of the casino at one of the most visible intersections in Las Vegas, the corner of Flamingo and Las Vegas Boulevard.

Vital Vegas Podcast, Ep. 115: Scoop, Sports and Superabundant Suckery

What the hell is happening in Las Vegas?

First, please watch the language.

Second, we’ve got this!

It’s another installment of the podcast guaranteed to satisfy your insatiable cravings for all things WTF.

For starters, we’ve got some incisive (your results may vary) commentary about Area 15 and Bugsy & Meyer’s Steakhouse at Flamingo.┬áSpoiler alert: Love them.

Oddwood Area 15

Oddwood Lounge is at the heart of Area 15, a new mall we haven’t figured out how to describe yet, but we quite enjoyed it, anyway.

In this show, we chat with Howard Barish, Managing Editor and General Manager of Gaming Today magazine. Gaming Today has been around 45 years, so they sort of have the sports betting thing down.

That’s right, it’s a sports thing. On our podcast. You know what they say: If you can’t beat ’em, let a sports guy talk about sports so we don’t have to! Barish shares his thoughts on “music, sex and sports,” but mostly that last thing.

Naturally, we give our two 0.0000017 Bitcoin (yes, that’s two cents as we write this) about Bizarro Vegas. You know, the one where Cosmopolitan and Wynn and The D and others are increasing security because of a spike in boneheads visiting Las Vegas recently.

Cosmo

On the bright side, irksome security measures at Cosmo only make it five percent less awesome.

Our “Listicle of the Week” features some sadness, specifically, “Nine Las Vegas Casinos That Are Still Closed.” In case you have a podcast allergy, and we wouldn’t blame you, here’s the list.

The Las Vegas casinos still closed are: Cromwell, Palms, Rio, Main Street Station (Downtown), Fiesta Rancho (North Las Vegas), Texas Station (North Las Vegas), Fiesta Henderson (Henderson), Eldorado Casino (Henderson) and Eastside Cannery (Boulder Highway).

Otherwise, it’s the usual rambling drivel you’ve come to know and avoid.

Gird your eustachian tube and take a listen.

Whimsical, Wondrous WTF Abounds in New Atari Hotel Las Vegas Renderings

The project has been light on details, but that’s not stopping Atari Hotels from showering us with some glorious renderings of the possibly-happening Las Vegas project.

If you’re a fan of “Blade Runner,” gird your loins!

Atari Hotel Las Vegas

So many lofty Las Vegas projects are like tears in the rain. Let’s hope this isn’t that.

The history of Las Vegas projects that never get beyond the rendering phase is girthy, to say the least.

That doesn’t make them any less fun!

Atari hasn’t yet shared where the Atari Hotel will be located in Las Vegas, or how it will be paid for, but let’s not get bogged down in details.

There are more renderings, several of which depict buildings in the background that don’t actually exist in Las Vegas.

It’s really important you stop obsessing over such quibbles and just get ready to see how effectively Atari is “infusing synthetic reality into every aspect of the hotel.”

Atari hotel Las Vegas

The Strat’s eyeing the Transamerica Pyramid thinking, “Oh, hell, no, you did not move up on me like this.”

Atari Hotel Las Vegas is one of several planned across the country.

Other, less interesting, Atari Hotel locations include Phoenix Austin, Chicago, Denver, San Francisco, San Jose and Seattle.

Here’s an overview of what they’re going for: “Atari Hotels perfectly blends the past, present and future of video games and entertainment for a destination that offers guests a one-of-a-kind hospitality experience, complete with state of the art amenities for esports fans and content creators.”

We don’t entirely know what to make of that, so let’s hear more from Atari.

The news release says, “Guests can enjoy the latest in video games, experience cutting-edge immersive entertainment, purchase exclusive Atari Hotels merchandise, and play the night away in retro-style gaming arcades. A speakeasy and fully-equipped nightclub will be available for adult guests, as well as themed restaurants and bars. Atari Hotels delightfully plays with the themes of retro-futurism, pop culture, and nostalgia–offering fun for the whole family.”

How dare you question a business plan that “delightfully plays” with “retro-futurism”?

Oh, look, another sweet rendering!

Atari Las Vegas

If you have an iconic logo, you’d better damn well use it in your hotel design.

We sort of see where Atari’s going, but it remains to be seen of the project comes to fruition, and if it does, whether gamers are up for it.

A popular misconception is gamers are teens with little disposable income. The average gamer in the U.S. is 35. Just a third of gamers are younger than 18.

Tellingly, the Atari news release includes this item, “Analyst firm Newzoo estimates that the world’s more than 2.5 billion global video gamers will spend roughly $160 billion in 2020 and anticipate the video game industry to grow to an impressive 2.7 billion gamers generating over $200 billion in revenue by the year 2023.”

Will those numbers translate into a successful Las Vegas resort? And have you noticed when we don’t know the answer to something we ask it in the form of a question to cover our ass?

As with most ambitious Las Vegas projects, we’re rooting for it to happen, especially because we’re a huge fan of dirigibles.

Atari hotel Vegas

Nothing screams Las Vegas like rain and umbrellas!

As mentioned, there have been few details shared about financing, location or timelines for Atari Hotel Las Vegas, but there is a fancy Atari Hotels Web site, so that’s something.

We have so many fond memories of playing Atari games, we’d love to get the opportunity to see them brought to life in a Las Vegas resort.

Atari changed the world with its games, so we’re curious if it can change the game in Las Vegas.

We Told You Las Vegas Would Host the Super Bowl in 2024

Ignore our drunken Tweets at your own risk! We told you Las Vegas would host the Super Bowl in 2024, and it appears confirmation of our inside skinny is now in the works.

Allegiant Stadium

We’ve got a shiny new stadium, we need to break it in!

It’s being reported the NFL has announced New Orleans will host the Super Bowl in 2025, not 2024 as originally planned, due to a scheduling conflict with Mardi Gras.

There’s no such conflict in Las Vegas, as Sin City is a better Mardi Gras every day of the year.

Everyone’s excitedly sharing this Super Bowl schedule shake-up like it’s new, but we shared it way back in August.

Super Bowl

Some booms are bigger than others. Confirmation pending.

The final decision about Las Vegas hosting Super Bowl LVIII in 2024 hasn’t been announced, but give it a minute. We know people.

In other sports news, something about blah, blah something, something about Las Vegas hosting some NCAA events or whatever, blah.

There was a bunch of stuff about sports nobody cares about (bowling, golf, soccer and hockey), and one about Las Vegas hosting an NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Regional at T-Mobile Arena in 2023. Read more if you must.

This is noteworthy because this was the first time Las Vegas was allowed to submit bids for these events. Prior to May 2019, the NCAA wouldn’t allow states with sports betting to host its events. Thanks, Supreme Court!

That’s our annual sports blog post, and we only really did it to brag about our epic Super Bowl scoop.

You do you, sportsball fans!

Caesars Entertainment Brings Back Paid Parking, But It’s Not What You Think

It was fun while it lasted, but Caesars Entertainment is bringing back paid parking at its six Las Vegas resorts.

Parking has been free since casinos reopened June 4, 2020.

Paid parking will resume at Caesars Entertainment casinos starting Oct. 30, 2020, but the move isn’t what it might seem at first glance.

Why? The company says it’s donating all parking fee profits to charity. There’s a reason.

Caesars Palace paid parking

We’re all about to get rear-ended again.

First things first, some details.

The six Vegas resorts affected are: Caesars Palace, Paris, Bally’s, Flamingo, Linq and Harrah’s.

Parking remains free at Planet Hollywood. For now. Our inside source says paid parking at Miracle Mile Shops, Planet Hollywood and Elara will be rolled out in 2021. The contact has already been awarded. Note: The parking complex isn’t owned by Caesars Entertainment.

Self-parking will still be free for Nevada residents, registered hotel guests and Caesars Rewards loyalty members rated Platinum and above. Guests get a one-hour grace period before fees kick in. Nothing says “stay and play” like a one-hour countdown clock.

That said, the twist is the paid parking policy change isn’t just a money grab. That was so 2017.

Caesars Entertainment will donate all parking fee profits to several charitable organizations through the end of the first quarter of 2021.

Paid parking

Free parking was brief but satisfying, just like our love life.

What does that really mean? We’re pretty sure Caesars is trying to address some security concerns, and doing it in a relatively painless way.

Given an uptick in boneheads and their associated misdeeds recently, casinos are taking steps to mitigate the WTF.

For example, Wynn recently began using metal detectors and now checks bags upon entry, Cosmopolitan started wanding guests on weekends and The D has been checking IDs for some time now.

Other casinos have bumped up their table minimums to discourage less desirable customers.

Parking charges work the same way. While it’s unlikely Caesars will say it publicly, paid parking wards off less valuable customers, making room for the guests they desperately need right now.

In the past, paid parking also served other purposes, like deterring employees of neighboring casinos from filling up spots intended for hotel guests and casino customers. That, of course, was a problem when demand was high.

Now, not so much.

As Caesars brings back its paid parking, it’s likely to force MGM Resorts to do the same. You can’t really have free parking when those around you don’t.

Paid parking

These green thingies aren’t going to pay for themselves.

A good example is Plaza, downtown. Parking was free at Plaza until their garage started filling up with folks just passing through. That’s because most, if not all, of the parking nearby required fees. Plaza began to charge a nominal $5 fee to address the issue.

It’s hard to get too mad at Caesars Entertainment for this move given the circumstances. They have to balance the desire to draw customers (free parking) with the quality of the experience once those guests actually show up (don’t get us started).

Get details about the paid parking policy changes at the Caesars Entertainment site.