21 Las Vegas Predictions for 2021

We, like you, have had quite enough of 2020, informally referred to as “The Year When Dumpster Fires, Trainwrecks and Shitshows Didn’t Seem All That Bad By Comparison.”

It’s time to set our sights on 2021!

We’ve plugged in the power cable of our crystal ball, and we’re ready to dive into a cavalcade of speculation, prognostication and opinionation about what could be in store for Las Vegas in the coming year.

Vital Vegas predictions

Let the half-ass speculation begin!

Disclaimer: These predictions are for entertainment purposes only. We are a Las Vegas blog, not an actual fortune teller.

1. Palms Sold, Won’t Reopen in 2021

Palms has yet to reopen after closing in March 2020, and we predict it won’t reopen under its current ownership, Station Casinos. Station is going to take a huge financial hit, as it invested $690 million beyond its $312 million purchase price. A new owner probably wouldn’t want to rush a reopening, so we’re thinking 2022.

Palms dust to gold

The whole alchemy thing didn’t really pan out for Palms.

2. Sales of Texas Station, Fiesta Rancho and Fiesta Henderson Confirmed

Station Casinos is also likely to unload these locals casinos, and the deals will be formally announced in 2021. Boyd Gaming and the owners of Dotty’s are the rumored buyers.

Fiesta

When the Fiesta casinos reopen, we’ll all be ready to smash the pinata. If you get our drift.

3. Taxable Threshold for Slot Jackpots Gets Bumped Up

A slot jackpot win of $1,200 or more sets in motion a series of events, all of them annoying to players and casinos. When a player wins that amount or more in a casino, the slot machine is taken out of service while the player fills out tax paperwork. Nothing says fun like paperwork! In 2021, the taxable threshold for slot wins will finally move from $1,200 to $5,000. The $1,200 tax reporting amount has been around since 1977, but in 2021, the U.S. Treasury will get a clue and do the right thing.

Golden Gate hand pay

We mostly added this item to our list to show off our hand pay.

4. Eldorado Effect Takes Hold at Caesars Entertainment

In 2021, we’re all going to get a better look at what Eldorado’s merger with Caesars Entertainment really means. We hear there are smart people in charge now (the CEO apparently is nicknamed “Rain Man”), and Eldorado is gambling-oriented, which could be refreshing. Expect more streamlining at the company, and tighter comps, but overall this merger could result in a renewed focus on customer satisfaction.

Eldorado Caesars merger

The merger has its first birthday in July 2021.

5. Planet Hollywood and Cromwell Sold

Caesars Entertainment has said it will unload one or more Strip casinos, and these are the likely candidates. Tires have been kicked, so expect these deals to be announced in 2021.

The Cromwell

Cromwell could be a good fit for a first-time casino owner in Las Vegas. Not overwhelmingly large, epic location, solid reputation.

6. Tropicana is Sold, Probably for the Land

Again, Penn National (technically, its real estate investment trust) has said it’s looking to sell Tropicana, and 2021 is the year. The rumor is a sale would be a land play, so visit while you can.

Tropicana Las Vegas

Dibs on the stained glass, although not sure where we’re going to keep it.

7. Circa’s Pool Prints Money

Oh, look, a potential bright spot! Against all odds, Circa opened in the middle of a pandemic. The casino opened Oct. 28, to positive reviews (including ours), and the hotel opens today, Dec. 28, 2020. The resort’s pool complex has gotten some decent buzz, but it’s the middle of winter. Next spring and summer, we’re pretty sure Circa’s Stadium Swim is going to shake things up downtown in a big way. The place can handle 4,000 people a day, and we’re pretty sure that’s in the cards for Circa next year.

Circa Las Vegas

Circa owner Derek Stevens has said downtown was “under-pooled.” Now, not so much.

8. Elon Musk’s Tunnel Generates Good Buzz, But There’s Caveat

Elon Musk’s underground transportation system will open at the Las Vegas Convention Center in early 2021, and there are plans for an expansion throughout Las Vegas. It’s a weird project, and should generate great P.R. for Las Vegas. Extensions should begin in 2021, to Wynn and Resorts World for starters. Everyone just needs to adjust their expectations. This isn’t a mass transit system. It’s an underground Uber, which isn’t a bad thing.

Vegas Loop map

The Vegas Loop map was obviously drawn by a man: One inch equals half a mile.

9. Bleutech Scam Implodes

One of the things we’re most looking forward to in 2021 is the end of a nonsensical project called Bleutech Park. This whimsical project continues to push out surreal social media posts and equally ludicrous renderings, but in 2021 the meds kick in and this utter stupidity finally goes away for good.

Bleutech tower schlong

We can’t tell if they’re kidding.

10. Las Vegas Super Bowl Announced for 2024

We shared the rumor first, but it becomes official in 2024. Las Vegas will host the Super Bowl in 2024.

Super Bowl

Ignore our drunk Tweets at your own peril.

11. Taxpayers Take It in the Butt on Allegiant Stadium

Ah, the best laid plans. Las Vegas was so excited to have a pro football team, it didn’t spend much time on the fine print. Those bond payments aren’t going anywhere and Nevada taxpayers are on the hook for tax revenue shortfalls. When fans are finally allowed into the stadium again, they should be given lubricant with their hot dogs and beer.

Allegiant Stadium

If we’re going to pay for it, we should at least get to use it!

12. Bellagio Bails on Conservatory

Yes, it’s a sad prediction, but we are compelled to make it every year. That’s because Bellagio (in the MGM Resorts family) can’t really justify this ongoing expense. The Conservatory is a money suck, and people who come to see free attractions rarely stay to contribute to a casino’s bottom line.

Bellagio Conservatory

Don’t panic. We’ve been wrong about this for seven years straight.

13. Rio’s New Owners Opt for Implosion

We broke the news Rio would be sold, and that came to fruition. The new owners said they’d keep Caesars Entertainment on to run the casino, and have said they’ll invest $100 million into a renovation. Somebody didn’t get the Palms memo. We foresee the ownership getting a clue in 2021, pivoting and announcing the Rio’s days are done. In 2021, we could also find out the World Series of Poker will relocate to Bally’s, because speculation is fun!

Rio Las Vegas casino

The Rio reopened Dec. 22, 2020 with limited everything.

14. Bally’s Rebranded to Horseshoe

Caesars Entertainment sold its Bally’s brand in Oct. 2020, so now it’s just awkward and confusing to have a Bally’s on The Strip. Odds are good Bally’s gets a rebrand in 2021 (unless it’s sold), and it will be wonderful having the Horseshoe brand back in play in Las Vegas.

Bally's lobby lounge

This new lounge at Bally’s doesn’t really fit with an old-timey cowpoke theme, but we’ll make it work.

15. Virgin Las Vegas Opens, Surprises Everyone

Virgin had to push back its opening date, and it’s likely to happen again. Once open, though, Virgin Las Vegas is likely to surprise and delight. The resort has some interesting partnerships which lessen the owner’s risk if conventions don’t spring back immediately. While Virgin’s problematic location presents it with some of the same challenges as Hard Rock, the resort’s revamp looks impressive, and while Virgin doesn’t have a big stake in the place, the company is expected to bring some new amenities to market along with its focus on female business travelers. One to watch.

Bar at Commons Club

We look forward to deflowering this Commons Club bar at Virgin.

16. Hard Rock Brand Returns to Las Vegas

In 2021, we’re confident plans for the return of the Hard Rock brand to Las Vegas will be announced, probably in conjunction with one of the aforementioned sales. The Seminole tribe has been the subject of myriad rumors in the last couple of years, and we suspect the brand will find a new home on the Las Vegas Strip soon. Bonus prediction: At least one more tribe will acquire a Las Vegas casino in 2021.

Hard Rock Las Vegas

Build us one of those fancy guitar-shaped resorts, Hard Rock. We’ll wait.

17. The Drew Officially Throws in the Towel

It’s looking like 2021 is shaping up to be “The Year When We Cut Through the B.S.” For example, we predict The Drew’s owner will come to grips with the fact the former Fontainebleau isn’t a viable endeavor, nobody’s putting up $2 billion to open it and the eyesore needs to be taken down like Harmon Hotel was. At some point, Clark County officials are going to require the owner to do just that.

Drew Las Vegas

What might have been.

18. Cirque Drops More Vegas Shows, CEO Finally Out

We won’t mince words on this one: Cirque du Soleil is pretty much screwed. The company recently emerged from bankruptcy, after running up nearly $1 billion in debt, only to turn around borrow a fresh $600 million. Remarkably, the person who got the company into its perilous predicament, Daniel Lamarre, remains at the helm. How is this possible? You obviously don’t speak French-Canadian! Lamarre is informally referred to as “The Cockroach,” as he seems to survive everything. Rubbing chili powder into the open wound, Cirque has announced its board will now boast former MGM Resorts CEO Jim Murren. You know, the visionary who turned Monte Carlo’s $80 million a year earnings into $62 million after spending $550 million on a rebrand to Park MGM. Sorry, but Cirque’s going to be in trouble again in 2021 and beyond, so expect another one or two shows to not reopen (“Zumanity” has already announced it won’t be back at New York-New York). Cirque is too important to Las Vegas for Lamarre and Murren to be at the helm. Cirque needs to let artists wrest back the wheel, as they made the company successful in the first place.

RUN

Never forget, Daniel Lamarre is the one who signed off on this $60 million-plus disaster at Luxor.

19. High Roller Loses “Tallest Observation Wheel” Title

It was fun while it lasted. In 2021, our High Roller Ferris wheel will lose its designation as the world’s tallest. The High Roller is 550 feet tall, but Ain Dubai, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, will be 820 feet.

High Roller Las Vegas Ferris wheel

“Ain” that a pisser.

20. Resorts World Opens to Raves and Financial Struggles

The opening of Resort World in 2021 will be the biggest thing since the opening of Circa. This $4.3 billion resort harkens back to the days when no expense was spared and Vegas megaresorts were the envy of the world. We fully expect Resorts World to deliver an incredible resort experience. The trouble is there’s no indication demand exists for an over-the-top Las Vegas megaresort anymore. It’s awkward, but Las Vegas visitation was flat for two years prior to COVID-19, primarily due to legalized gambling across the country. A string of nightclubs have closed across Las Vegas in recent years, and Resorts World plans a big one. There are also red flags Las Vegas has more seats than it can fill for entertainment, and again, Resorts World is going all-in on its theater and high-priced talent. A lot of hopes are being pinned on sports and conventions, but it remains to be seen if Resorts World can defy the odds and usher in a new era in Las Vegas. No pressure.

Resorts World Las Vegas

Vegas can’t resist a gamble.

21. NBA Expansion Team Announced

We’ll put this in the positive prediction column! Yep, Las Vegas is getting an NBA expansion team (that’s the basketball one), and the news will be confirmed in 2021. A dedicated arena could be built for our new team, but they’d likely play at T-Mobile in the meantime. The folks at All Net Resort and Arena still think they can lure a team, but as the financing for this project has yet to materialize, don’t hold your breath.

NBA

Please make some noise for your Las Vegas Vitals! Hey, worth a try.

That’s it. You pretty much don’t need to read a newspaper in 2021, because now you know what’s on the horizon for Las Vegas. Yes, several people still read newspapers. How about trying to be less of a smartass in 2021?

We have lots of other predictions for 2021, but sort of thought a list with 21 items was fitting.

We’re pretty sure Madison Square Garden will bail on its MSG Sphere in 2021. Venetian and Palazzo will be sold. Zappos, based in downtown Las Vegas, will go away in 2021, officially integrated into Amazon.

We’re also going to predict Las Vegas will ban paper straws in 2021. Because they taste like rectum.

Although Vegas isn’t going to come back 100% in 2021, the good news is it’s going to be much, much better than 2020, so there’s that.

In 2021, folks will get back to work; public confidence will return along with a desire to take part in some serious debauchery; travel restrictions will be lifted; conventions, shows and strip clubs will come back; Vegas will get back to being Vegas again, mostly.

Adios, 2020, and don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

36 thoughts on “21 Las Vegas Predictions for 2021

  1. JP

    I hope you are wrong about Caesar’s tightening comps after the El Dorado takeover. I’m a Diamond Plus at Caesars and I have already been thinking about making the move to MGM properties. If they get rid of what little comps they have left I will most definitely be moving and I am sure there are many more like myself. If this new CEO is really a genius then he wouldn’t go the penny pinching route that led to less Las Vegas visitors in the first place. When other states legalized gambling the approach should not have been to cut back on comps and free stuff but to incentivize people to come to Las Vegas, more people in town means more revenue. Look what happened to Atlantic City, that place is a ghost town now. They tried the tighten the belt approach and it failed.

    Reply
  2. rafyy

    Agreed, The Drew shouldve been torn down years ago. 10+ years of an eyesore.

    Any predictions on what, if anything, Wynn is gonna do with the Alon site?

    Hopefully the resorts world opening will encourage both sites to get something going.

    Reply
    1. Scott Roeben Post author

      My prediction is they won’t do anything with it, other than sitting on it to ensure there’s no competition directly across the street.

      Reply
  3. Mike Alexakis

    My main prediction for 2021 is that when the general public gets mostly vaccinated, so far the rollout has been incompetent and absurdly slow, the comps and competition will make a decent comeback. Station can’t sustain high table limits and butt rash treatment of regulars once tourists return, the patterns of visitation and local play will return to prior levels, not glory days, but much better than right now. And the Bellagio Conservatory should remain open, its a staple, a comfort zone, if they close it the foot traffic will be out front watching the fabulous fountain show that never gets old. Whenever I take a newbie around town, the Conservatory is stop number one, followed by the freaky lobby ceiling, if the Conservatory leaves the lobby of the Venetian becomes stop number one, and Bellagio loses icon status and more importantly, it loses the “I wish I was staying here” thoughts inside tourists heads, which is priceless… Don’t go there Bellagio, unless you want to become The Tropicana…

    Reply
  4. Alex Ternes

    A little disappointed that there weren’t “69” predictions. Happy New Year Scott – thanks for all that you do for us.

    Reply
  5. Mike Alexakis

    One more prediction, smoke-free starts happening way more, its time to wake up to the rest of the civilized world, tobacco smoke is toxic, many will smell it indoors for the first time in several months when tourism returns to Las Vegas, no telling if they will remain silent about it… Grow some big genitalia Resorts World, announce that you value health and abhor changing shirts three times a day, save your interiors, and the life expectancy of your employee’s, boldly go where no resort has gone before, start clean… Smokers make more empty threats than our lame duck POTUS, they are used to going outside, let them vent and watch them reluctantly end up going along…

    Reply
    1. Scott Roeben Post author

      That would be a bold move for Resorts World. Unfortunately, many will look at Park MGM and see it as a “failure,” but it’s impossible to come to any conclusions during a pandemic.

      Reply
    1. Scott Roeben Post author

      Trust you’re right. It’s like they’re an oil tanker, too big to turn. They did downsize the scale of the project, but within what’s left, it’s unclear why they think these giant venues can succeed (even with no pandemic in the mix). I’m rooting for them, but this is going to be wild to watch.

      Reply
    1. Scott Roeben Post author

      Big question mark. It’s so costly compared to any potential return, and there have already been financial challenges. There’s no evidence demand can support another huge venue, and the pandemic has created huge hurdles for live entertainment companies like MSG. I don’t see how this happens, and even if it opens, tough times in store.

      Reply
  6. John

    We need to ban smoking and vaping inside at least as long as this pandemic lasts. You’re use it unsafe for two people to talk without a mask but blowing your breath in the form off smoke or worse vapor form is ok? It is a literal vaporized liquid from your lungs! Off you can smell the flavor of the vape it is too late. It is already in you!

    Reply
  7. Jeff in OKC

    I think Tropicana already sold a few months ago to a REIT that is a partner of casino operator PENN.

    Appears to my body shop economist brain that these property sales to REITs are an evolution of the casino biz, much as the transition to legitimate capital and ownership was around 1970. When the real estate sells and the operator stays the same then nothing really changes. MGM still operates Bellagio and Las Vegas Sands will still operate Venelazzo if the property sells.

    Reply
  8. Mike Alexakis

    Conventions are the ticket, they are the only solution to what ails Las Vegas… You have to look at the root of the issue, no corporation is going to send its employee’s and sales force to an unsafe location, this “thinking” that simply opening up the restaurants and bars to full capacity accomplishes anything is dangerous and short sighted, throwing hate at the Governor of Nevada who is just trying to save lives is absurd. The corporations not in hospitality are doing fine in the pandemic, look at the stock market, they are sailing along without having their national salesforce get together to meet in person, which saves them money. Real estate agents will come back, they are not centralized, Vegas has to sell itself to big players like Home Depot, who are not hurting at the present time, which is a crazy hard challenge. I am just a schmuck on the internet, a retired one, I can offer no magic. but I have an idea, Resorts World is opening up with convention space and a location near the main Convention Center. Open the resort as non-smoking indoors, market that, corporate planners would then have a clean air space to send its workers into, a brand new one. Most people do not smoke, most people don’t want to inhale cancerous air. Las Vegas has to do something bold, or they drown. Or they do nothing and watch as conventions stay on Zoom. This is exactly why Sheldon Adelson is trying to run away, he sees the writing on the wall, Las Vegas is in some trouble…

    Reply
    1. Mike Alexakis

      Happy New Year, stay safe… This is about indoor smoking, something California banned decades ago. As far as the virus surge goes, its catastrophic, many factors are at play, for-profit healthcare has left many areas without enough hospitals, only the wealthy areas have enough beds to cover the amount of people living around them. And this notion that California is “under lockdown” is a ridiculous canard, California is diverse, the only time we were really at home was the beginning of this nightmare. I live in Los Angeles, every business except bars and on-site dining are open, hardly a “lockdown”, and we are ground zero. Go to Orange County, you can cavort mask-less with your freedom crying bro’s, any county is free to ignore any edict from the Governor. I am virulently anti-smoking, your right to smoke only infringes on my right to breath non-cancerous air, I don’t care otherwise. Las Vegas will eventually change, its the last place in the country that allows toxic indoor air to fester…

      Reply
      1. Mike Alexakis

        Actually I failed to mention my biggest hang out besides the golf course, the card clubs, my poker games, they are closed… For several weeks we had “outside gaming”, it was fabulous, all the pent up demand for poker made the games great, big action, big waiting lists for every table. It was safe, due to an insidious health condition, I had to get COVID tested before three trips to the operating room at UCLA hospital, I tested clean every time, despite playing poker. Like outdoor dining, outdoor gaming is probably unsafe right now, too much community spread, its just not worth losing my 88 year old parents. Today I am playing golf for the first time in ten weeks because of my lousy health, I will lose a bunch of money to my buddies but I am happy as a clam to be playing again…

        Reply
    2. Charley2021

      “Freedom” doesn’t mean freedom to destroy the country which is what all those whining about closed bars and masks are doing. No wonder why Vegas will never be back like it was – some people have no self control.

      Reply
    1. Mike Alexakis

      I have been going to Cirque shows for 30 years, I have seen every show in Vegas except the Michael Jackson one, most multiple times… I sure hope to continue going when the virus situation is under control, count me in…

      Reply
  9. Mark

    Some great things to look forward to, there. But as a previous 30-year member of Eldorado, through it’s Reno properties, my experience is they cater much more to the table games players. But as a serious video poker player, that will need to change, to get my business back.

    Reply
  10. Xavier

    “We’re also going to predict Las Vegas will ban paper straws in 2021. Because they taste like rectum.”

    What does rectum taste like? I’ve never had it.

    Reply
  11. David Krebs

    NBA team? Have you seen the TV ratings lately? They are worse than the NFL.

    Most people have no idea the Lakers won the championship!

    Reply
      1. JP

        I should clarify, 8 of the 10 top spots. The only others were the Oscars and the Masked Singer which aired after the Super Bowl so thanks NFL for that too.

        Reply
        1. Mike Alexakis

          A Vegas NBA team would be great, you have a world class arena already, just don’t give billionaire’s a dime of taxpayer money, learn the hard lessons the grifting Raiders taught you…

          Reply
  12. Mike Alexakis

    Pro tip for poker players: Stimulus money makes bad players very bad players, expect great action at the tables, pay close attention from the get-go, identify the players who play lousy and make note of them… You obviously still need winning hands to win, but this is prime time to take advantage of your superior knowledge and patience, I wish I was in Vegas reeling in the fish flush with cash…

    Reply
  13. MrBuzzkill

    Reminder: Paris, built by Bally Entertainment, shares Bally’s licenses. Where one goes, so must the other. A Bally’s property rebrand is very likely because I don’t think Eldorado is keen to unload Paris.

    Reply
  14. Jeff in OKC

    NBA isn’t expanding to Las Vegas. Louisville is most likely to be the second team added when Seattle goes in. NBA likes to be the only league in town when discussing NBA, NHL, NFL and MLB. One fourth of the NBA fits that category, and and five other cities fit that category when the league first went there. There are many other metrics, but one thing is that the NBA has not done well when it is third of three, as it would be in Las Vegas.

    Reply
  15. Chadohio

    How about the drew sold to Hard Rock. The Drew is gone and hard rock comes in to actually finish the eyesore building. Now that would be great news.

    Even Sahara or what we all call it the “Sue” learns they are not going to win if that sue people.

    To be completely honest, i have not been back to “Sue” since u broke the news on what was happening and I still refuse to. Why will I visit a casino that likes to sue people for BS……

    Reply

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