Category Archives: Las Vegas WTF

Big Cat Magic Show in a Tent Approved for Las Vegas Strip

A magic show featuring big cats has been approved for the Las Vegas Strip. The show will take place in a tent near McCarran International Airport.

What could possibly go wrong?

Magician Jay Owenhouse’s show was approved by the Clark Co. Zoning Commission over the objections of both animal rights activists and, initially, Clark County staff.

Jay Owenhouse magician

As far as we can tell, everyone in the Owenhouse family is super likable. So, there’s that.

Jay Owenhouse, who bills himself as the “Authentic Magician,” isn’t really a well-known quantity in Las Vegas.

Owenhouse has said his animals participate in the show “because they want to.” We’re thinking he might want to start billing himself as an “Animal Psychic Comedy-Magician.”

To his credit, Owenhouse has a pretty much spotless record of animal treatment over the last 25 years.

As is required of all performers using big cats in their shows, Owenhouse says he’s an advocate of conservation and believes exotic animals raise awareness of the plight of the creatures in the wild.

Owenhouse says he’ll spend $150,000 for a “sanctuary” at the site, just across from Mandalay Bay.

Owenhouse Vegas

Seems legit.

The 51-foot-tall show tent will accommodate 312 people. We trust that’s the number without social distancing.

Owenhouse magic show tent

This whole situation is a little tense.

Owenhouse’s show is a family affair, with his camera-friendly kids both taking part in the show and assisting with promoting it.

PETA jumped in with their take about the show. Hint: They’re against it.

Concerns about animal exploitation aside (some would say constant aircraft noise is inherently abusive, or at least stress-inducing), this is just a weird situation overall.

Clark County approved waivers of Animal Control permit requirements and development standards, including a rule that limits the length of time such an operation can take place (20 days is the usual maximum).

Owenhouse claims his show opens mid-September and will run six months. Good luck with that. Few, if any, shows in Las Vegas at the moment due to the COVID-19 crisis.

Here’s the site in question. Thanks to “LatinLenz” for the photo.

Owenhouse show lot

What’s involved in making this an entertainment venue? A lot.

KTNV Channel 13 here in Las Vegas did a pretty good overview of the situation.

While we lean heavily toward animal advocacy, we’re on the fence about this show.

We like kitties, but shows using big cats and other exotic animals have fallen out of fashion due to concerns about animal welfare. (Not to mention the whole Roy Horn thing, indelibly etched in the minds of many Vegas watchers.)

Big companies like Sea World and Ringling Bros. have overhauled their practices or eliminated the use of exotic and wild animals altogether. (It’s worth noting Ringling Bros. closed for good in 2017.)

It’s possible the COVID-19 crisis will make the debate about this production moot. It’s unknown when Las Vegas shows will be able to open.

Rest assured, animal rights activists are gearing up for a fight if plans for the big cat show in a tent moves forward.

This saga will be one to watch! Even in the middle of a pandemic, there’s still plenty of appetite for a rip-roaring drama on the Las Vegas Strip. Emphasis on “roaring.”

Las Vegas Sex Boutique Believes Dildo Thief is Hardened Criminal

The headlines were attention-getting: “Man Steals Massive Dildo From Las Vegas Sex Shop.”

A thief did, in fact, walk off with a three-foot, 40-pound sex toy at a popular Las Vegas store, Deja Vu Love Boutique.

The penis pilfering happened July 14, 2020.

Love Boutique dildo thelf

Here, the thief is seen casing the joint.

Here’s video, courtesy of TMZ.

We thought the story was hysterical (no surprise there), but the hilarity was tainted by a conversation with a Deja Vu Love Boutique staffer.

See, the sex toy, called the “Moby Dick,” described as “lovingly detailed and crafted for realism,” is valued at $1,250.

That’s a significant loss for any business, and we learned this isn’t the first time this particular knob robber has struck at Deja Vu.

Workers at the store believe he’s taken other big ticket items, one valued at $2,800.

Dildo theft

Shop staff is convinced the suspect has committed a series of thefts along the same vein.

Not only is Deja Vu being shafted, the value of these items makes the crime a class D felony (the cut-off is $1,200).

Once the putz purloiner is apprehended, he could be facing hard time.

The search for the “Dildo Bandit” has been made even more difficult because of the prevalence of masks.

Despite the ballsy suspect being the target of an ongoing law enforcement probe, Metro has come up short to-date.

Deja Vu has upped the ante by offering a reward for information leading to the arrest of this brazen phallus filcher.

In the meantime, keep your eyes peeled, “Pawn Stars” crew!

Las Vegas Golf Course Bans Hugging and Kissing

Las Vegas businesses are under a lot of pressure to enforce social distancing protocols related to the COVID-19 crisis.

It’s gotten so bad, some fear they’ll be shut down again.

One Las Vegas golf course is taking no chances: Spanish Trail Country Club has informed members they can’t kiss or hug.

Las Vegas golf

Golfers will just have to play with themselves for now.

We are not making this up.

Here’s the letter to members.

Spanish Trail kissing ban

You never should’ve canceled your vision insurance.

The letter covers a number of rules being enforced at Spanish Trail Country Club, located about 10 minutes west of the Las Vegas Strip.

The rules say golfers are prohibited from “tossing balls in a hat,” which sounds sexier than it really is.

The letter also says “no personal contact” is allowed with other Spanish Trail members.

“This includes couples that play in groups hugging and kissing in front of the whole course, and guys/ladies hugging people they haven’t seen in awhile.”

Spanish Trail

No mention of ball-washing, oodly.

The no hugging and kissing rule seems to doom those fairway hook-ups, but it shows the lengths some venues are going to avoid undue scrutiny from regulators.

A number of venues have had photos and video circulated showing what appear to be violations of safety protocols, and those businesses have sometimes been closed or fined as a result.

We aren’t aware of any particular risk associated with hugging and kissing on golf courses, but better safe than sorry, at least according to some.

Free Coin Exchanges Are a Thing Again at Las Vegas Casinos

For a long time, casino customers took their spare change (often pounds of it in a variety of
containers) to cashier cages, traded coins for “real money” and immediately blew the money gambling.

Casinos took coins readily, no charge. Because they sort of knew where the money would end up. It’s like when casinos provide free check cashing services. They’re just that selfless.

Casino coin exchange

These are our actual coins. As if you weren’t already up in our personal business enough.

Over time, charges for coin exchanges began to creep in, and many customers took their coins
elsewhere. The use of coins in slot machines also fell out of favor, so coins became even more scarce in casinos.

Thanks to the COVID crisis, there’s a nationwide coin shortage, and casinos are again offering free coin exchanges.

Coin shortage

Coin shortage mystery solved.

A number of Boyd Gaming casinos have started taking coins, free of charge.

Boyd coin exchanges

Boyd is going to be awash in coinage.

Four Queens and Binion’s were among the first Las Vegas casinos to ramp up their free coin exchange programs during the recent coin shortage.

To the credit of the cashier at Four Queens, he didn’t seem annoyed at all by our coin redemption, despite the fact most casino coin sorting machines were purchased around the same time “commercial air travel” was invented.

Four Queens cashier

Fun fact: In the coin world, “obverse” is the front face of a coin and “reverse” is the back face.

Below is the breakdown of our redemption.

We are not a math person, but we’re pretty sure this distribution of denominations is universal among people who collect spare change.

Four Queens coin exchange

Nickels and dimes are so jealous of the popularity of pennies and quarters right now.

Others had free coin exchanges all along. El Cortez and Ellis Island, among them. Of course, we’ve written about this before. We’ve apparently written about everything before.

We’ve used the coin exchange machine at El Cortez numerous times, partly because of the convenience, but also because we find the coin sorting very relaxing.

It was through our exchanging of coins to gamble we learned a red Solo cup holds about $60.

One of the great things about exchanging spare change for real money is, when you’re gambling, it doesn’t feel like real money. It feels “found.”

Cal coins

The Cal has enough challenges with the Hawaii travel restrictions. Turning in coins is the least we can do.

It’s well-known “found” money is much more fun to play! Stimulus checks. Divorce settlements. Tax refunds. Inheritances. The list goes on and on.

So, bag up those coins and take them to your favorite casino. Because, honestly, who has time to wait for a divorce to be finalized?

Exclusive: Circa’s “MoDot” Mystery Solved

We’ve been chronicling the construction of downtown’s newest casino-resort, Circa Las Vegas, since day one. Before day one, actually.

Here’s Circa before day one (Feb. 2018).

Circa site

Slates don’t get much blanker.

Circa’s come a long way since then!

Circa Las Vegas

Our future home away from home is fancy.

During one of our photo shoots, we noticed something a little off on the Circa hotel tower.

We have a smidge of OCD, so an oddly-spaced panel caught our eye.

Circa MoDot

If you can spot it, you’re in an elite club of weirdos.

We immediately reached out to Circa’s owner, Derek Stevens, to get some inside scoop.

When we asked about the panel, Stevens’ response was, “Are you serious?”

Of course we’re serious. We are a Las Vegas blog.

After some urging, Stevens spilled the beans about this curious feature on the west side of Circa’s hotel tower.

“So, this is an engineering and construction element that gets put up during the construction process, during pandemics. It’s called a MoDot.”

Our very thoughtful response was, “Whuh?”

“We had no ability to have any vertical transportation. There was no way for the designers and our operational team to go up and down the tower while the construction was going on, so the MoDot was out there.”

Stevens mentioned the hotel’s “vertical transportation” challenges during an interview on our podcast. At the height of social distancing guidelines, no more than two people could be on a man lift at once, which made it virtually impossible for crews of 400 people to get into the tower.

This resulted in Circa having a split opening date. The first five floors (casino, sportsbook, restaurants and pool) open Oct. 28, 2020. The hotel opens Dec. 28, 2020. Read more.

Fun fact: Circa will be the first adults-only casino resort in Las Vegas history.

But back to the MoDot.

Circa MoDot

Here’s a closer view, in case you’re not a great MoDot spotter.

Stevens continued, “The last time the MoDot was used was during the Spanish flu time period.”

Go on.

Stevens explained, “When we’re over in the laydown yard, and we’re looking, and we’re like, ‘When’s the electrical going to hit on this floor or on that floor?’ You can’t tell what floor you’re on, so, it’s a vertical communication element that tells us ‘It’s two floors above the MoDot, it’s three floors below the MoDot.’ The MoDot gives you a reference.”

Genius!

“It helped because none of us could get up there. Normally, we’d have meetings up and down the tower, but because of the vertical transportation problems, we never could,” Stevens added.

So, now that it’s practical purpose has expired, does the MoDot stick around?

“The intent was always that the MoDot would go away,” said Stevens. “But since we’ve put the hotel rooms for sale, I’ve had so many questions asking about the rooms. Remember, this is a sunset suite. It faces north, west and south. It’s an unbelievable suite. That’s actually the most-requested room, the room with the MoDot.”

At which point we realized we were being duped. Pranked. Snookered. Punked.

Oh, like you weren’t onboard for a minute.

So, what’s the real story?

Circa Las Vegas casino

If you’re going to get pranked, get pranked by somebody building a this.

Stevens reluctantly spilled the real tea: “There’s a great engineer. Probably one of the most brilliant engineers. He’s the guy that did all the glasswork, the curtain wall work, he developed all the acoustical specs for all our glass. Because, you know, we got the thickest glass to have the quietest rooms.”

Marketing and a great story, all wrapped into one? Now, you know why we like Derek Stevens so much.

“Yes, there was a screw-up,” Stevens finally admitted. “One of the panels went up backwards. Yes, there’s a dot on the west side. And the engineer, one of the smartest guys I know, his name is Mo.”

Mo Pierce, to be exact.

The plan is to fix the errant panel prior to Circa opening. But not before we give the MoDot a little Internet immortality.

So, now you Mo.

Confirmed: MGM Resorts Hack Much Bigger Than Reported

Our sources don’t always get it right, but an industry insider hit this one out of the park: An MGM Resorts data breach initially said to have involved 10 million customers actually affected at least 142 million.

CDNet.com has confirmed “exclusively” what we shared back in February 2020: The official number of customer records breached was vastly inaccurate, and not in a good way.

While CDNet’s story says 142 million records are for sale on the dark Web, our source puts the number of stolen records closer to 200 million.

MGM Resorts hack

Dear hackers, please leave Las Vegas alone. We have enough problems.

CDNet’s story included, “Posts on Russian-speaking hacking forums promoted the MGM data breach as containing details on more than 200 million hotel guests.”

On the bright side, if there is one, the breached records had limited MGM Resorts customer data: Names, addresses, phone numbers and, in limited cases, dates of birth and drivers license numbers.

No financial data was leaked.

Our source provided lots of information which hasn’t been reported elsewhere or confirmed by MGM Resorts.

The source says the stolen data in question had no information beyond 2017.

The source also claims the hackers had ties to Iran.

There were also some technical aspects of the breach which we have no clue about: The data was compromised via “SQL tables” posted “in the Cloud” within AWS (Amazon Web Services). Basically, “production data” stored in a development environment.

Both the MGM Resorts player database (PATRON) and hotel database (OPERA) were compromised, according to our source.

Our source says MGM Resorts paid “hundreds of thousands of dollars” to attempt to buy back the data, but it was leaked, anyway.

Astonishingly, the hacker trying to sell the stolen data is offering it for a paltry $2,939.

MGM Resorts claims it “has already addressed the situation.”

That sounds like an apology to us, so it’s all good!