Category Archives: Las Vegas WTF

Cringe of the Day: Mandalay Bay Events Center Renamed Michelob Ultra Arena

How tough are times at Mandalay Bay? Naming rights bad.

The 12,000-seat Mandalay Bay Events Center has been renamed Michelob Ultra Arena.

Our reaction to this news is akin to being on a Las Vegas vacation and realizing you forgot your razor, so you have to groom your nether regions with Biore strips. While submerged in salt water. But worse.

Mandalay arena

We definitely need a shorthand way of saying Michelob Ultra Arena. We’re going with “meh.”

Financial details of the multi-year naming rights deal haven’t been made public, but whatever Mandalay Bay (and its owner, MGM Resorts) made from the deal, it isn’t enough.

Beyond the fundamental awkwardness of forcing customers to refer to a venue by a product name, it’s technically “Michelob ULTRA Arena,” as if the person doing the naming was experiencing some sort of seizure.

While everyone in the media is just regurgitating the news release about this deal, nobody’s really asking if it makes sense for anyone involved.

Everyone’s too busy cutting and pasting this quote from Chuck Bowling, Mandalay Bay’s President and COO: “We’re pleased to welcome Anheuser-Busch, a company we have great admiration for, as our naming rights partner at Mandalay Bay.”

Yes, Chuck Bowling admires Anheuser-Busch. Seriously, bro, raise the bar for who gets your admiration. It’s a beer company. You admire their deep pockets. That’s probably more lust than admiration, but news releases need quotes, so there you have it.

It’s also probably wise not to invest all your admiration in a beer with an average consumer score of 1.88 out of 5.

Anyway, the fact is naming rights deals are a huge waste of money for the companies gullible enough to pay for them.

There’s simply no correlation between such sponsorship deals and people consuming one’s product.

We defy you to find anyone who has has ever flown on Allegiant or signed up for T-Mobile because the names of those companies are on our stadium and arena.

Naming rights are ego-driven, plain and simple.

They’re a money grab by venues who definitely aren’t going to tell sponsors their investment is being flushed. Read more.

So, Mandalay Bay gets some revenue while customers are annoyed and the brand is diminished.

It’s yet another example of a company going for short-term gain while sacrificing long-term goodwill.

The bottom line: Mandalay Bay wasn’t doing particularly well prior to the pandemic, so there’s no way they’d turn down free money now if somebody’s foolish enough to throw it at them.

Linq Shrinks Strength of Drinks, .75 Ounce Pour Is New Normal

Here’s a fun game: Say “Linq shrinks strength of drinks” five times fast. Know what’s not fun? When casinos downsize their liquor pour size to save a few pennies.

Linq resort has done just that. The Strip casino has lowered its standard liquor pour to .75 ounces, according to a confidential internal communication.

Hey, this is Vital Vegas. Are there really any “confidential internal communications”?

Here’s today’s gut punch, or what the kids love to call “Another Vital Vegas Exclusive and Such.”

Linq smaller pour

Never fear, your libation watchdog is here.

You read that right. It’s weak. Just like your drinks at Linq from here on out.

Drinkers know the standard pour for cocktails in most establishments is 1.25 to 1.5 ounces.

In fact, there was a huge kerfuffle when we broke the news MGM Resorts had reduced its shot size from 1.5 ounces to 1.25 ounces back in 2016.

And by “reduced,” of course, we mean “improving the customer experience by offering a consistent product.” No, really, that was MGM Resorts’ response to our story back in the day. And they said it with a straight face.

Who would’ve imagined 1.5 ounces would be considered a “long pour” one day?

We anticipate a similar sentiment from Linq Hotel + Experience (the resort’s official name) and its owner Caesars Entertainment, but a .75-ounce pour seems much tougher to defend. It’s possible they’ll go the “this was communicated to staff in error” route (rogue beverage managers are everywhere in Las Vegas), but it’s possible Caesars won’t address this matter at all.

We reached out for comment from Caesars, but haven’t received a response. It’s worth noting we can’t recall ever having gotten a response to any Caesars Entertainment inquiry since about 2013, when we had the audacity to Tweet that then-Planet Hollywood headliner Britney Spears lip syncs.

Eldorado Resorts recently took the reins of Caesars Entertainment, so perhaps while they’re reviewing short-sighted policies like giving customers a thimble of liquor in their drinks, they can also take a closer at the company’s P.R. practices. Just saying.

Linq cocktail WTF

Situations like this are pretty much why “WTF” was invented.

The Linq’s new .75 ounce pour mandate is doubly concerning because this reduced pour applies not just to comped (free) drinks, according to the management memo, but also those
drinks customers pay for.

Casinos sometimes play a little fast and loose with comped drinks, including swapping the premium liquor a customer orders with a generic brand. But they tend to follow stricter guidelines with drinks people pay for.

Despite the downsizing of the standard pour at Linq, we trust the prices will remain unchanged.

The memo makes it clear if you want a “double,” or two .75-ounce portions, you’ll be dinged twice. For slightly more liquor than a traditional pour.

Our source said this puts the price of a double at Linq in the neighborhood of $32.

This move to reduce pour sizes would be baffling at any time, but seems especially misguided now.

We walked through Linq recently, and there were virtually no customers. Entire swaths of table games have been removed and replaced with slot machines. Such moves make some sense given low demand (table games involve much higher labor costs), but even if these changes are temporary, you’d think casinos would want to draw customers, not repel them with weak drinks.

Linq problems

Bonus points if you spot the carpet from the 10 minutes when Linq was The Quad.

The plot, like your cocktail, thins further as one wonders whether this new .75 ounce standard pour policy will be limited to Linq.

We’ve done this long enough to know big casino companies often test the waters before rolling out new procedures across all their locations.

Back in the day, Mirage tried drink ticket vouchers at one video poker bar. Today, drink monitoring is everywhere.

While Las Vegas has been distracted (understatement of the year) by the pandemic, it’s clear some of the town’s pre-COVID challenges persist.

Visitation in Las Vegas was already flat prior to the pandemic. This was mainly due to legalized gambling across the country, but it was also related to the increasingly widespread view Las Vegas has become a place where nickel-and-diming isn’t just an annoyance, it’s standard practice.

The perception problem has never been addressed, and policies like the one at Linq aren’t helping, they’re likely to make the issue worse just as people are thinking about travel to Las Vegas again.

To put this in layperson terms, “Have they lost their damn minds?”

Las Vegas visitors are looking for more value, not 40% less. Because that’s what it means to reduce a pour from 1.25 ounces to .75 ounces. Talk about a buzzkill.

Casinos that scrutinize their bottom lines at the expense of customer experiences had better get their act together. Otherwise, when visitors do flood back to Las Vegas, some casinos are going to find they’ve stepped over dollars to pick up dimes.

New Bleutech Project Rendering Arouses Interest

If you’ve ever wondered whether the Bleutech Park project is a complete joke, you’re not alone, and now it’s been confirmed.

The self-deluded scam artists behind the whimsical and absolutely-not-happening project have released a rendering that may even suggest they’re in on the joke. Emphasis on “may.”

Here’s a look at Bleutech’s high-rise building.

Bleutech tower schlong

Insert your favorite “erection” joke here. We’re hung over.

In response to the rendering, the Internet did what it does best. Here’s one of our favorite jabs. Another Tweet suggests the rooftop could use a fountain.

Bleutech followed up on this schlong-awaited reveal with a cross-section touting the fact the project’s alleged building will feature “33-plus levels of casino.” Bleutech clearly doesn’t appear to have a firm grasp on anything, much less what a casino is.

Bleutech just the tip

Here’s a closer look at just the tip. Hey, we aren’t that hung over.

Despite the fact Bleutech appears to have zero financing for its make-believe, $7.5 billion project, the company has continued to churn out baffling Tweets for months.

This Tweet contained one of the most phallic objects, ever, and we know a thing or two about that as we are pretty much 14 years old and wrote this blog post: Eight Memorable Phallic Objects in Las Vegas.

To Bleutech’s credit, the Tweet did contain the words “thrust” and “fluid,” so it’s possible the gag (ahem) is intentional, but given the history of the company’s social media (humorless, in addition to being clueless), we think not.

Here, Bleutech, let us help. In the words of our generation, “Schwing.”

Bleutech Vegas penis

How are we supposed to satirize things that are already absurd?

We happily called out Bleutech for being a scam back when it was announced in August 2019. The company’s news release broke all known records for bullshit, which is saying something in Las Vegas.

The announcement was quickly followed by confirmation one of the developers, Janet LeGrand, has a history of “scheming to defraud.”

Shortly after that, the communications consultant for Bleutech sued the company for stiffing him. Pun intended.

Honestly, Bleutech’s Tweets are hysterical, and a master class in meaningless jargon, random emojis and masturbatory hashtags. But those renderings!

Bleutech Vegas WTF

Seriously, Bleutech needs a wellness check.

Although amusing, the company’s social media posts are also sad, as it’s entirely possible they actually believe their project is happening. Ever.

They’ve even managed to dupe some big name partners who appear to have no clue what they’ve gotten into. Same goes for media outlets who apparently aren’t fans of “asking questions” or “having half a brain.” Sigh.

In Bleutech’s fantasy world, anything’s possible, so we await future revelations, throbbing with anticipation.

Carrot Top Featured in Unfortunately-Named Videogame, “Killing Carrot Top”

One of our Vegas heroes can now claim videogame immortality.

The unfortunately-named “Killing Carrot Top” is an old-school, text-based RPG-inspired (role-playing game) videogame available free online.

Killing Carrot Top

Dibs on the band name Malevolent Assemblage.

The game, created by Jay Winbrenner, is set “in a collapsed dystopian world ruled by ’80s character comedians hellbent on exterminating what little remains of the human race.” Sounds like a party.

Players are “the world’s last bastion of hope of stopping this vile scourge,” and the goal is to “traverse the nightmarish post-apocalyptic landscape and confront the Lord of Laughter himself, Carrot Top.”

Basically, you’re up against a slew of comedians (dubbed the “Illuminati of Laughter”) from the ’80s and ’90s, including Emo Philips, Tim Allen, Pauly Shore, Howie Mandel, Andrew Dice Clay, Victoria Jackson, Bobcat Goldthwait and Yakov Smirnoff.

Many of these folks have performed in Sin City, so we can legitimately claim this story is at least somewhat Vegas-related.

Killing Carrot Top

He’s tougher than you’d think, buddy.

Oh, and let’s not forget Gallagher, referred to in the game as “Archfiend of Magnanimous Wreckage.”

Gallagher

We caught Gallagher at Golden Nugget. Wreckage confirmed.

Players enter their name, then get hit points, weapons and armor, then make their way to “Ha Ha Tower” to do battle with some top-notch comedy talent.

There’s a fair amount of humor (or attempts at it) throughout the game, as well as pop culture trivia, so get ready to flex your “Home Improvement” and “Police Academy” knowledge.

Remember, using the Internet for answers is cheating, which we pretty much did for every question, but that’s beside the point.

The entire game leads the player to a final confrontation with Carrot Top, of course.

Carrot Top

We love us some Carrot Top.

The final battle begins, “You open your eyes and see Carrot Top himself, suspended in some extra-dimensional endlessness, wrapped in muscle, smeared in oil.”

Let’s just say Carrot Top isn’t going down without a fight.

Carrot Top videogame

Dibs on the band name Unfathomable Black.

Hopefully, Carrot Top sees this as an homage to his iconic status both in Las Vegas and the world of comedy. It’s hard to get too upset about being named the “Lord of Laughter.”

In our interactions with Mr. Top (real name: Scott Thompson), he clearly has a sense of humor about himself, so we figure this game isn’t going to cause him any sleepless nights.

Carrot Top’s comedy show at Luxor is consistently named one of the best in Las Vegas, and he was recently named the best Las Vegas comedian of all time by Las Vegas Weekly. We’re inclined to agree.

“Killing Carrot Top” is a throwback to a time when videogames were simpler and, frankly, much less entertaining.

Still, for those seeking a piddling distraction, “Killing Carrot Top” is an amusing (wait for it) time-killer.

Cheetah’s Strip Club, of “Showgirls” Fame, Officially Done

Cheetah’s Las Vegas strip club is officially done, confirmed by the removal of signage on the club’s exterior on Aug. 19, 2020.

Cheetah's Las Vegas closed

Cheetah’s has been stripped of its neon.

Cheetah’s is best known for being the strip club where the so-bad-it’s-still-bad classic, “Showgirls,” was filmed.

Yep, this is the place where Elizabeth Berkley licked a stripper pole, a practice frowned upon even prior to the pandemic.

Cheetah's strip club closed

The year 2020 has not been lap dance-friendly.

Big thanks to our eagle-eyed Twitter follower Alyssa A. for letting us know the signage was being removed from Cheetah’s.

We got there just in time to snap some photos of the dismantling remnants.

Vegas Cheetah's closed

Open 24 hours, not so much.

Cheetah’s was long past its heyday, so it’s no surprise the establishment would close or get a rebrand.

Cheetah's closed

Yes, we snagged a piece of neon tubing. It’s famous.

While Vegas strip clubs are currently closed due to the COVID-19 crisis, it’s expected Cheetah’s will become The Library Gentlemen’s Club when such venues are permitted to open again.

Cheetah's Library Vegas

When it’s the Library, we’ll have to check it out. If library puns are even a thing anymore.

While we can’t recall ever visiting Cheetah’s, we’ve heard quite a bit about the strip club’s colorful history.

At one time, Cheetah’s was owned by Michael Galardi. Galardi was involved in a political corruption scandal featuring a federal investigation dubbed “Operation G-String.”

Cheetah's closed Vegas

Sadly, our car is only so big.

We trust the long tradition of lap dances and no sex in the Champagne Room (named G-Spot at Cheetah’s, by the way) will continue as Cheetah’s is presumably overhauled to become the Library Gentlemen’s Club.

Cheetah's closed

Those lips have been a Vegas fixture since 1991.

If you are interested in more reading about Las Vegas strip club culture, please feel free to feast your eyes on our useful collection of Las Vegas Strip club slang or things we didn’t know about strippers.

Cheetah's Vegas strip club

Trust us, Las Vegas topless clubs are going to bounce back!

It was bittersweet seeing all the discarded neon following the removal of the Cheetah’s signage.

Cheetah’s will always hold a special place in the hearts of “Showgirls” fans. Yes, both of them.

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.

Owenhouse tent site

What will it take to turn this into 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.”