Category Archives: Las Vegas Hotels

Bleutech Park Las Vegas Breaks Bullshit Record With $7.5 Billion Project Claims

This blog loves it some batshit crazy news releases, and this one’s a doozy.

A company called Bleutech Park Properties has announced a $7.5 billion (with a “b”) mixed-use project, Bleutech Park Las Vegas. It’s not happening, but that doesn’t make it any less exciting!

The news release announcing this fanciful project fails to mention where Bleutech Park Las Vegas is supposed to happen, but let’s not get bogged down in details!

The Bleutech Park Las Vegas announcement is easily one of the most buzzword-rich news releases we’ve seen in ages. (Better up your game, The Drew.)

Bleutech Park Las Vegas

Pace yourself, Bleutech Park. You’ve already blown through your 2019 WTF allowance.

Here’s a sample of some of the copious bullshittery:

googie first city in the world to boast a digital revolution in motion, redefining the infrastructure industry sector

googie net-zero buildings within their own insular mini-city will feature automated multi-functional designs

googie autonomous vehicles, artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality, Internet of Things (IoT), robotics, supertrees, and self-healing concrete structures

googie showcasing energy generation and storage, waste-heat recovery, water purification, on-site waste treatment and localized air cleaning

googie introducing a new high-tech biome to the desert valley

googie smart buildings equipped with new, self-healing, energy-generating, and breathable materials

googie we are not making this up, swear

googie with the use of unmanned aerial systems and AI, the construction site will become a living, breathing blueprint

googie flooring systems will capture and reuse the energy of human movement

googie buildings will be connected to a broader highly sustainable network of supertrees allowing a 95 percent reduction in imported water consumption and an opportunity for improved biodiversity

googie able to spring forth the IoT with cutting capabilities and applications

googie there’s no way you read this far, we totally get it

googie photovoltaic glass will be standard in all structures

googie these new technologies could create close to a Super-Workforce of the future

googie robotics will be an essential part of the technology ecosystem providing 365/24/7 security using biometrics and other state-of-the-art technologies

Clearly, this is easily one of the most gloriously guano-filled crackerdog news release in the history of Las Vegas-related news releases.

Bleutech Park WTF

Suck it, lawyers, satire! Or possibly parody. Oh, and if you try to sue us, we’re suing you for ripping off Simon for your logo, so suck it.

This wildly imaginative project is expected to create more than imaginary 25,000 jobs, most of them no doubt involving showing up to a vacant lot wondering how to make coffee out of sand.

Bleutech Park Las Vegas will presumably break ground in Las Vegas in December 2019 and will take six years to complete.

That timeline could changed based upon a number of factors, though, including the availability of certain construction materials essential to this project like “boundless optimism” and “unbridled whimsy.”

As is the way of much of our Las Vegas media, this story is being reported as if it’s a real thing. Awkward.

It’s just deeply stupid, and everyone involved should be forced to read the Bleutech Park Las Vegas news release repeatedly until they lose their equilibrium and walk headlong into the trunk of a supertree, whatever that might actually be.

Update (9/24/19): Miami Herald has confirmed this project is a steaming pile of WTF.

Hard Rock/Virgin Las Vegas to Partner With Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment

There are lots of rumors swirling about an increased tribal presence in Las Vegas at the moment. We know, because we’re the one who’s been swirling them.

Tribey

Just because a word doesn’t exist doesn’t mean you can’t use it.

From casino purchases to other high-profile investments (give it a couple of weeks and we’ll be sharing more huge tribe-related scoop), it’s clear sovereign tribal nations have their eye on Las Vegas in a big way.

The first big move by a tribe in the Las Vegas market looks to be a partnership between Hard Rock Las Vegas, which is transitioning into Virgin Hotel Las Vegas, and Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment.

Mohegan Tribe Virgin Las Vegas

Vegas is full of surprises.

We’re told reliably the Mohegan tribe will be managing the casino at Virgin Hotel Las Vegas (technically, Virgin Hotels Las Vegas, but there’s only one planned at the moment, so we’re keeping it singular).

No official announcement has been made about this partnership, but when has that ever stopped us from spilling some tea?

As this news hasn’t been made public yet, there’s no concrete timeline. We do know Hard Rock will close after the Super Bowl (about April 1, 2020) for about four months (through July 2020) as the resort completes its changeover to Virgin Hotel. We trust Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment will be in place managing Virgin’s casino operations by that time (August 2020).

This is a huge partnership both for the Mohegan tribe and the owners of Hard Rock resort, JC Hospitality and Richard Branson’s Virgin Hotels.

Virgin hotel Las Vegas

Adios, Hard Rock. Hello, Virgin.

This gives the tribe a foothold in Vegas, and gives Virgin Hotel a whole new pool of potential customers who have played at the popular Mohegan Sun resort in Connecticut. Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment manages Mohegan Sun. Read more.

Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment (MGE) owns and manages resorts throughout the U.S., including in Connecticut, Atlantic City, Washington and Louisiana. Oh, and in South Korea. See more.

Interestingly, MGE owns the Connecticut Sun, a WNBA team, and the New England Black Wolves, a professional lacrosse team in the National Lacrosse League. In case you haven’t heard, sports is sort of thing in Las Vegas at the moment, despite our best efforts.

Join us in getting a crash course on Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment.

Expect official confirmation of this scoop in the next few weeks, and look forward to an influx of tribe-related headlines in the months to come.

Eldorado Resorts to Merge With Caesars Entertainment

There have been rumblings about a sale of Caesars Entertainment for months, now several major news outlets are reporting a deal has been struck.

According to sources familiar with the deal, Eldorado Resorts Inc. has agreed to merge with Caesars Entertainment. The selling price is expected to be $8.6 billion. Here’s more.

The cash and stock deal is said to be valued at $17.3 billion (which represents the sale price and a metric ass-ton of Caesars Entertainment debt).

Eldorado Caesars merger

Eldorado operates 26 casinos in 12 states. That number’s about to jump up a smidge.

It’s fairly certain the merger was the result of pressure from bajillionaire Carl Icahn, currently the biggest shareholder of Caesars Entertainment.

Assuming reports of the merger are true, that would put the value of Caesars stock at $13 a share.

For a little historical perspective, in 2004, Harrah’s bought Caesars for $17 a share.

In 2007, Apollo Global Management LLC and TPG bought Harrah’s for $90 per share. Fun fact: When the buyout happened, the company’s CEO Gary Loveman made $94 million in one day.  No, really.

Caesars Entertainment filed for bankruptcy in 2015 with a staggering debt load of $24 billion. Read more.

Yep, it’s been a wild ride, to say the least.

There’s a lot of head-scratching going on regarding the Eldorado and Caesars Entertainment merger. Also, there are still a lot of moving pieces involved, such as rumors we’ve heard certain Caesars-owned resorts—Rio and Planet Hollywood, specifically—are being sold off.

Rio Las Vegas sign

It’s time to say “goodbye” to Rio.

We’ve also seen some signs Caesars Entertainment may shed its Horseshoe brand.

Ah, the glorious drama!

An official announcement of the Eldorado and Caesars merger is expected on June 24, 2019, and we’ll know more about the specifics of the deal, and hopefully what it all means for your Las Vegas experience.

Update (6/24/19): The merger of Eldorado and Caesars Entertainment has been confirmed. The combined company will have 60 casinos in 16 states, and will be called Caesars. The company will be headquartered in Reno, Nevada. The deal is set to close in the first half of 2020. He’s the official statement from Eldorado Resorts. Here’s a sassy statement from Carl Icahn.

Since the announcement, there have been a lot of questions about the fate of the Caesars Rewards loyalty club. We’ve got this. Thanks to Eric R. on the Twitters for passing this along.

Caesars Rewards Eldorado

Translation: Chill.

Pop-Up Casinos Appear for a Day at Former Las Vegas Club and Mermaids

We love pop-up casinos!

No, that’s not what they’re called officially, but just play along.

Recently, temporary casinos opened at the former sites of the Las Vegas Club and Mermaids in order to meet gaming requirements to extend the licenses associated with these demolished venues.

For exactly eight hours each.

The sites are now part of the construction site of a new resort, Circa Las Vegas, so guests got the chance to be the first to gamble as the new casino. Sort of.

Here’s the temporary casino at the Las Vegas Club, open for a day on June 11, 2019.

Pop-up casino

No drink service, but charming nonetheless.

Each pop-up casino had exactly 16 video poker machines.

Las Vegas Club and Mermaids closed back in 2016, but the current owners, Greg and Derek Stevens, need to keep the gaming licenses active, so they get to indulge in this fun (but expensive) ritual.

Here’s a look inside the miniature casino at the Las Vegas Club site.

Circa pop-up casinos

Ever get lost in a Vegas casino? Not this one. You’re looking at the entire thing.

We say “expensive” because these pop-up casinos cost $50,000-$60,000 to set up and operate for a day. Century Gaming is the go-to vendor for such temporary casinos around town. The money wagered in the machines goes to them, not the company that arranges for the pop-up casino.

After the first day, on June 12, 2019, all the machines were moved a few feet away to where Mermaids used to serve its infamous deep fried Oreos. We know, because we had the last one ever served there. We still don’t feel quite right.

Mermaids pop-up casino

Even on a construction site, still cleaner than Mermaids was.

For whatever reason, people don’t tend to flock to these pop-up casinos. The pay tables aren’t great, but they aren’t horrible.

Just five people played on the machines at the first location, and about the same played the second day, reportedly.

Let’s look inside the Mermaids pop-up casino for no good reason other than for posterity.

Mermaids temporary casino

The easiest way to tell a loose slot machine is to see which one we’re playing.

We love them, however, and have yet to lose when playing at a temporary casino. In fact, at the Mermaids location, we hit two four-of-a-kinds and walked away with $100 in profit.

Circa popup casino

Construction dust is lucky!

The real question, of course, is were we among the last to play at Mermaids or among the first to play at Circa?

We would be remiss if we didn’t share the latest from the Circa construction site.

Circa 2019

Circa is going vertical.

Up above, Fremont Street Experience (where we work in digital marketing as our day job) is in the throes of a $32 million renovation of the Viva Vision video screen. Here’s an update on the progress of that project as well. Don’t you know this blog at all?

Viva Vision upgrade

The upgraded screen looks bomb, or possibly fleek. See more.

Pop-up casinos are quirky part of Las Vegas casino culture.

While we think they’re sort of dumb and a waste of time and money, we will rarely turn down the chance to gamble outside and stick it to The Man with a win.

SLS Resort to Be Rebranded to Sahara Hotel & Casino

Ever since SLS Las Vegas was purchased by developer Alex Meruelo, speculation has run rampant about what the new name of the resort would be. Now, we know.

According to a well-placed source, SLS will be renamed Sahara Hotel & Casino.

And all was right with the world.

Sahara SLS

Best. Rumored. Rebrand. Ever.

Since about the time Meruelo Group acquired SLS in April 2018 (yes, we broke the story, because that’s how we roll), rumors swirled the casino would be named Grand Sahara Resort. Meruelo also owns Grand Sierra Resort in Reno.

In the end, though, we hear cooler heads prevailed, and the name Sahara Hotel & Casino will be announced as the hotel’s official name in the next few weeks.

We are downright elated at this news.

Renaming SLS as Sahara is a brilliant move. It plays upon the storied history of the casino, while saving a metric hell-ton of money by playing up an existing brand rather than trying to create a new one from scratch.

While the previous Sahara went downhill toward the ends of its life (Sahara closed in 2011 after 59 years of operation), there’s a surprising amount of goodwill toward the brand, and we suspect Vegas visitors and locals will embrace the new Sahara’s throwback vibe.

Since acquiring SLS, the resort has had a multi-million dollar facelift, including dramatic changes to the casino and the recent opening of the Casbar lounge.

The original Sahara had a Casbar lounge. Ah, the circularity of the universe. (We’ll share more about the new lounge soon, as it’s incredible. We’re just too Captained to do it justice at the moment. Yes, “Captained” can be used as a verb.)

New Sahara Las Vegas

This is not your grandpa’s Sahara.

Clues about a Sahara rebrand abound at SLS.

For example, the casino’s loyalty club is called Club 52. Sahara opened in 1952. The loyalty club’s logo features a design flourish used in the original Sahara’s advertising.

SLS Sahara

Those aren’t ovaries. They’re a design flourish! Freak.

Oh, and while we’re delivering the scoop, here’s another juicy item: We hear Alex Meruelo has purchased another Las Vegas casino.

Mind blown.

Now, we can redirect our speculation from the new name of SLS to which casino he’s acquiring. Treasure Island? Planet Hollywood? Another Caesars Entertainment casino?

We’ll get an official announcement soon.

Also, expect more news out of SLS/Sahara soon, including official confirmation of scoop we’ve already shared: Cleo is closing. Umami Burger is closing. 800 Degrees Neapolitan Pizzeria is closing. Bazaar Meat is staying and getting an expansion. “Magic Mike Live” is moving in.

Oh, and expect an announcement of a major renovation to the resort’s pool complex. Are you not entertained?

In the meantime, let’s just bask in the magnificence of a new name for SLS: Sahara Hotel & Casino.

We can’t wait to have her back.

Update (6/27/19): It looks like the official-official name of SLS will be Sahara Las Vegas Hotel & Casino. Big thanks to Fernando D. on Twitter for the find.

New Sahara Las Vegas logo

Boom. A little past, a little next, it’s the new Sahara Las Vegas.

Wynn and Encore Announce Free Parking, All Over Again

It’s a surreal headline if you think about it. For decades, parking was free in Las Vegas. Now, paid parking is the norm.

Thankfully, the folks at Wynn Las Vegas have come to their senses and self-parking is once again free.

The new policy went into effect on May 1, 2019.

Wynn Las Vegas

Free parking, a thing again.

The truth is, parking has been free at Wynn for some time, but there was a condition: Guests had to spend $50 inside Wynn or Encore to get their parking ticket validated. Now that annoyance has been kicked to the curb.

Valet parking is still free, but the $50 spend requirement and validation process remains in place. Valet parking is free for registered guests of Wynn and Encore. Valet fees can be found on the Wynn Web site.

Why the sudden change of heart at Wynn? Well, there was the typical public relations horseshittery in the announcement about free parking: “Creating a seamless experience is a cornerstone of the five-star service we provide.”

Chances are Wynn decided their validation system was annoying guests and their staff members, plain and simple.

It’s also Wynn Resorts saw the impact of paid parking with decreased visitation to the resort, including to its new shopping complex, Wynn Plaza.

Wynn Plaza

We hear Wynn Plaza could use some additional foot traffic. Free parking could help.

With free parking, Wynn is removing an obstacle to visiting and gambling and shopping and dining and liquoring.

The announcement of free parking was also a strategic diversion, as it happened just days before news the company would be fined $35 million by gaming regulators in Massachusetts. The fine was the result of sexual misconduct allegations that brought down a Vegas titan, Steve Wynn. The CEO of Wynn, Matt Maddox, was fined $500,000.

Regardless of the timing or motives, the move by Wynn Resorts to roll back paid parking is a pretty big deal.

Wynn parking

The best paid marking machines are former paid parking machines. And we do feel more welcome, thanks.

The hope would be others, like Caesars Entertainment and MGM Resorts, will follow the company’s lead, although it doesn’t appear they will at the moment.

That could change if Las Vegas visitation remains flat or goes down. Some casinos have already started hotel promotions waiving resort fees.

There are several Las Vegas Strip casinos with free parking:
Tropicana
Planet Hollywood
TI (Treasure Island)
Venetian/Palazzo
Casino Royale
Circus Circus
SLS/Sahara
The Strat (Stratosphere)
Wynn and Encore

It’s so great having Wynn and Encore on that list again!

A return to free parking would go a long way toward reminding visitors Las Vegas is intent upon making them feel welcome and appreciated.