Hooters Casino Could Be Oyo Hotel Las Vegas

Ever hear of Oyo Hotels? If our sources are right, you’re about to.

We’ve learned exclusively Hooters Casino is now under contract with hotel operator Highgate and the company plans to make Hooters Las Vegas an Oyo brand hotel.

Our sources say the Hooters restaurant at Hooters hotel-casino will close when the hotel rebrands. The Hooters restaurant inside the Hooters resort is said to be the most profitable in the company’s entire chain.

Oyo Las Vegas

We’re fairly sure “OYO” stands for “on your own.” Related: Once you see the face, you can’t unsee it.

Highgate Hotels is a real estate investment and hospitality management company, also involved with the Westin and Renaissance hotels in Las Vegas. The company operates more than 100 hotels around the world. Learn more.

Oyo is a rapidly-expanding Indian budget hotel company which recently entered the U.S. market in Dallas, San Antonio and Houston. It now appears the company has its sights set on Las Vegas.

Oyo describes itself as “the world’s fastest growing company and world’s sixth largest chain of operated hotels, homes, managed living and workspaces.”

The company’s portfolio boasts more than 23,000 hotels in 800 cities in 18 countries. Combined, the company has more than 330,000 rooms. See more.

This is the Oyo business model: Oyo partners with existing hotels, rebrands them as Oyo franchises and streamlines booking, pricing and technology services. It then gets a percentage of the hotel’s monthly revenue.

The company reports occupancy increases of 30-40% at Oyo hotels, and revenue increases of as much as 60%, which would be welcomed by the owners of Hooters, of course.

Hooters is owned by Trinity Hotel Investors and operated by Paragon Gaming.

Oyo Hotel Las Vegas

You go, palindrome?

The arrival of Oyo in Las Vegas could bring some drama along with it, as the company’s founder and CEO, 25-year-old Ritesh Agarwal, is not controversy-free. Let’s just say gaming regulators aren’t big fans of controversy. Get details.

Hooters has been known by a lot of names, so if it’s rebranded to Oyo, it’ll join this long list of past names: Paradise, Treasury, Pacifica, Polynesian and Hotel San Remo. There will be a quiz.

Details about these moves at Hooters are scant at the moment, but that’s never stopped us from passing along scoop before!

You’ll hear more when we do.

Update (8/6/19): Here’s our take on Channel 8.

Update (8/7/19): Our sources confirm Hooters restaurant won’t be around following the transition to Oyo. At its peak, the restaurant served a million customers a year.

Update (8/17/19): We’re now hearing the Hooters rebrand to Oyo will happen Sep. 16, 2019.

Update (8/23/19): As if we weren’t already unbearable enough, our story has been confirmed. Oyo has acquired Hooters hotel for a reported $135 million and will be rebranded Oyo Hotel & Casino Las Vegas. Highgate will manage the hotel and Paragon Gaming will continue to operate the resort’s casino. Read more.

Caesars Entertainment Cancels $100 Million Kind Heaven Project, Per Rumor

We’ll keep this quick and awkward: Kind Heaven has suffered the unkindest of cuts.

Our sources say Caesars Entertainment has informed key employees Kind Heaven, a $100 million attraction slated for the Linq casino, is officially canceled.

Kind Heaven

So many questions will now go unanswered.

It’s likely the demise of Kind Heaven, should our information be confirmed, is fallout from the announced merger between Caesars Entertainment and Eldorado Resorts.

The looming merger has called into question a number of pending projects, and Kind Heaven was considered a risky endeavor from day one.

If you’re unfamiliar with Kind Heaven, here’s the skinny: Kind Heaven was an Asian-themed walk-through attraction with music festival roots.

Oh, and there were supposed to be holographic fighting monkeys. No, really.

Kind Heaven Las Vegas

Think “Blade Runner,” but with more pickpockets. Long story.

The attraction was slated to open in the summer of 2019. So, now-ish. As far as we know, no demolition or construction of any kind has happened related to Kind Heaven.

Here’s more about the former Kind Heaven.

The project was touted as the brainchild of noted oddball Perry Farrell, founder of the Lollapalooza music festival.

As recently as Aug. 1, 2019, Farrell was still talking up Kind Heaven, apparently unaware the plug has reportedly been pulled on the project.

While it would’ve been fun to see Kind Heaven come to fruition, it seemed a trainwreck waiting to happen.

Kind Heaven Las Vegas

There are so many bummed out monks right about now.

Caesars Entertainment has a lot on its plate at the moment, including a consolidation likely to result in a fair amount of corporate employees being laid off as the merger moves forward, so risky investments of time or resources seem best avoided for now.

The holographic monkeys will just have to find other gigs.

On a related note, another casualty of the Eldorado merger is the demise of “Nitro Circus,” announced for Bally’s Las Vegas. The show is rumored to be seeking another venue, but don’t hold your breath.

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.

Cannabition Weed Museum Closes at Neonopolis

Cannabition, promoted as a “cannabis immersive experience, history and art museum,” has closed suddenly at Neonopolis in downtown Las Vegas.

The Cannabition weed museum was billed as home of the world’s largest bong, “Bongzilla.” All 24 feet of her.

The exterior of Cannabition was adorned by massive murals, which will now feel completely random and awkward.

weed museum mural

The cannabis museum opened Sep. 20, 2018. In other words, the paint was barely dry.

While Cannabition has acknowledged the attraction is closed, they haven’t officially announced what’s next.

That’s our thing, thank you very much.

We hear Cannabition will relocate to Planet 13, a massive “cannabis superstore and entertainment complex, also in Las Vegas.

The closure of the cannabis museum was no doubt a blow to Neonopolis. The shopping complex has seen some signs of life in recent months with the opening of Cat’s Meow karaoke lounge and Don’t Tell Mama piano bar (after a move from Fremont East).

A new restaurant, Taste of Africa, is presumably in the works.

Longtime Neonopolis tenants include Nerd Bar, Toy Shack, Axehole, Denny’s, Heart Attack Grill and Banger Brewing and Fremont Arcade.

We never saw many people in or around Cannabition, and rumor has it the venue was more of a placeholder pinned on the hopes of marijuana lounges being legalized in Las Vegas. While Cannabition featured marijuana, none could be consumed on the premises.

White Castle Harold Kumar mural

Gone, too, is one of the best photo ops, ever.

For the record, we tried to make it through this entire blog post without a weed pun.

Sorry, we couldn’t do it.

We’ll take the hit.

Vital Vegas Podcast, Ep. 100: Oscar Goodman, Piff and More

It’s the 100th episode of the trainwreck we call the Vital Vegas Podcast. What could possibly go wrong?

In this final episode of the first season of the podcast, we review one of the best comedy-magic shows in Las Vegas, Piff the Magic Dragon at Flamingo.

Piff the Magic Dragon is performed by inspired comedian and “America’s Got Talent” alum John van der Put. The show features his Chihuahua, Mr. Piffles, and exuberant partner-in-hijinks, Jade Simone.

Piff’s show is a non-stop cavalcade of clever illusions and masterful audience interaction, all wrapped up in a family-friendly package, a Las Vegas must-see if you like comedy, magic or an irresistible mash-up of both.

Piff

A trifecta of comedy perfecta. They’re totally stealing that for their advertising.

To make our 100th episode truly memorable, we badgered former Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman into an in-depth interview just in time for his 80th birthday.

Oscar Goodman was the mayor of Las Vegas for 12 years, and prior to that was a mob lawyer, defending some of the most infamous organized crime figures in the history of Las Vegas.

Fun fact from the interview: Goodman says mobster Frank “Lefty” Rosenthal always referred to himself in the third person. Here’s more about Lefty!

During his time of mayor, Oscar Goodman not only raised awareness about Las Vegas as a tourist destination, he also raised eyebrows with his sometimes controversial positions on issues like graffiti (he facetiously suggested offenders have their thumbs cut off), prostitution (he wanted it legalized) and drugs (ditto).

Oscar Goodman

The unstoppable, unreticent, undeniably unapologetic Oscar Goodman.

On the episode, we also dive headlong into a controversy swirling around comedian Doug Stanhope.

Stanhope shared a letter from Caesars Entertainment saying he’s banned from all their casinos, asserting he was “trespassed” because he posted negative reviews on TripAdvisor and Yelp. There’s always more to the story, and we call bull!

We also serve up your recommended allowance of exclusive Las Vegas scoop, so take a listen and see what all the meh’s about!

Caveat Emptor: Your Tape Face May Not Be THE Tape Face

We enjoyed the “Tape Face” show at Harrah’s Las Vegas a lot.

Tape Face came to prominence on “America’s Got Talent,” and his Las Vegas show is inventive, funny and highly recommended.

That’s not an unconditional recommendation given recent revelations, though.

Tape Face

The Tape Face show is a little mime, a little clown, a little audience interaction, a little oven mitt and a lot of offbeat.

We recently learned the Tape Face you’re seeing onstage at Harrah’s may not be the actual Tape Face.

See, the Tape Face who made a splash on “America’s Got Talent” is named Sam Wills.

Now, we hear there’s another Tape Face, referred to by the production as “T2.” An understudy, you might say. Although, that may not be quite the right word for it. Not a “back-up.” Double, maybe? Stand-in?

No matter what you call it, it’s another Tape Face.

When we first heard about this “Face swap” from reviewer Alex Belfield, we thought it sounded very shady. You don’t just get to replace a performer with a similar performer without letting your audience know.

Tape Face, however, or someone Tweeting on behalf of Tape Face (who knows at this point?), had a different take on what it all means and why it’s not shady.

Tape Face asserts Tape Face isn’t a performer, per se. It’s a character. He Tweets, “You do know that Tape Face is a character, yeah? I am sure if Seinfeld was a character who wore a costume with the right training and direction you could absolutely present his comedy. That’s called
acting.”

We sort of get what he’s going for. He wants Tape Face to be Blue Man Group. Lots of people play the blue man in Blue Man Group, and cast members are often swapped out without the show suffering and nobody feels deceived.

“There is no such thing as a true Tape Face as I believe that we all have a version of Tape Face in us. We are all weird,” Tape Face Tweets.

Tape Face

Not all weird is created equal.

We’re still pretty firmly in the camp that Tape Face isn’t considered a generic character, it’s the guy who was on “America’s Got Talent,” and it’s the guy we saw crush it at Harrah’s. Not another guy with tape on his mouth who knows the routines.

Tape Face respectfully disagrees. “I will have to disagree with you. As a brand, the choice was made to go on ‘AGT’ to advertise the show. Whilst an audience ‘discovers’ the show on a platform, in reality it’s been developed over 15 years to be exactly what it is. A show performed by a character.”

Tape Face goes on to say, “If the performance was bad the audience wouldn’t be happy. It’s one of the reasons we keep the show to my standards and our other Tape Face continues to receive standing ovations from Vegas crowds.”

We totally get that the T2 performance could be as good as the original. Our issue is really with transparency. While Tape Face says the show makes it known the performer onstage might not be Sam Wills, we couldn’t find a mention of that fact on any of the ticket sites we researched. Not even once, anywhere.

The official Harrah’s site is careful to say “Tape Face is the creation of New Zealand comedian Sam Wills,” without specifying he’s the Tape Face in the show.

Tape Face did confirm some performances where a substitution (our word, not his) would occur at Harrah’s.

Tape Face

Pretty sure every Vegas headliner would love to have a clone.

It’s also worth noting Tape Face and his people haven’t exactly hidden the fact there’s a T2. Here’s a Tweet from March 2019.

Tape Face Tweet

Question: How does someone who doesn’t follow Tape Face on Twitter know all this?

Given what we know, we aren’t entirely sure what to think about all this.

We can’t really get onboard with Tape Face’s assertion people just magically know this “character” is a brand and not an individual performer.

If the show’s good, the show’s good, but even if that’s the case, we feel like it’s the responsibility of the performer, the production and the venue to clearly communicate to customers who’s going to be onstage.

A “Tape Face, starring…” credit would work. Or maybe the show should be called “Tape Faces.”

As a practical matter, when we recommend a show, we really need to know which show we’re recommending.

The bottom line: Know before you go, and before you buy, verify. Yes, we just made that up.

We’d love to hear your thoughts. Bait-and-switch or non-issue?