Resorts World is Making Striking Progress

After seemingly endless delays, construction at Resorts World is picking up steam.

Not only are windows being installed, but sources familiar with the project report the main hotel tower at Resorts World is growing by about a floor per week.

Resorts World

Object in photo is larger than it appears. By a hell ton.

As a basis of comparison, here’s a look at Resorts World in March 2018.

Resorts World

Resorts World was adorable as a baby.

Here’s a closer look at the windows being installed at Resorts World. Break out the squeegees!

Resorts World

The first references to squeegees, in the mid-19th century, referred to deck-cleaning tools for sea-faring vessels. Related: Writing photo captions isn’t easy.

Observers have noted the similarity between the look of Resorts World and that of Wynn and Encore, just across the street (see below).

We’ve heard Genting Group, owners of Resorts World, may make a play to purchase Wynn Resorts, so the similarity because the hotels could very well be intentional. Read more reckless rumors.

Wynn Las Vegas

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, Wynn should feel very flattered right about now.

We went around to the back of Resorts World for a rare look at the side of the hotel tower facing Circus Circus. Windows are also being installed on that side.

Resorts World

We could’ve called this the north side, but we’re going with backside. Because we are 12.

Construction at Resorts World is no longer a laughing matter, as the hotel looms large at about 35 floors.

It’s hard to imagine, but the plan is for the tower to have 60.

Resorts World

It’s not just the height of one’s hotel that matters, it’s also the girth of one’s lens.

In case you’re unfamiliar with Resorts World, it sits on the former Echelon Place site. Which, we’re assuming, helps you not at all. Resorts World is between Circus Circus and the site planned for the Alon resort. Also not helpful, we get it.

If you’re a shopper, it’s just north of Fashion Show mall.

If you like Mexican food, it’s across the street from Tacos El Gordo.

If you’re sentimental, Resorts World is across the street from the former Riviera casino. It’s also the site of the former, legendary Stardust.

If you’re into antipodes, it’s roughly on the opposite side of the Earth as Madagascar.

If you’re an optimist, it’s just south and across the street from the future Drew hotel.

Resorts World

Genting Group was founded by Tan Sri Lim Goh Tong, a name inspired by the sound a saucepan makes falling down a  flight of stairs.

Resorts World is slated to open in 2020, and the odds of that happening seem to improve with each new floor and window.

Given our saucepan joke, we assume we’re not invited.

Our Five Juiciest Unconfirmed Las Vegas Rumors

We love a juicy Las Vegas rumor! We’ve shared a ton of them in recent months, mainly on Twitter, and several have been about what could be the biggest Las Vegas stories of the year.

Our sources are epic, but these rumors have been to be officially announced. The anticipation of scoop being confirmed is part of the fun.

Here, then, are five of our best exclusive Las Vegas rumors patiently awaiting confirmation, along with the odds of them actually panning out.

1. Sale of Rio Las Vegas (Odds: Even money)

Rumors of a sale of the Rio resort have been floating around for ages, but our rumor’s the most reliable because we know people. Caesars Entertainment has been shopping the Rio with gusto, and we hear serious players are in the mix this time.

From what we hear, the purchase of the Rio is likely a play for the land, so the aging resort could very well be demolished for something new and shiny.

In addition, word is the World Series of Poker will move to the Caesars Forum convention center after the Rio changes hands.

Rio

The old girl’s a little long in the tooth.

We’ve spoken to a real estate guru who said a collection of parcels adjoining the Rio have seen a spike in buyer interest in recent months, supporting our belief a sale is in the works.

Our Rio sale rumor got even more tasty when we heard the resort could be imploded for a Major League Baseball stadium. That one’s a long shot, but we’re sharing it because if it pans out, we’ll break the Internet.

2. Sale of Cosmopolitan (Odds: Even money)

We were the first to share it (in May 2018), and the only one to share it since, and we’re doubling down on the fact Hard Rock International is going to purchase the Cosmopolitan.

Since sharing the Cosmo sale rumor, two solid sources have confirmed Hard Rock International is in the due diligence phase with Blackstone Group, owner of the Cosmo. Blackstone Group purchased Cosmopolitan for $1.73 billion in May 2014 from Deutsche Bank.

Cosmopolitan Chandelier Bar

We could’ve shared a photo of the hotel, but we opted for our badass pic of Chandelier Bar.

The latest on this rumor is Hard Rock International will rebrand the Cosmo as a Hard Rock. Read more reckless rumors and speculation the Cosmopolitan hasn’t denied is happening.

Update (11/21/18): The Cosmopolitan has publicly denied the resort is being sold, stating, “The rumors regarding the sale of The Cosmopolitan are false. At this time, there have been no discussions regarding the sale of the resort.” Adorable.

3. Sale of Red Rock Resorts/Stations (Odds: 2-to-1)

This one’s flown under the radar, but we’ve heard from multiple sources Red Rock Resorts (Stations Casino) will be sold.

Chatter is that the owners, the Fertitta brothers, are looking to cash in their chips to purchase an NFL team.

Red Rock Resort

Red Rock Resort is just one of the resorts in the Red Rock Resorts family, also known as Stations. There will be a quiz.

We hear media inquiries to Stations have resulted in responses of “no comment,” always a good sign a rumor has legs. (Otherwise, the rumor would just be denied.)

We’ve also heard certain Red Rock Resorts’ casinos won’t be part of the sale, specifically Palms and Palace Station, and possibly one other.

It’ll be fun to see how this deal unfolds, and don’t be surprised if there’s announcement soon.

4. Sale of Wynn Las Vegas (Odds: 5-to-1)

Wynn Resorts is in a crazy state of flux at the moment, with its stock price down dramatically and results of an investigation into sexual misconduct by ousted CEO Steve Wynn on the horizon. (Expect more leadership changes in the months to come.)

Everyone agrees Wynn is ripe for an acquisition, but opinions vary about who the buyer could be.

Wynn Encore

Wynn Resorts is in a state of flux at the moment. You might say Steve Wynn really fluxed things up.

Our latest intel says it could very well be Genting Group, the company building Resorts World.

Even casual observers have noticed the windows being installed at Resorts World bear a striking resemblance to those at Wynn and Encore.

Experts, though, point to the fact if Genting purchased Wynn, the company would gain access to an incredibly profitable market, Macau.

It’s unknown how far along Genting might be in its pursuit of Wynn Resorts, but such a scenario would be fascinating to watch. Especially if we’re right, of course.

5. Funding of All Net Resort and Arena (8-to-1)

Of all our juicy Las Vegas rumors, this one’s got the most detractors.

The rumor? That All Net Resort and Arena has gotten funding (again) and is going to happen.

All Net Resort and Arena is planned for the former Wet ‘n Wild waterpark on the north end of The Strip, next to SLS Las Vegas.

It was originally slated to open in 2017 (the groundbreaking happened all the way back in October 2014). At one point, the project was said to be fully funded by Credit Suisse, but apparently the company got cold feet and bailed.

All Net Arena

Give it a minute. Another minute.

Despite the false starts, we’ve heard an announcement about foreign financing could happen at any time.

We have no idea why we’re clinging to this rumor coming true. Maybe it’s just that we love rooting for an underdog.

Think some of these rumors are crazy?

Don’t make us rattle off all the times our sources nailed it! Recently, we scooped the media by months with rumors about a massive Google data center in Henderson, a new venue at Caesars Palace from Lisa Vanderpump, the first Chick-fil-A on The Strip, Mandarin Oriental becoming Waldorf Astoria, Lady Gaga getting a Vegas residency and too many others to count.

And don’t get us started on our previous “boom.” We broke the sales of Riviera, SLS Las Vegas, Hard Rock, Las Vegas Club, Fontainebleau and the Alon site.

We literally told you not to get us started.

Let’s hear your thoughts on the rumors you think are legit and which ones you think illustrate the belief our hammock doesn’t quite reach both trees.

Sigma Derby is Done at MGM Grand

A popular, old-timey horse racing slot machine called Sigma Derby has finally been put down for good at MGM Grand.

Sigma Derby has a passionate following, and until recently, there were just two in Las Vegas (and possibly the country).

And then there was one.

An MGM Grand rep confirmed to us Sigma Derby won’t be back. The company said it has “done everything possible to prolong its active lifespan but that’s simply no longer possible.”

Sigma Derby MGM Grand

MGM Grand’s Sigma Derby was in its Level Up lounge for a minute. Guests were less than whelmed. It was moved back to the main casino floor for the remainder of its life.

That leaves just one Sigma Derby standing, the one at downtown’s The D Las Vegas.

Sigma Derby has built a fan base for a number of reasons.

There’s a communal element to the game, because up to 10 players can join in the fun. The cheering at Sigma Derby is about the only sound louder than a dice table in a Las Vegas casino.

Also, the machines only take quarters, so guests can play for an extended period of time (while enjoying free beverages) for relatively little cost.

The game is easy to understand as well. Players wager on two horses in each race. The horses they pick must finish first and second, in any order.

Sigma Derby

One of the great things about Sigma Derby is, no matter how much you drink, it’s hard to screw up too badly.

Noting the popularity of Sigma Derby, a company called Konami attempted to make an updated version of the mechanical horse racing game, Fortune Cup.

It’s fine. But it’s no Sigma Derby.

While fans of Sigma Derby will bemoan its passing at MGM Grand, we have to believe the casino is relieved to have it off the floor once and for all.

The machines break down frequently, and parts are nearly impossible to get, and many of the parts have to be fabricated from scratch.

Sigma Derby

Sigma Derby isn’t so much a slot machine as a cult.

In addition, casinos have moved away from coins to TITO (ticket in, ticket out) systems because of the cost of labor and maintenance involved.

Sigma Derby

You never know what people will grow attached to. Welcome to Sigma Derby.

It’s unknown how long the sole remaining Sigma Derby might last. The D installed Fortune Cup right next to the classic machine, possibly hoping customers would migrate to the new game so the old version could be retired.

That didn’t happen, and now there’s an additional incentive to keep Sigma Derby around. There’s major P.R. value in being the only game in town.

RM Seafood and Rx Boiler Room Close at Mandalay Bay

Two restaurants from noted chef Rick Moonen have closed abruptly at Mandalay Bay, RM Seafood and Rx Boiler Room.

Chef Rick Moonen has been called the “Godfather of Sustainability,” possibly the least imposing nickname, ever.

Seriously. The guy uses knives constantly. Why not the “Godfather of the Monarch Steampunk Dragon Knife”? So much cooler.

Rx Boiler Room

We never dined at Rx Boiler Room, but we sure as hell libated there, if that’s a thing.

Anyway, RM Seafood (the RM stands for Rick Moonen, in case that wasn’t obvious) opened at Mandalay Bay—The Shoppes at Mandalay Place, to be more exact—in 2005 and Rx (pronounced Rick’s) Boiler Room opened in 2013.

It seems the chef couldn’t hammer out a mutually agreeable deal on the lease, so Moonen packed it in, to the great delight of a good many Spanish octopuses which will now avoid being sustainably charred.

Rick Moonen

Take a few days off, Rick. Years of pan searing can take a lot out of a person.

Fun seafood fact: The fish people know as “Chilean seabass” is actually the Patagonian toothfish. The sexier name was invented by a fish wholesaler named Lee Lantz in 1977 to make it more appealing to Americans.

Moonen says he’ll be back soon with a new restaurant concept in Las Vegas, which we also won’t visit because we are not a seafood person.

Wynn Resorts Pulls Plug on Paradise Park Lagoon

Wynn Resorts has confirmed a story we were the first to share, that it’s pulled the plug on its Wynn Paradise Park lagoon project.

While Wynn started tearing up grass on its golf course several months ago in preparation for the lagoon, it will now redesign and open the 18-hole course again with the assistance of designer Tom Fazio.

Wynn golf course

Here, you can see the partially torn up Wynn golf course. If only golf courses had an undo function.

The lagoon project was considered a longshot from day one, a vanity project of disgraced former CEO Steve Wynn.

With Wynn out of the picture as a result of his sexual misconduct scandal, there was no champion of the lagoon project at Wynn Resorts, and it simply didn’t pencil out.

The project was supposed to feature not only the 38-acre lagoon (with water skiing, paddle boarding and parasailing), but also bumper cars, a boardwalk, carousel, ziplines, a nightly Carnivale parade (with a dozen 30-foot floats) with fireworks and even an animatronic King Kong.

Yes, that’s a lot of whimsy. Then again, it’s Las Vegas.

Wynn Paradise Park

What might have been.

During an earnings call, Wynn Resorts said that since closing the golf course, the company has lost out on $15-20 million in revenue.

The Wynn golf course closed on Dec. 22, 2017.

Here’s a look at the Wynn golf course before it looked rode hard and put up wet.

Wynn Golf Club

You can’t afford it, so don’t bother drooling.

While Wynn Resorts confirmed the lagoon project would be nixed on Nov. 7, 2018, we shared the story during a Channel 8 segment and on Twitter back in October. Because our tipsters are badass, bro.

The Wynn convention center is expected to proceed as planned, but the hotel tower at the canceled Wynn Paradise Park appears to be shelved.

It’s unclear what, if anything, will happen with the former Alon site, just across the street from Wynn and Encore. Wynn officials have said they expect it to take two years to design and develop a plan.

Don’t be surprised if the current Wynn leadership isn’t around to see whatever it’s going to be come to fruition. The development of the Alon site won’t even start until 2019.

Alon site

It seems the Alon site will remain empty for at least two years. Sigh.

While Wynn Paradise Park seemed overly ambitious and slightly nutty, Las Vegas could use a little more of that at the moment.

It feels like Vegas has traded in audaciousness for prudence, boldness for pragmatism. Prudence and pragmatism might pay some bills, but they don’t exactly scream excitement.

Las Vegas could use less corn hole and more giant King Kong, less sure thing and more Hail Mary.

While Wynn Paradise Park won’t be happening, it felt like something fresh and fearless, and we feel a tinge of sadness at its demise. Big ideas don’t come along every day, and Wynn Paradise Park was just that.

Downtown Grand Lends a Hand to Make Downtown Gateway a Thing

It doesn’t happen often, but when we get something wrong, we admit it. We got the downtown gateway wrong, it’s actually a thing.

“What’s the downtown gateway?” you ask, impertinently. It’s this.

Downtown gateway sign

The original Las Vegas sign may not be in Las Vegas (it’s in Clark County), but this one is. Long story.

The new downtown gateway was built by the City of Las Vegas to the tune of about $400,000. It replaces another welcome sign, inspired by the iconic “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign on the south end of The Strip, smashed to bits by a bonehead in a truck in 2016.

When we first saw the gateway display, we thought it was fairly lame. All due respect, City of Las Vegas.

While it featured some of our favorite gambling things—dice, chips and a roulette layout—it very prominently featured two cartoon showgirls.

Downtown gateway

On the bright side, Googie stars. They’re the things floating over the “a.” You can never go wrong with Googie stars.

Not that there’s anything wrong with showgirls.

It’s just that showgirls are a somewhat antiquated symbol of Las Vegas, the last true showgirl show, “Jubilee,” having closed in 2016. The same year the “Welcome to Downtown Las Vegas” sign was destroyed. Las Vegas has no shortage of metaphors. Or ironies. Or analogies. Take your pick. We can never keep those straight.

Googie stars

If anyone ever asks what Las Vegas ninjas throw, now you know.

There was also a location problem.

The gateway was built where it was impossible to take a photo without getting a billboard in the background with an ad for a restaurant in the background. It was akin to the power lines at the welcome sign on Las Vegas Boulevard.

Downtown gateway showgirls

All the meh.

And we should also mention the fancy “Las Vegas” typography was taken from a logo the City of Las Vegas abandoned less than a year after it was unveiled.

Anyway, we figured the backward-looking display would be ignored by visitors, but over time, we’ve rarely passed the corner of Main and Las Vegas Boulevard without seeing tourists snapping selfies with the sign.

Hey, we can’t be right about everything.

Downtown gateway display

Great perk of this sign over the other Las Vegas sign: No lines.

In a completely cool move, Downtown Grand even changed up its billboard to enhance the photo op.

Props where they’re due, Downtown Grand took one for the team and made advertising secondary to giving downtown Las Vegas a much more “Grammable” photo.

Downtown Grand billboard

We actually don’t have an adequate supply of props to give to Downtown Grand for this classy move.

The gateway cost about $400,000 to construct, and morons are already finding ways to make it so we can’t have nice things.

Somebody stood on the “L” in Las Vegas and broke it. Word is the City designers are looking for ways to make the display elements more “durable.”

Downtown gateway sign

Please, people, it’s only been there three months.

We suggest the City of Las Vegas buy the billboard from Downtown Grand and swap it out with this one.

downtown gateway Vegas

Seriously, we know a guy who could make this billboard happen.

And, naturally, asshats wasted no time tagging the display.

Former Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman once got into hot water for suggesting people who do graffiti should have their thumbs cut off. We knew there was a reason we’re such a big fan of Oscar Goodman.

downtown gateway

We checked all the pips on the dice. They’re good.

The City of Las Vegas isn’t done with its welcoming efforts, either.

The City recently started taking bids for an 80-foot-tall “double arch gateway” to complement the existing welcome display.

The location of the arch hasn’t been determined yet (it’s shown in two different locations in two renderings released by the City), but it’s expected to cost $2 million.

Downtown gateway arch

This seems the most likely location, at the intersection of Las Vegas Boulevard and Sahara.

The call for bids says construction of the arch will start in June 2019 and be completed by the end of 2019.

While downtown’s welcome display won’t ever be as iconic or popular as the Las Vegas sign known around the world, maybe it doesn’t need to be.

Downtown Las Vegas doesn’t aspire to be The Strip, and its welcome sign has a distinctive vibe all its own.

If you don’t have a chance to stop at the downtown gateway for a photo, we’ve got a back-up plan. This gem outside the new marijuana museum at Neonopolis might do the trick.

Downtown White Castle photo op

You’re welcome.

No visit to Las Vegas is complete without a metric ass-ton of photos, so get busy.

Make sure to check out our list of 25 Offbeat Las Vegas Photo Ops.