Category Archives: Las Vegas

Resorts World Las Vegas Completes Hotel Tower Construction

Resorts World has removed the final construction crane from its hotel tower, and that’s a pretty big deal.

This noteworthy occasion is made all the more momentous given the history of the Resorts World site, formerly home to the abandoned Echelon project.

We grabbed a pic of Resorts World, sans tower cranes, during a test of the resort’s impressive video screen.

Resorts World

Just like us, Resorts World has been slow but unstoppable.

The $4.3 billion Resorts World is on track for a summer 2021 opening.

Fun fact: In honor of that scheduled opening date, we have leased numerous additional fingers to cross.

Completion of the Resorts World hotel tower is a much-needed beacon of hope in Las Vegas given recent challenges related the pandemic.

Here’s a sweet video commemorating the removal of the final construction crane from the 59-story, 700-foot-plus Resorts World tower.

Resorts World was originally scheduled to open in 2016, but that would’ve been lame, honestly. We need something shiny in 2021, and Resorts World is just the ticket.

Here’s a shot of a different video screen test.

Resorts World Las Vegas

Loveable supernerd Ray on Twitter says the video screen is running on MacOS Big Sur, “only in beta right now.”

Yes, we are enamored with the Resorts World video screen. That’s because it’s badass. See it in motion.

While plans for pandas were nixed early on, Resorts World has lots of goodies in store, especially in the realm of entertainment. Resorts World has reportedly signed some hefty checks, and the biggest names in show business are going to have a new place to play, inside a state-of-the-art, 5,000-seat theater.

Here’s a look at how Resorts World has transformed into a magnificent erection.

Resorts World construction

Yeah, we’ve been on this awhile.

While a lot of the work at Resorts World will now be taking place inside, there’s still a lot of work being done in the resorts pool complex and retail area.

Resorts World Vegas

Here’s what we’re working up to.

Check back soon for Resorts World updates, scoop, rumors and a lot of sycophantic fawning over that freaking video screen.

Caesars Entertainment Cleans Up Its Act on Keeping Change

Even before the national coin shortage, slot ticket redemption kiosks at casinos stopped giving change.

M Resort, Wynn Resort and Cosmopolitan ask customers to donate their change to various charities. If a customer declines, the redemption kiosk spits out a voucher to schlep to the cashier cage for change. Annoying, but great for charities.

Wynn TITO

Close cage (Wynn), no problem. Far cage (Linq), WTF.

Other big casino companies have halted giving change at their TITO (ticket-in, ticket-out) slip kiosks, too.

Station Casinos gives vouchers, as does MGM Resorts. No charity option, but at least you know where to pick up your change.

Casinos, by the way, don’t mind if you skip taking your ticket to the cage.

When a gambler fails to redeem their slot voucher, the casino keeps 25 percent of those unclaimed winnings. The other 75 percent goes to Nevada’s general fund. Players leave behind $10-12 million a year, so casinos get 25 percent of that (then pay 25 percent of that in taxes). Such “breakage” pretty much covers administrative costs.

Caesars Entertainment casino recently moved to the no change practice, but with a twist. When customers cashed out, they got a receipt. Unlike at other casinos, the receipt didn’t look like a slot ticket.

Also, the receipt said nothing about customers being able to get their change at the cage.

Here’s a receipt from a kiosk at Bally’s Las Vegas, submitted by eagle-eyed Twitter follower Jessica.

Bally's receipt

This receipt has more red flags than Tiananmen Square.

Jessica inserted a ticket for $41.10 and the machine paid $41.

When we heard about the situation at Bally’s, we thought it a little wonky and Tweeted about it.

Bally's receipt

Twitter is a powerful tool, and we’re just the tool to prove it.

The following day, we hit The Strip, checking out several Caesars Entertainment casinos and redeeming slot tickets to see what was what.

At Bally’s, Flamino and Linq, all the receipts had language at the bottom saying customers have the option to present the receipt at the cage for change from their “partially paid tickets.”

TITO ticket

Void dates vary.

We asked a cashier about the language on the tickets, and she said, “Yeah, that happened within the last hour.”

Why are we sharing this?

First, we wanted to give you a heads up most casino kiosks don’t give change anymore.

Second, we want to give props to Caesars Entertainment for jumping on this problem before it became a problem. Yes, keeping a customer’s money without letting them know how to get it back is a problem. Yes, even if it’s not a lot of money. Although the fix looks easy, we’re sure it takes some back-end technology hoop-jumping to execute a change that quickly across multiple casinos.

Third, we are sharing this situation so we can claim to be the most important and influential blog in Las Vegas and possibly the northern hemisphere, a champion of the people, a fighter of the good fight, your Sin City watchdog, your fiscal advocate, a crusader for all that’s fair and right in the world.

But mostly the heads up and props stuff.

If you see anything wonky out there, drop us a line or DM us on Twitter. We’ll get right on it, as long as it doesn’t require “effort” or “not being intoxicated.”

Caesars Palace Confirms Usher Residency at Colosseum in 2021

It took a minute (about 11 months, actually) for our scoop to be confirmed, but Caesars Entertainment has officially announced an Usher residency in 2021.

While the realm of live entertainment remains in flux, Usher is slated to start a 12-show run at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace on July 16, 2021.

Usher Caesars residency

Fun fact: Usher’s godfather is Ben Vereen, the actor who now winces whenever he hears the name David Foster.

We can’t wait to have conversations like this when Usher begins his Las Vegas residency!

googie “What do you do at the Colosseum?”
googie “Usher.”
googie “You usher?”
googie “No, I just work there.”
googie “What’s your job?”
googie “Usher.”
googie “The residency?”
googie “No, I usher.”
googie “You’re an usher for Usher?”
googie “Yes, and this is my dog, a collie.”
googie “Where? Are you sure it’s a collie?”
googie “Collie. See him?”
googie “Could you say that again to make sure people get it?”
googie “Collie. See him?”
googie “Nice. Hungry?”
googie “I’m going to order a salad.”
googie “Don’t even think about it.”

Oh, how we will laugh.

The announcement of Usher’s residency at Caesars harkens back to a time when, you know, there were shows in Las Vegas.

Here’s the tentative schedule: July 16, 17, 21, 23, 24, 28, 30 and 31, also Dec. 28, 29 and 31 and Jan. 1, 2022.

Not to make everything about us, but we brought the boom about this residency in Oct. 2019.

Usher Tweet

Modesty precludes us from saying how modest we are.

The show will feature Usher’s hits as well as new music. You know, a Las Vegas residency.

Usher’s hits include “U Remind Me,” “Yeah!,” “Love In This Club,” “DJ Got Us Fallin’ In Love” and others.

Tickets start at $59, or $10 less than we would’ve preferred because we are 12.

We’d better damn well have concerts by mid-2021, or else.

Tommy DeVito Hospitalized With COVID-19 Per Bobby Valli

One of the founders of The Four Seasons and Las Vegas resident, Tommy DeVito, has been hospitalized with COVID-19 according to Bobby Valli, brother of Frankie Valli.

Tommy DeVito, no relation to actor Danny DeVito, recently turned 92.

Four Seasons

Tommy is the dapper gent on the right.

Bobby Valli posted news of Tommy DeVito’s hospitalization on his Facebook page.

Tommy DeVito was lead guitarist and a vocalist for The Four Seasons.

The group generated a string of hits, including “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Walk Like a Man,” “Rag Doll,” and “Working My Way Back To You.” Our favorite was “Beggin’,” later remade by Madcon. It was a huge hit in Wallonia.

DeVito’s sometimes tumultuous life was chronicled in the documentary-style musical, “Jersey Boys,” which follows the story of the early days of The Four Seasons.

Here’s some sweet, awkward video of The Four Seasons from back in the day.

Interestingly, Tommy DeVito is the name of Joe Pesci’s character in Martin Scorsese’s “Goodfellas.” No relation. Sort of.

Tommy DeVito appeared in three movies, “The Good Shepherd,” “Casino” and “8 Heads in Duffel Bag,” all of which also featured (wait for it) Joe Pesci. Pesci was a childhood friend and wrangled bit parts for DeVito in some of his movies.

A lot of people ask, “Is Tommy DeVito related to Danny DeVito?” No, Tommy DeVito and Danny DeVito are not related.

We’re sending out some positive vibes for Tommy DeVito. Also, suck it, COVID.

Update (9/22/20): We’re saddened to report Tommy DeVito passed away in Las Vegas on Sep. 21, 2020 at age 92.

LVCVA to Buy Las Vegas Monorail, Bankruptcy in the Mix

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) is buying the beleaguered Las Vegas Monorail for $24.26 million.

Although, we’re thinking that purchase price could be rounded down given the national coin shortage.

Anyhoo, the acquisition of the monorail by the LVCVA marks the latest twist in a long, bumpy ride for the long-ailing transit system handcuffed by the fact it doesn’t go to the airport or downtown Las Vegas.

Las Vegas Monorail

The Las Vegas Monorail runs 3.9 miles, which sound exhausting.

The monorail has been shut down since March 18, 2020 due to the pandemic.

The Las Vegas Monorail has been in operation since July 15, 2004. Except for a short period during which various monorail parts fell off.

The LVCVA purchase will be accompanied by the Las Vegas Monorail filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The “pre-packaged” bankruptcy would put the monorail up for auction, but trust us, nobody else is buying but the LVCVA.

Technically, the Las Vegas Monorail is a not-for-profit corporation, and it has certainly lived up to that designation.

The Las Vegas Monorail previously filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2010.

Las Vegas monorail

The Las Vegas Monorail uses the same trains as Disneyland. The only difference is Las Vegas Monorail tickets don’t require taking out a second mortgage.

A key element of the LVCVA’s purchase of the monorail is it opens up some interesting possibilities related to a noncompete agreement that says outside companies can’t build alternative transit systems on The Strip. With this sale, that noncompete is done.

One alternative system, an underground people-mover from Elon Musk’s Boring Co., is nearing completion at the Las Vegas Convention Center. The tunnel system is already approved to expand to Wynn Las Vegas and Resorts World.

It’s worth noting we did not make a “nearing completion” joke. It’s called maturity.

As part of the LVCVA’s purchase agreement, it would have to pay to dismantle the monorail should it fail. Sorry, fail more. That’s expected to cost about $11 million.

The LVCVA says the monorail won’t operate longer than eight or 10 years tops, even under the best conditions, as nobody’s making the system’s Bombardier Mark VI monorail trains anymore. Replacing them would cost about $200 million.

While the monorail has taken some hits, and ridership has never met expectations, it’s beloved by many, and our grandmother really enjoyed her ride that one time in 2004.

Monorail grandma

Miss you, Gram, and thanks for the Blazing Sevens mojo from wherever you are.

The issue of transportation in Las Vegas is complex, which does not meet our mandate of keeping things superficial, so please explore the subject at your nearest library.

Because, come to think of it, libraries are like monorails. They’re great in theory, we know we should use them, but at some point, there needs to be a reality check.

Update (9/7/20): As anticipated, the Las Vegas Monorail filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Sep. 7, 2020.

Virgin Hotels Las Vegas Announces Restaurants and Bars

There are some questions about when Virgin Hotels Las Vegas might open following a major overhaul from its Hard Rock days, but when it does, the place will be teeming with food and hooch options.

Virgin’s eclectic mix of restaurants, some familiar to longtime Hard Rock fans, should satisfy a wide range of appetites. Let’s dive headlong into what’s coming up when Virgin Hotels Las Vegas opens its doors.

Night + Market

Night + Market features what’s described as “Thai drinking food.” Virgin already has our attention. Night + Market is an import from L.A., the brain child of chef and owner Kris Yenbamroong. The restaurant’s mission is “to make the most delicious and authentic Thai food to facilitate drinking and fun-having amongst friends.” (Or, in Thai, “Aharn glam lao.”) Learn more.

Virgin restaurants

Fun fact: The restaurant’s owner and chef has a film degree from New York University. Related: Las Vegas needs good Thai food more than it needs “Batman” remakes.

Nobu

Nobu’s back and will be getting an update, including fresh decor and an expanded bar area, which is never a bad thing. Pretty much everyone’s familiar with chef Nobuyuki Matsuhisa, or “Nobu” for short, because he had a role in “Austin Powers in Goldmember.” Oh, and he’s also a bigtime restaurateur who pals around with Robert De Niro.

Nobu movie

Classic.

Kassi Beach Club

Kassi Beach Club comes from Nick Mathers, creator of Elephante in Santa Monica and L.A.’s Kassi Club. This “European-style restaurant and ultra-lounge will combine coastal Italian flavors with the spirit of the Mediterranean.” We can only hope “European-style” means topless, but that was sadly not confirmed in the news release.

Kassi Club

We’re already a huge fan of Kassi Club. You’ll never guess why.

Then again, you may have guessed.

Kassi Club

Good eye! Here’s to living like a 17th-century Welsh privateer.

Casa Calavera

Hakkasan Group created this new cantina concept for Virgin Hotel Las Vegas. Casa Calavera fills the gap left by Pink Taco.

Casa Calavera

“Calavera” means “skull” in Spanish, so the logo wasn’t a huge leap.

MB Steak

MB Steak is sticking around for the unveiling of Virgin Las Vegas, from David Morton and Michael Morton. The restaurant will sport a new look, including an expansion. This well-liked, old-school restaurant should benefit from renewed interest in this resort, and we look forward to trying it for the first time.

MB Steak

This never felt especially inviting, so we’ll say that’s the reason we never tried it out.

Money, Baby

Money, Baby will be the Virgin sportsbook, a spot for watching and betting on sports, along with interactive games, food and cocktails. Money, Baby will have indoor and outdoor patios, with easy access to the resort’s pool complex. No rendering, but you know what a sportsbook looks like.

Afters Ice Cream

This is the first location of Afters Ice Cream outside Southern California. We like ice cream a lot, and the venue’s signature Milky Bun doughnut ice cream sandwich (ice cream stuffed into doughnuts, of course) sounds right up our alley.

After Ice Cream

These give us feelings.

Pizza Forte

Another returning offering, Pizza Forte is one of Sin City’s longest-running family-owned and operated Italian restaurants.

Olives

Chef Todd English returns to Las Vegas with Olives, featuring Mediterranean cuisine.

Olives Virgin Vegas

Don’t get us started about Todd English.

Next up, a collection of venues Virgin refers to as its Commons Club.

The Shag Room

Best. Name. Ever. The Shag Room will serve as a lounge and private event space. It looks awesome, including some sweet-looking and possibly alien stools.

Shag Room Virgin

Props for calling a space Shag Room at a hotel named Virgin.

The Kitchen at Commons Club

This restaurant is described as “a contemporary American eatery laced with British Brasserie sensibility.” It’s the hotel’s 24/7 cafe.

Kitchen Commons Virgin

Maybe not too much British influence on the menu, all due respect.

The Bar at Commons Club

You can never have too many bars at a Las Vegas casino. The Bar at Common’s Club will have multiple gathering spaces and live entertainment, assuming we get to have that again someday.

Bar at Commons Club

We’re getting a little Mos Eisley cantina vibe, but that’s probably just us.

Funny Library Coffee Shop

The Funny Library Coffee Shop is a communal workspace, with coffee, pastry and other snacks. The coffee shop will serve Laughing Man, the coffee brand co-founded by actor Hugh Jackman, best known for his performance in “Real Steel.” Let’s fact it, most people are skimming right now and will never know that film credit we gave for Hugh Jackman.

Virgin coffee shop

This is not your grandpa’s Las Vegas.

Virgin’s got a something-for-everyone line-up of restaurants and bars in store, and we accept the challenge of trying every single one to let you know what to look for during your first visit to Virgin Hotels Las Vegas.

As mentioned, an opening date for Virgin Vegas hasn’t been finalized due to challenges posed by the pandemic. More details about a reopening timeline should be available in mid-September.

Hear more from the CEO of JC Hospitality (owners of Virgin Hotels Las Vegas), Richard Bosworth, on our podcast.

We can’t wait to eat, drink and carouse our way through all the offerings at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas. Vegas could really use some new and shiny and delicious and potentially topless right about now.