Archive for the writing Category

Kirk Kerkorian, 1917-2015 | Vegas Seven

In this week’s Vegas Seven, I look back at the legacy of Kirk Kerkorian:

When Kirk Kerkorian died June 15 at the age of 98, Las Vegas didn’t just lose a visionary whose fingerprints are all over the city’s most recognizable chunk of real estate. It lost a man whose accomplishments will almost certainly never again be equaled by a single person.

Kirk Kerkorian, 1917-2015 | Vegas Seven

In addition to everything I wrote about in the column, I’d like to share a personal story. I only spoke with Mr. Kerkorian once, but it was meaningful. This was back in 2008, when I was conducting the research for Grandissimo. I cold-called Mr. Kerkorian’s office and explained that I wanted to speak briefly with him about his memories of Jay Sarno and Caesars Palace–since he was Sarno’s landlord at the start, he had a perspective that no one else did. I explained this to whoever took my call, emphasizing that I wasn’t going to start grilling him about his current investments, but just wanted to talk about Jay.

The next day, I was up in Reno (that semester I was covering a class for Bill Eadington), and when I got back to the office the following and checked my messages, there was not one but three voicemails from Mr. Kerkorian’s office, trying to schedule an interview time.

Naturally I called back right away, and had a 20-minute or so conversation with Mr. Kerkorian, who had some great memories. He was impressed, still, with both Jay’s golf game and his appetite, and credited him with changing the industry.

Mr. Kerkorian didn’t have to take the time to talk with someone writing a book about things that had happened 50 years before, but he did. It speaks, at least to me, to the kind of man he was.

Sports Betting Hits It Big in the Casino Industry | Vegas Seven

In this week’s Green Felt Journal, I consider the somewhat-unlikely rise of sports betting in Nevada gaming:

Why did Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval, on the eve of the close to the legislative session, sign bills that will expand the reach of sportsbooks? Why is New Jersey Governor Chris Christie suing the federal government to allow Garden State casinos and racetracks to offer sports wagering? The answers can’t be found in the bottom-line numbers Nevada sportsbooks have posted, but rather in the trajectory of sports wagering.

Source: Sports Betting Hits It Big in the Casino Industry | Vegas Seven

The industry is always evolving, and it looks like this is one direction that is moving.

How Long Will Las Vegas’ Hot Streak Last? | Vegas Seven

In this week’s Vegas Seven, I consider whether the current good times in Las Vegas are here to stay:

Your odds would be much the same without a system, but there’s something to be said for the comfort of a system. You’re not at the mercy of blind fate; you are following a game plan and reaping the rewards. And when it no longer rewards you, well, sometimes it wins and sometimes it loses.

Source: How Long Will Las Vegas’ Hot Streak Last? | Vegas Seven

My original working title for this was “Is it 2006 again?”

A New Era for the Tropicana? | Vegas Seven

In this week’s Green Felt Journal, I consider the importance of the recent sale of the Tropicana Las Vegas:

But lost in the Riviera/Resorts World news cycle was the announcement of another Strip milestone—one that may have more significance for Las Vegas’ short-term future: The Tropicana has a new owner, national casino operator Penn National Gaming.

Source: A New Era for the Tropicana? | Vegas Seven

With the Hooters’ sale last week, it looks like business is about to pick up on the South Strip.

Gambling Is No Longer Las Vegas’ Main Attraction | Vegas Seven

In this week’s Green Felt Journal, I share some insights from the latest Las Vegas Visitor Profile:

Increasing international visitation has long been a goal of the LVCVA, and the numerous investments the agency has made toward that end continue to bear fruit. In 2007, 12 percent of visitors came from abroad; in real numbers, this accounts for about 4.7 million people. Last year, that percentage jumped to 19 percent, which when factoring in increased visitation—we topped 40 million last year—translated into more than 7.8 million international visitors. That’s a two-thirds increase in seven years.

via Gambling Is No Longer Las Vegas’ Main Attraction | Vegas Seven

Looking at this year’s profile really drives home the demographic and behavioral changes in visitors to Las Vegas.

The Making of a Vegas Icon | Vegas Seven

What makes a Vegas icon? That’s the question I asked and answered in this week’s Green Felt Journal:

Late last month, the Clark County Commission awarded Caesars Entertainment’s High Roller observation wheel the inaugural Las Vegas Icon Award. The County Commission’s best intentions aside, Vegas icon-hood can’t be bestowed, like a key to the city. It can’t be earned, either. It just happens. The ultimate test of whether something is truly iconic really comes down to this: When you see it, do you immediately think of Las Vegas?

via The Making of a Vegas Icon | Vegas Seven.

I think that the High Roller is in the same class as the Stratosphere: the profile itself could be in another city (Seattle or London, for example), but over time it will become part of the skyline and by extension iconic.

When you think about it, Britney Spears and Elton John can now be considered Las Vegas entertainment icons, so iconhood is going to change over time.

Why Las Vegas’ Gaming Revenue Decrease Is Not a Bad Thing | Vegas Seven

In this week’s Green Felt Journal, I talk about why the fall in gaming revenue doesn’t matter as much as it would have a few years back:

Once upon a time, an annual drop in Nevada’s gaming revenue was greeted with the same reaction of denial, fear and panic that might accompany the diagnosis of a terminal disease. In the natural order of the past several decades, Nevada casinos are supposed to win more every year than the last—and that’s usually how it went. So it’s noteworthy that Nevada’s casinos won less in 2014 than they did in 2013. But here’s what’s more telling: Nobody seems to care, and for good reason.

via Why Las Vegas’ Gaming Revenue Decrease Is Not a Bad Thing | Vegas Seven.

We’ve known that the Strip isn’t all about gambling for a long time, but I thought those numbers really illustrated why.

The Rock Star: Peter Morton and the Birth of the Hard Rock | Vegas Seven

This week, I’ve also got a Vegas Seven feature on the 20th anniversary of the opening of the Hard Rock Hotel:

Twenty years later, it appears Morton saw into the future: You don’t see too many Nile rides in casinos today, but you do see quite a few Center Bars. This is the story of how the Hard Rock set itself apart from the rest of Las Vegas, and why Las Vegas has followed it

via The Rock Star: Peter Morton and the Birth of the Hard Rock | Vegas Seven

I think that Peter Morton really does deserve a great deal of credit for seeing just what was going to be popular in Las Vegas long before others did. I learned a great deal researching this one.

LVCVA’s Unconventional Approach to Global Business | Vegas Seven

In this week’s Green Felt Journal, I take a look at what the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority is actually going to do with the Riviera site:

Construction on the Global Business District is expected to begin in the next couple of years and unfold over the next decade. If executed along the lines currently planned, it will profoundly shape both the Strip and the Valley. No, it won’t have the glamour of a high-profile casino opening, but it’s destined to have a tremendous—and lasting—impact on the city for decades.

via LVCVA’s Unconventional Approach to Global Business | Vegas Seven.

This is truly going to change both the Strip and the city in ways that I don’t think we fully appreciate right now. Read the column to learn why.

Riviera Going Out as It Came In: A Symbol of the Strip’s Future | Vegas Seven

In my latest Green Felt Journal, I take a look at the Riviera’s place in history:

If there were one property you could point to that has represented the evolution of our city’s casinos over the past 60 years, it would be the Riviera. So it’s only fitting that, in its final days, the hotel-casino is doing so again.

via Riviera Going Out as It Came In: A Symbol of the Strip’s Future | Vegas Seven.

I have a lot more than 700 words to say about the Riviera’s past and future, and I hope to be able to write more about them both soon.