27
Aug

Las Vegas Club’s End Marks a New Beginning – Vegas Seven

In this week’s Green Felt Journal, I consider the last hours and legacy of the just-closed Las Vegas Club, which is likely destined for better things.

It is a name—a generic one, but a name nonetheless—that has been part of Nevada history even before the 1931 relegalization of commercial gaming. In early April of that year, Las Vegas Club, then at 21 and 23 Fremont Street, received a license to offer games of chance from the Las Vegas City Commission. Earlier this month, that gambling hall—located on the opposite side of Fremont since 1949—closed its doors.

Source: Las Vegas Club’s End Marks a New Beginning – Vegas Seven

I’ve heard some very interesting speculation about what might happen at the former Las Vegas Club, and I’m looking forward to seeing what the Stevens brothers create.

12
Aug

What the Nation’s Illegal Gambling Problem Means for Las Vegas – Vegas Seven

In this week’s Vegas Seven, the Green Felt Journal is about the continuing menace of illegal gambling and why it matters to Las Vegas:

With the proliferation of legal casino gaming throughout the country, it’s tempting to think of illegal play as something from a bygone time. But if you’ve been keeping up with the news lately, you know that illegal gambling is alive, well and far more pernicious—and just as persistent—than the three-card Monte dealers who still pop up on Strip pedestrian overpasses. Read More

Source: What the Nation’s Illegal Gambling Problem Means for Las Vegas – Vegas Seven

I think this is going to continue being a big story for a while to come.

7
Aug

The Long, Hot Summer of ’55 | Vegas Seven

 

In this week’s Vegas Seven, I have a cover story on the frustrating summer of 1955–a year that has plenty to teach Las Vegas 2015:

Lanza’s no-show aside, opening night at the New Frontier was regarded as a success. One of the Strip’s first resorts had reinvented itself for the Atomic Age, bigger and better. It whet the appetite for what was to come.

Source: The Long, Hot Summer of ’55 | Vegas Seven

This was a story that I’ve been wanting to write for a long time. Thanks to Matt Jacob and Greg Miller I have.

First, it’s got the story behind the openings (and subsequent struggles) of the New Frontier, Royal Nevada, Riviera, Dunes, and Moulin Rouge. It also talks about lesser-known failures like the Desert Spa.

For today’s readers who are interested in more than “just history,” 1955 has clear parallels to the recession, and the pivot Las Vegas did in the years after 1955–chiefly, moving towards conventions and investing significantly in them–has lessons for today.

25
Jul

How to Keep Las Vegas’ Forward Momentum Rolling – Vegas Seven

In my latest Green Felt Journal, I look at the importance of the new Southern Nevada Tourism Infrastructure Committee:

Las Vegas may be breaking tourism records—May was the city’s busiest month ever, with more than 3.7 million visitors—but that doesn’t mean it’s time to get complacent. Governor Brian Sandoval must understand this, since he’s assembled a new committee that will spend the next year considering ways to create the infrastructure that will keep tourism—and the local economy—booming into the future. Read More

Source: How to Keep Las Vegas’ Forward Momentum Rolling – Vegas Seven

It’s always nice to look into the historical context for present-day policies.

 

 

18
Jun

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.

10
Jun

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.

27
May

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?”

13
May

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.

23
Apr

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.

10
Apr

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.