In this week’s Vegas Seven, I’ve got a cover feature on the 50 years of Caesars Palace:
Caesars Palace has always been more than the sum of its parts. Yes, it’s just a place where people pay for rooms, eat dinner, watch shows and gamble. But there remains something compelling about the property. It may no longer be the highest-grossing on the Strip, and as of 2016 it still isn’t the oldest, but it might just be the most successful.
Read more : An Empire Like No Other – Vegas Seven
I also have two sidebars connected with the story:
Modern-Day Gladiators about fight nights at Caesars Palace.
The Birth of a Brand about how Caesars became a marketing juggernaut.
In this week’s Vegas Seven, I take a look at how real a possibility a major casino hack might be, and what cybersecurity problems casinos face:
A recent Wendy’s hack exposed the credit card information of many of its customers. Coming on the heels of attacks on data ranging from infidelity dating site Ashley Madison to drug chain CVS to the U.S. government’s Office of Personnel Management, the Wendy’s breach is a reminder that our sensitive data isn’t as secure as we’d like it to be.
Read more: Hacks Pose Huge Threat to Casinos – Vegas Seven
This is a potentially huge issue–casinos need to devote the resources to make sure it never becomes an issue.
I’m continually impressed by the range of meetings that happen in Las Vegas. Here is my write-up of one that happened last week at Green Valley Ranch:
It might be the wand that chooses the wizard, but it’s the Harry Potter enthusiast that chooses where she wants to share her fandom. Henderson’s Green Valley Ranch Resort was the gathering place July 7-10 for more than 700 enthusiasts of J.K. Rowling’s acclaimed literary series, its stage and film adaptations and the world of fan creations that it has inspired.
Read more: Leviosa Con Proves Las Vegas Is Both Muggle- and Wizard-Friendly – Vegas Seven
Like most of the stuff I do, this was fun to write–the convention was great.
In this week’s Green Felt Journal, I take a look at a lower-profile casino perk, and the local group of entrepreneurs that it benefits:
Smaller-time gamblers play for smaller perks: T-shirts, six packs of soda, even meat thermometers. So it’s not surprising to get a Boyd Gaming promotion offering the chance to redeem B Connected players card points at the Artisan Craft Festival. It’s not the kind of perk you’d expect from cinematic Las Vegas, but it’s perfectly in tune with the reality of who actually visits local casinos.
Read more: The Artisan Craft Festival Is a Perk for Real People – Vegas Seven
I wanted to show a little slice of Las Vegas gambling that isn’t always captured or appreciated in the news: what casinos are like for the vast majority of gamblers. I also wanted to show how local groups like the Artisan Craft Festival mesh with casinos. One of the things about Las Vegas that might surprise non-locals is just how important locals casinos are as meeting spaces. For example, the Nevada PTA held their awards ceremony this year at Texas Station. That might seem very unusual to someone from somewhere else, but in Las Vegas it’s just everyday life. Casinos have the space at reasonable rates, so people use it.
I got the opportunity to write a piece about how the NHL’s announcement it is coming to Las Vegas fits in with the history of gambling for the Washington Post. Here is a small sample:
In that atmosphere, professional sports — whose legitimacy has at times been tainted by gambling-related scandals from the infamous 1919 Black Sox to college-basketball point shaving — were right to distance themselves from gambling. It was mostly illegal and, even where it was allowed, was not well-regarded by the rest of the country. With the United States nearly unanimous against gambling, legal or otherwise, this was a no-brainer.
Source: The NHL is coming to Las Vegas because America is now a casino nation – The Washington Post
Obviously this is a little different from my usual writing for Vegas Seven–it gave me the chance to address a different audience. My gratitude goes to the editors at the Post, and of course, my editors at Seven who give me the chance to write about such a range of topics.
Reading the VegasTripping review of the new Julius Tower rooms, I was struck by the art. So I wrote my latest Green Felt Journal about it:
Usually, hotel room art at best presents a regional accent; at worst, it says nothing and moves no one. For the creatives at KNA Design, the distinctly Caesars touch was essential.
Read more: Caesars’ Room Art Gives Guests Something to Gawk At – Vegas Seven
This was a lot of fun to write. It’s fascinating to learn how much thought goes into room design.
I’ve got two pieces in this week’s Vegas Seven about the upcoming Money in the Bank pay per view at T-Mobile Arena. This first is a look at the event itself:
Oh, Las Vegas, don’t you dare be sour … come to the T-Mobile Arena and feel the power.
For the first time in eight years, the WWE is bringing one of its sports entertainment spectaculars to town when its Money in the Bank pay-per-view headlines the new arena June 19.
Read more: T-Mobile Banking on Big Entertainment With WWE
The second is an interview with the New Day’s Big E:
The New Day’s Big E, who will help defend the trio’s tag team belts in a Fatal 4-Way match, will be a big (pun slightly intended) part of the action. Here he shares his thoughts on the match itself, competing in Las Vegas, what the fans don’t appreciate (yet) and much more, including unicorns and a time machine.
Read more: One on One With WWE Superstar Big E
The WWE media folks were very helpful in connecting me with Big E on a tight deadline, and it was fun to get to write about this. I’m really looking forward to all of the matches but now I’m particularly excited for the Fatal 4-Way.
In this week’s Green Felt Journal, I take a look at seasonality in Las Vegas:
How seasonal are gaming and tourism in Las Vegas? My hometown, Atlantic City, had a well-defined busy season: Memorial Day to just after Labor Day (the Miss America Pageant was created to extend the summer an extra week). Vegas has its fluctuations, too, but they are harder to characterize.
Read more: How Seasonal Are Gaming and Tourism? – Vegas Seven
This started with me just wondering how seasonal the business is; I know I’d looked at it before but hadn’t bothered the write it down. So now I’ve got some spreadsheets and some graphs that didn’t make it into print. Like so many other things I look at, there is no easy answer.
This week’s Green Felt Journal is a night in the life of an esports lounge in a Las Vegas casino. In other words, exactly what I thought I’d be writing about when I went to graduate school. I love that this is a concept that you might not be able to explain if you time traveled back to the 1960s, just like you couldn’t explain a craps pit if you traveled back a little further:
A bunch of millennials playing video games on a Saturday night in Las Vegas. Not too long ago, that might have been a casino operator’s nightmare. But in the last few months and with accelerating velocity, competitive video game playing—e-sports, as it is best known—has become a reality, just steps away from roulette wheels and slot machines. Read more: E-sports Start to Take Hold of Casinos’ Imaginations – Vegas Seven
I think that this is a compelling story for casinos and will continue to be for a long time.
From this week’s Green Felt Journal:
Last year, I wrote that locals gaming was on the rebound (“Locals Casinos Are Back in Business,” July 8). At the time, several indicators suggested it was in the midst of a resurgence after several rough years. Its revival has become even more apparent thanks to recent moves by two locals giants. Read more: Betting on Locals – Vegas Seven
Since I wrote that, Red Rock bought the Palms, which answers the question “what next” in the short term. Long term, I would expect to see more expansion from both companies.