Second Chances on the North Strip – Vegas Seven

The sale of the Fontainebleau finally happening got me thinking about the history of that property, which made for a decent Green Felt Journal:

The Fontainebleau’s construction began in 2007 and stopped amid the recession in 2009. As with the Marc Antony and Countryland USA projects, lack of financing was the culprit. But the scale of its failure reveals much about how Las Vegas’ ambitions and potential for disaster have grown.

Read more: Second Chances on the North Strip – Vegas Seven

My perspective came to be that the Fontainebleau’s fizzle wasn’t an anomaly for that site–a successful development would be. You can read why by clicking through.

Green Felt Journal Deals 200 – Vegas Seven

For my 200th Green Felt Journal, I took a look back at the first 199 columns:

My first GFJ came in the first issue of Vegas Seven, released February 4, 2010. The column itself (and its name) was the brainchild of then-editor Phil Hagen; it’s a take on Ed Reid and Ovid Demaris’ anti-Vegas potboiler, The Green Felt Jungle (see “The Book That Tried to End Las Vegas” for the whole story on that volume).

Source: Green Felt Journal Deals 200 – Vegas Seven

My first thought was, “that’s a lot of columns.” It was a bit humbling to browse the archives and see some of what I’ve written.

Jon Gray Is Ready for Round Two – Vegas Seven

It’s always fun to profile interesting people. That’s definitely the case in my second look at Jon Gray:

“I called George [Maloof, founder of Palms] right away. He said, ‘You’re the right guy for the job. If anyone can bring Palms back, it’s you and the Fertittas [brothers Frank and Lorenzo are the chairman and director of Red Rock Resorts, owner of Palms and Station Casinos].’” So, earlier this year, Gray, who started in the hospitality industry behind the front desk, returned to Palms as general manager and vice president.

Read more: Jon Gray Is Ready for Round Two – Vegas Seven

Looks like they are shaking things up at the Palms.

Parq to the Future – Vegas Seven

As part of that Vegas Seven future issue, I looked at a Vancouver development that reflects the future of casino design in Las Vegas and elsewhere:

Traditionally, Las Vegas has set the bar for casino innovations. In the past decade, however, that has changed because of the proliferation of gaming. There have been tremendous strides taken in casino design in Macau, as well as innovative games and systems on the floors of California tribal casinos. And Parq Vancouver, a soon-to-open British Columbia property, may be redefining the boutique urban resort.

Read more: Parq to the Future – Vegas Seven

The trend seems to be smaller and less gaming-focused, even outside of Las Vegas.

The Las Vegas Strip of the Future – Vegas Seven

I have a big feature in this week’s Vegas Seven: The Las Vegas Strip of the Future. Fittingly, I approached the future by taking in the past:

Looking at how the Las Vegas Strip has evolved over the past 60 years can give us an idea of where it is headed. We’ll survey what’s popular in three facets—gambling, entertainment and nightlife—by decade to give us a feel for how the landscape will continue to transform over the next 10 years.

Times change. Tastes change. So Las Vegas changes.

Read more: The Las Vegas Strip of the Future – Vegas Seven

Traveling back through time by immersing myself in the back issues of local magazine was, as always, an amazing journey. It was such a different place in so many ways. Anyway, I hope you like this walk from memory lane to the near-future.

Esports Draw an Audience – Vegas Seven

In this week’s Green Felt Journal, I reflect back on EVO 2017, which I attended a while back:

Which brings us to EVO 2017, which took place at the Mandalay Bay last month. EVO is short for the Evolution Championship Series, an annual tournament that seeks to crown the best players in several fighting video games, one of many popular genres of esports. This isn’t the first time the tournament has been held in Las Vegas—it’s been here since 2005.

Read more: Esports Draw an Audience More Interested In Fun Than Payouts – Vegas Seven

If you don’t know anything about the tournament, it features fighting games like Street Fighter and Tekken. Esports in Las Vegas are interesting to me because they show (I think) how esports are becoming more mainstream and (simultaneously) how Las Vegas continues to adapt to a post-gambling-monopoly existence. People come to Las Vegas to do many things, and gambling seems to be sliding further down the list.

I’m not saying that’s a good thing or a bad thing; I’m just saying it’s happening.

The Enduring Fascination of Casino Carpet – Vegas Seven

I’ve had a weird relationship with casino carpet for a long time. In my latest Green Felt Journal, I get the low-down from a real expert:

Carpets that adorn casinos look very different, but they are somehow easy to classify—a certain mixture of garish and gaudy that balances mirth with disorientation. This, perhaps, makes the public’s curiosity about them a little easier to understand.

Read more: The Enduring Fascination of Casino Carpet – Vegas Seven

Hopefully that clarifies a few things.

The Circus Is Coming Back to Town – Vegas Seven

Who doesn’t like a circus? Besides the people who stopped going to circuses because they don’t like circuses? In my latest Green Felt Journal, I explore the links between the circus and Las Vegas entertainment:

The latest incarnation of the circus to hit Las Vegas is Circus 1903, which will be performing at Paris Las Vegas beginning later this month. What makes the arrival of Circus 1903 interesting is that, nationally, circuses are at a low ebb. This May, Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus held its final performance. After nearly 150 years, the “Greatest Show on Earth” ended. Shifting tastes, particularly growing concern over the plight of circus animals, led to the circus’ American decline.

Read more: The Circus Is Coming Back to Town – Vegas Seven\

Of course, the circus never really left, but that wouldn’t make a good headline. And I just realized I used “circus” five times in that paragraph alone, and that’s not even the one I mentioned Circus Circus in.

Someday, we may even seen a show based on Charles Mingus’s “The Clown:”

Or maybe not.

Derek Stevens Looks Toward Downtown’s Past to See Its Future – Vegas Seven

In this week’s Green Felt Journal, I talk about two of Derek Stevens’ latest moves in Downtown Las Vegas. How are they tied to the past?

The past few weeks have offered a good perspective on the dance between old Vegas, new Vegas and new old Vegas that characterizes our times. In particular, two incidents involving Downtown casino owner Derek Stevens that could only have happened in 2017 show just how far Las Vegas has come and why it’s important not to lose sight of its past.

Read more: Derek Stevens Looks Toward Downtown’s Past to See Its Future – Vegas Seven

I really was reminded of Jackie Gaughan when I heard about The D hosting the Golden Knights–it’s exactly the kind of thing he would have done. At this rate, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Stevens driving around The D’s garage with a pair of jumper cables.*





* I’ve heard from multiple people that Jackie Gaughan would do just that at the El Cortez, ready to help out any customer with a dead battery.

Survey Shows Bad Hotels Make Guests Cry – Vegas Seven

In my latest Green Felt Journal, I talk about a recent survey that detailed hotel miseries:

Vacation is supposed to be a fun time, a chance to get away from your everyday problems. And hotels are the cocoons that travelers return to, their homes away from home. A good hotel experience can make a vacation, and a bad one can break it. A recent Qualtrics survey reveals just what usually goes wrong and how guests react to missed expectations. While the survey is about hotels in general and not Las Vegas in particular, those who work in our city’s hospitality industry should heed its results.

Read more: Survey Shows Bad Hotels Make Guests Cry – Vegas Seven

I found this survey fascinating. I’ve figured out that the worst possible room is one that:

  1. is dirty
  2. is surrounded by unfriendly employees
  3. has an uncomfortable bed
  4. comes with unexpected fees
  5. and has thin walls and loud neighbors.

So if you don’t get that, things aren’t going so badly for you.

Also, I’m a bit disturbed that 9% of guests are being haunted by ghosts during their stay.