Seven Year Switch: How Las Vegas Hospitality Has Changed – Vegas Seven

Not to fear. Yes, I talked about the past seven years of casinos in Vegas Seven this week. Yes, I began with a scenario from the book of Exodus. But no, I have not abandoned talking about gambling for a career in Biblical exegesis. This was just my way of trying to think more deeply about what the last seven years mean:

…this hasn’t turned into a soul-seeking tract. I only want to remind you how deep the idea of economic cycles runs in us. We understand that there will be good years and bad years, and that if we fail to plan ahead, the bad years will be tragic. If Biblical wisdom doesn’t do that for you, next time I’ll talk about Kondratiev waves.

Read on: Seven Year Switch: How Las Vegas Hospitality Has Changed – Vegas Seven

So it all seems good, but I’m not content to say “the Recession is over!” and leave it at that. As I discuss towards the end of the article, there is some evidence building that more fees has slowed or even halted revenue growth in other areas. It’s not a concern this quarter, but someday, it might be.

Future Stars of Wrestling’s High Octane Is an Intimate Spectacle – Vegas Seven

Last Sunday I went to see FSW wrestling. I wrote about it for Vegas Seven. Here it is:

It’s the kind of place that’s common enough around the Valley: a multi-use industrial space in a lowkey warehouse complex, maybe 50 feet across and 100 deep. But this isn’t an auto body shop or scooter wholesale dealer: it’s the FSW Arena, a place where, tonight, dreams happen.

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As you can tell from the article, I really enjoyed the show. It’s challenging to write about–as you can see, words completely failed me for the main event–which makes covering it that much more fun. Barring the unexpected, I’ll be at the February 25 show, so expect to read more.

Future Stars of Wrestling Provides Affordable, Visceral Family Entertainment – Vegas Seven

Last weekend, I attended a Future Stars of Wrestling show. It was a ton of fun, so I wrote it up for a Vegas Seven online exclusive:

Future Stars of Wrestling is a Las Vegas-based promotion that has been running shows since 2009, and currently hosts cards in its own venue and at the Silverton. At the January 28 Silverton show, general admission tickets ran $15 each, plus taxes and fees. That is an excellent entertainment value in the shadow of the Strip, where a 90-minute show might run several times that.

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I hope I was able to do everyone involved justice. Thinking more about it, what I liked best about this show was that it had a little of everything I like in wrestling–high flying stuff, impressive moves, power, and comedy. If the entire night was yoginis fighting hipsters, I probably would have gotten bored, just like if it was just guys flipping around and hitting their finishers for 20 minutes.

To me, this is where pro wrestling is far superior to Cirque (for me, at least). Not taking anything away from the incredible talent Cirque performers have, but my usual experience of seeing a show is I’m amazed at the acrobatics for the five minutes. Then I get desensitized to it, and by a half-hour in I’m kind of bored. But in wrestling, if one match is something I’m not a fan of (brawling or deathmatch stuff, for example), it’ll be over soon and someone else will be out.

I’ll be going to as many of these shows as I can.

What the Future of Tech and AI Looks Like for Las Vegas – Vegas Seven

In this week’s Green Felt Journal, I dwell (hopefully not excessively) on what less human interaction might mean for Las Vegas:

Hospitality is labor-intensive. It takes many hands to create the Las Vegas experience, from housekeeping to meal service. But perhaps that human touch won’t be needed at all someday. Two recent developments in autonomous technology and artificial intelligence will have profound meaning for Las Vegas hospitality.

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I think that both developments–driverless vehicles and, more broadly, hospitality automation and AI–will be far more disruptive than most people think. Automating beverage service,which is already underway with the “standardization” of pours, will save money in the short term, but what are the long-term possibilities?

Why Las Vegas Casinos Need Better Infrastructure – Vegas Seven

In the latest Green Felt Journal, I talk about the importance of casino infrastructure:

It’s not as sexy as a new restaurant opening or a big winner in a sports betting contest, but infrastructure—all the stuff that needs to work for any large building to operate—has been in the news quite a bit lately for Las Vegas casinos.

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This is important, but not always interesting. With all of the power outages happening lately, I figured it was time to explore how resorts mitigate those problems.

What Will Gaming Look Like in 2017? – Vegas Seven

In my last Vegas Seven column of 2016, I look ahead to 2017:

Having gotten through a year that has seen the first post-recession casino opening and the birth of paid parking on the Strip, 2017 will likely bring even more change. The year ahead will see many shifts in gaming and hospitality in Las Vegas..

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Nothing too revolutionary, but I never like to make predictions because they are usually wrong. So instead I just charted a few things that are definitely happened and speculated about what they would mean.

Where the Grass Is Greener – Vegas Seven

In this week’s Green Felt Journal, I wrote about the 15th anniversary of Green Valley Ranch:

The resort opened with a bang—literally—on December 18, with a gigantic fireworks show at its pool area just before the official 9:30 p.m. unveiling of the casino. Then Station Casinos president Lorenzo Fertitta kicked the gambling off with Rande Gerber, Cindy Crawford, Chris O’Donnell and Christian Slater at a blackjack table.

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Two things to add: one, it’s always a pleasant surprise when casinos commemorate their anniversaries. Most of them don’t in any meaningful way. Second, I’ve reached a milestone of my own, where I am writing about anniversaries of casinos that opened when I was in Las Vegas. It started with the Palms’ 10th.

Lucky Dragon Casino Eyes Its Target in Vegas Seven

A new casino opened in Las Vegas. It’s only been six years since the last one. I wrote about it in my Green Felt Journal for Vegas Seven:

When the Lucky Dragon had its official grand opening earlier this month, there were few surprises. After all, the casino had been open for nearly two weeks. But the formal unveiling gives an opportunity to consider just what Sahara Avenue adds to the local casino and hospitality scene. In some ways it looks to the past, but in others, Lucky Dragon could be a glimpse into the future.

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In this piece, I share a few thoughts on why I think Lucky Dragon is significant and speculate about its potential impact.

Games Millennials Play – Vegas Seven

How about those millennials? I’m more interesed in video games than demographics, but that seems to be the hook that is getting casinos interested in a different kind of gaming. You can now find tournaments at the Silver Sevens, as I talk about in the latest Green Felt Journal:

Millennials—technically those born between 1980 and 2000, but more generally anyone younger and more tech-savvy than whoever is running things—started aging onto casinos’ radar about a decade ago (today they are 16 to 36 years old). Past millennial outreach efforts have included nightlife (great for those who can afford bottle service prices) and social media (an already crowded arena).

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I’m happy that I didn’t let me Generation X bitterness flow too freely. It just bugs me sometimes that no one seems to care what Gen X does with their time or money–we went straight from Baby Boomers to millennials.

But seriously, I think LEET is doing some very interesting stuff now. If you’re into games, you could do worse in Las Vegas.

Links in the El Cortez Chain – Vegas Seven

The El Cortez turned 75 earlier this month. I was there. I wrote about it for Vegas Seven:

You might have missed the El Cortez’s 75th anniversary celebration. It didn’t have the glitz of Caesars Palace’s 50th, in which a summer of events and promotions culminated in a gala featuring stars of yesterday and today. No, CEO and chairman Kenny Epstein chose to mark the occasion the same way that big days have been celebrated since the days when Jackie Gaughan still lived on the property: sheet cake and champagne.

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I wanted to capture the difference between the El Cortez and larger places in this article. It may be a distinction better experienced first hand.