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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Vegas for Everyman (and Woman) – Vegas Seven

The key to Las Vegas’s post-recession rebound (I don’t like to call it a recovery because the casino industry didn’t take back lost ground; it pivoted into slightly new areas to make up for its losses), some argue, is doing everything bigger and flashier. It’s hard to argue with that approach since many of the places that give more bang for more buck are doing well. But are there people who don’t want all that expense and pretension when they come to Las Vegas? The Stratosphere is betting yes, as I explore in my latest Green Felt Journal:

Back in January 2015, the Stratosphere launched a marketing campaign aiming to capitalize on people who miss the old Las Vegas. “Take Vegas Back,” declared a series of billboards. Since then, the casino has amplified that message, promoting an alternative to a Las Vegas that some say has lost its roots. According to Rachel Hunt, the Stratosphere’s assistant vice president of marketing, it was the right idea at the right moment.

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I want to see if visitors vote with their wallets on this one.

A Big Weekend Ahead for Future Stars of Wrestling – Vegas Seven

This week, my job for Vegas Seven is to explain why wrestling fans should be excited about what Future Stars of Wrestling is doing this weekend:

Future Stars of Wrestling, the Las Vegas-based grappling promotion that features both local and national talent kicks off its Inaugural Wrestling Hall of Fame Ceremony on Friday May 19. Following that nod to the past, it delves into the future with night of action-packed wrestling at Sam’s Town Live.

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There is nothing more fun than hearing wrestlers talk about wrestling. At least for me right now. It is a pleasure to interview people who speak concisely and vividly about what they intend to do and why people should care.

At the Intersection of Social Games and Casino Games – Vegas Seven

My latest Green Felt Journal:

International Game Technology recently announced that it is selling its social gaming division, Double Down Interactive, for $825 million. The sale could offer a glimpse into how casinos will be working with social games in the future.

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I have a feeling that this is an intersection I’ll be revisiting many times in the future.

Live Out Your Dreams in the Ring at Fantasy Slam Wrestling – Vegas Seven

This was a fascinating story to write. With the growth of fantasy camps for just about everything, it was probably only a matter of time before one sprung up for professional wrestling. It has, and it’s in Las Vegas:

And that’s why you’re all in a small but professional studio in a generic industrial space off Patrick Lane this morning. You are at the latest class in Fantasy Slam Wrestling, the kind of only-in-Vegas attraction the town needs to keep its edge these days.

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To research this, I hung around for a seminar with Sinn, D’Lo, and Jake. Quite the experience, to say the least. Great energy from everyone there, and I felt like I picked up a lot of valuable advice even though I’m not a wrestler and was just watching. Cool stuff, and if you like wrestling and want to get a taste of the action, this could be a lot of fun for you.

Is Skill-Based Gaming Really the Future of Slot Play? – Vegas Seven

I went out to Planet Hollywood to play some skill games in the wild. The results, which I report completely candidly here, certainly taught me much about the future of gaming:

The three Gamblit games are easy to find, just off the main table games area and adjacent to a bubble craps game that had a few players. “Play video games, win cash!” advertised a poster nearby. “The future of gaming is here.”

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To be candid, I went into this with no preconceptions–I was ready to love it or hate it. Instead, I found myself in a sort of purgatory. Metaphor for generational alienation? Existential, universe-defining moment? Or just some clueless guy walking good-naturedly around Planet Hollywood. I’ll let you be the judge.

The Tiffany of the Strip – Vegas Seven

In this week’s Vegas Seven, I take a six-decade look back at the Tropicana, which celebrates its 60th birthday next week:

However, a piece of paper police officers discovered in Costello’s pocket while he was at Roosevelt Hospital was more eloquent. “Gross casino wins as of 4-26-57,” it read. “$651,284. Casino wins less markers $434,595.00. Slot wins $62,844,” followed by a list of amounts paid to “Mike,” “Jake,” “L.” and “H.” Investigators later determined that, over its first 24 days of operation, Las Vegas’ new Tropicana casino had earned … exactly $651,284. For the next 60 years, the Tropicana would be home to some of Nevada’s most respected gaming executives, a massive skimming operation, a purloined fortune and corporate buyouts. If any single property reveals the many facets of the Las Vegas casino business, it might be the Tropicana.

Source: The Tiffany of the Strip – Vegas Seven

The Tropicana has an incredible history–its’s right up there with Caesars and the Flamingo in terms of notoriety and impact.

But no other casino has a video as cool as “A Musical Tour of the Island.” That video makes me wish I had a time machine so I could go back in time and stay at the Tropicana. Because “on the island, the action is hot 24 hours a day.”