WWE’s Dean Ambrose and Renee Young: Power Couple – Vegas Seven

In this week’s Vegas Seven, my interview with Dean Amrbose and Renee Young is the cover story. Great pictures by Krystal Ramirez:

It’s a path that shows the world really does work in strange ways. Six years ago, Ambrose was getting forks jammed into his forehead until he was streaming blood and powerbombed on thumbtacks in front of a few hundred fans. This year, he won the business’ biggest prize in front of 19,000 Las Vegas fans and hundreds of thousands watching on the WWE Network. But what probably means more to him is that the intensely private Ambrose snared something even more valuable: a rewarding life and someone to share it with.

Source: WWE’s Dean Ambrose and Renee Young: Power Couple – Vegas Seven

This was a really fun interview to do, and I’m glad its gotten such a large reaction.

The NCAA Tourney’s Economic Impact on the Las Vegas Strip – Vegas Seven

This week in Vegas Seven, I also had a short article about how March Madness betting impacts Las Vegas:

In the past decade, the amount bet on the tournament has almost doubled. That’s more about the expanding popularity of sports betting itself, though, since the percentage of money bet on the tournament has remained close to 65 percent of all money bet at the books in March. Last year saw the biggest total bet on March Madness yet, and this year’s will likely be even bigger, but betting in general is increasing.

Source: The NCAA Tourney’s Economic Impact on the Las Vegas Strip – Vegas Seven

I looked at some numbers I hadn’t before, and the results, while probably not shocking, do confirm a few things I had suspected.

 

30 Years of Tribal Gaming – Vegas Seven

In this week’s Green Felt Journal, I take a (very brief) look back at the legacy of the Cabazon decision:

February 25, 1987, was a milestone date for gambling in America. On that day, the United States Supreme Court handed down its decision in California v. Cabazon Band of Mission Indians, a verdict that paved the way for the rapid expansion of casino gambling on tribal lands in the decades to follow. Thirty years on, the Court’s decision still reverberates throughout the casino industry and Las Vegas.

Read more: 30 Years of Tribal Gaming – Vegas Seven

This is the topic for a few books, so it’s by no means comprehensive, but I thought that the anniversary was a good time to reflect on tribal gaming and Las Vegas.

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.

Read more: Why Las Vegas Casinos Need Better Infrastructure – Vegas Seven

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..

Read more: What Will Gaming Look Like in 2017? – Vegas Seven

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.

Read more: Where the Grass Is Greener – Vegas Seven

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.