If you’re not tuned into my Twitter feed or don’t regularly check Two Way Hard Three, you will be surprised and, one hopes, delighted to hear that I’ve had a very productive few days there.
This came about because, in the run-up to the Vegas Internet Mafia Family Picnic,* I wanted to stoke excitement by doing the most exciting thing I know how to do–writing about casinos (yes, that’s a personal shortcoming that I’m working on). So on Wednesday, I penned a number-heavy analysis of Atlantic City casino comps vs. Las Vegas Strip casino comps. Here’s a little teaser:
Worse yet, the trend is heading in the wrong direction. In 2007, there was one casino in the over-40% red zone: the AC Hilton. In 2010, four casinos were there.
As a whole, the industry is spending 8 cents more per dollar of casino win in revenues. That’s not sustainable, and those properties with the highest comp ratios are the most likely to collapse.
Let’s now turn to the Las Vegas Strip….
Comps: Atlantic City Vs. Las Vegas
I followed that up on Thursday with an in-depth treatment of the Tropicana’s recent game of musical chairs. I’d been asked to talk about it quite a bit, and wanted to just get my thoughts out there, unmediated. Here’s a sample:
I can’t speak directly to the circumstances around Mr. McCartney’s departure, I will say it’s not unprecedented for casino presidents to leave abruptly. Obviously neither side is going to have a frank discussion about the real reason for the departure, so for now it’s best to just let that one go, since anything anyone says is going to be speculation, which isn’t that illuminating or respectful to those involved.
The second essential, entertainment turnover, I can speak to directly. We’ve seen tons of it on the Strip, and at successful casinos, too.
Tropicana shuffle: Panic or business as usual?
And just this morning (after Hunter’s posting of a CCTV-camera quality, last-known-photograph shot of the possible Wynn Cotai) I offered up some thoughts on casinos, history, and the mob, sparked by Henry Hill’s stint signing autographs at the Global Gaming Expo earlier this month:
Fast forward ten years and all things organized crime are, it seems, embraced. There’s been a Godfather slot machine. There’s been a Sopranos slot machine. In Atlantic City, Resorts is embracing a “Boardwalk Empire”-inspired Roaring Twenties theme, paying tribute to Prohibition-era law-breaking. The Tropicana, which once hid secret interests from reputed mob bosses Frank Costello and Meyer Lansky and was, in the 1970s, implicated as mob-tainted as part of the Strawman investigation, went all-in with a “Mob Experience” that not only celebrated organized crime, but made it seem as natural a part of the industry as comp buffets for slot players. And Henry Hill was part of the industry’s biggest showcase.
The mob & casinos: time heals all wounds
So I’ve been pretty busy. Between this, my Business Press column, and the Vegas Seven piece on Ramesh Sadhwani, you’ve got about 3,000 words (or more) of my writing to entertain you. And, if you’re a guest at the Vegas Internet Mafia Family Picnic* this weekend, you get a chance to stump me. Sounds like fun.
* Not a real mafia.