Fright Night – Las Vegas Style

A remake of the classic horror movie “Fright Night” will be filmed in Las Vegas beginning this July.  If this movie doesn’t sound awesome, I don’t know what does!

it’s no longer set in humdrum suburbia, but the city of a thousand gangster slayings and the scene of Hunter S. Thompson’s infamous booze and drug-fuelled weekend – Las Vegas.

Anton Yelchin will be playing Charley Brewster doing battle with a vampire who lives next door (played by Colin Farrell), while Toni Colette has signed up to play Charley’s disbelieving mother. There’s also rumour the Peter Vincent character will now be a washed up Vegas magician.

I don’t remember if I ever saw the original.  It looks tame by today’s standards.  I’m curious to see how they incorporate the casinos into the movie.  I love movies set in Vegas with poor continuity like “21” where the team enters the Hard Rock, but their suite is in Planet Hollywood overlooking Bellagio then they head down to gamble at Red Rocks.  So nice.

Add to your DVD collection:

Fright Night
21

World Cup Odds

I present you with odds to win the FIFA World Cup that begins this week.  I know less about national teams than I do about the specific leagues, which isn’t much.  Because of my lack of knowledge here I would stick with the favorites, but that’s no fun.

The USA at 80-1 could be fun, but no team from this side of the world has ever won the World Cup so I don’t see that as a reality.  Here are the odds from sportsbook.com all based on a moneyline of 100.  For example Argentina is 6.5-1.

Algeria +75000
Argentina +650
Australia +17500
Brazil +450
Cameroon +12500
Chile +8000
Denmark +12500
England +700
France +2000
Germany +1200
Ghana +12500
Greece +25000
Holland +900
Honduras +100000
Italy +1600
Ivory Coast +5000
Japan +60000
Mexico +8000
New Zealand +250000
Nigeria +15000
North Korea +200000
Paraguay +10000
Portugal +2800
Serbia +5000
Slovakia +40000
Slovenia +50000
South Africa +15000
South Korea +30000
Spain +375
Switzerland +30000
USA +8000
Uruguay +12500

ESPN Zone Closing

Yesterday, Disney announced that they would be closing most of the ESPN Zone restaurants across the country.

It’s unclear what has prompted Disney to close the establishments, although the bars may well be a casualty of the recession. A poll released in March by AlixPartners found that 30% of consumers planned to eat out less frequently, and spend less per meal than they did the year before.

I understand why people would shy away from a bar/restaurant that charges a bit more for average bar food and drinks.  I happen to like the ESPN Zone’s that I’ve been to and there’s always something inside me that wants to install a TV in my bathroom after every visit.

Specifically, I’ve had a great time at the Las Vegas location inside of NYNY.  The NYNY sportsbook is almost non-existent, so I have to imagine that MGM will find another name to slap on the ESPN Zone and re-brand it as something similar to Legasse Stadium at the Palazzo.  I’m thinking that MGM’s relationship with the Light Group will come into play here, but I’m not sure how just yet.

Want to Bet on the NBA Finals? Don’t Go To Harrah’s

If you’re in Las Vegas and looking to place a bet on the NBA Finals that start tonight don’t go to any Harrah’s property. Stiffs and Georges reminds us why.

…you can forget about betting on Celtics games if you’re in a Harrah’s property because the company forfeited that sports book action so that CEO Gary Loveman could own a piece of the team.

I forgot about this, but it reminded me that I ran into this problem staying a the Rio a few years ago.  A friend and I wanted to bet on the Celtics but the game was off the board.  We ended up running to the Gold Coast to place our bets, but it was a bit inconvenient.

This isn’t the only casino with this problem.  The Maloof’s on the Sacramento Kings so you can’t bet on the Kings at the Palms.  At least you can still watch the Lakers beat the Celtics in any casino.

Fighting Resort Fees…And Winning

At first, I wasn’t so bothered by resort fees but after my recent trip to Las Vegas that changed.  So, it brings me great pleasure to find an blog that shows how a customer at Treasure Island fought back against resort fees…and won!

Yesterday, he sent me an update:

A letter from American Express stated, “OUTCOME – This dispute has been resolved in your favor. The merchant has not yet provided the information necessary to resolve your claim. Therefore, we have issued credit to your account and removed the previously suspended amount, which will reflect on an upcoming statement.”

Folks, remember this when you encounter a surprise surcharge. The hotel may not see things your way. But your charge card just might.

That’s a great point – if the hotel won’t help go to your credit card company to fight if you feel as if you were unjustly charged.  Resort fees make you pay a bit more attention to the price of hotel rooms now.

In fact, I look at all advertised prices in Las Vegas as lies because there is almost always a resort fee added.  I don’t like thinking about money when I think about Las Vegas.

Resort Fees have potential to backfire on hotels in the long run if consumers become more vigilant when choosing a location.  If the consumer is counting their pennies before they travel they will likely count them while they travel.  That can cause less spending.  In the long term this may bit the hotels in the (insert profanity here).

I encourage you to read the whole article for the full story about undisclosed resort fees.

Seven Stars Insider – June

Here is the Seven Stars Insider newsletter for June.  Go to Seven Stars Insider to sign up for the newsletter.  Enjoy the Insider.  Congrats on the column with the Examiner!

Examine My New Column
For those of you who play regularly in Atlantic City, or have an interest in the casino and gaming scene there, check out my columns at examiner.com .  While much of the information will be “old hat” to “regulars”, hopefully you’ll find something of interest.  Click here to go directly to my portion of the site.  To be alerted when a new article appears, click the “Subscribe” button to the right of my picture and name.

Atlantic City Crime Alert
“It started off innocently enough when the guy at the slot machine next to me asked where to insert his cash ticket,” a player reports.  “But this minor distraction gave him just enough time to try to stick his left hand into my right pants pocket and take my cash.  Fortunately, realizing what was happening, I grabbed his wrist and he ran away – without any of my money.”  Incidents like this probably happen at other AC casinos, as well as at casinos across the country, but this occurred at Caesars around 10 p.m. on a weeknight.  Apparently there also were a number of individuals sleeping at machines scattered around the second floor of the casino.  “What made it worse,” my correspondent writes, “is that the two Caesars employees I spoke to seemed more interested in their personal conversation than walking around to wake up and usher out these vagrants.”  [I witnessed a number of “slot sleepers” at Harrah’s Resort in Atlantic City about a year ago, and had a similar experience trying to get Harrah’s employees to take any action.]  “What aggravated the situation even more was that the next morning around 7:30, as I was walking to check-out, there still were people sleeping at the machines.  Meanwhile a whole ‘parade’ of business-suited male employees walked by oblivious to the situation.”

No Rain On This Parade
Showboat in Atlantic City has resumed its four-day-a-week schedule of free indoor parades.  Wednesday through Sunday, you can see the parade at 3:30, 6 and 8 p.m.  While entertaining, the concept is a bit ill-conceived, especially when crowds gather for the first “stop” across from the registration desk.  On busy weekends, security guards are necessary to herd the audiences away from the lines of people trying to check-in.  And, with folks in wheelchairs and children on top of their fathers’ shoulders, it’s often difficult to see the acts.  Still, you have to give Showboat credit for trying something different – and most of the performers are very talented.

Atlantic City Cashback Update
Harrah’s may be rethinking its decision to mail those Reel Rewards coupons in lieu of cashback from your play in Atlantic City; however, no official statement has been issued, and folks working the Caesars Total Rewards desk claimed to know nothing.  However, floating around the Internet is the following plan, but it cannot be confirmed:  While you still won’t get cold hard cash, you’ll be able to retrieve a coupon through the kiosks.  Print the voucher – minimum $5, in increments of $5 – and take it to the cashier to exchange for a Reel Rewards coupon.  In the future, the only thing you’ll get in the mail is a postcard telling you how much you’ve earned.  And, if you still haven’t redeemed any cashback balances prior to April 6, you won’t get the cash, just vouchers for Reel Rewards coupons available through the kiosks.  All existing cashback offers that were sent through the mail as Reel Rewards coupons will continue to be valid through their expiration date.

1:1 Comps At Pier Shops Restaurants
From June 20 – 30 you can redeem your Total Rewards credits on a 1:1 basis at the Pier Shops’ Phillips Seafood, Sonsie, Game On!, The Trinity and Souzai.  While these restaurants always have accepted Reward Credits, it was on a 2:1 basis.  In other words, your $100 dinner would cost you $200 in comps.

Claridge, Wild Wild West Getting ‘Facelifts’
The 29-story circa-1929 Claridge Hotel in Atlantic City will undergo a major renovation, thanks to a $20 million investment by Harrah’s Entertainment Inc. and another $3.6 million, courtesy of the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA).  Describing it as a “modern cool” design, Harrah’s will be replacing furniture, bathroom fixtures, carpeting and bedding.  The CRDA money will be used for exterior work.  Meanwhile, down the street, another $1.5 million is being invested to completely overhaul the gaming floor at Wild Wild West.  The Wild Wild West project is expected to be complete

Updated: Encore Beach Club Opens

The Encore Beach Club opens this week to a lot of fanfare.  I thought the Wynn complex was stuffy when it first opened, but on my past two trips I didn’t find that to be the case.  In fact, I had a great time I had a great time gambling at Encore in December.

I don’t get too giddy with excitement when new joints in Las Vegas open, but there’s been a lot of people following it.  Here are my favorite places to get information about the opening of the Encore Beach Club as it happens.

Vegas Chatter and VC on Twitter. Update here.

Rate Vegas and Hunter on Twitter.

Vegas Tripping (where the picture below is from, thanks!) here and here and here.

There has been coverage everywhere, including the New York Times and Entertainment Tonight.

The Encore Beach club looks very well done.  Props to those covering for making a contrarian like me excited.  I’m sure it won’t be long before the Jersey Shore wannabe’s start making their move from Rehab and Wet to the EBC, but I’m sure that will be part of the fun.

Station Casinos – Who Ya Got?

A judge OK’d Station Casinos request to sell 11 of their properties in Las Vegas.  Now that they can sell the casino’s who do you think is going to bid for them of the following?

Mentioned as potential bidders are Boyd Gaming Corp, Ameristar Casinos, Penn National Gaming, Cannery Casino Resorts and the Palms.

My money remains on Boyd Gaming, unless they decide to purchase MGM’s half of Borgata in Atlantic City.  So, who ya got?

Fiesta

Photo: Las Vegas Sun

World Series Of Poker Underway

The 2010 World Series of Poker is underway at the Rio in Las Vegas.

At precisely noon on May 28th, 2010 — the 41st annual World Series of Poker officially begins.  This is a time when, once again, hope springs eternal.  This is a time when personal and professional goals are reaffirmed.  This is a time for renewed commitment.  This is a time when fantasy finally becomes reality.

Keep track of the World Series on WSOP.com.  Look for ESPN coverage to begin later this summer.

KGB Will Find You Before You Find KGB

KGB Burger
KGB Burger

If you know me, you know I love a good burger.  I’ve read a slew of stories about Kerry Simon’s new burger joint opening at Harrah’s called KGB.

The burger joint will serve lunch, dinner and late-night bites. On the menu will be “inventive burger offerings, signature snacks and sides including ‘Iron Chef’ sliders and tater tots and sweet selections such as strawberry shortcake push pops.” You know Simon, he always needs a junk food platter to complete a meal.

The restaurant will also take on a very different look for Harrah’s. The walls will be covered in 1960s Russian propaganda posters and the full service bar will feature vodka hostesses, an ice bar and chilled vodka specialty drinks. There will also be flat-screen TVs (practically expected in all Vegas restaurants) that will rotate from sports events to “retro-style images.”

The concept is kind of cool – I love vodka and I love a good burger.  However, the name KGB refers to Russian secret police.  I won’t go anywhere that makes me think of shady police.   That’s just not my thing.

When Harrah’s realizes that the name is a bad idea in 3 months they can call Yakov Smirnoff to lend his name to the restaurant.  Now THAT’S a good idea.

Photo: About.com