People Starting To Gamble At Cosmopolitan

Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas Casino Floor
Cosmopolitan Casino

The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas has had its struggles since opening. They haven’t posted a positive quarter of earnings yet. They’re business model is “the future of Vegas” where 70% (or so) of the revenues come from the non-gaming parts of the casino. That probably won’t change in the future but as a casino in Las Vegas they need to show some form of life in the casino – even if it’s only 20%-30% of their revenue. Well, that may finally be happening.

The $3.9 billion resort posted its best quarter in terms of casino revenue, generating $40.87 million, a 32.6 percent increase from $30.83 million in the first quarter of 2012. The increase was “due to the performance of our table games,” the company said in an earnings filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Overall the Cosmo continues to lose less money every quarter. Having 9 straight losing quarters isn’t good news, but the positive movement isn’t bad news. Overall Cosmo’s non-gaming entities are slowing their growth and if they didn’t install a $25 resort fee (about 10%) on hotel rooms they’d be looking pretty mediocre.

But, hey, people are gambling…WOO HOO!

Photo: Business Insider (Note, this photo is from pre-opening but the casino can still be seen this way every day.)

You Can’t Stay At A Gas Station In Vegas

Terribles Las Vegas
Terribles

A few years ago a couple of friends were talking to some girls and asked them where they were staying on their Vegas vacation. The girls answered “Terribles”.  Never hearing of Terribles Casino my friends asked the girls if they were staying in a gas station. Until that point the only Terribles my friends and I had ever seen or heard of were gas stations.

Well, those girls can no longer stay at Terribles Hotel and Casino. After undergoing a $7 million facelift the property is now called Silver Sevens.

Affinity’s decision to change the name comes after a $7 million, 18-month renovation that included an expanded bar, new sports book and upgraded rooms…

…“We went with Silver Sevens because it has that vintage feel,” said David Nolan, the property’s general manager. 

Not that names matter but I dig Silver Sevens. I’ve stayed at a hotel called The D last week. That name is pretty awful but who cares? The D hotel and casino are both great. Silver Sevens reminds me of slot machines. I like slot machines.

Terribles Silver Sevens is still an inexpensive hotel option just off the Vegas strip on Paradise. The renovations make Silver Sevens one of the better deals for a near strip hotel. Would you rather stay at The Orleans for $50 a night or a newly renovated Silver Sevens? I’d probably opt for the newer hotel rooms. For $10-$20 more you can get a recently renovated room at the Hard Rock. That’s probably the route I’d go.

Photo: Wikimedia

Best Places In Las Vegas To See Live Music

Queens Of The Stoneage At Cosmopolitan Las Vegas
Queens Of The Stoneage

One of the first people I met when I moved to Las Vegas was Craig Nyman. He does a lot of things but his passion for music is something that I haven’t found in many people in this town and it’s awesome. He has a blog called Do You Hear The Music and has written concert reviews for a couple other outlets.

People often ask me where the best places to see bands in Vegas are so I figured I’d go to someone who’s out seeing bands much more often than me. Craig hit the places that I would recommend and then some. Enjoy and follow him on twitter.

It just so happens that I live in the city known as the Entertainment Capital of the World. And as such, I will never pass up the opportunity to catch live music in Las Vegas. Here’s a list of some of the spots I frequent.

House of Blues

House of Blues Las Vegas

When Mandalay Bay opened in 1999 and brought the House of Blues to Las Vegas, a new era for live music in the city was born. Today, HOB is still regarded as one of the top venues in town to see a concert continuously booking a multitude of acts ranging from rock and blues to metal and electronic artists, no genre of music is shunned. (Photo: UrbanPhotos)

Hard Rock Hotel: The Joint and Vinyl

The Joint at Hard Rock Casino Las Vegas

The “new” Joint has put itself on the map as one of the best concert venues in the country and at a max capacity 4,000 you regularly have the chance to see major bands that typically play 12,000-15,000 seat arenas in an intimate setting. Plus the acoustics and sight lines are second to none so you’re going to have an incredible experience at The Joint. (Photo: Sceno Plus)

The newest live music venue, Vinyl is by far one of the best places to catch a show in Las Vegas. The tiny spot gets rocking with a killer sound system and bands seem to respond well to the intimate confines and getting up close and personal with fans.

Quintuplet threat at The Cosmopolitan

Boulevard Pool Cosmopolitan Las Vegas

You’ve got the BLVD Pool, The Chelsea, Chandelier, Book & Stage and BOND. All five spots play host to live music from rocking concerts under the neon glow of the Las Vegas Strip to a jazz quartet at the sultry Chandelier, you can’t go wrong. I’ve seen some of my favorite concerts at this hotel. I could list them all but it’d go on for too long. Instead just visit my blog www.doyouhearthemusic.com and do a search. (Photo: Vegas News)

The Pearl at Palms

The Pearl at Palms Las Vegas

Real simple, great acoustics, solid sight lines, amazing shows in a small venue. With the ability to scale from 1,100 to 2,400 every show I’ve seen at The Pearl has been great. Cool fact, the venue is hard-wired into the recording studio upstairs at Palms; so you never know if that concert you attended may just be released as a live album by your favorite artist.

Hard Rock Café on The Strip

Hard Rock Cafe On The Strip Las Vegas

Chances are you haven’t been and that’s your first mistake. This 1,000 cap venue in the middle of The Strip gets some rocking shows and is a great room to catch a concert.

Double Down

Double Down Las Vegas

A 24/7 Institution. Grab yourself a Bacon Martini or some Ass Juice and embrace the legendary Double Down. Always open and always a good time with a slew of bands performing each night the only thing guaranteed is really not knowing what will happen when you step foot inside the happiest place on earth! (Photo: Vegas Seven)

Downtown Spots

Beauty Bar Las Vegas

  • Beauty Bar: Until recently, Beauty Bar was THE up and coming indie acts and while the competition has been getting a little fierce, the venue still does a kick ass job of bringing in the stars of tomorrow before. With an intimate stage inside and a backyard patio outside, you get two different experiences at Beauty Bar.
  • Commonwealth: The new kids on Fremont are cracking into live music with Sundays devoted to performances from talented local musicians. Add in the regular appearances by some awesome DJs and Commonwealth is quickly becoming a place to see sheer talent.
  • Insert Coin(s): Awesome DJs, video games and stiff drinks – in just two years IC has marked its place on the map for entertainment in Las Vegas.
  • Artifice: I love this place, what else can I say. It’s cozy, the staff is awesome and you can see some kick ass shows in this spot.
  • The Bunkhouse: If you’ve never been, put this on your list pronto.

So Long Gold Spike, Sexy Blackjack

Sexy Blackjack At Gold Spike Las Vegas
$5 Sexy Blackjack At Gold Spike

Gold Spike was closed a couple of weeks ago during my pre-summer-n0t-really-vacation and is now owned by Downtown Project. Gold Spike will re-open in a couple of weeks as a bar/restaurant and without a casino or Sexy Blackjack.

 Michael Downs, Downtown Project executive vice president of operations. said the property at 217 Las Vegas Blvd. North is in good shape. The Siegel Group of Nevada Inc. sold the property to Downtown Project investors recently for an undisclosed amount. When Siegel purchased the property five years ago, it did extensive renovations to the casino and hotel rooms.

Sexy Blackjack was stopped back in February and I could tell that this was just the beginning. See, the first place I worked out of college ran into financial problems and was looking for ways to trim the fat. Their first idea was to remove the water cooler. The water cooler was less than a $100 a month expense and let everyone on staff know that things were seriously bad. It didn’t have to be a water cooler that signified change but there was always a signal.

Sexy blackjack wasn’t an expense like the water cooler but its removal was a metaphor for change. Sexy Blackjack wasn’t sexy but it was fun to talk about. Gold Spike was always a part of my Downtown Vegas tour specifically because of Sexy Blackjack. “Hey, I just played $5 Sexy Blackjack” was something my friends and I would say pretty often. There’s plenty of $5 blackjack available downtown but there was no other “Sexy Blackjack”.

The Gold Spike will re-open as part of Downtown Project’s renovation/gentrification/takeover/expansion in Downtown Vegas. This isn’t entirely a bad thing. Reinventing the area around Fremont Street is great even though a little diversity in ownership would be nice. Monopolies are never good for the consumer. That’s for the government to deal with.

Sexy Blackjack and the Gold Spike leaving our lives means different things to different people. Gamblers won’t really be affected since there is plenty of $5 blackjack downtown, tourists will lose a few hundred cheap hotel rooms but room prices may increase with less competition, locals will have to deal with the Downtown Project expansion.

Me, as a local gambler? I’ll miss Sexy Blackjack because it was fun to say but that’s about it. If I want to look at girls while I gamble downtown I can go to Binions, the D, Golden Gate Casino or The Plaza but it won’t be the same as spending a lazy Saturday afternoon playing Sexy Blackjack. 

My Local Bar – Red Rock Sportsbook Bar

Video Poker And Beer Red Rock Las Vegas
Video Poker & Beer

People ask me pretty often what it’s like living in Las Vegas. I’m a city guy but I imagine living 20 minutes from the strip is what like living the suburbs anywhere would be like. Everything around me is a strip mall, casino, golf course or desert. It’s much less intense than I’m used to and I like that. Oh yeah, I have about 15 coffee shops within a mile of my house.

Las Vegas is a transient city and many people just stay here for a short while so people come and go fairly quickly. I was talking with someone a couple of weeks ago about having a local bar. A bar like the TV show “Cheers”, where everybody knows your name. Last weekend I realized that my local bar is the sportsbook bar at Red Rock Casino.

During baseball season I’m there a few days watching the games, playing video poker and having a couple of beers (Usually Kona Fire Rock). I usually have my head buried in my iPhone or on one of the games in front of me and I’m not very social but the bartenders have been the same people since I moved here and they’re always nice. Last week one of the bartenders started a conversation making fun on the fact that I wasn’t wearing my New York Yankees hat for a change.

The quick exchange reminded me that the bartenders at that bar know about half the people who visit. That seems like a lot of people for a casino bar. There are plenty of bars in this area but that’s my favorite because of the access to watching so many games. A pint of Fire Rock Pale Ale is only $3 and they have daily drink specials like most bars. Even if we don’t chat much because I keep myself busy I always feel like I’m at the bar I should be and there’s something comforting about that.

I just realized that the picture above took was taken while we were talking about the Yankees.

The Average Vegas Hotel Room Will Cost You…

View From Foundation Room At Mandalay Bay Las Vegas
View From Foundation Room

The average daily hotel room rate in 2012 was $108. That may seem high but it includes all of southern Nevada including locals casinos and downtown Vegas casinos which are less expensive than the Vegas strip.

The company (Cosmopolitan) also reported an average daily room rate of $259, well above the $108 Southern Nevada average, and an occupancy rate of 85.6 percent for the year.

The $108 average represents room rates from weekends at the luxury properties, like Cosmopolitan, to mid-week rates at downtown Vegas casinos, like the D where I’ll be staying next week, which often run in the $30-$40 range.

The Vegas strip is split right down the middle with almost as many luxury resorts as mid-price hotel rooms. I have a couple of posts on which hotels have less expensive rooms in Vegas near the strip and on the strip.

Cosmopolitan: Right Amount Of Wrong

Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas At Night
Cosmopolitan At Night

Remember the initial marketing campaign (“The Right Amount of Wrong“) for the Cosmopolitan? It was fortuitous in every way. Cosmopolitan is a really nice hotel with lots of good restaurants and bars. They also have the nightclub that brings in the most money in America with Marquee. Not too many people gamble at Cosmopolitan but that’s OK because the future of the casino business isn’t about gambling. Non-gaming revenue has been more than gaming revenue for over 10 years now.

Even though they have so many good things going on at the hotel they keep losing money. However, they do get the Charlie Hustle award for losing less money than the previous quarter. It’s cool, they don’t mind losing money.

For the quarter, the company reported a net loss of $30 million on net revenue of $141 million for the quarter…

“We are extremely pleased to see our unique approach to the Las Vegas market translate into the strong numbers reflected in our earnings report. Our 2012 financial performance affirms that the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas brand and guest experience continue to resonate,” she (Amy Rossetti, vice president of public relations) said.

The Charlie Hustle award is named after baseball player Pete Rose who was nicknamed “Charlie Hustle”. He played the game hard and tried harder than just about anyone in baseball. When I played Little League the Charlie Hustle award was given to the kid that tried really hard but wasn’t usually one of the better players on they team. But hey, they tried.

Hey, the Cosmo tried. They deserve an award.

The Cosmo is doing a little better business than last quarter but they’re still losing money. I like the Cosmo a lot and enjoy going there but at some point they have to make money to keep the lights on. Right?

The Vegas Strip Of The Future Will Feel More Like A Strip Mall

Las Vegas Is Becoming A Strip Mall
Strip Mall!

I grew up in the Bronx, NY. We didn’t have malls. We had stores on streets and even had a few shopping centers. I had to drive 20-30 minutes to the nearest mall. It was like a whole other world. I wouldn’t say it was awesome but it was different and that was cool. It wasn’t until I was in my teens that I knew what a strip mall was.

Strip malls weren’t cool then, have never been cool and aren’t cool now. That doesn’t matter in Las Vegas. Vegas is the greatest place on earth but it’s never really been “cool”. That’s okay. Caesars Entertainment has been developing The Linq over the past year and that should be finished by the end of the year. Call it what you want but The Linq is essentially a glorified strip mall set between casinos.

Caesars Entertainment is also developing the Bally’s Grand Bazaar (details here and here) a little bit south on the strip from The Linq. Now Vegas Tripping is reporting that MGM Resorts will be creating The Park even further south on the Vegas strip in the area around Monte Carlo and New York New York.

We can confirm that the park will occupy Rue de Monte Carlo, including the CityCenter sales office and the entire parking lot behind and between New York New York and Monte Carlo.

Further, Vegas Tripping has details on the strip renovations planned for Monte Carlo. While The Linq will have a ferris wheel as the anchor of the shopping area The Park will have a brand spanking new arena that MGM Resorts is building in conjunction with AEG. A little north of Monte Carlo you’ll find Crystals mall next to Aria at the area formerly known as CityCenter.

My graphic skills are pretty bad but the future Vegas strip will look something like this:

Shopping > Casino > Shopping > Casino > Shopping > Casino > Shopping > Casino  

It sure seems like Vegas is remaking itself more towards being a family destination then it has since they started theming hotels in the late 80’s and early 90’s.

Great…more kids. I’m not the typical Vegas customer but that’s not what I want from Vegas.

Photo: Warren Temple Smith

Gold Coast Renovations

I have a soft spot in my heart for the Gold Coast. The Gold Coast was one of the first casinos I stayed at when visiting Las Vegas and it’s still one of the places I recommend people stay when looking for a cheap hotel rooms near the strip. Gold Coast is about to become a better bargain with new hotel and casino renovations.

Contractors are putting the finishing touches on 400 refurbished hotel rooms at the Gold Coast.

The rooms, which are expected to reopen in the next two weeks, feature new wall coverings, carpets, blackout drapes and furniture, including armoires, dressers and desks.

The next phase of the renovation, scheduled to begin this summer, will include installing new carpeting in Gold Coast’s 87,000-square-foot casino and replacing all of its slot stands and chairs.

Gold Coast has cheap gambling with quick drink service and the renovations to make the hotel rooms more modern and clean this is definitely a great place to crash. There is nothing fancy about the Gold Coast casino but it’s a fun place to play with decent food options.

Gold Coast is owned by Boyd Gaming and its B Connected players club is connected with 6 other Las Vegas hotels and 7 others across the country so playing at Gold Coast will earn comps to use at a lot of different casinos. The B Connected app is an excellent combination of players club and hotel information.

I can smell a low limit Pai-Gow night coming up soon!

Photo: Wikimedia

Grass And Trees In Vegas

I’m not from Las Vegas. You can here it when I speak. This will always be Vegas to me. You know, eating, drinking and gambling on the Vegas strip or downtown Vegas or even my local casinos. That’s why it always amazes me when I find things you’ll see in a “normal” city.

I was in dire need of caffeine today and decided that the home brew wouldn’t be good enough so I got in my car and hit one of three Starbucks within half a mile of my house for an iced skinny latte (I actually got two). The latte’s did just what I wanted. But I digress.

Today I found what seems to be an average run of the mill park. The park has all the swings and stuff a kid could need and there’s real grass, trees, picnic tables and BBQ’s. Who knew?! My vitamin D break (lunch in the sun) for the day was splendid. It’s amazing to see how relatively normal Vegas can be when you leave the strip.

PS: Instead of going to the office after lunch I went to Red Rock Resort to grab a beer and play a little video poker. You can find pictures of the multitude of 4OAK’s on tumblr. Then I decided to grab another latte head back to the office.