BOOM! There Goes The Largest Billboard In Vegas

I could swear I wrote or read about the Harmon in Las Vegas being structurally unsound last year, but maybe that was just rumor and my mind playing tricks on me.  Well, now multiple reports have been published about the Harmon’s instability and the fact that it may come down in event of an earthquake.

The unfinished Harmon hotel tower at CityCenter on the Las Vegas Strip would likely collapse in a strong earthquake, a structural engineer told casino operator MGM Resorts International on Monday.

The report sent to the casino company by Weidlinger Associates of Marina del Rey, Calif., says it would take at least one year to figure out what kind of repairs would be required to save the tower.

“In a code-level earthquake, using either the permitted or current code specified loads, it is likely that critical structural members in the tower will fail and become incapable of supporting gravity loads, leading to a partial or complete collapse of the tower,” said Chukwuma G. Ekwueme, an associated principal of Weidlinger.

OK, nothing new here.  So the Harmon is no longer going to be a huge billboard because it’s probably less expensive to tear it down than to fix.  So what will go in its place?  There’s nothing that really makes sense to go there at the moment.  Maybe a park until the economy gets better?  A park will probably stop people from walking into the Cosmopolitan and shouldn’t slow down foot traffic into Crystals since that’s almost non-existent anyway.

This whole scenario reminds me about Brad Pitt walking into Al Pacino‘s office at The Bank in Oceans 13 warning him about a potential earthquake.  In fact, that movie is probably on TV somewhere right now.  I’d rather be watching that than most things.

Oceans 13
Oceans 13

Caesars Palace – Appian Way and Nobu

Why would Caesars corp throw a new Asian theme (Nobu) in the middle of their Roman themed palace on the strip in Las Vegas?  Good question, but this move makes sense in a very Caesars way.

Caesars Palace is massive.  It’s expansive and confusing.  Besides MGM Grand there may not be a more poorly laid out property in Vegas.  What’s a company looking to breathe new life into it’s hodgepodge of a property to do?  Bring in some help.

It must not easy to find a brand partner that can fit in with their Roman theme.  Nobu’s Asian theme may be a very far cry from what Caesars Palace was built on, but they are a partner that makes sense in the way Caesars operates.

The restaurant and lounge will be in 9,500 square feet at the base of the Nobu tower, near the existing Appian Way at Caesars Palace.

“Nobu’s distinctive brand will bring a new dimension to Caesars Palace and will be designed to attract first-time visitors. The re-branded hotel tower, restaurant and lounge will offer an experience unlike anything in Las Vegas, pairing exclusive accommodations with a resort famed for world-class entertainment, shopping and leisure experiences,” Caesars Palace President Gary Selesner said in a statement.

Pussy Cat Dolls, Sugar Factory and Kerry Simon are just a few outside brands that Caesars has used in their recent expansions. They aren’t keeping ideas in house to expand.  Using outside names and partners allows for further reach.  In simple form you now have the corporate marketing teams working with outside teams.  Maybe theirs strength in numbers.

So the center of Caesars Palace will be modernized with a hip, Asian theme.  Most of the rooms are tiny, so I don’t think this is about the rooms.  If Caesars really wanted to make a statement, they’d knock down walls and double the room size.

The real reason to bring Nobu on is to develop Appian Way, which is underdeveloped and lightly trafficked.  This might create overall theme confusion but this gives the square footage of Appian Way a chance for Caesars to see revenue they aren’t seeing now.  This is probably the least expensive way for Caesars to remodel this portion of the casino.

This likely allows Caesars to manage the hotel tower while Nobu will probably be bringing their name, celebrities and PR staff to the mix managing the Appian Way section.

This is similar to other major corporate partnerships for the most part.  Such as the other partnerships in things I enjoy (music, sports)  I don’t like it, I get it.

Aria Commercial

Last week Aria posted a new commercial on youtube and facebook.  Unlike the Cosmopolitan commercial, I haven’t seen it on TV yet and don’t expect to.

The commercial fits the same profile as most MGM advertising over the past couple years.  It years to be sexy and multi-cultural while reminding you, briefly, that they have gambling.  While the ad looks good, it doesn’t resonate with me, but I’m pretty sure I’m not the target for the ad.

I have to imagine that their agency has found this type of advertising to work for MGM.  Maybe they should try sexy sales for the Veer Towers who don’t seem to be able to sell or rent their apartments at any price.

Hotel 25 at Bally’s Las Vegas?

After a fire a few years ago burned the top floor of the Monte Carlo in Las Vegas, MGM decided to use the bad situation to their advantage and created Hotel 32, a upgraded floor at Monte Carlo.  Reviews seem to be very positive, so it seems as if this worked.

Will Bally’s take advantage of a lesser fire that occurred this past week by renovating part of the hotel?  Not likely, but some renovations at Bally’s are long overdue.

Only one person was injured in the small fire, check news 8 for more details.

MLife Starts Today (Updated)

MGM Resorts M Life Players Club
M Life

MGM’s new players club, Mlife, starts today in Las Vegas with a slew of contests.

I can’t find any information on how to enter the contests, so check the Mlife site for details.  For further info, you can check the Mlife youtube channel.

***UPDATE: Enter here. Thanks Mac71830

I hope to do a little gambling at MGM properties in the near future to see how Mlife actually works.

MLife: Think Club Grazie 2009

MGM Resorts M Life Players Club
M Life

MGM(RI) is making a big public push for MLife, which comes to Las Vegas in the next couple weeks.  It will replace Players Club as there errr, players club.  They’re doing a huge PR push this week and there’s news everywhere, like this article in the Las Vegas Sun today.

Las Vegas casinos pioneered the concept of comps — freebies, discounts or special treatment for gamblers to soften the blow of gambling losses and make regular folk feel like VIPs. As loyalty programs spread to nearly every corner of the consumer products landscape, Las Vegas and the gaming industry have been behind the curve in including all forms of spending in the reward equation, however.

And today, with 60 percent of Strip revenue derived from nongambling activities, tracking a customer’s spending off the casino floor has become vital to a rewards program.

Yes, I can mock MGM for taking 2 years to do something they should have already done, but kudos to MGM for catching up with the competition.  This seems to be no different from what the other properties started doing a few years ago when Sands reskinned Club Grazie.

MGM owns half the properties on the strip, so this is a welcome addition.  Just remember that comp rooms aren’t free when a resort fee is involved!

M Life Getting Closer

MGM Resorts M Life Players Club
M Life

As the year ends, we look forward to what the new year has in store.  The long wait for MGM(RI)’s M Life will soon be over according to their tweets.

Our pal Mr. Pappagorgio from Vegas Chatter just had a problem with an MGM Players Club offer and I’ve run into problems every time I try to book an offer – especially a free offer.  The only offers that I’ve been able to secure are discounts.  I smell bait and switch here, but I can’t prove that.

While we’re at it, I’m making a New Years wish that M Life allows each property to book for the others.  This is one of the best features of Total Rewards.  Sometimes one hotel doesn’t have an offer available, but I can save time and money because they can book cross property.  MGM cannot.

The cynic inside says nothing will change, but I’m hoping.

Sports Betting In Vegas Becomes More Homogenized

I love sports betting. I write about it pretty often on ECG and I tweet about it even more often.

People throw their virtual hands in the air whenever a company like Harrah’s or MGM Resorts International expands in Vegas and other markets.

Well, that’s happening with my sports betting more and more by the day as Cantor Gaming expands their reach with sports betting on a regular basis.  Tropicana and Cosmopolitan are the two most recent casinos to add Cantor products.

Cantor is apparently getting another excellent “display case” for its growing line of wagering products that now include remote/mobile gaming and In-running Wagering, which are now available at casinos such as the M Resort, the Venetian-Palazzo complex and the Hard Rock Casino.

Cantor also recently negotiated the right to operate a race and sports book at the Tropicana, a casino whose new owners are looking for the customer-pleasing tools with the potential to give them a step up on the competition. Current plans call for the Tropicana book to be open in time for football season.

It’s already difficult to find a point spread advantage in Vegas casinos and Cantor’s expansion can’t help that as they can hit one button and change lines in multiple casinos.  No different than Harrah’s and MGM, respectively.

With that being said, Cantor may bring more good than bad to sports betting.  My first instinct always thinks the worst.

MLife On Hold In Vegas

MGM Resorts M Life Players Club
M Life

Vegas Tripping noted last week that MGM Resorts International was delaying the arrival of, MLife, their new players club in Las Vegas.

The club, which has already been implemented at MGM Grand Detroit, Beau Rivage and Gold Strike Tunica was originally planned to make its way to Las Vegas in the 4th quarter of 2010. As of this week, the M Life website predicts “early 2011” as ball park date for its debut.

Well, that’s lame.  MGM’s forray into mass marketing a la Harrah’s Total Rewards will have to wait.  Postmen across the nation are stoked.