BOOM: So Long Sands

In light of the pending implosion of The HarmonVegas Inc. decided to list the Top 10 Vegas Strip Hotel implosions. I love implosions and figured this was a good excuse to visit the youtube archives.

For the next couple of weeks I’ll grab video of these 10 Las Vegas Strip Hotel implosions. We go to #3 on the list – The Sands.

Opened: Dec. 15, 1952

Closed: June 30, 1996

Imploded: Nov. 26, 1996

The seventh resort on the Strip opened Dec. 15, 1952. It was designed by architect Wayne McAllister.

The Sands opened with only a few hundred rooms. Through the years, it passed through the hands of several Las Vegas land tycoons, including Howard Hughes, who purchased it in the mid 1960s. Hughes added an iconic 500-room circular tower designed by architect Martin Stern Jr.

Other owners included Howard Hughes, who purchased it in 1988, and, in 1989, the Interface Group, which included Sheldon Adelson.

The original “Oceans 11” movie was filmed at the Sands in 1960. The film — including Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Joey Bishop and Peter Lawford — inspired a meeting, known as the Summit at the Sands, and united the stars, known worldwide as the Rat Pack.

Along with “Oceans 11,” the Sands was featured in “Con Air” and “The Cooler.” In 1996, Adelson closed the famous resort and imploded it to make way for the Venetian.


Destroyed In Seconds
Destroyed In Seconds

I Thought I Received this Grazie Offer Because I was a Member

Last week I received what looks to be a strange offer from Club Grazie offering me 5,000 points if I stay at the hotel and sign up to be a member.  I can’t figure out what this offer is.  I’m on the Venetian and Palazzo mailing list because I signed up for Grazie a couple years ago, so why the offer to sign up again?

This kind of offer also proves that Las Vegas Sands didn’t cut comps as everyone (including me) has reported.  Rather, they are refocusing their “normal” members on gaining points a la Total Rewards.   Caesars has been running point promotions forever in Atlantic City and while I haven’t seen this in Las Vegas, this seems to be very similar.

It’s interesting that the folks at Vegas Tripping received a similar offer, but weren’t asked to sign up but were just presented with the 5,000 points.  Besides having poor presentation about the comps these awkwardly worded offers are poor reflections on a hotel that tries to present itself as a high end property.

It seems as if Las Vegas Sands is trying to combat the bad press from the no comps talk.  While that makes sense it’s just plain sloppy.

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!

Cosmopolitan Doesn’t Care About Money

While I’ve spoken about how much I enjoy the marketing of the Cosmopolitan Las Vegas, they’ve glaringly avoided talking about gambling which has stuck me as strange.

This article shows that gaming makes up almost 75% of Sands worldwide business and while that number may be a little less in the US, it’s certainly not a number to throw away.

As I mentioned I like a lot of what the Cosmo is doing with their marketing, but their avoidance of gambling has had me puzzled.  Even though their target audience is younger than the average gambler (Vegas Gang #55) it’s surprising they would eschew this market 100% in the public.

I’ve seen nothing to the contrary but I’m sure this will change with time.

Las Sands

The Washington Post had an article stating that Las Vegas Sands is considering removing “Vegas” from their name.

Las Vegas Sands considers dropping Vegas from name

The article goes on to say that they are thinking of moving “Las Vegas” from the name, not just “Vegas” as the headline says.  It would be funny fun if they became Las Sands.  It would go well with some of my favorite Hispanic marketing, but I’m not sure that’s what they’re going for.

This would go along with MGM changing their name and Wynn talking about moving to Macau, both ideas are to make the respective companies seem more global than local.  I wouldn’t be surprised if this happens as part of their global branding.

Second Quarter Casino Earnings

I did my first roundup of casino earnings last quarter and the information is easily available so I figure it’s worth sharing.  On a headline glance the information is mixed.

  • Boyd Gaming profits drop 75%. LV Sun
  • MGM net income down a lot, but revenue about even year over year. LV Sun
  • Las Vegas Sands turns in much better quarter than same period last year.  LV Sun
  • Wynn profits double in the second quarter because of Macau income.  LV Sun
  • Harrah’s has 2nd quarter loss, but sees upside. LV Sun
  • Hard Rock Hotel loses 35% on earnings. LV Sun
  • UPDATE: Station Casinos Loses Widen.  LV Sun
  • UPDATE: Even improvements don’t slow Tropicana loses. LV Sun

I’ll update this information as more becomes available.  For more commentary check Two way Hard Three.  There’s always great feedback from their community.

First Quarter Casino Earnings

I tend to keep away from corporate casino hotel earnings, but I’ve noticed that there have been a lot of incoming searches for this so I figured that I would round up a bunch of information for those looking.

  • Golden Nugget Reports Increase In Revenue. LV Sun
  • Las Vegas Sands Narrows Loss In First Quarter.  LV Sun
  • Tropicana Reports Loss; Cites Las Vegas “Room Inventory Imbalance”. LV Sun
  • Harrah’s Reports a Loss as Recession Takes Toll. LV Sun
  • CityCenter Pushes MGM Mirage to First Quarter Loss. LV Sun
  • Boyd Gaming Returns To Profit, Notes Improving Economy. LV Sun
  • Wynn Resorts Sees Profit in First Quarter. LV Sun
  • Hard Rock Hotel Reports First Quarter Loss of $26.5 Million. LV Sun
  • Station Casinos Reports Revenue Drop in Fourth Quarter of 09. LV Sun

Each article has is accompanied with commentary.  Check Two Way Hard Three‘s thread for non-local comments.  Non-locals always have a different point of view.