Bally’s Flea Market Coming Soon

Bally's Las Vegas Grand Bazaar Shops
Bally’s Grand Bazaar Shops

Vegas Chatter has been sharing news about Bally’s Grand Bazaar Shops for a while but the info wasn’t anywhere else. They had renderings and everything, so surely this was legit. Right? Right.

Well, last week www.grandbazaarshops.com went live with less information than Vegas Chatter had been reporting. At least they have nicer renderings then this.

Ballys Grand Bazaar Shops Night

Bally’s Grand Bazaar Shops is going to be 175 glorified flea market booths set up in front of Bally’s. I envision this to be like a less forced Harrah’s Carnival Court since you can walk past it if you don’t want to deal with the people shopping.

Caesars Entertainment has decided that low brow temporary shopping is the right way to monetize the space between the Bally’s casino/hotel and the street. Some companies may have looked into a long-term infrastructure expansion of the building but that’s probably not possible when you’re saddled with huge amounts of debt.

The Grand Bazaar Shops may not be the best way to expand Bally’s to the street but it should work for the typical Vegas tourist and typical Caesars customer who is your average American consumer. They’re not looking for anything too fancy. In Vegas they buy  the cheapest booze they can find (usually in the ugliest containers they can find) and playing the cheapest games in the casino.

The average Caesars customers are not the same people staying at Wynn or The Venetian or Cosmopolitan. Instead of elevating Bally’s by making a beautiful property, Caesars has decided to meet their customers at their spending level. A flea market may not be the worst idea – for Caesars and Bally’s. It’s a different story for me.

Bally’s has been my go-to for cheap gaming in that area of the Vegas strip. When friends walk into the Cosmo on a Saturday night they see $25 blackjack minimums and say they want to go somewhere with lower minimums. Planet Hollywood and Paris are usually too crowded for a few people to get in on a game but Bally’s usually has room. They don’t care that they’re playing 6:5 blackjack, they just want to drink and gamble.

Two weeks ago I loved the idea that Bally’s would be renovating the South Tower into the Jubilee Tower. I’m less excited about Bally’s today. The renovations should be cool but non-gaming entities invite families. I’m not sure I see myself wading through the families buying cheap Vegas swag just to get to my hotel room or to play $10 6:5 blackjack. I’d rather deal walking through their broken people mover than mass of humans.

This week I wrote about the average Vegas tourist and the gambler for Against The Number. I’m the latter. Even as a tourist I was never a tourist. That’s just not my thing. I’m also not a shopper. I have amazon if I want to shop. Non-gaming attractions bring families and tourists alike. I don’t need to deal with their derpy derping on my way into the casino.

My Vegas Strip Mall is full of casinos, not shopping. Downtown Vegas may be crowded but it’s seems like there’s not a day that goes by where it doesn’t seem more and more like my kind of strip mall.

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 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