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Believe it or not 2014 was a big year for casinos in Las Vegas. The big year wasn’t caused by the pomp and circumstance of a big casino opening. There was one casino opening but the makeover of Sahara to SLS Las Vegas was much more subdued than when a building is built and people can walk into it for the first time ever.
It feels like just yesterday SLS Las Vegas opened its doors. Our first impressions were positive and they remain that way despite the chaos that's followed. Shortly after opening in August, SLS cut back the hours of its buffet and Foxtail nightclub. Then, staff cutbacks took place, the buffet closed completely, and President and Cheif Operating Officer, Rob Oseland, abruptly left and was replaced with Scott Kreeger.
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There’s been a slow shift in gaming over the past 20 years. And, much of it really started to stand out this year. Both casino floors and gaming companies have consolidated to, theoretically, create greater efficiencies. Aristocrat Technologies purchased Video Gaming Technology, Scientific Games merged with Bally Technologies, IGT was purchased by G-Tech and Multimedia Games was snapped up by Global Cash. You may be familiar with some of these names and not others. Mergers and acquisitions like this often create a more homogenized product for the customer by creating less competition. For the time being, these businesses are just streamlining activities.
After these manufacturers debuted their newest games at G2E this year, it doesn’t seem as though the industry can get any less creative than it already is. Let’s just take another TV show, musician or movie from 20-30 years ago and slap their name on a machine. Hopefully, this lack of creativity is just temporary.
The city known for topless show billboards and “stripper trading cards” on the Strip is now trying to flex its moral muscle. A new Heidi Klum ad campaign for Sharper Image of all things was turned down by McCarran Airport for being too revealing. Underboob is evidently past the threshold for tastefulness. (Though, you can still catch a whole heap of sideboob on Interstate 15 north just after the 215 junction, thanks to the GhostBar DayClub billboard!)
This may be one of the slowest weeks of the year for Vegas, but gaming news was fast and furious. Here's a recap of the biggest headlines:
○The sale of The Cosmopolitan may become official as soon as today. The Nevada Gaming Commission blessed the deal yesterday. Blackstone Group is purchasing the center Strip property from Deutsche for $1.73 billion. (Vegas Inc.)
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According to the Las Vegas Review Journal, this is how the increase will affect the bottom line:
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What was rumored over the weekend is now official.
Hakkasan Group will be able to use the tagline, "now with more oontz," come January when its purchase of Light Group for $36 mil is expected to be finalized. The buyout will mean the assimilation of Light nightclub at Mandalay Bay, 1OAK at The Mirage and The Bank at Bellagio, as well as the lounges and most of the restaurants under the Light Group domain.
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While lots of names have been (jokingly) bandied about, could the NHL team possibly|probably (possably?) headed to Vegas be dubbed the Black Knights?
Canada's Sports Net recently interviewed Bill Foley, the face of Vegas' potential ownership group, and discovered he loves the name due to its -- and his -- association with West Point. Foley admits, however, that there would be a naming contest if things reach that point. That's a relief because I can't be the only one who immediately thought of Martin Lawrence, right?
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Along Las Vegas Boulevard, the land stretching from the Harley-Davidson Cafe to Smith & Wollensky is owned by the same company, which took control of the bankrupt property about four years ago. A hodgepodge eyesore across from the metropolitan skyscrapers of CityCenter, cheapo vendors that hawk 16 oz. Tall Boys for 99 cents and four tees for ten bucks are slowly being replaced by more
corporate gentrified tenants like Chili's and Fatburger.
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There are some who say if people could legally bet on lab rats running through mazes, they would. While not that extreme the South Point has petitioned the Nevada Gaming Control Board to amend regulations to allow some non-traditional bets in their sportsbook. Execs are asking that wagering be allowed on events sanctioned by the International Olympic Committee as well as non-athletic events like the Oscars and the Heisman Trophy winner.
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Look, guys. The NHL coming to Vegas is purely speculation, mm'kay? Now, who's in for season tickets?
As the pendulum continues to swing from (dis)interest to denial when it comes to a professional hockey franchise in Vegas, the NHL's Board of Governors have approved "a season-ticket drive" to see if visitors and locals will actually support the idea.
With the advent of more comprehensive players clubs that reward you for other activities besides just gambling, Vegas is embracing its status as more than just a gambler’s paradise. The new “What Happens in Vegas Stays in Vegas” ads are giving a nod to this notion by forgoing any references to cards, chips or dice in its newest advertisements.
Instead, they showcase other entertainment options featuring a cameo by some of Vegas’ favorite sons, Imagine Dragons, whose new album drops in February. In the two thirty second spots, one from the point of view of a man and the other from a woman, the pair’s unlikely interactions are documented as their paths cross at several different Vegas venues.