In a tweet sent out yesterday, Pasquale Rotella, the brains behind the massive Electric Daisy Carnival, messaged EDC ticket holders and hopefuls that the festival has "submitted a robust safety plan that is currently under review by Nevada officials." Pasquale wrote that he'll know the final decision by April 8 or sooner, though that might be optimistic. If the plan is approved, EDC will take place on schedule May 21-23. If not, the festival will be postponed until October.
Rose. Rabbit. Lie., the oddly named supper club at the Cosmopolitan, has folded its tent after a seven-year run. The dining-entertainment venue opened in 2013 and lasted around year under outside management from Spiegelworld, the show producer, before being taken over by the hotel and recast in its own image. It reopened in June after the shutdown, but closed again a couple of months ago and didn't come back. In a statement, the Cosmopolitan said, "We look forward to unveiling an exciting new culinary destination created in collaboration with our partners at Spiegelworld in the near future.”
Stadium Swim at Circa in particular, but also pools at other casinos in general, was packed to pre-pandemic capacity last weekend with the launch of March Madness. The Nevada Gaming Control Board wasn't invited to the parties. Instead, the Board issued a notice on Wednesday "reminding" casinos that the pools had to comply with the 50%-capacity protocol in place for all public venues in the state. Far from the mandated six feet of distancing and required masks when not eating, drinking, or in the pool, the photos of the Circa pool show barely six inches between patrons with nary a face covering in sight. It'll be interesting to see what happens over the next couple of days, with temperatures nearing the 80s and crowds partying like it's 2019.
In just a few hours, the long-awaited/postponed opening of the new Virgin Hotels Las Vegas will take place. Compared to the traditional debut of a new hotel-casino, most of which we've attended over the past 30 years, this one will be a subdued affair, with respect to the 50% capacity limit -- “just one more positive sign of the recovery of the Las Vegas economy,” according to Richard "Boz" Bosworth, CEO of J.C. Hospitality, managing partner of the hotel-casino’s ownership group. Still, we'll be there tonight and report back on what we see. In the meantime, you'll find sneak previews all over the Net: stories and photos in the Las Vegas Review-Journal and local magazines, videos on the Vegas news sites, and coverage in national hospitality publications if you'd like to whet your whistle for the the first las Vegas grand opening since (the unfortunately ill-fated) Lucky Dragon in September 2016. And you can read an excellent piece that delves into the background of the deal that put Virgin Las Vegas together and the changes in store for patrons of the new property by Howard Stutz of CDC Gaming Reports.
A New Orleans Saints analyst reports in the Athletic that Caesars Entertainment and the New Orleans Superdome are about to close a deal for the naming rights to the stadium in which Caesars will pay $10 million per year for 20 years. It's not known what the name will become, though "the venue’s moniker will still presumably incorporate the iconic stadium’s Superdome brand." Mercedes-Benz' naming-rights contract expires this July, at which point Caesars is expected to take over, though evidently a few other parties are interested. But Caesars has plans to renovate and rebrand its Harrah's New Orleans casino, so scooping up the Superdome's naming rights would fit right in.
South Point is dealing -105 for the remainder of the NCAA Basketball Championship. The reduced juice applies to bets on pointspreads only and will run through the championship game. The -105 pricing is also offered at SP’s sister book at Rampart.
Sickies Garage Burgers and Brews is a North Dakota-based restaurant that opened in 2012 and boasts seven locations in the Dakotas, Minnesota, and Nebraska. The one at Las Vegas' Town Square in the central space previously occupied by Claim Jumper (just north of the kids' park) opened last fall. It's known for its auto-repair theme, such as the classic Ford pickup and Chevrolet sedan hanging upside down from the ceiling in the Vegas location, along with its 50 "extreme" burgers (example: the bacon cheeseburger with glazed doughnuts for the bun), 50 brews, and otherwise gigantic sports bar menu. Sickies also offers a food challenge, called the Victory Lap. The meal comes with five pounds of food, including two patty melts and two regular patties, two fried eggs, pulled pork, fried jalapeños and pickles, a mess o' boneless wings, and of course a grilled cheese sandwich in the center. To add up to five pounds, there's a Fuji of French fries. Finish it off in less than 60 minutes and it's free; you also get the T-shirt and a spot on the Wall of Fame. Don't and you'll pay $49.95 for the privilege of ... well, we'll leave it at privilege.
M Resort's Raiders Tavern & Grill will open on Thursday April 1. The world's only Raiders-themed restaurant will begin accepting reservations tomorrow. Memorabilia will decorate the place, along with the usual sports bar screens everywhere; Raiders merch will be sold at an attached shop. An outdoor patio will overlook the M pool. Hours will be 11-7 a.m. Mon.-Fri., 10-7 a.m. Sat.-Sunday.
Nevada may be on track to achieve “herd immunity” to COVID-19 despite the growing presence of more infectious variants in the state, a top public health official said Monday.
“It does appear that we are on a trajectory to achieve some of the low end of herd immunity in the next couple of months,” Mark Pandori, director of the Nevada State Public Health Laboratory, said during aCOVID-19 briefing by state officials.
Even the current levels of immunity are thwarting to some degree the spread of the virus, he believes.
Herd immunity refers to the point at which a community has enough protection from a disease that it can no longer easily spread from person to person. This protection in an individual can be achieved through vaccination or coronavirus infection, both of which produce antibodies that fend off disease.
When enough individuals — somewhere from 70 to 90 percent of a community— have antibodies, disease transmission becomes unlikely, indirectly protecting even those who have not acquired them.
Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates that 23 percent of people in Nevada — nearly 1 in 4 — had coronavirus antibodies in mid-January. The younger the age group, the more likely it was that antibodies would be present. For those under age 18, the figure was 30 percent; for those over 65, it was only 9 percent.
The 2-month-old data was generated at a time when vaccinations had been offered for only a month and on a very limited basis. Now, 23percent of Nevadans have received at least one dose of vaccine, according to the state’s COVID-19 dashboard.
This suggests that up to 46 percent of Nevadans have at least some level of protection to the virus,
After a year spent self-isolating in her whiskey cellar, Boozy Skunkton has rounded up her cavalcade of cowboys, showgirls, nuns, lawmen, and lay-abouts in order to reopen the wildest watering hole in the West on May 5, just in time to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. In other words, Spiegelworld's Atomic Saloon Show will resume performances at the Venetian Wednesday through Sunday at 7 and 9 p.m. This was one of our favorite shows prior to the shutdown; our reviewer described it thusly: "Themes of love and unrequited love are shoehorned into all the lowbrow, screwball, and sideshow action — smoldering tumbleweed, hula hoops, pole- and dirty-dancing, aerial acrobatics, spaghetti, even a nun’s unique talents with ping-pong balls and a xylophone." And The Sunday Times of London was a little more direct, calling it, "Filthy, sexy, breathtakingly skillful, and very funny.” To ensure safe social distancing, the saloon’s capacity has been reduced to 108 guests per show, seated at single-party cabaret tables on two levels. Tickets aren't on sale yet; we'll let you know when they are.
Wynn Resorts announced yesterday that Encore will reopen completely on Thursday April 8. The hotel closed Monday through Wednesday nights in October, though some amenities remained open midweek. The whole property, including the hotel rooms and casino, will reopen seven days a week, though the restaurants and spa will reopen with revised schedules.
Yesterday's Las Vegas Sun provided a sneak preview of what's currently called the Theater at Virgin, the temporary name of what was known as the Joint at the Hard Rock. First, it's been expanded. The venue opened when the Hard Rock debuted in 1995 with 2,000 seats; 15 years later, it doubled in size. As part of the latest renovation, the total capacity has been increased to 4,500; however, much of the addition is in the form of VIP areas, while the general admission space (at the lowest ticket prices) remains the same. New flooring has been laid, the decor has been upgraded, and all the second-level suites and second- and third-level bars have been renovated. Apparently, Virgin is looking to sell the naming rights: "The Theater at Virgin could have a new name and sponsorship attached by the time it hosts its first event." When will that first event take place? No acts have been booked as yet, but it looks like it could be sometime this summer.
Sports betting in North Carolina was signed into law on July 26, 2019. After nearly two years of planning and only a few weeks after receiving federal approval, Caesars Entertainment opened William Hill sports books at Harrah's Cherokee Casino in Cherokee and Harrah's Cherokee Valley Casino in Murphy in western North Carolina. The first bets were placed last Thursday March 18, after 10 a.m. ribbon-cutting ceremonies in time for the NCAA March Madness Basketball Tournament. According to state law, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians' casinos are the only venues in North Carolina where sports bets can be placed.
Spring has sprung, March Madness is in full swing, and the crowds are partying like it's 2019, but Uber and Lyft seem to have missed the memo. The rideshare companies say they're "trying to adjust to the current landscape," but that doesn't seem to involve convincing (with a living wage or at least one that competes with unemployment) enough drivers to lend their wheels to the situation. The Uber line at the airport this weekend stretched the length of the sidewalk and wait times, when available cars are listed at all, are in the hours, not minutes. Rental cars are also selling out. So make your car-rental reservations well in advance or plan on taking taxis or buses to get to where you're going if you don't drive in.
Resorts World has released details about its fast-food hall, which will be called Famous Foods Street Eats. Comprising 16 stalls in a big 24,000-square-foot venue, most stalls will featured Eastern foods, with a few serving up Western. The centerpiece will be a 16-seat bar and the separate de rigueur speakeasy will be hard to find. The Eastern selections will include Chinese dumplings, Hainanese poached chicken, Peking duck burritos, Chinese claypots and noodles, Filipino lechon (whole pig), Indian curry, Thai beef, Japanese yakitori and sushi, Taiwanese bubble tea, and Singapore sundries. The Western choices will be fried chicken, barbecue, and Italian. The center bar will offer a self-pour and automated beer system; the name of the hidden speakeasy is Here Kitty Kitty Vice Den.
Las Vegas-based ultra-low-cost Allegiant Airlines has revealed that all 100 pilots who were furloughed by the pandemic are now back on the job, thanks to the steadily increasing demand. In a customer survey the airline conducted a week ago, 90% of respondents said they "somewhat or strongly agree" that things are getting better. In the January survey, only 330% selected that choice. Also, nearly 70% of respondents say they'll travel this summer and around 50% indicated that they'd been vaccinated, with 66% saying they intend to do so. The steady stream of comers and goers at McCarran Airport, the packed crowds on Fremont Street and in front of Bellagio, teeming partyers at the pools, and fans filling every seat in sports books all point toward pent-up demand being radically released.
A medical clinic will open at the airport this summer. It will be the first clinic at McCarran since the previous clinic closed in August 2019. The facility will be operated by University Medical Center of Southern Nevada and located in Terminal 1 just ahead of the A/B security checkpoint; it will be open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and service travelers and airport employees. The clinic will offer primary urgent care, physicals, medical screening exams, and rapid COVID-19 testing (for those exhibiting symptoms only). It doesn't look like a doctor will be on premises, but nurses and lab techs will and telehealth will be available.
Virgin Hotels Las Vegas is scheduled to open this Thursday, March 25. Thirteen-plus months ago, the Hard Rock Hotel-Casino closed; between then and now, the property underwent a $200 million transformation. A lot has changed, of course: The hotel rooms have been remodeled, the casino is completely redesigned, the food and beverage offerings are all different, the pool area has become the centerpiece, and all the rock memorabilia is gone. But according to reports, 90% of the employees are returning to their old jobs at the Hard Rock. Also, the Betfred sports book won't open for a few months, there won't be a poker room, the new name of the Joint concert venue hasn't been decided (it's currently called the Theater), and the official grand opening will be delayed "till it's safer," according to a hotel spokesperson. But the doors to an essentially new Las Vegas resort will open on Thursday and that's more good news. Resorts World here we come.
Nevada's two-week positivity rate for COVID testing now stands at 5.1%, its lowest percentage since last June before the casinos reopened. Two days ago, the millionth vaccine was administered in Nevada. Crowds are returning en masse for the first weekend of March Madness and spring breaks around the country and the airport is seeing a lot more passengers than it has for more than a year. The bad news is that traffic on the Strip is jammed up like it was before the shutdown, especially between Convention Center Drive and St. Louis Avenue (at Stratosphere) due to construction that will continue on that stretch through the summer. If you're coming and driving the Strip, you might want to avoid the entire section of the Strip between Spring Mountain and Sahara for the next, oh, three years; the $110 million “Las Vegas Boulevard Improvement Project” should be nicely wrapped up by 2024.
First Friday, the monthly arts event held downtown, will return for the first time in a year on April 2. Capacity will be limited to 250 people at any given time and access to the food vendors will require a separate entrance; all food must be consumed onsite (except if it's packaged). All Art Walk and food customers will be required to wear masks and organizers say non-contact temperature takes will be used. Reservations are strongly recommended.
The Nevada Department of Business and Industry has approved plans submitted by the World of Concrete convention organizers to hold the first large-scale trade show since the shutdown a year ago. Assuming that the 50%-capacity limit remains in place for the convention's dates, June 8-10, upwards of 30,000 people will attend the show at the Las Vegas Convention Center. If all goes according to the current plan, the Convention Center will debut the West Hall, its $1 billion expansion out to the Strip on the former Riviera property; the Las Vegas Monorail will also resume service to transport convention-goers to and from their hotels. In addition, Boring Company's Las Vegas Loop will begin operations shuttling attendees around the Convention Center. The World of Concrete has turned into an auspicious occasion to say the least.
Exactly 90 years ago today, the Nevada Legislature took the radical step to legalize wide-open casino gambling. Governor Fred Balzar signed Assembly Bill 98 into law on March 19, 1931, and Nevada changed forever. It took a few decades, but it dragged the rest of the nation -- and the world -- along with it in one of the great heartbeats of civilization: the continuous contraction and expansion of gambling as a socially acceptable practice. Right now, gambling around the world is engorged with blood, at the possible peak of an expansion cycle in which the most expensive and exclusive resort destinations on Earth are being built by the greatest transfer of wealth via gambling ever witnessed in history. It all started 90 years ago today, right here in the Gamble State, and we're all the descendants of Ballsy Balzar and a bunch of elected ranchers and farmers and lawyers and casino managers who took a giant leap and left us with this legacy.
For the first time since the start of the pandemic a year ago, the official unemployment number in Las Vegas dropped below 10% in January, though not by much: 9.9%. That compares to 3.7% in January 2019. Las Vegas still has the highest unemployment percentage in the state: Carson City's rate was 5.6%, while Reno's was 4.9%.
In the latest YouTube video on the LVA channel, Anthony gives Andrew a quick-and-dirty tutorial on blackjack as it's played on a bar machine (at the Crown & Anchor, of course). A.C. explains the major differences between machine and live 21 -- the main one being that blackjacks pay even money -- then takes our novice through the six rules of abbreviated basic strategy, applying them to each hand as they play. Even with the 2.3% disadvantage for even-money naturals, video blackjack has only a 3% house edge for basic strategy play, which isn't too bad in the overall scheme of things, so it's worth knowing the nuances that you'll pick up by watching the 13-minute video here.
We haven’t seen much in the way of good March Madness promos, but at least one casino is stepping up. Silverton is selling PBR in the bottle for $1. The deal runs today through Sunday and is available at all casino bars. The first play-in game tips today at at 2:10 p.m. PST.
Gonzaga is the favorite to win the NCAA Basketball Championship at +200, followed by Illinois (+550), and Baylor (+700). The long shots are Appalachian St., Mount St. Mary’s, Norfolk St., and Texas Southern, all at +7500 (750-1). Altering the first-weekend format that has always run Thursday through Sunday, this year the tournament will begin with four play-in games today. Then the first two rounds will be played Friday through Monday. The sports books are supposed to follow a 50%-capacity max, though it’s anyone’s guess what that will look like.
The Rio will be transformed over a number of phases in a rebranding as a Hyatt Hotel. The announcement by the Rio's owner, New York-based Dreamscape Companies, was noticeably short on details, such as how long the upgrades will take, how much the whole project will cost, and whether or not the name will be changed. We do know that the guestrooms will be renovated one tower at a time, the property won't be closed at any time, and plans call for the rest of the property to follow suit. It will be Hyatt's third property in Las Vegas, along with Hyatt Place Las Vegas near the airport and Hyatt Place Silverton Village near the namesake hotel-casino.
This new art installation has been teased for the past month and we figured it would wind up at Area15, but we waited for the official announcement of the venue. All that's to say that "Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience" seems like a pretty big deal to us. The digitally immersive and virtual-reality Van Gogh exhibit has been traveling around the world, with stops on three continents; its appearance in Las Vegas is its first in North America. This preview of a wider release in the U.S. later this year will take place in the 7,000-square-foot Portal, Area15's projection-surrounded room designed for exactly this kind of art presentation. According to the press release, "The timed experience, encompassing 35 minutes and mapped specifically to fit the PORTAL, allows visitors to feel as though they have stepped into the famous artist’s masterpieces." It opens April 6 and runs through July 5, with GA tickets starting at $35 (discounts for military, seniors, locals, and children). VIP tickets, which include the VR experience, can be added for $10 more.
The Clark County Commissioners last night voted to approve the minutes of last month's meeting in which they affirmed the name change for the airport from McCarran to Harry Reid. That allows the minutes to be sent to the Federal Aviation Administration, which fulfills part of the protocol required when an airport name's is changing. The FAA now updates all its records with the new name, which is expected to take up to six months. Then the signage is replaced, which will cost upwards of $7 million, and the deed will be done. In the meantime, you can see the results of our poll on the airport's name change here.
Traffic on a 16-mile portion of Interstate 15 between the state line at Primm and just to the city side of Jean will be impacted by an $11 million road-improvement project that will begin in May and run through the end of the year. It's a heavily traveled stretch of freeway that sees more than 60,000 vehicles daily, including 6,000 trucks, with triple the traffic before and after weekends. The road will be repaved; the Jean interchange will be upgraded, along with new guardrails, tortoise fencing, and signage. At least two of the three lanes in each direction will remain open during construction; only one lane will be closed at any given time. Still, the project is sure to create further delays in normally slow travel times, especially over weekends.
All we knew was that Resorts World will open "sometime this summer" and now we're able to narrow that down, at least by a week. The new megaresort has announced its first live entertainment to take place resort wide, focused on the Zouk Nightclub and Ayu Dayclub, a three-day music festival over the last weekend of summer. “The Neón Experience” will take place September 16-19 and in connection with Mexican Independence Day, the festival will be headlined by Colombian-born reggaeton star J Balvin, along with a number of other Latin artists (mostly from Colombia and Puerto Rico). Only 3,000 tickets will be available and they're expected to sell out fast, though no sales date has been announced.
In another sign of the times, demand for hotel rooms during March Madness is strong and the casinos are taking full advantage of it. An article in this morning's Las Vegas Review-Journal cites rooms at Cosmo this Saturday starting at $650 compared to $325 last Saturday, while rooms at Red Rock show a similar doubling in price, from $188 to $399. Circa is at $399 for this weekend, up $100 over last weekend, and even the Rio is up to $139, compared to $64 last Saturday. Other room rates quoted aren't doubling, but are definitely up between 25% and 50%. If you're planning a trip and want to stay at a high-end hotel-casino, we recommend you check out our Luxury Booking Portal for the best deals (room rates plus credits, upgrades, and complimentaries) you'll find online.
The Salt Lake Express bus company, in connection with the Nevada Department of Transportation, launched a service that started running yesterday between McCarran International and Reno. The route goes through Pahrump, Beatty, Goldfield, Tonopah, Fallon, and Fernley. The state is investing a portion of the $10 million it receives annually from the Federal Transit Administration on behalf of rural public transportation; two other routes will run from Elko in northeastern Nevada to Salt Lake City and Twin Falls, Idaho. One bus leaves McCarran at 3:05 p.m., arriving downtown Reno at 11:10 p.m.; a second bus runs from Reno to Las Vegas at approximately the same times. Tickets are $108.25 each way.
If you haven't checked out the Plaza podcast, "On the Corner of Main Street," you should. It's an hour-long discussion with a Las Vegas personality interviewed by Jonathan Jossel, British-born CEO of the Plaza, along with host Lisa Melmed, the Plaza marketing manager. It's been going for a year and they've done 36 podcasts -- with the 36th and most recent a nearly 58-minute interview with our very own Anthony Curtis. For the first 22 minutes, Anthony talks about his background and how he became a card counter; for the next little bit, he and the head of a major Las Vegas casino discuss advantage play and players, which doesn't happen often in public in the casino world. Then the conversation ranges far and wide: deals pre- and post-pandemic, the Member Rewards Book, Henderson casinos, Mattress Mack, and more. And if you like this particular podcast, check out the list of other guests, including Steve Cyr, John Curtas, Frankie Scinta, Sheriff Joe Lombardo, Flavor Flav, Derek Stevens, and Scott Roeben. You can listen in on the Plaza website or click links there to Spotify and Apple Podcast.
The Mega Millions jackpot of $1.05 billion hit on January 22 of this year, sold at a Kroger's supermarket in suburban Detroit, has been claimed by a lottery club. Four members of the club opted to take the lump sum of $776 million; after approximately $186 million in federal withholding and $33 million in state taxes, they'll wind up with $140 million each. The jackpot was claimed by a Florida lottery attorney who represents the club, a legal maneuver that allows the club members to remain anonymous in Michigan, where lottery winners must allow themselves to be identified. The largest prize awarded in Michigan Lottery's history, the state's previous jackpot record was a $337 Powerball drawing in 2012. This was the third largest lottery jackpot in U.S. history, after the $1.54 billion Mega Millions jackpot won by an anonymous individual in South Carolina in 2018 and the $1.59 billion Powerball jackpot split three ways by ticket holders in California, Florida, and Tennessee in 2016.
Circa Sports opens its first satellite outside of downtown Las Vegas today at the off-Strip Tuscany. Circa Sports' second satellite will open at the Pass Casino in downtown Henderson shortly after the former Eldorado debuts on April 1. Circa Sports also operates online betting in Colorado and will launch in Iowa later this year.
As supplies of the coronavirus vaccine ramp up in Nevada, the eligibility list is opening up. "Frontline commerce and service-industry" workers can now make appointments to get the shot; that includes Las Vegas restaurant, hospitality, and casino employees. Officials estimate it will take several weeks for the vaccine to be administered to all frontline hospitality workers who want it, but it's another step in the direction of establishing the new normal.
The spring display at Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Garden opened yesterday. It features the usual trees, flowers, birds, and water features including a pond with live koi, along with a windmill and enormous wooden shoes, a temple fronted by Buddha and Buddhist statuary, and American flags. The spring display will remain in place through May 22.
A California man here to help a buddy celebrate his birthday hit a jackpot for $892,574 at the Cosmopolitan on a National Lampoon’s Vacation progressive slot machine on Friday morning.
Planet Hollywood and the LINQ, both of which have been operating their hotel rooms weekends only since reopening, will offer accommodations seven days a week. Planet Hollywood will open mid-week reservations this Monday, while the LINQ will start Monday, March 22.
In an announcement last night, Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak increased the allowable capacity for large gatherings from 20% to 50% in venues with more than 2,500 seats (with approval of a safety plan by the state Department of Business and Industry). The loosened limits go into effect this Monday. The directive adds convention centers, theaters, and arenas to the list of venues already scheduled to increase capacity from (the mostly symbolic) 35% to 50% on Monday, including casinos, gyms, bowling alleys, amusement parks, and the like. As of Monday, Vegas Golden Knights home games can accommodate up to 9,000 spectators; the first major convention scheduled to return to Las Vegas is World of Concrete, with a typical attendance of 60,000, June 7-10.
The slow-moving late-winter storm that gripped Las Vegas for three days is clearing out today, but not before dropping graupel (a form of hail that's considered snow for record purposes) on McCarran International. It was the second-latest snow recorded at the airport in history, missing beating the record set on Marc 14, 1975, by two days. The storm dumped more than a half-inch of rain on the official measuring site at McCarran Thursday and yesterday. A warmer dry weekend is forecast before another low-pressure system arrives on Monday, with gusty winds and a 30% chance of more rain.
The Cosmopolitan has announced that its Wicked Spoon Buffet will re-reopen on Thursday March 25 for breakfast and lunch Thursday through Sunday. Breakfast (8-11 a.m.) will be $38 for adults, $19 children; lunch (11 a.m.-3 p.m.) will be $45 adults/$22.50 children. Reservations aren't mandatory, but will be highly encouraged. Dining will be limited to two hours per party. And it sounds like service will be the same as before it closed: Servers dishing out the food to diners on socially distanced lines. The Wicked Spoon reopened on June 26 after the shutdown, then closed on January 10 "temporarily" until "business levels improved." The loosened capacity restrictions are, apparently, enough of a business improvement for the Cosmo to kickstart its AYCE spread.
The German heavy-metal band The Scorpions has moved its residency at Zappos Theater at Planet Hollywood from its original dates this May all the way back to March 26 through April 16, 2022. Queensryche will open for the Scorpions, as originally planned. American singer, songwriter, and actor Usher's residency at Zappos Theater now moves up to first in line; if it happens, it will take place July 16-31 and play to a max-capacity audience of 7,000, if allowed.
Travelers United, a nonprofit travel advocacy group, has sued MGM Resorts in Washington, D.C. for what it alleges is "deceptive" resort fees that violate the District's Consumer Protection Procedures laws. The group is basing its charges on practices at MGM National Harbor, located a short distance away from D.C. in Maryland. The lawsuit terms resort fees as "drip pricing"; in other words, part of the daily room rate is hidden. Travelers United is also accusing MGM of reducing or even outright eliminating many of the amenities it claims are covered by the resorts fees, but never lowering the price. (Imagine that.) Finally, the lawsuit claims that charging resort fees on comped rooms is illegal. MGM has had no comment on the suit.
The Eldorado Casino in downtown Henderson closed for the 78-day shutdown last year and never reopened. Then, last December, it was sold by Boyd Gaming to DeSimone Gaming, owner of the Railroad Pass Hotel-Casino, just past Henderson on the way into Boulder City. DeSimone Gaming has just announced that the newly rebranded Pass Casino (it doesn't have any hotel rooms) will reopen on April 1, pending regulatory approval. It will feature "increased gaming," along with a 24/7 coffee shop, an Italian restaurant, and a shuttle that will run between the Pass and Railroad Pass casinos. More good news.
After shutting down its suites Sunday through Wednesday nights last July, then closing them completely in December, the Palazzo is reopening them, starting tonight. Though the rest of the resort's amenities remained open, room demand fell so far short that the Venetian's 4,049 suites easily handled it for the past seven months. It's another sign that the recovery is well under way.
In last night's 4-3 loss to the Minnesota Wild, all three of the Vegas Golden Knights goals were scored by rookie defenseman Dylan Coghlan. Coghlan scored the VGK's first goal 1:23 into the first period to tie the score at 1-1; that was his very first goal in the NHL. He then scored two more goals in the third period. It was the first hat trick for a VGK defenseman in the team's four-year history. Coghlan is also just the third player in the entire history of the NHL to score a hat trick in a game where he scored his first goal. The other two players accomplished in 1984 and 1918! Too bad it was wasted in a losing effort. You can read about the game in Joe Pane's Knights on Ice post, which has a link to the highlight reel of Coghlan's hat trick.
The Life is Beautiful arts and music festival will spotlight more than 60 acts at the 2021 event, scheduled for Sept. 17-19. They include the following headliners: Bay Area rockers Green Day, singer-songwriter Billie Eilish, Australian multi-instrumentalist Kevin Parker of Tame Impala, and rapper A$AP Rocky. Ticket sales to the general public begin this Friday.
Ventriloquist, impressionist, and puppeteer Terry Fator will return to the Las Vegas stage on Thursday March 18 at the New York-New York Theater with a brand new show, Who's the Dummy Now? Fator told the Las Vegas Sun that the show is "completely different" than anything he's done before"; it's a "whimsical origin story delving into the psychiatry of a ventriloquist." And he says he'll take some time to showcase what he's capable of without the puppets, i.e., full-song impressions. Fator will perform Thurs.-Sun. evenings at 7:30 (7 on Saturdays); tickets are on sale now via the NY-NY box office starting at $34.99 plus fees and tax.
To go with a number of announced high-end restaurants, plus Wally's Wine & Spirits, the "sommelier to the stars," and Crockford's luxury hotel-within-a-hotel, Resorts World has revealed a few details for a new lounge, Gatsby's Cocktails, that will be Champagne inspired and themed. A statement from the operators, Clique Hospitality (which runs lounges and restaurants at Cosmopolitan, Red Rock Resort, and other Las Vegas casinos), hints at "vintage and rare Champagnes, artisanal cocktails, and wines" at Gatsby's, which will be located just off the casino. It also mentions a "secret drink menu," a 360-degree bar, and Champagne-bubble lighting effects.
With more restaurants opening up, late-night dining is also starting to come back. One location with two choices is at Spring Mountain and Decatur, where both the Crown & Anchor and Honey Pig (Korean) are serving 24/7. The Crown & Anchor on Tropicana also has a 24-hour kitchen.
Boyd Gaming and FanDuel have announced plans to bring back the iconic Stardust brand via online casinos in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The Stardust Hotel-Casino opened on the Las Vegas Strip in 1957 and closed in 2006 (Resorts World Las Vegas is being built on the site); though it's been gone for more than 15 years, it remains a well-known name. In New Jersey, FanDuel will rebrand Betfair Casino; in Pennsylvania, Stardust will be a new entry. Regulators are expected to approve the move soon and the Stardust online casinos could launch as early as next month. Boyd owns 5% of FanDuel.
With Frontier Airlines announcing new nonstop routes between Las Vegas and El Paso, Little Rock, Oklahoma City, and Wichita that start this week, the ultra-low-cost airline makes 44 nonstop flights from McCarran. Two of them, international flights to Los Cabos and Puerto Vallarta, launch later this month.
On Friday night, two royal flushes, one at live poker, the other at video poker, saw two Station Casinos paying out some big bucks. In the first, at an 8/16 Omaha-high table, a royal beat four jacks to trigger a bad-beat jackpot of $107,500. In the second, a video poker player was dealt the king, queen, jack, and ten of hearts in order on a Double Double Bonus Progressive machine and popped the ace of hearts, earning a payout of just under $120,000.
The travel website OneMileAtATime.com noticed a policy on the Virgin Las Vegas FAQ page: "Outside food and beverage is not permitted in our guest rooms." The Wynn, according to the site, has a similar policy: "Outside food and beverage, as well as coolers, are not permitted at the resort and casino." The site notes that the way these rules are worded, you might/will be stopped by security if you're attempting to carry onto the hotel elevator a bag of In N Out burgers, a Jamba Juice smoothie, or even some bottled water from Walmart. What gives? In the extensive discussion in the comments section, the consensus is that the hotels simply want a rule in place that allows them to prevent guests from using an outside service to cater parties or having "massive keggers" in their rooms. Still, as the site suggests, if that's the real reason, why not say so, rather than making guests feel like they're violating a house rule that risks getting themselves tossed? You can read the report and ensuing discussion here. Virgin Las Vegas opens a week from today.
The median price of a single-family house in Las Vegas set a new record in February at $355,000, up 12% over February 2020 and 5.7% over the previous record of $355,000, set in November and tied in December and January. Condos and townhomes are up 13% year over year, with a median price of $197,500 in February. The inventory remains historically low, less than a one-month supply, compared to the six months considered a "balanced" market (between buyers and sellers). Curiously, in spite of high unemployment in Las Vegas, short sales and foreclosures combined added up to a little more than a half-percent of all sales in February, compared to 2.5% last year, just before the pandemic struck, and 11% in 2017.
Team LeBron is a -4 favorite over Team Durant in tonight's NBA All Star Game. The total is 317.5.
Las Vegas Review-Journal food writer Al Mancini reports that our favorite Strip Greek restaurant, Estatorio Milos, will reopen a week from tomorrow, Monday March 15, at the Venetian. The restaurant debuted with the Cosmopolitan in 2011 and closed last October in preparation of moving to its new venue on restaurant row between the Venetian and Palazzo. Mancini writes that the new space will encompass 13,000 square feet, large enough to seat 400, though there will be enough seating for only 175, even after COVID capacity limits are completely lifted. There will also be a 35-seat oyster/sashimi bar, a Greek yogurt display kitchen, and fish and produce "markets" from which you can select your meal. It all sounds mouth-watering and we can't wait for it to open next week.
Taking a couple of pages out of the Mattress Mack playbook, Dollar Loan Center has promised to forgive all outstanding loans of its Nevada customers if its sponsored driver, Josh Bilicki, wins today’s Pennzoil 400 race at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Dollar Loan Center made a long-odds bet on Bilicki to win $10 million at Circa as a hedge. The race will be run today starting at 12:30 p.m. PST and will be aired on FOX.
The Vegas Golden Knights took down their arch-rivals, the San Jose Sharks, on their own ice last night by a score of 4-0. It was goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury's 65th career shutout. He now leads all active goalies in shutouts and ranks 16th on the NHL's all-time list. With three more shutouts, he'll jump to 13th. To see a highlight reel of the 36-year-old Fleury's 862nd NHL game, click here. And to read Joe Pane's blog post on last night's game against the Sharks, click here.
Israel Adesanya is a -290 favorite over Jan Blachowicz in tonight’s UFC main event. In the other featured match, Amanda Nunes is -965 over Megan Anderson.
Fifty-seven-year-old actor and Las Vega resident Nicholas Cage married his 26-year-old Japanese girlfriend, Riko Shibata, last month at a small private ceremony at the Wynn. It's Cage's fifth marriage and Shibata's first. The two met in Japan shortly after Cage's fourth marriage, to Erika Koike, was dissolved a few months after they tied the knot, also in Las Vegas. Cage has been married to Patricia Arquette, Lisa Marie Presley, and Alice Kim (who was a waitress at a Korean restaurant in L.A. when they met; still friendly, she attended the latest wedding with their son). We wish Mr. and Mrs. Cage the best of luck in their quest to make this marriage permanent.
Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak continues to loosen up restrictions, this time rescinding the "moat" requirement imposed on ticketed shows. The 25-foot distance between entertainers and audience has been eliminated. Also, the minimum distance between masked performers has been reduced to six feet (if unmasked, it's 12 feet). The changes are a big step in helping the Las Vegas entertainment scene recover from a year of profit-killing limits.
As of this writing, the change.org petition that opposes renaming McCarran International Airport for former U.S. Senator Harry Reid has just gone over 24,500 and is rising toward the goal of 25,000 fast. It probably won't make a difference, but it does show that plenty of people are against the move. So does our current poll: With 671 votes so far, 187 support leaving the name alone, while a paltry 27 are in favor of renaming it after Reid and 284 would rather see it renamed Las Vegas International. You can vote for your preference here.
NASCAR returns to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway this weekend for the Pennzoil 400 and two other races, with 12,500 spectators being allowed in to watch from the grandstands. The problem is, they all have to approach the venue from I-15; only team members, officials, and media can enter through the gate off Las Vegas Boulevard. That means thousands of cars will be backed up on the freeway before race time, waiting to get into the parking lots. The gates open for the Bucked Up 200 Truck Series race at 4:30 p.m. on Friday, for the Alsco Uniform 300 Xfinity Series race at noon on Saturday, and for the Pennzoil 400 Cup Series race at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday. It's shaping up to be a real mess for through traffic on the interstate all three days.
The outdoor portions of Springs Preserve, along with Nevada State Museum, will open to all comers on Friday March 19. The indoor attractions, including the cafe, will remain closed until further notice. The Preserve shut down on March 16, reopened in full on October 1, then shut down in full again. You can read our description of this excellent outdoor attraction in our Question of the Day about it.
Area15 is anticipating the pent-up demand for large-scale outdoor entertainment by breaking ground on a concert and festival venue called The Grounds. The four-acre space, adjacent to the Area15 mall, is on the site of the defunct Scandia Fun Center just south of Sirius Avenue along Rancho Drive next to 1-15. The space is anticipated to accommodate nearly 25,000 people when such gatherings are allowed, though it's planned to be ready by the summer.
Las Vegas has its share of celebrity chefs and new ones in the making. Eduardo Perez is the subject of one of the Modelo Especial “Fighting Spirit” commercials that often feature UFC stars. The commercial doesn’t identify where he works or even that it’s in Vegas, but Perez is the head chef at Matteo’s Ristorante Italiano at the Venetian. Also, Jamie Tran of The Black Sheep contemporary Vietnamese-American restaurant on S. Durango will be one of 15 competing chefs on the upcoming 18th season of the hit Bravo show “Top Chef.”
Nevada legislators are considering an unusual and controversial bill supported by the governor that would allow technology companies to set up "sub-counties" called Innovation Zones. The Zones would become county-like jurisdictions managed by private enterprise, rather than traditional local government. The zones would have to occupy at least 50,000 acres of currently unincorporated land owned by the enterprise, which would have to make a $250 million investment in the land before applying for Innovation status, then commit to spending another $1 billion over the following 10 years. This would afford significant freedom for Innovation Zones to try new tax, fee, and systems for services at a local level, plus provide flexibility to integrate innovative technologies, such as blockchain, robotics, artificial intelligence, wireless, biometrics, and renewable resources. The proposal stems from Blockchains LLC, which bought 67,000 acres of land in Storey County (next to Reno's Washoe County) for $170 million in 2018. Turning the proposal into law will no doubt require an uphill battle, but it's an interesting direction for the state to take a step toward.
The Oakland Athletics Triple A affiliate Las Vegas Aviators' season has been delayed by Major League Baseball by at least a month due to COVID. Originally scheduled to begin on April 8 on the road in Texas, the Aviators will, if all goes according to the new plan, launch its 2021 season on May 6 at home against Sacramento. After a wildly successful debut season in its new Summerlin stadium in 2019, the Aviators' 2020 season was completely canceled, along with the rest of Minor League Baseball.
On March 15, conventions can reconvene in Las Vegas with up to 1,000 attendees if they're approved by the Gaming Control Board (at a casino) or the state Division of Industrial Relations (at a non-casino property). So far, however, no conventions are scheduled in Nevada before May1, when the approval process is assumed by county officials. Vegas' first trade show, he Tobacco Plus Expo, is scheduled for May 12-14, but can't get approval from Clark County until May 1, which puts the organizers in a whale of a bind. The big World of Concrete show is scheduled for June 8-10. Normally, it attracts upwards of 60,000 conventioneers, but we'll see how many are allowed in the next couple of months.
Las Vegas Sands Corp. has sold its Las Vegas casinos and convention center for $6.25 billion. It's a two-part deal, in which the real estate is being bought for $4 billion by Vici Properties, the real-estate investment trust spun off from Caesars Entertainment as part of its 2017 bankruptcy reorganization, which will own the land, and the operations for $2.25 billion by Apollo Global, an asset management company, which at one time had a large stake in Caesars Entertainment. Apollo will also sign a long-term triple-net lease with Vici for roughly $250 million per year for rent; the initial term of the lease is 30 years, with two 10-year tenant extensions. Rumors have circulated for the past six months or so that the properties would be sold, but it took only two months after the death of Las Vegas Sands Chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson for the move to be made. Las Vegas Sands, which will drop the Las Vegas from its company name, announced in a statement, "Asia remains the backbone of this company and our developments in Macao and Singapore are the center of our attention." The sale is expected to close by the end of this year.
A new video is now running on the Las Vegas Advisor's YouTube channel. In it, Anthony and Andrew drink a beer and play video poker at one of A.C.'s favorite haunts, the Crown & Anchor British Pub. With cameras on them and the machine, Anthony gives Andrew -- and viewers -- a tutorial in playing 6/5 Bonus Poker at a bar, with all the attending inside tips. It's like being there yourself.
In another sign of the slow progress toward returning to normalcy, Las Vegas public-elementary-school children returned to school buildings yesterday. The return of students in kindergarten through third grade was the first time in 50 weeks that they've attended classes in person. All other grades will go back to in-person classes on a staggered schedule that should be completed by Tuesday April 6.
Careful, fellas, the world of sports betting can be treacherous. After proudly announcing what they viewed as a groundbreaking sponsorship agreement with UpickTrade.com, the deal was met with criticism from every corner of the sports betting industry. UpickTrade is a picks service out of Mexico that makes some very tout-like claims about unreasonable success in its advertising. Whoever made this decision for the Vegas Golden Knights was apparently completely unaware of the negative perception of the tout subculture and the resulting unseemliness of such a partnership. Three days after the agreement with UPick, the Vegas Golden Knights brass rescinded the agreement. After that, they responded to the question, “What were you thinking?” with, “The organization will not have additional comments on the matter at this time.”
Resorts World continues to establish its position as a luxury resort with the announcement that it's partnering with Wally's Wine & Spirits, which will be familiar to connoisseurs from Beverly Hills to Santa Monica, where Wally's has two locations. Wally's president is known as the sommelier to the stars; it will be Wally's first operation beyond southern California. The venue will serve as a 250-seat restaurant (three meals and late-night dining), wine bar, and gourmet market selling more than 8,000 wines and serving 125 by the glass. Wally's will open with Resorts World sometime this summer; the exact date has yet to be revealed.
As of this posting, nearly 15,500 people have signed an online petition opposing the renaming of the Las Vegas airport to Harry Reid International. The petition, launched on the petition platform change.org, is looking to gather 25,000 signatures by March 16, the date on which the Clark County Commissioners and FAA certify the decision. The petition page calls the name change a "political stunt" and suggests that the people of Nevada should decide the name, which should rightfully be Las Vegas International, "to take people and politics out of it." You can see the petition and the latest number of signatures here.
Average Las Vegas temperatures in March start out a bit cool and rise steadily, but not too high. From an average high of 66 degrees on the 1st, temps top out at 74 on the 31st. The lows go from 47 to 52. The record temperatures can be lionish: 92 is the highest (set on the 21st in 2004) and 19 the lowest (set on the 2nd in 1939). March historically has the second highest rainfall during the year at .59 inches; last year was extremely wet, registering more than three inches of rain for the month.