Las Vegas Casino Death Watch
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Last updated: June 12, 2015
Fortune has a pretty decent
article about the
It explains a number of things not well covered in other sources, such
as the specific arguments and maneuverings of the senior and junior
creditors, how actual ownership is structured, and it provides some
information from which we can infer why the stock price hasn't completely
cratered. It's a bit more friendly to the money movers than many will
think is objectively fair, but, hey, it's Fortune. Those are their home
boys. If your viewpoint is, "Caesars is evil, Loveman should be
in jail," don't bother reading it. If you're interested in a more
nuanced and detailed look at what's going on, even if it may not be
100% objective, it's well worth a read.
The VegasInc reports that
may rename and upgrade the Monte Carlo. We don't get a lot of details,
including how extensive these changes might be, when they might occur, or,
well, anything actually informative. We at the Death Watch don't expect
that the place is likely to be imploded or anything like that, but an
extended closure for a major remodel and retheme seems to be within the
realm of possibility. We'll keep an eye on this.
New comes in bursts at the Death Watch. Today we receive news that
Casino Hotel was sold on May 1 to Trinity Hotel Investments.
This sale still requires regulatory approval. Right now,
Navegante Group is operating the casino. It's possible this will
change with the new ownership group, but we see no reason to expect
that it will. We do expect the name to change, probably at some point
in the next 12 months. The article also notes that it is widely rumored
that Holiday Inn will come in and run the hotel portion, although not
under their brand name.
By the way, for those who are curious, the photo of the hotel above
the Las Vegas Sun article was taken from the southwest corner of the
top floor of the MGM Grand Casino parking garage. We know this because
LV Revealed staff have taken basically the same photo from the exact
same position, a version of which is available elsewhere on this web
On May 5th Genting Group finally
ground on their Resorts World project. They expect it to open
in 2018. This will be the first new ground-up resort construction
since the Cosmopolitan (the SLS was a refurbishment of the Sahara.)
It's always nice to see new options open up on the Strip, and we
wish them luck.
Casino closing: Riviera The Riviera closes today at about
noon. Another classic casino bites the dust. It's sad to see
it go, but it would be hard to argue that there was still life left
in that old building.
National will purchase the Tropicana for $360 million. This is
Penn's second foray into Las Vegas market, and their first on the
Strip. They purchased the M in 2009. Despite several different
owners over the last few years and some significant upgrades, nobody
has found the secret to making this place relevant again. We wish
the new ownership luck.
have a date for groundbreaking on the new Resorts World Las Vegas,
May 5. It will be built on the site of the former Stardust.
Since there have been a few fits and starts in the development
process to date, we're a little hesitant to get all the way
behind this, but we look forward to progress finally being made
on this site.
We have an update on the Riviera closing.
are now officially saying the Riviera will close at noon on May 4,
as opposed to the quasi-official date we had before. We also
know it will close at noon. So, there's that.
Not only has the LVCVA agreed to purchase the Riviera,
we now have a closing date as well. The Riviera is scheduled
to close on May 4. Plan your finial visits now. It's possible the
building could be demolished as early as late summer or early fall
It's no longer a rumor.
has been confirmed that the LVCVA plans to buy the Riviera. An
official announcement may close on Friday, and current projections have
the casino closing within six months. While the Riviera is far from
its prime, this was a cool place at one time, and we have some fond
memories of the place. However, now it's time to start planning a
It's one thing when Robin Leach talks about hearing rumors,
quite another when Howard Stutz provides details.
While nobody has gone on the record saying that something is
definitely going to happen, the suggestion is that the LVCVA
may buy out the Riviera site, which will be demolished to be
used for more convention space. This seems plausible to us,
and it now places the Riviera at the top of our list of most
endangered Las Vegas Strip properties.
Last night the Clarion demolotion mostly happened.
Las Vegas Review-Journal has the story and video. The
elevator shaft remains mostly standing, and that has to be
dealt with somehow.
Robin Leach in his Strip Scribbles column of the Las Vegas Sun
spreads the rumor that
are afoot about imploding the venerable Riviera and replacing it
with something new and better. It's not news that folks
might want to talk about replacing the Riviera, and if that
comes to pass, an implosion is a critical first step. The
question is, from where is the money to shut the place down, blow
it up, and build something new going to come? For an implosion
to be a real possibility, this is the key question, and one for
which Leach provides no hint.
Implosion Alert, for realz:
Clarion Hotel, formerly Greek Isles, Debbie Reynolds, Paddlewheel, etc.,
is coming down tonight. The Las Vegas Sun reports that the implosion
is scheduled for 12:01 AM Tuesday, February 9. The LVRJ
suggests that the actual implosion will occur between 2:00 and
3:00 AM. We don't know which is the correct schedule. It's entirely
possible that that actual time isn't tightly scheduled, but for those
who would like to see this place topple, they will need to be there
Implosion Alert, Sorta:
It's not a casino, but we have a scheduled implosion in the Las
Vegas valley, and some readers are implosion fans and might care.
tower of the Gramercy, a set of mixed use buildings at the 215 and
Russell Road, which was partially constructed will be imploded at
8:00 AM on February 15th. Well, at least something is going boom.
As the company's namesake once said, "Alea iacta est".
Caesars Entertainment Corporation officially placed it's largest
subsidiary, called Caesars Entertainment Operating Company, into
bankruptcy. CEOC includes many of the US-based casinos operting under
the Caesars brand name, but only Caesars' Palace in Las Vegas, as well
as $18.4 billion in debt. Caesars claims that 80% of the company's
senior bondholders have agreed to a pre-packaged bankruptcy, which is
a pretty impressive number, and they hope to get this done quickly
and emerge from bankruptcy late in 2015. However, there are those
debt holders who feel they are being left out in the cold by this
plan, as well as those who question the legitimacy of the structuring
moves the company made leading up to this situation. There's a great
deal to be ironed out, and new news on this story will be coming
Oh, the shock of it all!
announces that it plans to file for bankruptcy in January. Okay, maybe
it's what just about everyone expected. So, what's going to happen? Well,
the first thing is that the casinos in Las Vegas will remain open, and
everyone's Total Rewards points will be safe. It's possible that there
will be some layoffs and/or that a couple of underperforming properties
around the country will be closed down. It's also possible that one or
more properties will be sold off, but from the customer perspective,
we expect few changes. If you're a debt holder, on the other hand,
we expect things to be complicated. Call it a gut feeling, but given
the acrimony that already exists between management and the first and
second tier debt holders, we don't think this will be a pre-packaged
deal that will get rubber-stamped by some bankruptcy judge, but
sometimes these things can get political, and if that happens, all bets
sale of the Cosmopolitan to the Blackstone Group received approval
from the Gaming Commission. So, the $1.73 billion sale is finalized.
The key question is, what changes are coming to a place that has a lot
going for it, but hasn't yet been able to find a way to make money?
In any case, we wish the new management team good luck.
At last, our long city-wide nightmare is over.
Resorts and Perini Building Co. have resolved their construction
defect case. In the mean time, the demolition of the Harmon
continues, with the linked article indicating that this process
should be finished by summer.
Hot on the heels of news of the inevitability of Caesars reorganization
comes news that
company will have layoffs. The good news for the employees, such as
it is, is that they plan to lay off less than 1% of their workforce.
However, such small layoffs mean they're not really saving a lot of
money here. Also, of course, nobody wants them to cut staff to the
point where it damages their operations. In the great scheme of
things, something like this was probably necessary, even though it
doesn't mean a whole lot to the bottom line. That will be small
comfort to those who are losing their jobs.
The seemingly inevitable impending Caesars bankruptcy seems even more
Caesars reportedly reaching an agreement on a restructuring plan with
key creditors. The Bloomberg report indicates that Chapter 11 may
take effect as early as mid-January 2015. The market thinks this will
happen, and, frankly, at this point it's hard to imagine a plausible
scenario where a reorganization doesn't occur. Once again, we do not
expect that Caesars' properties, especially those in Las Vegas, will
close or that their day-to-day operation will be significantly impacted.
We do think it's possible that some Caesars' assets may be sold off to
other companies, but we have no idea right now what something like that
might look like.
Name Change: On October 30
Quad officially becomes the Linq. Or wait, is it the other way
around? No, we typed it right the first time. It's hard to remember.
The name change reflects the tighter integration between the hotel and
the nearby Linq Promenade and all it has to offer. From the linked
article, our favorite quote from Robin Leach is, "This is no lipstick
on a pig transaction." If you have to point that out... . It is,
certainly, a big upgrade, though, from the Imperial Palace days.
Katsilometes of the Las Vegas Sun reports that there is a planned
demolition of the Clarion nee Greek Isles nee Debbie Reynolds nee
Paddlewheel casino on January 13 at 12:01AM. This event hasn't
been confirmed, and assuming it goes off as planned, it's not going
to be a landmark event, like the implosion of the former Landmark which
was located across the street. However, it's what passes for an
implosion these days. In the mean time, nobody breathe too hard
near the building.
Howard Stutz at the RJ reports that
is talking to creditors about the company's debt. We compare this to
a 5 year old girl talking to her parents about getting a pony. The money
quote: "The move comes a day after an analyst told Bloomberg News the
company could be taking steps to file bankruptcy as soon as January."
owners of the Riviera tell the Gaming Commission that they might
spend $100M on renovations on the property. Of course, We might
spend $100M on upgrading the LV Revealed offices, but that doesn't seem
all that likely. Of course, the newly shuffled ownership is making
changes and spending some money on the place, but we're not convinced
this proposed $100M is going to show up.
Railroad Pass is changing hands. This is a small casino (11,000 square
feet of casino space, 120 hotel rooms) between the Boulder Strip and
Boulder City. It is being sold by MGM Resorts to Joe DeSimone, a local
buisinessman with no previous casino experience. We don't know what
his plans are for this place other than it sounds like he wants to
keep it open.
Railroad Pass isn't exactly the swankiest joint in town, but it does
have some history. It is the oldest continually operated casino in
Nevada, and received the second casino license issued by the state.
Could there possibly be an implosion in Las Vegas' near future?
Las Vegas Sun reports that the Clarion (formerly the Greek Isles, and
before that the Debbie Reynolds Hollywood Hotel, and before that
the Paddlewheel, and before that the Royal Americana, and before
that the Royal Inn) is closing down. What, you don't know about
this place? Well, it's on Convention Center Drive, east of Las
Vegas Boulevard. It's small, with about 200 rooms and 7000 square
feet of gaming, and hasn't had table games in years. What, you
knew it existed but didn't know that as of yesterday it was still
open? We're sure you're not alone. We don't know what will happen
to it, but the article speculates that it might be torn down or
imploded. Of course, nobody is giving any official word, much less
a time table, but we can hope.
opens on the site of the former Sahara. We at LV Revealed are not
exactly squarely in owner SBE's target demographic, but the place
does have some intriguing amenities. In any case, as always, we
wish the new owners luck.
Periodically, we see shareholder lawsuits, where people who own shares
in a company or corporate bonds sue that company for lying or mismanagement
or whatnot, but it's pretty uncommon to see a company sue the folks who
hold its equity. Be that as it may,
exactly what Caesars is doing. They claim that their bond holders
are hindering the company's efforts to restructure their debt and are
pushing the company into default. The bondholders, on the other hand,
are claiming that Caesars is transferring assets to subsidiaries in
order to create a protected company with the best pieces with the
intention to declare bankruptcy on the unprotected part with the
worst assets and most of the debt.
Okay, we rarely track closings here that aren't of the "whole property"
type, but we think this one is kind of special. As the Death Watch
is a home for those who wish to remember the old Las Vegas, we think
our readers will want to know.
Flame Steakhouse at the El Cortez is due to close at the end of August
and be replaced by Siegel's, a 24 hour restaurant. This is a
real piece of old Las Vegas. It may not be the best or most up-to-date
restaurant, but it's one of the last and best throwbacks to the concept
of the old Las Vegas steakhouse at reasonable prices. Get the steaks,
some french onion soup, an iceberg wedge, some standard steakhouse sides,
and a nice red wine and you're set. Visit if you get a chance before
it becomes yet another memory.
You know that big blank patch of land across the street from The Wynn
that used to be the New Frontier? The one that has sat idle for years?
Well, nobody is moving heavy equipment to the site yet, but
are reasons to think that the wheels are finally in motion that will
lead to development there. James Packer is looking at getting back
into Las Vegas, and (a) is talking to folks about developing a property
there and (b) now owns part of the debt on the property itself. We
expect there's still a lot to be ironed out before folks start digging
holes, but at least there are real reasons to think something might
happen there in our lifetimes. As they say, a journey of installing
a couple thousand slot machines begins with a single step.
we have some more information on the now former LVH. First, it will
apparently be called Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino. We'll be
making updates to the LV Revealed web site in the near future. Second,
200 rooms are expected to be converted to time shares, so this is unlikely
to have a huge effect on how the property is run. Third, the Westgate
folks seem serious about making a real go at returning the property to,
well, maybe not its former glory, but at least to a much better state
than it is now. In any case, while it is run down, there's a lot to
like about this property, and we wish the new owners well.
is going to rename the Quad, formerly the Imperial Palace, as Linq
Hotel & Casino, leveraging their nearby promenade. It will
transition to the new name between now and October 30. Caesars also
says they'll invest a couple hundred million in revamping it. So,
for those of you who want to rush to grab your Quad themed memorabilia
before this august incarnation of this property is gone, you better
get a move on.
official, Westgate has, indeed, purchased the LVH. The purchase
price is reported to be in the $150 to $170 million range. We don't
know how this will affect the operation of this property, but we
expect some changes are coming.
We've been hearing rumors about this for a while, but have been uncertain
about at what point to discuss it here.
appears that the LVH is in the process of being sold to Westgate
Resorts, although nobody involved in the process is willing to
talk about it publically. The sale price is rumored to be in the
$150 million range, just over half what it sold for in 2004. If
Westgate does close the deal, we expect the place to go time share.