Las Vegas Casino Death Watch
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Last updated: May 18, 2013
casino is changing its name to "The Silver Sevens". A name
change makes sense, as it's no longer associated with the Herbst
family, but the new name doesn't really ... grab us. Ah, well.
Gold Spike will reopen in about two weeks! Only it will reopen
without its casino. We're not sure this is a big loss to the Las
Vegas community, as the casino consisted of a maximum of four table
games, a few dozen slots and video poker machines, and a William Hill
sports betting counter, but it means it no longer falls under the
auspices of the Death Watch. This is good news to the couple of
dozen employees who will be able to get back to work.
The Gold Spike may be closed, but the lawsuits have just begun.
employee has filed suit claiming that the Gold Spike's owner didn't
give the required 60 day notice for closing the property. We can't
find a news source who has actually looked into what's going on.
If they won't pick up the ball, the Death Watch will. Note, we're not
labor lawyers and nothing we say here should be taken as a pronouncement
by someone with, you know, expertise. However, it looks to us that the
relevant regulation here is a federal law known as the WARN act. It
says that a company with more than 100 people must provide 60 days
notice before closing a facility if the shutdown will result in the
loss of 50 or more full-time positions. The Las Vegas Sun suggests
than 50 people lost their jobs, which would mean that the Gold Spike
wouldn't have to provide notice.
Of course, there may be a state law, gaming regulation, or labor agreement
that is in force that has different requirements. We hope someone with
real knowledge will chime in, or failing that, a news source with actual
resources *cough* will ask someone who knows what's going on here.
Las Vegas Club is closing its hotel towers. Previously, they
had only been open for weekend reservations, now they won't be
open at all. We suppose this could be a prelude to a big
upgrade as Tamares did with the Plaza, but they were trumpeting
that upgrade to high heaven, this one, not so much. Our best guess
would be that they're going Binion's, keeping the casino open but
closing the rooms. What their long term plan is, we don't know.
Gold Spike is closing this Sunday! Given that the buyer has
historically not been involved in gaming, this very well may be the
end of that property as a casino. If you want to get a last
look at the place, start heading that way now.
have a buyer for the shuttered Western Hotel downtown. It's
a group working with entrepreneur Tony Hsieh, of Zappos fame, as
part of his downtown revitalization project. Will they use this
lot for gaming, or for something else? We haven't heard yet.
have more information about the Fate of Bill's. The remodeled
property will be called Gansevoort Las Vegas. The reason for this
is that Caesars has engaged the Gansevoort Hotel Group as a partner
in this project. It is schedule to reopen in early 2014. Its target
customer is up market.
have a more plausible opening target for SLS, fall of 2014.
We wish them luck.
is progressing at SLS. They're making real progress here, aiming
for an early 2014 opening. It will be nice to see another property
open on the north end of the Strip.
Looks like construction is about to start at the Echelon site,
it won't be Boyd building the new property. Boyd is selling the
site to Genting Group, a big name in Asian gambling. Of course it
will be a while before the sale is finalized, and they the Genting
folks need to get their ducks in a row before construction starts,
but we may see some activity on this site before too long.
Howard Stutz of the Las Vegas Review-Journal brings us an interesting
where MGM Resorts stands. Summary points: They lost $1.2 billion
last quarter, but a lot of that was writing off the value of
depreciated assets. They're willing to sell some of their properties,
and folks have talked about the Crystals shopping mall at CityCenter.
They still owe $1.85 on their share of CityCenter.
We now have a projected time frame for the opening of the SLS
on the site of the former Sahara.
seems to be slated for the fall of 2014. They've apparently
got the $400 million in financing all set up and groundbreaking
will begin any day now, although apparently that hasn't happened
Las Vegas Review-Journal reports on progress at the Downtown Grand.
We hear more about what the place will be like, but little more on
what specifically has been done or anything more than that it will
open "later this year". It's nice that progress, even vague progress,
is being made here and we wish them luck.
Casino closing: Bill's
closes today for significant renovations and conversion into a
boutique hotel. We really don't have an idea when it will reopen or
if it will keep the same name.
new owners are making some changes at Hooters. Going through
the list, these don't seem all that substantive to us, but once
they're committed to spending money on changes, it means they're
going to see if it works for a while. So, one way or another, we
expect a year from now it to still be called Hooters and still be
anyone surprised that the final resolution of what to do with the
Harmon Hotel has been pushed back by legal wrangling? Not us.
Steve Green of Vegas Inc. reports that the trial regarding defects
on the Harmon has been pushed back to January 2014.
Gamblin' Hall is slated to close on February 4, for a major renovation.
The property is scheduled to reopen in early 2014 with a new name
and theme. So, if you want your Bill's souvenirs, it's time to make
plans to visit this spot before it goes away to re-emerge as some
has begun on the Downtown Grand! This is the new name for the property
that used to be the Lady Luck. Allegedly, they will sink $100 million
in to the place, and it is scheduled to open in late 2013. As always,
we wish luck to those who are building a new place, and we hope they
build something compelling.
Las Vegas Review-Journal has an article about the new SLS nee Sahara.
We read about a lot of plans, which we always take with a grain of
salt. The key for us is two sentences in the article. First, "Initially,
work on the redevelopment was scheduled to begin at the end of
the summer." Second, "... SBE plans to make an announcement on
groundbreaking for redevelopment within a few weeks." They claim
to have the financing set up, but as loyal readers of this site
know, until the first shovel hits the ground, and until the heavy
machinery shows up to stay, we retain a certain amount of skepticism.
Do we have a new name for the temporarily named LVH?
it be a variant of the old name, Vegas International Casino +
Hotel? We really don't understand why folks there would
outright deny this if they really plan to rename it. Stay
the LVH officially changes hands. It will no longer be
owned by Colony Capital, but is now the property of a partnership
between Goldman Sachs and Gramercy Capital. We don't expect to
see major changes soon, but we'll be carefully tracking the
direction in which the property heads from here.
More from the "General Franco is Still Dead" file, Boyd Gaming
they have no current plans to restart development on Echelon.
They do plan to add a "decorative wrap" to the project's skeletal
"So, when will the demolition of the Harmon occur?" we are asked
all the time. Our answer,
no time soon. Stay tuned.
Caesars Entertainment reports that they will begin
$110 million upgrade to Bill's that includes a name change.
That's cool, it could use an upgrade, but the real news as far as the
Death Watch is concerned is that this means there will be no plans
to implode the building for at least a decade.
Congratulations to the Golden Gate for
their big renovation. They have new rooms, an expanded casino
floor, a new lobby, and a restored facade. So, maybe it's still
not Aria, but we like the fact that folks have expended the energy
to fix up a building that has been occupying that spot for over 100
The Imperial Palace is getting a new name. Henceforth, it shall
be known as the
Resort & Casino. No, really. Yes, that's really the name.
It will be known as the IP until December, but the new sign won't
go up until they redo the whole Strip facing portion of the property,
which should happen some time late in 2013. So, if you want to get
some souvenir Imperial Palace gear, and why wouldn't you, now is
the time to do it. If you want your Quad Resort gear, I'm afraid
you'll have to wait a few months. See if you can hold out that long.
looks like there may be a path for LVH. It sounds we're on the
verge of a deal that would have chief creditor, Goldman Sachs, take
control of the property. Even though the noises coming from the
powers that be indicate that LVH will continue to operate under
the new regime, Vegas Inc. reports that workers there received
notification that might indicate a radical change of staffing is
in the works, or possibly even a closure. This seems unlikely to
us, but it is possible. In any case, as always, our hearts at
the Death Watch are with the many people who work there.
Vegas Sun reports that Cosmo and the MGM properties had a good
second quarter. This is news because these are two of the entities
folks have been most concerned about. Of course, the article doesn't
actually post Cosmo's results or link to their article that does,
we'll do that leg work for you. As it turns out, it lost less
than $19 million, compared to about $54 million in the same quarter
a year ago.
The numbers are telling a bunch of different stories at the same time,
but what they are telling us is that even though casinos still struggle
to service the debt load they took on during the boom years, things
haven't been getting worse and the companies run rates are mostly in
the black. This means we don't expect to see a lot of outright closings,
at least not among the bigger names.
This is a little bit below our normal reporting threshold, but
Nugget in North Las Vegas has filed Chapter 11. It has been
a slow news month. The place is not exactly a vacation destination
property, but it does have a decent and reasonably priced coffee
shop, with an attached bakery that is one of the better ones in
town. They also typically have the best football parlay card odds
demolition of the contested Harmon Hotel has been given the green
light to be demolished by owners MGM Resorts. They still need
to get the permits in place, the is still some testing to be done
as part of the civil suit regarding its construction, and the
construction company is expected to appeal. At the same time,
expect MGM to try to get this done as quickly as possible. We
have no idea what the timetable might be.
Vegas Inc., let's us know that
have been laid off at the LVH. Not too surprising under the
circumstances, but not a good sign. The property continues under
a court-appointed operator while it passes through foreclosure.
We've heard folks have been by to kick the tires, but it's unlikely
anything serious will happen, or at least be announced, until
after the foreclosure proceedings are resolved.
Through some, frankly, miraculous events, the Death Watch has
been returned to its former glory. Again, this is a long and
strange tale that we won't go into now. Maybe some day. In
the mean time, the Death Watch, the book reviews, the articles,
everything is pretty much back to the way it should be. There
are still a few items to clean up, but it's all back.
RJ informs us that Moody's has cut the Riviera's debt rating
from Caa1 to Caa2. It's the second time the rating has been
cut so far this year. Part of this downgrade is because with
the sale of the casino in Colorado, all of Riviera's eggs are
in one basket. Part of the downgrade is because the Riviera
just isn't doing very well.
JW Marriot Las Vegas Resort & Spa, which occupies the
same location as the Rampart casino, might be changing
hands. The owner defaulted. An outside entity wants to
buy up the debt at a discount to its face value, and a judge
ruled that they could. Will this transfer actually occur?
Maybe. Does this affect the casino? Only peripherally, as
that's run by a different entity.
The Las Vegas Casino Death Watch is back after a forced absence.
Yeah, there isn't much to show for it right now, and perhaps
some day we'll regale the public with our sad stories of the
death of web sites, but we're working on slowly rebuilding
the site. This will take a long time, but (a) we're back on
the air, and (b) we will be updating this site with new information
as we hear it. So, there's that.
Okay, this has nothing to do with casino openings and closings,
but the editorial board here at the Death Watch can't resist
a good story about the late Bob Stupak, so here goes.
this case it's a story about the slivers of moon rock he used to
display at Vegas World, the precursor to the Stratosphere
hotel. It's also vintage Stupak in every way.