A Vegas legend passed away this week. Jackie Gaughan passed away at 84 years of age. Mr. Gaughan has been a staple in the Las Vegas casino business since the 50’s but you may probably know him for his ownership of the El Cortez, where he resided until his death on March 12. Mr. Gaughan was a regular in the El Cortez poker room until it closed earlier this year. The Stiffs & Georges blog looks back on his life.
The Elvis exhibit at Binions, King’s Ransom, will be closing at the end of March. The exhibit opened at Binions in August charging $10, then became a free exhibit and will soon be gone. Since King’s Ransom was previously at Imperial Palace (not The Quad) it could relocate again but there are no rumors. We’ll keep you posted if we hear anything.
Taylor Hicks will also be “Leaving Las Vegas”. His residency at Paris ends on April 8th so there’s still a few weeks to catch the show. Sheryl Crow will not be leaving Las Vegas. She’s actually coming to Las Vegas and will be performing outside at the new Downtown Container Park on April 4th. There will be under 1,000 tickets available and they’re under $40 on Eventbrite.
One of the most cool announcements in Las Vegas hotels just happened. Palms will now allow 2 hour checkout at no extra cost. For example if you check-in at 7pm on Friday night, you’ll be able to keep your room until 8 pm on whatever night you plan on leaving. The only stipulation to get this extra time in your room is to book direct through the Palms website. Some hotels have begun charging half day rates for late checkouts so news is great.
Last year the Life is Beautiful music and arts festival took Downtown Vegas by storm. This year the trend of new music festivals in Vegas will take to the strip. The Big Blues Bender will take place at the Riviera over 4 days between September 25 and 29. BB King and George Thorogood will headline the festival. You can see the full lineup and book hotel/festival packages on the Big Blues Bender website. Individual tickets should go on sale in closer to the show.
Speaking of the Riviera they’re adding the stage show “Pawn Shop Live!” beginning April 21. “Pawn Shop Live!” is a comedic parody based on the hit reality TV series “Pawn Shop”. In addition to live actors, dancers, a puppet and members from the show sometimes drop by. If you visit Las Vegas sooner and want to see the show it’s currently taking place at Golden Nugget and will end March 29. The show will run 7 days a week at 4:30pm when it picks up at the Riv.
You can officially book rooms at the newest hotel in Las Vegas, The Cromwell. The Cromwell was built on the bones where Barbary Coast and Bill’s Gambling Hall once stood. The boutique hotel opens for business on May 21. Last week we mentioned that the first pool party of the season at Drai’s Beach Club will be the following week. Initial prices are between $200 and $400.
If you’re a fan of Electronic Dance Music (EDM) you’ll be happy to know that Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC) won’t be your only chance to dance all night in Las Vegas. EDC announced that they will be bringing two new parties to Las Vegas. Beyond and Nocturnal Wonderland will be coming to Las Vegas. No dates or venues have been announced so there is no ticket information. We’ll keep you posted. Las Vegas Weekly has more information.
Jubilee at Bally’s was the longest running show on the Vegas Strip before taking a break for some retooling early this year. Well, it’s time to get the show back on the road. Jubilee opens again on March 17. The show was updated under the direction of Frank Gatson Jr., who’s known for being the choreographer for Beyoncé Knowles.
Let’s start the news in Vegas where we started it last week. Las Vegas Sands (LVS) websites are back in order. It took a week for Venetian.com to become operational again but all is working just fine. No customer accounts have been compromised but it seems as if the hackers may still have access to the LVS servers. It seems as if the hackers are more concerned with rattling LVS owner, Sheldon Adelson, because of statements against Iran than stealing information. This isn’t over yet.
In big Vegas news Hakkasan Group has purchased Angel Management Group (AGM). AGM operates PURE nightclub at Caesars Palace, Wet Republic at MGM Grand and many other clubs. It will be interesting if/how/when this shakes up the nightclub industry.
Drai’s Nightclub(s) won’t be affected by the Hakkasan/AGM marriage and they plan on opening their new beach club at The Cromwell on Memorial Day Weekend. Drai’s will control all of the nightlife/daylife at The Cromwell. No DJ’s or party’s have been announced yet but we imagine opening weekend will be banging. Memorial Day weekend is one of the busiest in Vegas.
When thinking about the Venetian or Palazzo you don’t think of their parent company, Las Vegas Sands (LVS). This week Las Vegas Sands had the websites of all of their casinos and hotels around the world hacked. While personal information of LVS employees was exposed no personal information or credit card information from customers was stolen. It’s easy to assume that this attack targeted LVS because of their stance against online gaming or one one of their owners political comments. More information is sure to be released as this issue is explored further.
With so many businesses being hacked in the past few months expect a more malicious hack to happen to a Las Vegas hotel and casino operator before long.
Valentines Day marks the 1 month count down to the beginning of Pool Season in Las Vegas. Liquid pool at Aria and Bare at The Mirage open on March 13. Sorry to those of you stuck in a foot of snow in the eastern half of the country. If you’re snowed you can pass the time by making some reservations in Las Vegas where we’ll be breaking record high temperatures this weekend.
The Cromwell is currently under construction across the street from Caesars Palace and Bally’s. They’ve announced that it will be opening for business some time this spring. We should get a more specific date when hotel rooms become available for Total Rewards members on February 21. Rooms will be open to all on February 24. The Total Rewards Blog has renderings of The Cromwell that should give you an idea of what the hotel will look like.
A few days later Phase two of The Linq will open on the Vegas Strip. Phase two of The Linq will include Yardhouse and a few more retail outlets. The big observation wheel, High Roller, will have its soft opening another few days later. The soft opening of the ride will be March 1. Vegas Chatter has specific dates and times.
The next new hotel opening in Las Vegas will be where the Sahara once stood. SLS Las Vegas has set an opening weekend for Labor Day weekend. There will probably be some special events happening that weekend but no more details have been revealed.
This is the biggest sports weekend in Las Vegas with the Super Bowl happening this Sunday. The excitement and aren’t confined to the sports book. There are parties in just about every restaurant, bar and casino. The bars and restaurants that aren’t having parties have drink specials. If you’re in Las Vegas this weekend without plans check out this constantly updated list of Big Game parties and specials from Vegas Chatter.
Super Bowl weekend is still the busiest sports weekend in Las Vegas but it’s only one game on one day. March Madness may be overtaking Super Bowl weekend with 16 games on the first two days (March 20 & 21) and 8 more games on March 22 and 23. 48 basketball games in two days is intense and sportsbooks overflow with people. If you’re thinking about visiting Las Vegas between March 20 and 23 you might want to book your hotel rooms now. Room rates are already high.
If you prefer music to sports you might be excited with some music news this week in Las Vegas. The Life Is Beautiful festival set its dates for this year. The music, art, food festival will take place October 24-26 in Downtown Vegas. If you’re remotely interested in going to the festival you might want to put a Downtown Vegas hotel room on hold now. Parking for the event was $40 last year so getting a hotel room close to the festival may be the most economical way to enjoy the weekend.
The news in Las Vegas this week isn’t huge but there’s a lot of it. Let’s just jump into it!
If there was any major news in Las Vegas this week it was that The D and Golden Gate will begin accepting Bitcoin in the non-gaming outlets in their casino. Seeing that the majority of Downtown Vegas customers are older, less tech savvy people this really shouldn’t be considered a big deal. They just happen to be the first in line. Check the wiki for Bitcoin if you’re like 98% of the world that doesn’t know what it is.
Speaking of The D, they purchased some land last year for expansion. The Las Vegas Sun has details on what they’ll do with the land in the near term. Long term plans haven’t been disclosed just yet.
Convention season in Las Vegas kicked off last week with CES blasting into town. Now with the new TV’s and other tech toys out of town it’s time to move on to more conventions. While not the most attended conference or expo in Las Vegas the AVN Adult Expo & Show may be the most popular. AVN is also known as the porn convention. If you’re in Las Vegas this weekend expect to see porn everywhere you look, especially if you’re staying at the host hotel – the Hard Rock.
The AVN Expo used to be paired on the same weekend as CES but that changed a couple years ago. Now AVN is paired with the SHOT Show. The SHOT Show is also called “The Gun Show”. The pairing may or may not be an unintended consequence in planning but everyone involved seems happy.
The Vegas Strip continues to transform. This week the neon entrance at New York New York was taken down as part of the major construction that’s been happening over the past few months. The sign isn’t going very far. You’ll be able to see the sign at the Neon Boneyard in Downtown Vegas. Vegas Inc. has a slideshow if you want to see the sign right now.
The construction continues next door at Monte Carlo. While much of the exterior is undergoing a major refacing it looks like the insides might be getting refreshed as well. Vegas Chatter posted pictures of a recently renovated hallway. Warning: If you’ve been drinking or are easily disoriented you may not want to look at the dizzying wall coverings and carpeting.
You might remember that all of the construction at New York New York and Monte Carlo are being done to create a walking district area that will lead to a new arena behind both hotels. Well, that arena just received unanimous approval for their work permits. A development agreement between the county and MGM Resorts still needs to be finalized before construction can begin. Construction on the arena is scheduled to begin later this year with opening planned for 2016.
The big news in Las Vegas this week is actually the same as it was everywhere in the world. HAPPY NEW YEAR! New York may have 1 million people freezing their butts off at Times Square but Las Vegas parties harder than anywhere else in the world. There are amazing parties at clubs, restaurants, concert venues and casinos all over town. The biggest music artists come to the Vegas Strip for the some of the biggest entertainment you’ll find anywhere. Even with major parties up and down the Vegas Strip you’ll still find over 300,000 outside watching the midnight fireworks. New York City may have the tradition of New Years Eve but Las Vegas has the best of today. Hotel rates go through the roof so you may want to put tentative dates on hold now. Just check the cancellation policy of the hotel.
A lot of new facilities opened in the past week to capitalize on the New Years Eve crowds. Rose. Rabbit. Lie and Beacher’s Madhouse opened their “interesting” lounge, dinner club concepts. Both venues are a welcome site as many of the recent strip openings are new outposts to existing businesses.
The Cosmopolitan opened its new concert venue with Bruno Mars while Planet Hollywood debuted its new Axis Theatre with Britney Spears. Britney’s “Piece of Me” show is awesome. Here’s my review for Vegas Chatter. Note, I love me some Britney.
If you’re a football fan you may be familiar with the SuperContest at LVH. The SuperContest is the biggest and best football contest in the Vegas, err the world. There were a record number of entries this year at $1,500 with around $1 million in prizes. The Grand Prize winner was a trader in the financial world in Chicago. He took down over $500,000 and plans on donating half of the winnings to charity. Nice guy! You can read more about the winnings on ABC News.
Las Vegas has been selected as one of 6 sites to test drones for public use. This may be more of a local story but the idea of drones in public use (Amazon, for example) is awesome. If you’re curious about how Las Vegas will be involved the Las Vegas Sun has details.
If you’re fond of the Vegas suburbs you’ll be happy to hear that the Shops at Summerlin are back under construction. You may be familiar with the shops as the stalled mall project behind Red Rock Resort. The 106 acre shopping area is scheduled to open at the end of the year.
More Meat Loaf! Meat Loaf returns to Planet Hollywood for another run with the Rocktellz and Cocktails show. Meat Loaf performs Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at 7pm. Rocktellz.com has ticket information. Planet Hollywood will have Meat Loaf and Britney Spears performing at the same time. Picture a mashup and smile.
The 45th World Series of Poker will begin on Tuesday, May 27, 2014 at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. This marks the tenth straight year that it will be held at the Rio after previously having been hosted by Binion’s Horseshoe downtown. The 2005 WSOP was split between Rio and Binions. Entry to WSOP is free and it’s one of the unique events to check out in Vegas.
Have a million bucks burning a hole in your pocket? MGM Resorts put together a fun Million Dollar Weekend infographic for ya. You know, if you have a mil to blow.
Last but certainly not least is the news that everyone’s favorite Las Vegas discount book has been released. The new LVA coupon book is chock full of discounts and available for purchase now.
The biggest news coming out of Las Vegas this week was the nice taxi driver that returned $300,000 to a poker player who forget it in his cab. While this is one good deed from a kind taxi driver shouldn’t go unnoticed, it doesn’t really make up for the 25%+ people that get ripped off by Las Vegas taxi drivers who are long hauled (See tips to save money on taxis in Las Vegas).
Next week’s biggest news starts this weekend when Britney Spears begins her residency at Planet Hollywood. Celeb Buzz has a sneak peek at the setlist. Okay, the new year beginning next week may be a little bigger than Britney Spears residency starting over the weekend but I’m a fan and that’s my grrrl.
This week’s big Las Vegas news started with a bang as it was announced that the National Finals Rodeo (NFR) would be leaving for an unbuilt arena in Orlando, FL. The uproar on twitter was insane. Nobody bothered to read the articles and listen to the whole story on the news, because who reads the news nowadays? This was just the beginning of negotiations. The annual cowboy gathering in Las Vegas may still remain in Las Vegas. At least there’s an existing arena.
The hotel next to Flamingo used to be called Barbary Coast and most recently Bills before closing to be renovated into a boutique hotel-casino. Originally it was a partnership with Gansevoort Hotels but that relationship went south and now it looks like it will be called The Cromwell when it opens next year. This hasn’t been confirmed by Caesars Entertainment but Vegas Seven is a fairly reliable source.
The Chelsea, the new multi-purpose (mostly) music venue at the Cosmopolitan, opens later this month and pictures of this beautiful venue are starting to surface. Daily Fiasco has pictures of the entrance, main staircase and chandelier. It’s one of the most beautiful music venues I’ve seen.
The Chelsea opens on December 29 with a concert by Bruno Mars. Bruno will have a mini-residency at The Chelsea next year. Country singer Eric Church will be opening his show on April 26 and rapper Childish Gambino (AKA Donald Glover) will appear on the May 2 show.
Mario Batali’s B&B Burger & Beer opened this week at The Venetian. Gourmet burgers cost anywhere in between $9 and $16 while beers cost between $6 and $11. Check out the menu chock full of original burger concepts. I’m earmarking the Nutella shake for my first visit.
We took a break from news updates to enjoy Thanksgiving and Black Friday and it was awesome. Hopefully you were able to enjoy the time as well. With that brief break we’re stocked full of new in Las Vegas. Hold on to your seat because by the time you get halfway through this update the Vegas Strip won’t look the same. Seriously.
Let’s look at the new Vegas Strip beginning at the south side. The Tropicana announced that they will completely renovating the casino closest to the strip. They will be moving the valet area and adding a shopping area called The Shops at The Tropicana. Daily Fiasco has a photo rendering of what the Tropicana will look like when the renovations are complete.
Heading north on the Strip to Bally’s get’s a little bazaar. Bally’s Grand Bazaar will place 150 small shops (some might call them kiosks) in front of the casino and hotel entrance next year. The people mover that never works and the fountains will all be taken away to make room for the two acres of shopping in front of the hotel. Good luck getting to your room in a hurry. The Las Vegas Sun has more details and renderings of this strange looking addition to the Vegas Strip.
It’s a fact that there’s always big news in Las Vegas. This weeks major announcement is the Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC) announcing its dates for 2014. The festival will take place at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway over the weekend of June 20-22. EDC even created a trippy 6 minute teaser announcement. According to DailyFiasco tickets go on sale November 25 for people that have purchased tickets before and December 2 for everyone. Tickets will cost $249 for the weekend with VIP packages available for $499. Last year’s event sold out so if you may want to act quickly.
Even if you’re not going to EDC but are thinking that you might want to visit Vegas on the weekend of June 20-22 you may want to reserve rooms sooner than later. The festival will have 100,000 people in attendance each night. In addition to typical busy summer weekends rooms will sell out. Make sure you check your hotel cancellation policy to make sure you can cancel without penalty if you can’t make the trip.
Does a Vaudeville nightclub sound like your thing? Well, there’s one opening December 27 at MGM Grand. Beachers Madhouse will have a circus like – vaudeville vibe. Words can’t do this justice. Check out the video and interpret for yourself. If you’re reading in secret you can see the press release here.
Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark is closing its run in New York and eying a reopening in Las Vegas. No specifics have been linked to when and where this will happen but it looks as though Spidey may spin his web in Vegas soon.
Speaking of superheroes Marvel comic superheroes are coming to Las Vegas. Madame Tussauds wax museum at The Venetian will be home to the largest collection of Marvel wax figures. You’ll be able to marvel (pun intended) at the likes of Captain America and Iron Man. You can find more info at Vegas Chatter.
Downtown Vegas doesn’t seem to go more than a week without something new opening. Next week the Downtown Container Park opens. The Container park will be a mixed shopping, drinking and dining area. Unlike The Linq these will not be traditional stores. Each outlet will be inside of a shipping container. In addition there will be a play area, convention area and a giant praying mantis that shoots fire.
A little bit of Liberace will be returning to Las Vegas next week. The Liberace Foundation collection will have a display at the Cosmopolitan beginning November 25. The collection will be on display through the year until January 2nd, 2014. Liberace’s piano will be on display at the Chandelier bar while his car will be out by the entrance to the Vegas Strip. Most of the items will be on display at the pop up wedding chapel.
According to Robin Leach Donnie and Marie have cut their show performance back to 33 weeks a year. That leaves a lot of open time at their theater at the Flamingo. It looks as if Olivia Newton-John will fill those open dates and become the newest resident artist in Las Vegas.
Last but certainly least one of my favorite TV shows, Hotel Impossible, is coming to Las Vegas. If you’re not familiar with the show it follows the formula for Bar Rescue, Restaurant: Impossible and other shows that bring businesses back to life. The show will be focusing on The Fortune Hotel and Suites. Last year I wrote an article for Vegas Chatter hoping that there would be a spin off series called Casino Impossible. This is as close as we’ll get for now.
You may have heard that there was a small fire at the Stratosphere this week. You also may not have heard about this fire because it was small enough not to hurt anyone and it was manageable enough to be put out with a fire extinguisher. The fire was electrical and small but it had the entire hotel evacuated at 1am. Fires like this can happen anywhere, especially at older properties. You can find more information on the fire at the Las Vegas Review Journal.
One of the surprise busy weekends in Las Vegas is Thanksgiving. Before moving to Las Vegas I never realized that people uprooted their families for a vacation full of food and Vegasy fun. Although the next few weeks will be relatively quiet in Las Vegas this weekend will be full of people – especially families. The Vegas.com blog looks at a slew of different dining options should you be in town for Thanksgiving.
After Thanksgiving you’ll find a new roller coaster coming to the Vegas Strip. El Loco is located just to the south of the Stratosphere at Circus Circus. The roller coaster is scheduled to open in December at the Circus Circus Adventuredome. El Loco isn’t a fast roller coaster clocking in at under 30 miles per hour but it promises a lot of curves and drops that any roller coaster rider should enjoy. You can find more info at Adventuredome.com.
If you prefer Christmas in Vegas to Thanksgiving have no fear. Even though temperatures are rarely freezing in Las Vegas there will be outdoor ice skating available for you. The Venetian and Cosmopolitan will, once again, have ice skating rinks. Las Vegas Sun has prices and more information. If you prefer your Christmas entertainment off the Vegas Strip Ethel M Chocolates just opened their Christmas Cactus Garden. See the pretty cacti lights on their website.
Not everything will be so brightly lit over the holidays. Zarkana at Aria will go dark at the end of the year. The show is scheduled to reopen in February after Cirque Du Soleil changes parts of the show for entertainment and safety. The Las Vegas Sun has more information on the shows future.
You can quell your thirst for Las Vegas and Britney Spears when her new documentary airs on E! next month. The documentary will be tied to helping promote her Las Vegas show which begins at the end of December. You can find details on the documentary at Hollywood.com. On a note totally unrelated to Las Vegas, if you like programming E! and mockumentaries you might want to check out the new season of Burning Love.
It’s difficult to keep track of all Las Vegas dining openings and closures. Vegas Inc. has a quick overview of a bunch of recent dining happenings.
Wynn has pulled out of the running to open a casino in Philadelphia. This casino would have given east coast casino visitors another way to earn and use their Red Card rewards card. All hope shouldn’t be lost as they’re still in the running to open a casino in Massachusetts.
Last but not least details for NASCAR week have been announced. NASCAR week begins on December 2 and continues until the NASCAR Awards on December 6. Whether you’re a NASCAR fan or not you’ll enjoy the amount of people walking through the casinos in their favorite NASCAR jackets designed to look like the racecars of their favorite drivers. Inside Track News has a breakdown of the events.
Literally, the biggest news in Las Vegas was that renderings for the future arena behind New York-New York and Monte Carlo hotels were released. The 20,000 seat arena will be a joint venture between MGM Resorts and AEG, who has arena’s all over the world. The unnamed arena won’t open until 2016 but there are already rumors that the city will use it to lure an NBA or NHL franchise. If nothing else, it will provide a larger space for concerts when Miley Cyrus is in town. You can see the renderings and press release here.
Speaking of things to do outside of the casino, Vegas Chatter is reporting that The Linq will be adding two more restaurants as part of it’s outdoor shopping/retail area. Even though I’ve read this article multiple times it just clicked that one place is a hot dog stand and the other a fancy pizza joint. That’s fun.
Also fun at The Linq will be their giant observation wheel. It’s already changing the Vegas Strip skyline. Instead of having seats like a normal ferris wheel this wheel will have pods that will hold up to 40 people at a time. The first pod arrived this week. The Las Vegas Sun has a strange looking photo of a ferris wheel with one chair and more details on the progress.
Treasure Island’s renovations may be going a little deeper into the casino than originally thought. Initially it seemed as if more strip frontage would be used for a shopping area but Vegas Chatter seems to think that there may be more renovations in store for the hotel and casino.
The Westin, located just off the strip across from Bally’s, has had a name change for its casino. The Causuarina Casino will now be known as the Max casino. There will be some minor renovations happening to the small casino that’s now named after the failed Maxim Casino. The Las Vegas Review Journal has more information.
The Mob Attraction at the Tropicana has officially closed its doors. They say it will reopen somewhere so we’ll have to wait and see.
Bartolotta at Wynn has closed for renovations. It will re-open on December 21.
The World Series of Poker, which takes place at the Rio every year finally has a winner. Earlier this week 23 year old poker pro Ryan Riess won the $8 million grand prize.
A couple months ago and the Global Gaming Expo I stumbled upon the biggest slot machine I’ve ever seen. It’s called the Titan 360 and is so big it’s not available in most casinos in the country. Next week the Titan 360 will hit the casino floor at The Venetian. The Venetian will be only the 5th casino with this the Titan 360. Here’s a video I took of this awesome monstrosity.
Last but not least if you don’t have a trip to Las Vegas planned you can catch a little Las Vegas at home on TV. “Naked Vegas”is on SyFy every Tuesday (check local listings for time) and “Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown”will be recording and airing its season finale live this Sunday at Atomic Liquors in Downtown Vegas. Las Vegas Sun has more details.
It’s always exciting when a new casino opens its doors. The grand opening of Downtown Grand isn’t for another couple weeks (11-12-13) but they decided to have a soft opening to work out some of the kinks. The only kinks I ran into at Downtown Grand was the awkward valet and parking and 80 MPH wind that kept knocking power out. Really, Downtown Grand is a beautifully designed casino. Check out their website to see for yourself.
One door softly opens and more are getting built. It’s never too early to look ahead at the next casinos that will be opening in Las Vegas. SLS Las Vegas is scheduled to open sometime late next year and Resorts World Las Vegas is scheduled to open a couple years later. While SLS will be a modest boutique-type hotel Resorts World has grand plans which include a water park, bowling alley, movie theater and more. Vegas Chatter has details on what’s planned. For the time being let’s just enjoy Downtown Grand for a while.
Doors open. Doors get built. Sometimes doors close. Casino doors that is. Casino MonteLago on Lake Las Vegas closed its doors for the second time in less than 4 years. I don’t know many people that made it out to Las Vegas to know much about this casino. Vegas Inc. has more information if you’re curious about specifics.
Saying how great Las Vegas is never gets old. Not only are there new hotels, restaurants and activities every week but it’s sunny 95% of the year. As always there is a lot of show and dining news but I’d like to start with an new activity at your disposal for your next visit to Las Vegas.
Enterprise Rental Cars just off the Strip on Flamingo just started renting motorcycles. These aren’t just motorcycles they’re Harley Davidson motorcycles. They cost anywhere from $120 to $160 a day which is about the same as you’d pay for an exotic car rental. Helmets are provided at no additional charge. If you happen to be visiting Las Vegas soon then you’ll be blessed with some beautiful weather when you take to the open roads. Vegas Inc. has more details if you like. If you need a leather jacket you can probably find one nearby at Town Square.