Tag Archives: casinos

Cosmopolitan Hotel-Casino Plans December Opening in Las Vegas

The new $3.9 billion Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas hotel-casino will open mid-December with about one-third of its 2,995 total rooms delaying opening until July 2011. 

It’s likely to be the last major new hotel-casino to open on the struggling Las Vegas Strip for at least a few years. 

Cosmopolitan’s CEO John Unwin said the hotel’s amenities include 13 restaurants, a spa, nightclub, 150,000 square feet of meeting and convention space and retail stores.

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Nevada’s $6.8 Billion Casino Loss in ’09 the Largest Ever

As a result of declining gaming revenues, reductions in hotel rates and reduced consumer spending, Nevada’s highest-grossing casinos generated a net loss of almost $6.8 billion in fiscal year 2009- the largest ever for Nevada. 

The huge loss resulted from a total revenue of more than $22 billion including money spent by customers on gaming, hotel rooms, food, beverage and other attractions.

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Lake Las Vegas Continues Death Throes

Casino MonteLago, which opened in 2003 – the only gaming location inside the upscale, now bankrupt Lake Las Vegas, located approximately 50 miles south of Las Vegas – has announced it will close on March 14, eliminating in its wake 177 jobs. 

The 40,000 square foot casino has 635 slot machines, a dozen gaming table games, a race and sports book, and two restaurants. 

This venue casualty follows a notice a week ago of the impending shutdown of the Ritz-Carlton in Lake Las Vegas, planned for May, costing an additional 350 jobs. 

Two of the three luxury golf courses have already been shut down during the community’s prior Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings. 

Lake Las Vegas already has more than $700 million in liabilities- and growing. 

The only holdout, for now, is the 493-room nongaming Lowes Lake Las Vegas and the MonteLago Village retail center. 

Come June, the environmentally pleasing alternative to the fast-pace and glitter of the Las Vegas Strip, will be largely transformed into a gem of a ghost town.

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Historic Binion’s Hotel in Las Vegas to Close

Another legendary landmark Las Vegas hotel has put up a permanent no vacancy sign. Binion’s announced Monday it will shut down its 365 rooms on Dec. 14. The casino and other operations, though, will reportedly remain open. 

Binion’s officials have said the reason for shutting down the hotel operations was because of the ever slumping economy which has forced room rates to drop and vacancies to rise. 

Even though the casino will stay open, there’s no question the decision will be a blow to a downtown that has struggled — even during the talks of revitalization. 

It’s been a staple on Fremont Street for more than half a century. Word of the closure spread quickly. 

Binion’s original coffee shop and Keno operation will also close, but the entire casino operation — including the Sports Book and the famed poker room which hosted the World Series of Poker from 1970 to 2005 — will stay open. 

But the hotel closure could impact gaming. 

Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman is trying to help Binion’s owners and lenders hammer out a deal to keep the hotel open. He said he does not think this will impact his plan to revitalize downtown. 

“Once you start saying you’re not going to do those things, then you recede. Vegas is a very funny place. We go through these ups and downs. We’ve been here before, perhaps not to this level, but I don’t blame this on Las Vegas. Las Vegas has the infrastructure in place. We’ve got the best hotels, restaurants, shopping and entertainment,” Goodman said. 

Goodman said it’s hard to find investors to come in with fresh money to refurbish rooms, but he’s not giving up.  “We have to keep pushing forward, now more than ever,” Goodman said. 

About 100 people will be laid off when the hotel closes. 

Anyone who has a reservation after Dec. 14 is being referred to Binion’s sister property across the street, The Four Queens. 

Most of the restaurants, including the famed Binion’s Ranch Steakhouse, will remain open.

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Las Vegas’ Colorful Legend Bob Stupak Dies

The brash, enterprising Las Vegas legend and casino mogul who brought the Stratosphere to the Strip has sadly died.  Bob Stupak, 67, died Friday afternoon from leukemia at Desert Springs Hospital, with his family by his side. 

Stupak accomplished a lot of things in life and met a lot of people over the years since coming to Vegas in 1971, and on Friday night, friends remembered a man they called a legend. 

“I was surprised and stunned,” said Dr. Lonnie Hammargren. 

As word spread of Stupak’s death, the memories of the casino mogul were still very much alive. 

“Bob had ideas and did things that people wouldn’t do,” Hammargren said. 

Perhaps no one has more memorabilia in one place than former Lt. Gov. Hammargren. His backyard is a lasting legacy to Stupak’s creations, including a model space ship that graced the top of Stupak’s Vegas World in the late ‘70s. 

 “He loved to rock the boat,” said Howard Schwartz. Schwartz met Stupak in the early ‘80s while working at the Gambler’s Book Shop. “He came into the store, and he always had questions about new games or something innovative he wanted to try,” Schwartz said. 

That innovative spirit led Stupak to build what still is the tallest structure in Las Vegas — the 1,149-foot-tall Stratosphere — in 1996. 

The Stratosphere seemed a metaphor for all of Stupak’s life struggles: Its construction was stalled by a dramatic fire high in its pedestal that rained embers onto the street, and three months after its 1996 opening — and a year after he nearly died in a motorcycle crash — he resigned as chairman as the property was falling into bankruptcy. 

It was after that when he pitched his Titanic casino, which Las Vegas city officials promptly rejected. 

Stupak’s bickering with city and county politicians, and his contention that he could do a better job, led to several blustery runs for public office and a stint at publishing his own maverick weekly newspaper, the now defunct Las Vegas Bullet.

In his inaugural run for mayor in 1987, he sent gift fruit baskets to potential voters. Stupak also financed the unsuccessful Las Vegas City Council campaigns of his daughter Nicole in 1991 and his son, Nevada, in 1999. 

Stupak also was credited with helping to get his then nurse-turned-girlfriend, Janet Moncrief, elected to Las Vegas City Council in 2003. She wound up being the only council member ever to be recalled from office. Stupak tossed his hat into the political arena for the last time in 2006, making a run for lieutenant governor of Nevada. He finished third, garnering 17 percent of the statewide vote. 

In the late 1990s Stupak began helping charitable causes through his foundation, including opening a community center in one of the poorest areas of town. 

For his philanthropic efforts, the Las Vegas City Council on Feb. 23, 1996, issued a proclamation citing Stupak for his “valuable pioneering efforts” and “his outstanding generosity … in answering the call of children, the homeless and the underprivileged.” 

In more recent years, a seemingly mellower Stupak kept a much lower profile, content to play in high stakes poker games at the Bellagio and other major Strip resort card rooms and shirking the limelight he once sought with much fervor. He also was seen occasionally on televised poker events, including a final table during the first season of the World Poker Tour. 

Streetwise and poker-savvy, abrasive and ambitious, Bob Stupak was always the ultimate Las Vegas gambler and huckster, always pushing the envelope if it would bring him publicity. 

Always the independent (his nickname was “the Polish Maverick”), he was more aggravating than charming, but always a topic of conversation, which pleased him. 

“He thought of himself as larger than he was and could often come off as gruff and angry, especially if you disagreed with him,” said Howard Schwartz, operator of the Gamblers Book Shop. “Bob Stupak liked being controversial — he swam upstream. It was almost overkill how he tried to earn people’s respect, which he never truly got. People would smile and shake his hand then talk about him behind his back.” 

Stupak was sometimes the survivor — like after a horrific motorcycle crash that crushed every bone in his face and left him in a coma 14 years ago — and sometimes the loser, running unsuccessfully to be the Las Vegas mayor, a Clark County commissioner and the Nevada lieutenant governor. 

What he did win at was poker. A fixture at the old World Series of Poker at what is now Binion’s, in 1989 he won a $139,500 purse in the $5,000 buy-in no-limit deuce-to-7 world championship. He made the final table of that event three more times during his career. 

“Bob was a decathlon gambler — sports bets, propositions, poker — everything at once,” said Las Vegas oddsmaker and gambler Lem Banker, who gave Stupak the advice to take Cincinnati plus 6 1/2 points in the 1989 Super Bowl against San Francisco for Stupak’s legendary $1 million winning bet. “He had a lot of heart and a lot of brains.” 

Besides children Nevada and Nicole, Stupak is survived by another daughter, Summer; two sisters, Linda Phillips and Nancy O’Conner, and two former wives, Sandra Blumen and Annette Hatton. 

Stupak requested that there not be a funeral service.

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Drunken Debauchery in Las Vegas Lands $500,000 Casino Fine

Do you think what happens in Las Vegas, stays there?  Think again. 

Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas found themselves in hot water with Nevada gaming officials this week over illegal activity that has been taking place outside a nightclub. The club is privately owned and leased from Planet Hollywood, but the resort is being hit with a large fine nonetheless. drunkendebauchery

The club is accused of hiring employees with criminal records, allowing minors inside the club and permitting underage drinking, drug use, taking dangerously drunk customers and dropping them off unattended in the casino. Physical and sexual assault by nightclub employees has also taken place at the club, according to officials. 

Apparently, the level of prostitution increased around the club and no one did anything to discourage or change the situation, according to Gaming Control Board officials.  

Planet Hollywood, as a result, has agreed to pay $500,000 to Nevada gambling regulators for failing to police and control problems at the Prive nightclub inside of Planet Hollywood.   They have also agreed to pay out an additional $250,000 in a year’s time if changes are not made in the operation of the nightclub.  The Nevada Gaming Commission must still vote on whether or not to approve the fines. 

Planet Hollywood is the first Las Vegas resort to ever acknowledge it was at fault for problems inside a nightclub that it doesn’t own. 

The trendy resort is now being used as an example by regulators for the rest of the gaming industry. Hopefully, the sanction will send a strong message up and down the Las Vegas Strip for casinos to exercise stronger control over their party venues, even those operated by outside vendors. 

The fine is large, even by gaming industry standards, but Planet Hollywood feels the penalty fits the crime. 

“We didn’t execute proper supervision and we’re the message being sent to the rest of the industry,” said Planet Hollywood’s lawyer, Frank Schreck 

Meanwhile, the current property lease between Planet Hollywood and Prive has had to be changed and rewritten and the Planet Hollywood security officers can now enter the nightclub without being accompanied by a club employee. This is done in an aim to reduce illegal activities in their own property. 

Jacqueline Hollaway, Director of Business License for Clark County, released a statement that reads in part: 

“…Privè has been operating on a limited license, which expires July 28. We are evaluating whether to extend that license or not. If there is no extension, Privè will be forced to close its doors since it cannot legally operate without a business license…” 

Planet Hollywood’s fine is large but is not the largest issued by the Gaming Control Board. In 2003 MGM Mirage was fined $5 million for a problem with currency transaction reporting. In 1988 Imperial Palace was fined $1 million for building a private suite celebrating Hitler. 

Now, the added kicker:  Many other Las Vegas hotel-casinos are also now under active investigation over the activities happening inside their nightclubs and other entertainment venues. 

Perhaps it is best to take some checkers and other board games with you when traveling to Las Vegas- just in case.

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Hey, Buddy: Please Buy Our Cheap Las Vegas Casino Land!

It’s going from bad to worse for developer Andrew Lai and bankrupt land owner Spring Mtn. Wynn Investments:  Nobody bid on their prime casino land in Las Vegas. 

Despite only requiring a $1 million deposit and a minimum bid of $27.5 million for the prime 22-acre Las Vegas casino land site currently appraised at $174 million, or $7.9 million per acre, not one person was willing to take a chance and shell out cash at the May 16 auction. 

The dream of developer Lai was to develop and open in 2010 the Asian-themed Dragon City Casino and retail center, including a 31-story, 386-room hotel, employing at the facilities between 6,000 and 8,000 workers, appealing to middle-market Asian visitors to Las Vegas.

Even as the economy sputtered in 2008, in February Crowne Plaza still hailed the planned development, located on the prime property located at the edge pf the Chinatown district on Spring Mountain Road, a real gem, promising to bring “tens of thousand of visitors a year, making [it] a great location for an upscale meeting-savvy brand like Crown Plaza,” according to a statement last year from Gina LaBarre, vice president of brand management for the hotel chain.  But, a few months later, the economy was in the toilet and all plans were squashed. 

Now, the property is being split up with three of the nine total parcels on the site – amounting to 9.4 acres in the smack dab “filet mignon” center of the property, owned by the Community Bank of Nevada as collateral for prior loans (currently used as a staging area for the defunct Cosmopolitan) – going up in a foreclosure sale on June 26, as agreed in a prior deal reached with Spring Mtn. Wynn Investments.

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