Las Vegas Casinos Work Through Downturn


Anthony Curtis’ nationally syndicated weekly column.

August 18, 2010

The economy continues to present challenges for many Las Vegas casinos, as more visitors come, but they spend less money. Last month the Riviera entered into a pre-negotiated bankruptcy restructuring that will put it in the hands of a new owner, Starwood Capital Group. On the other side of town, it’s been announced that the majority owners of M Resort are trying to sell their stake in the 390-room resort that’s been open less than two years. Both casinos continue to operate as usual. Finally, the prospects for finishing the Harmon Hotel—the final piece of the puzzle at CityCenter—are diminishing. Due to disputes with its general contractor, all work on the Harmon has stopped and completion of the hotel has been postponed “indefinitely.”

Canniversary: Meanwhile, the news is much better in other parts of town. Eastside Cannery’s “Canniversary” celebration runs through the end of the month, with 2-for-1s and $2 specials to celebrate the casino’s second anniversary.

Bally’s Bar: Bally’s has debuted its new Steakhouse Bar, which is being positioned as a place to grab a quick drink and some high-end appetizers. It occupies the location of the old Italian restaurant Al Dente, which is closed.

Rumjungle Out: Mandalay Bay’s Rumjungle nightclub has closed. Future plans for the space have not been disclosed.

Check Your Gate: McCarran Airport is undergoing a $30 million renovation that’s closed seven of the C Concourse’s 19 gates. The vast majority of Southwest Airlines’ 217 daily flights have, for decades, come and gone from the C gates, but the airline will be forced to use many more B gates for roughly a year, till the C gates reopen.

Question: Is the old Moulin Rouge hotel-casino gone?

Answer: The final piece of the Moulin Rouge was razed in mid-July. Though community groups struggled to preserve what was Las Vegas’ first racially integrated casino, damage from several fires and ongoing vandalism ultimately led to its demise.

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