Will the last person leaving the Riviera please take down the Charo in Concert, Abra-ca-Sexy! and Tom Stevens posters? Everything about last night's visit to the casino suggested a business that's died but doesn't realize it. Not that it helps to be literally in the shadow of the rotting whale carcass that is Fontainebleau. Between it, Echelon and the apparently defunct Plaza project, that neighborhood is one giant buzz-kill.
Still, even on a Wednesday night one does not expect to see such a thinly populated casino floor. There were more players around the electronic table games than the real ones. In the parking-garage elevator, one of the braille "3" panels was missing from the keypad. Management's solution? Scrawl "3" in red ink where the braille pad should be. (ADA non-compliance much?) If the Riviera is blowing off its interest payments in order to use the money on operating costs, it's not going very far, from the looks of things.
The moribund feeling extended to the upstairs showroom, where Charo has given way to Andrew Dice Clay (or, as the Riv bills him, "Andrew DICE Clay"). Even with a 90-minute cocktail party as an inducement, Clay rolled snake eyes in terms of media turnout. It was a small crowd [sic] and even
some many of the local bloggers blew it off, so scant was the event's cachet.
Maybe they were at the Tropicana, checking out Wayne Newton, whose new show ...
Features Rich Natole. This confirms well-sourced reports LVA had been receiving that the impressionist would land a new gig at the Trop and it was merely a question of when. Natole, who was subletting a time slot from Anthony Cools, got caught in the crossfire between Cools and Trop CEO Alex Yemenidjian. When Cools, Bobby Slayton and the Penny Lane show were sent packing, Natole found himself briefly at loose ends, too. The Natoles are nice people, so I'm glad this Vegas saga has a happy ending. On a sadder note ...
Lanni ailing. Former MGM Mirage CEO J. Terrence Lanni has an undisclosed form of cancer. The news comes almost a year to the month since he abruptly resigned from the gaming giant. At the time, Lanni denied that health problems were involved but he also said it had nothing to do with a resumé-inflation scandal that threatened to bring him under investigation in New Jersey, Illinois and Nevada. (Another possible motive for Lanni's abrupt departure: MGM stock had just sunk below $10/share.)
S&G sends wishes for a speedy and full recovery to Lanni, and to his family. I've lost a couple of friends to cancer, so I can imagine the ordeal the Lannis are experiencing. And, if it's not inappropriate, a tip of the Panama hat to low-budget broadsheet Gaming Today, which beat all major news outlets to this sad story.
Reality bites. At least if you're trying to maintain your price point at Aria. The megaresort has cut rates to $159 -- and thrown in a $75 amenity credit -- to entice two-night stays, through April 1. Wouldn't it be ironic if, instead of cannibalizing Bellagio, as feared, Aria wound up gravitating toward the mid-market crowd?
Please spare a thought for the Queen of Comps, the beloved Jean Scott, who's in her sixth week of convalescence from the flu. First, a hepatitis scare, now this. Let's hope LVA's most popular blogger catches a break -- and soon.