Compiled by LVA Research
• October 1, 2014 11:21 Big News Day for RV Parks: (And how often do you read that as a headline?) Following the news posted earlier about the Kampground of America site at Circus Circus having closed abruptly comes further word of major shake-ups on the LV RV scene. What we are now gathering from various press releases is that KOA will no longer the be the operator the the RV park at CC when it reopens later this year; meanwhile, KOA has taken over operations of the RV park at Sam's Town, effective immediately, under the terms of a long lease that sees the facility renamed Las Vegas KOA at Sam’s Town. It's a move that sees the company come full circle and return to its roots, since it was at a location on Boulder Highway where Las Vegas' original KOA debuted, back in 1971.
The new completely landscaped KOA at Sam's Town features almost 500 spaces across two parks, offering both 30- and 50-amp full-hook-up sites, spacious pull-through sites, and extended-stay opportunities. The park is fully landscaped and offers amenities including: designated pet areas; two pools with hot tubs; laundry and shower facilities; cable and WiFi; and a communal BBQ area.
• October 1, 2014 10:33 Zappos Founder Quits His "Other" Job: The unexpected announcement Tuesday that Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos and the man whose vision was behind Las Vegas' ambitious Downtown Project, had stepped down from his position as head of the startup-city development, handed over the reigns to his attorney, and laid off a sizable element of the workforce, has caught national media attention, including the New York Times small-business blog, "You're the Boss." What Las Vegas Weekly has described as a "bloodletting" has so far seen at least 30 employees terminated, with DTP stating in its official statement that, "We continue to evaluate all of our initiatives in terms of those that achieve the right balance of both ROI (return on investment) and ROC (return on collisions)."
In 2012 Hseih personally invested $350 million into the redevelopment group, but in the wake of this week's seismic news, accusations of gross mismanagement and lack of leadership are flying (it's seemingly no coincidence that no less than three key figures involved in the project have committed suicide in past months). While some fruits of what has in part been an exercise in social engineering have been called "safe" (the newly reopened Bunkhouse live-music venue and 11th Street Records, which is set to debut later this year), the fate of many other enterprises, both for-profit and non-profit, undoubtedly hangs in the balance.
For some interesting and informed insights into this story, check out the ongoing in-depth coverage by tech/media site
• October 1, 2014 10:11 Circus Circus Campground Closed: As of today, the KOA Campground at Circus Circus is closed. However, at some point later this year, it's scheduled to reopen on the same site, but with only around 170 spaces (as opposed to the former count of 366). The re-imagined RV park will feature 60- to 80-foot pull-throughs with options for grass, patios, and outdoor furniture. It will continue to offer complimentary Wi-Fi, plus pool and laundry facilities. Pricing has yet to be announced, but it sounds as if the previous option for tent camping will be discontinued. For more info. or reservations call 1-800-444-2472.
• September 30, 2014 16:21 October LVA Posted: The new issue of the Las Vegas Advisor newsletter is online, and what an issue it is! Sure, we've got the lowdown on Delano (such as there is one), and our customary annual roundup of the best MNF parties and team bars, which is nothing less than what you'd expect. But where else are you going to get to learn about eight free football contests that you can enter mid-season? Or which casino we discovered that's dealing Full Pay Pick’ Em video poker? Or the scoop on getting free entry into a baccarat tourney with a $10 million prize pool? Or the identity of a bar that sells pierogi? Not to mention this month's pièce de résistance because yes, only in LVA will you discover where in Las Vegas you may dine on a plate of crickets -- and for just $7.50!
• September 30, 2014 15:08 Atlantic City Casino Update: Things go from bad to worse for the beleaguered Trump Taj Mahal. Although billionaire investor Carl Icahn had put in a bid to save the property, his offer comes with many attached strings, and the Mayor of Atlantic City today stated categorically that the tax breaks being demanded by Icahn and the property's current owner, Tropicana Entertainment, were not concessions the city could afford to offer in light of its ongoing financial malaise. That could well render Icahn's improbable $100 million rescue plan DOA, but now things have deteriorated even further, with the Atlantic City Electric Co. now threatening to cut off the power to the bankrupt resort-casino if payment for a percentage of its outstanding bills is not forthcoming within 30 days. If a timely solution to that problem isn't forthcoming, the property could find itself forced to close well ahead of a self-appointed Nov. 13 deadline.
In other news from the East Coast, the latest word on the closed-door auction for the bankrupt Revel resort-casino is that three other bidders have entered the running, along with eccentric Florida developer Glenn Straub, who has pledged $90 million with a vision for turning the failed property into some kind of intellectual think-tank. According to sources close the sale, which is continuing this afternoon (the last we heard, the current high bid was $94 million), an affiliate of Brookfield Asset Management, which owns Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Las Vegas, is also interested in the property, while other bidders include a member of the Meruelo family who in 2013 made a failed attempt to buy the Trump Plaza, plus a local New Jersey real estate developer who has, according to insiders, made a competitive bid. We'll keep you posted.
• September 30, 2014 11:39 New Slots Rolled Out at G2E: The annual Global Gaming Expo is now underway at the Sands Convention Center, and as usual there's hype about what new games are coming to market. Awhile back, it seemed as if slots themed for hit TV series and movies were on the wane, due to a range of factors including exorbitant licensing fees, lack of popularity with the public, and Disney's stance against the casino industry. However, this year they seem to be back with a vengeance, with announced and demo'd new games coming to a casino near you from popular shows old and new. In what other context might you find "Friends," the "Flintstones," "Duck Dynasty," "Sons of Anarchy," Sir Elton John, Betty Boop, Wonderwoman, and "Mad Men" all included on the same list?
• September 30, 2014 11:28 "Pinktober" at Hard Rock Cafe: Hard Rock Cafe on the Strip has long been an active supporter of some worthy causes, and tomorrow, Oct. 1, sees the kickoff of the brand's 15th annual "Pinktober" campaign, benefitting the American Cancer Society. niting fans, musicians and survivors in honor of the brand’s 15th annual PINKTOBER® campaign! The festivities will kickoff by turning the entire building pink for the month, following a (pink) ribbon-cutting ceremony with 2011 Playmate of the Year and star of Stratosphere's Pin Up burlesque show, Claire Sinclair. Continuing initiatives throughout the month will include breast-cancer awareness walks, pink fashion shows, concerts, pink menu offerings, guitar auctions from headlining artists, limited-edition merchandise, and more.
• September 30, 2014 10:18 Shining a Spotlight on Straight Flush Draws: That's what Bob Dancer is up to in this week's Tuesday column, exclusive toLVA, which is back to regular service after the blip of a double dose, followed by a week's hiatus. It's three-card straight-flush draws that Bob's analyzing today, and be warned, if you're anything like us you'll need to on your second cup of coffee -- or something stronger -- to digest this in a single sitting. But while this is perhaps the video-poker theory equivalent of quantum physics, the point Bob makes it's that this kind of attention to detail, comprehension, and ability to adapt that marks the difference between him -- a successful professional player -- and most of the rest of us. If you aspire to be in his league, you can't skip this class.
The rest of us might be well advised to check out out Bob Dancer's regular FREE video poker seminars, held weekly on Wednesdays through Nov. 12 at South Point. Each week a different game or concept is tackled, with most offering a beginner's and intermediate class. Check the full schedule at BobDancer.com, where you'll also find some more information.
• September 30, 2014 09:37 Aria Club to Close: Despite making the #11 spot on Nightclub & Bar's 2014 Top 100 Clubs in the U.S. list, with total revenue of $25-30 million, the buzz on the street is that Aria's Haze nightclub is to close November 1, with no official word yet from the property as to what may take its place. There's also no word to date from owners the Light Group, other than to say that legendary deep house DJ Carl Cox will be on the decks for the final blowout bash.
• September 29, 2014 12:05 Doomed Bar Gets New Life as Japanese BBQ Joint: Although it's a national chain, we just learned, the menu from Gyu-Kaku looks yummy, healthy, and reasonably priced, so we hope this new restaurant, coming very soon to 3550 S. Decatur Blvd., can break the pattern that has seen so many failed bars we've lost count, but include among them the Emergency Room, Black Label, The Underworld (with Wicked Pizza), the aptly named Trainwrecks, and most recently the equally prophetic The End (one among the many ill-fated "Bar Rescue" themed-makeover attempts Sin City has seen and evidence that this site is cursed, at least when it comes to bars, because how could a zombie bar not make it?).