Compiled by LVA Research
• February 28, 2010 Canada Favored Again:
The Canadian hockey team is favored in today's Olympic gold medal game with the USA, despite losing 5-3 to USA last week. Canada is about a 2-1 favorite (down from 3-1 last time). The total is 5.5 goals.
• February 27, 2010 Local Station Files for Chapter 11:
KTUD Vegas TV filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy yesterday. The station, previously affiliated with the UPN and WB networks but independent since 2006, is owned by a partnership of Greenspun Broadcasting and Catalyst Investors. In a statement, a spokeswoman for Vegas TV said the station plans to restructure its debt and "create a healthier business model".
• February 27, 2010 Extension for MGM Mirage:
The casino operator announced yesterday that it's reached an agreement with lenders to extend the deadline for repaying $3.6 billion of debt to February 2014, a deal that gives the company more breathing room while it waits for the U.S. economy to recover. The current move requires MGM Mirage to repay $820 to those lenders who've agreed to the extension; those that did not are due $2.1 billion by October 2011.
• February 27, 2010 ZERO G Time:
The Zero Gravity experience returns to McCarran International Airport today only, for a chance to experience weightlessness in the customized G-Force One plane. The entire flight lasts approximately two hours, during which you get to experience zero-gravity several times. Tickets are $4,950/person from GoZeroG.com and were still available when we checked on Friday.
• February 26, 2010 Monorail Fares Up:
The bankrupt Las Vegas Monorail has raised its fares once more, increasing the cost of the unlimited-ride one-day pass to $14 (from $13) and adding $2 to the cost of the three-day pass, which is now $30. The single-ride fare remains the same, at $5.
• February 26, 2010 Loveman Foot Fetish?:
In an unusual and candid interview reported by Reuters, Harrah's CEO Gary Loveman reveals that his unconventional personal barometer for casino health is to monitor the height of the average female patron's heels -- high stilettos equate with big spenders; flats, which he's been seeing too many of, are not a good sign, apparently. He also questions the business wisdom of building luxury resort-casinos and reveals that improving cocktail service is an ongoing company-wide priority. Click here to read the full interview.
• February 26, 2010 More Pools Hiring:
Encore Beach Club and Surrender nightclub, the new venues occupying the space previously taken by Switch restaurant and the porte-cochere, are now accepting applications for 400 positions, including cocktail servers and bartenders (both prefixed with the now familiar "model" prerequisite), lifeguards, pool attendants, security etc. Online applications (wynnjobs.com) will be accepted starting tomorrow, Feb. 27, with group interviews on Thursday, March 11 at Wynn. Visit the website or call 702/770-7333 fpr more info.
TAO Beach at the Venetian is also hiring for all the usual positions from Wednesday, March 3 through Saturday, March 6. Interviews will take place at TAO nightclub; bring your swimsuit for your audition photo.
• February 26, 2010 No Bailout from Casinos:
The Nevada Resort Association announced last night that its members have refused to agree to a Democratic plan to cough up an additional $32 million annually in taxes to help balance the state budget, citing the industry's $6.7 billion loss and over 34,000 layoffs last year.
• February 26, 2010 No Gambling for Hawaii:
In the face of widespread and vocal public opposition, legislators in Hawaii have opted not to legalize gambling, killing a bill that would have allowed a casino in the tourist destination of Waikiki. A second measure permitting gambling on Hawaiian home lands won't get a vote. The concept of a Hawaiian casino was pitched to help kickstart the tourism industry and bring in tax revenue to a state facing a projected $1.2 billion deficit, but opponents argued that it would undermine the image of Hawaii as a family-friendly destination, cannibalize tourist dollars spent elsewhere, and increase crime rates. Hawaii and Utah are currently the only states that don't permit any form of gambling.
• February 25, 2010 Criss Angel Buys Skeletal Bike:
The "Mindfreak" magician, currently performing at Luxor, has purchased a new $100,000 motorcycle made from human skeletal remains discarded after medical purposes. The bones have apparently been dipped in stainless steal to form the frame of the custom bike. Click here for more.
• February 25, 2010 Wayner Update:
According to a recent news report, it was Clark County Sheriff's process servers who were at Wayne Newton's residence this morning, trying to serve the performer in connection with a case brought by his former pilot, Monty Ward, who last year won a judgement for almost a half-million dollars in back wages last year. Security personnel present at the residence refused to accept service of the documents.
The presence of the moving vans has not yet been explained, but likely relates to the lawsuit brought by Las Vegas Motor Speedway owner Bruton Smith, who's seeking to foreclose on the ranch following non-repayment on a loan.
• February 25, 2010 Weekend Highlights: NASCAR 2010's the main attraction this weekend, of course, with parties, concerts, meet and greets, and other related events all over town, but there's plenty of other stuff going on, too. Here are some of the highlights: Comedy:
- Bill Engvall's at TI (2/25-2/26)
- David Spade's cracking jokes at the Venetian (2/25-2/27)
- Jason Alexander stars in the Donny Clay Experience at Planet Hollywood (2/25-2/28)
- And once again the Mirage welcomes back Jay Leno (2/26-2/27)
- Diamond Rio takes the stage at South Point (2/26-2/28)
- Caesars Palace welcomes Mariah Carey (2/27)
- Travis Tritt plays out at Buffalo Bills (2/27)
- George Thorogood & The Destroyers perform inside the House of Blues at Mandalay Bay (2/27)
- The Eastside Cannery hosts The Commodores (2/27)
- The Black Rebel Motorcycle Club takes over Wasted Space at the Hard Rock (2/28)
- NASCAR Weekend is happening at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway (2/26-2/28)
- Zero-G makes a stop at the McCarran International Airport, with a chance to experience total weightlessness in a specially customized plane (2/27)
• February 25, 2010 New Buffet All-Dayer:
The Rio has joined the fluctuating list of buffets offering an all-day pass. The Carnival World's offering breakfast, lunch, and dinner for $24, which includes the weekend champagne brunch (which by itself is $24).
• February 25, 2010 Extreme Magic to Close:
It's just been announced that magician Dirk Arthur's tiger show at the Tropicana will close March 12, after an eight-year run in Las Vegas that included stints at the Silverton, Plaza, and Riviera, prior to his extended residency the Trop. That leaves Wayne Newton as the only headlining performer at the property, and his show closes April 24 (Hypnosis Unleashed still performs in The Cellar).
• February 25, 2010 Gloves Off in N.J.:
Donald Trump didn't mince his words when testifying this morning in U.S. Bankruptcy Court, which is currently deciding the fate of the three Atlantic City properties formerly owned by the billionaire. Portraying his rival as a penny-pinching corporate raider, Trump said an Icahn takeover would be "a mess... If Carl spends 10 cents, it's a major event," he remarked.
• February 25, 2010 Wayne Newton Breaking News:
Breaking news from Channel 8: Apparently, four unmarked Metro patrol cars and four large moving vans with dozens of movers are at singer Wayne Newton's Las Vegas ranch. This development follows on ealier reports that the performer's home was at risk of being foreclosed on (see this column, Feb. 23). We'll bring you more details as we get them.
• February 25, 2010 NASCAR Hauler Parade
AS listed in our Spotlight on... NASCAR feature, the annual NASCAR Hauler Parade takes place this evening down Las Vegas Boulevard at 6 p.m. From a starting point at South Point, up to 75 haulers will parade northwards down the Strip to Sahara Ave., before turning onto the I-15 to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Fans are recommended to find a good vantage point early; expect traffic delays in both directions on the Strip while the parade's in progress.
• February 25, 2010 Frank Marino Day:
Actually, it's Feb. 1 that Mayor Oscar Goodman declared "Frank Marino Day," back in 2005, but today the long-time Strip performer hosts the official premiere of his new show (although it's been open since the end of last year), Frank Marino's Divas Las Vegas, at the Imperial Palace. Part of the celebrations will include the unveiling of a Walk of Stars tribute outside the property; Marino already has a star outside the Riviera, where he performed for many years in La Cage, but when asked recently why he needed a second one, he reportedly explained that one honors him for being an entertainer and the other as a "Las Vegas icon."
The new show performs six nights a week (dark Fridays) at 10 p.m. Tickets start at $69 (plus tax & fees).
• February 25, 2010 Station Reorganizes:
It's just been reported by Channel 8 News that Station Casinos has reached an agreement with its key mortgage lenders after a months-long impasse in negotiations with creditors. A reorganization plan is expected to be filed sometime next month.
• February 24, 2010 Book Favors Johnson in Sunday's Race:
Fred Crespi, long-time race and sports director at the Palms, has made four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson the odds-on favorite to win Sunday's Shelby American at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Johnson had three consecutive victories at LVMS in 2005, 2006 and 2007. The line's just for recreational purposes; there's no actual wagering on the race, but here are the top five favorites to win, as chosen by Crespi:
- Jimmie Johnson – 4/1
- Mark Martin – 13/2
- Kyle Busch – 7/1
- Jeff Gordon – 9/1
- Denny Hamlin – 10/1
• February 24, 2010 Congo Room Closing:
In the latest wave of cuts at the Sahara, which last year saw the closure of the buffet and two of the hotel towers, the famous Congo Room is to close March 2. The shows currently inhabiting it -- The Comedy Stop and Sandy Hackett's Rat Pack Show -- will relocate to the Sahara Theater, where The Magic of Rick Thomas also performs. The move will incur some ticket-price increases and a schedule change for Sandy Hackett, whose show will now perform nightly at 5 p.m. instead of 7 p.m. No word as yet on what, if anything, will take the place of the Congo Room.
• February 24, 2010 LVA Flash - Flash:
If you've been having trouble reading the online Flash version of the LVA newsletter each month, no more! We just updated the presentation to create more room on the page, enabling us to enlarge the size of the pdf. Use the sliding scale at the top to set the page size to your preference. To check out the March issue in the new format, with our latest guide to CityCenter, a bunch of great new bargain dining/drinking plays, and much more, just log on here with your LVA username and password and click the right-hand "Flash" version.
We're looking into other slicker online presentations for the newsletter, but in the meantime, we hope this makes life easier.
• February 24, 2010 Weekly Column Posted:
Get your weekly Vegas fix, with all the latest news from the worlds of entertainment, dining, gambling, and business, via Anthony Curtis' syndicated column, available to read now at LVA in the Media.
• February 24, 2010 NASCAR Week:
If you're heading this way to catch the 2010 NASCAR Weekend festivities, check out the guide we just posted in the Spotlight on... column, which includes details of free shuttles, celebrity meet and greets, parties, parades, and more.
• February 24, 2010 Sands Singapore Ahead of Schedule:
Despite it still being under construction, its been announced that Marina Bay Sands will open partially on April 27, with a full opening on June 23. The property was originally slated to debut late last year, but the launch had to be pushed back. This will be the second casino in Singapore after Genting's Resorts World and is expected to fare better than its competitor, due to its superior location and higher-end product.
• February 23, 2010 Safest Place in Vegas:
According to a recent study based on FBI data from 17,000 local law enforcement agencies in America's 50 biggest cities, the safest neighborhood in Las Vegas is Buffalo Dr. at Lake Mead Blvd, which has a Crime Index of 84 (with 50 being the average for America and 100 the safest among all neighborhoods in the nation.)
• February 23, 2010 "Mini-Castle" for Sale:
After the well-publicized recent sales of Nicholas Cage and Michael Jackson's former Las Vegas properties comes news of an even more exotic home on the market -- a modes 36-bedroom, 27-bathroom "mini castle" located at 226 Levi Ave. The asking price is $13.5 million; if you're interested, click here to contact the agent.
• February 23, 2010 Clash of the Titans:
Lawyers representing rival casino billionaires Donald Trump and Carl Icahn will be in court today fighting over who will be granted an ownership stake in the three bankrupt Atlantic City casinos formerly owned by Trump. Initially, Trump battled the bondholders over control, but has since joined forces with them against Carl Icahn, who says he would wipe out all the casinos' debt -- and, possibly, Trump's name, which they all still carry. The decision as to who will emerge trimphant rests with a federal bankruptcy judge.
• February 23, 2010 Glimmer of Real Estate Hope:
After a consistent 39-month decline, Las Vegas home prices finally turned positive in December, according to Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices. The rise was a modest 0.2 percent but on average prices fell 0.24 percent in the 20 cities included in the survey. Still, Las Vegas continues to lead the nation in year-to-year price declines, with prices down more than 20 percent from the same month the previous year.
Hence, there are still bargains to be had in Sin City, so if you're looking to move here, invest, or get a second home, don't forget to check out LVA associate Robin Camacho's unique Top Ten Real Estate Values, which is updated in real time to reflect the current best deals on the market.
• February 23, 2010 More Bad News for Mr Las Vegas:
It's been reported that singer Wayne Newton is being sued by Speedway Motorsports chairman and CEO Bruton Smith over a three-year-old $3.35 million loan that the Strip performer has failed to repay. The loan was secured by Newton's 38-acre Las Vegas residence, the Casa de Shenandoah (on Sunset at Pecos), and his private jet. In January of this year Oakland County International Airport sued Newton for over $60,000 in unpaid parking fees and revealed that the Fokker F28, which was once worth over $2 million, is now rotting and full of black mold and can only be used for scrap. Smith is now looking to foreclose on the entertainer's Las Vegas ranch. Newton is currently performing at the Tropicana, through April 24.
• February 23, 2010 Wynn Eyes East Coast:
Wynn Resorts announced plans today to partner with the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe that operates Connecticut's Foxwoods casino to develop a new property located on the Philadelphia waterfront. The project has been on the drawing board for the last three years,stalled by political and neighborhood opposition. The agreement is subject to the satisfaction of certain conditions, including the approval of the Pennsylvania Gaming Board, Wynn said in a statement.
• February 23, 2010 Harrah's Donates to Clinton:
Harrah's Foundation Vice Chairwoman Jan Jones last night announced that the company would donate $1 million to the William J. Clinton Foundation, following the former president's speeches to both company staff and, later, an audience of paying guests at Caesars' Colosseum. The donation will go to help fund the foundation's recovery efforts in Haiti and other struggling nations; Clinton has been the United Nation's special envoy to Haiti since May 2009.
• February 23, 2010 Sands Applies for PA Poker License:
Las Vegas Sands Corp. has applied for a table-games license for its casino in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, which currently boasts 3,000 slot machines. Table games will become legal in the state later this year, and Sands' formal application seeks the approval of 80 table games, including roulette, craps, blackjack, and poker. The legalization of table games is bad news for neighboring Atlantic City, which already had its slot revenues outpaced by Pennsylvania for the first time in history earlier this year.
• February 23, 2010 Free Pancakes:
Yesterday was National Margarita Day; today's National Pancake Day and to celebrate, all IHOP locations are offering one free short stack of their signature buttermilk pancakes to each guest until 10 p.m. tonight to benefit Children's Miracle Network and other local charities. Click here for your nearest location.
• February 23, 2010 Poll Ends Tomorrow:
Our current Reader Poll on the legal gambling age in Nevada ends at midnight tonight, when a new poll will go live. We've had a big response to this one and lots of email feedback with your opinions; if you haven't voted yet, be sure to make your voice heard if you have feelings about this issue.
• February 22, 2010 Rat Pack Stars Get Laid:
At 1 p.m. today the Las Vegas Walk of Stars will finally honor Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin in a ceremony at the Flamingo, after which their stars will be laid in the sidewalk outside the hotel. Deano's daughter Deana will be there to accept the accolade on behalf of her late father.
• February 22, 2010 More Garth Brooks Dates Added:
The singer, who came out of retirement to perform at Encore, has just announced more Las Vegas show dates from March through August. These seats have been selling out in record time, so fans should book early to avoid getting shut out.
• February 22, 2010 Loveman Pessimistic:
Harrah's CEO Gary Loveman sees few causes for optimism in the near-mid future, telling the Reuters Travel and Leisure Summit in New York today that "Las Vegas remains weak and will remain weak for the foreseeable future." While gambling revenue has begun to stabilize, helped by a recent boon from the baccarat tables, room rates remain at rock bottom and although group business bookings for 2011 are "encouraging," 2010 remains weak, he added.
• February 22, 2010 Venetian Entertainment:
As reported in Mike Weatherford's LV Review-Journal column, Joan Rivers will be returning to the Venetian in April and Chazz Palminteri will be brining his "A Bronx Tale" back from April 28-May 9 (we caught it last time and were in the minority by being underwhelmed). Former showroom resident Wayne Brady will also be returning on Memorial Day for a 15-week stint.
• February 22, 2010 Burlesque Pit to Close:
The Pussycat Dolls Lounge and "party pit," located next to owner PURE Management Group's eponymous nightclub at Caesars Palace, will close Feb. 27. Apparently, the plan is to convert the space into "a venue where music and technology will intersect," whatever that may mean (we're thinking something along the lines of Mandalay Bay's eyecandy sound lounge...) Speaking of MBay, there's been no further word on the burlesque venue The Rose, which was due to open last year but became mired in a lease/management dispute, while the Foundation Room's short-lived Jazz Burlesque Sundays have not returned. With the 2009 closure of Ivan Kane's Forty Deuce, it looks like the promised Las Vegas burlesque revival has been and gone, although there are still a lot of small troupes performing for private parties around town. Check out Topless Vegas, now out in v.3.1 (available with update upgrade) for the latest on the whole erotic revue scene.
• February 22, 2010 Traffic Problem on I-15:
The RTC just announced that a tractor-trailer's spilled its load on the Russell Road on-ramp to I-15 south, so avoid the area if you can until it's been cleaned up.
• February 22, 2010 Visa Bans Online Gambling Transactions:
The world's largest credit card company has followed MasterCard's lead and will no longer process online gambling transactions, despite the fact that the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act is not due to go into effect until June.
• February 22, 2010 CityCenter's Magic Number:
In an interview with Norm Clark from the LV Review-Journal, MGM Mirage's Jim Murren revealed that CityCenter has to generate $2.5 million per day in total revenue to make a profit. Twenty years ago, the Mirage made headlines when it revealed its magic number of $1 million per day, which it accomplished easily.
• February 22, 2010 National Margarita Day:
Today's the day, and several venues around town are celebrating. Margaritaville's offering different promos throughout the day, including 2/22 birthday gift certificates and free meals and drinks. Any guest named Rita or Margarita gets a complimentary bottle of Margaritaville Margarita Mix. Hussong's will be serving their famed Original Margarita for just $5 from 7-10 p.m., with ladies receiving their first on the house. Nachos, tacos, and all call beverages are half-price, while men wearing sombreros, ponchos, or moustaches (real or glued on) get a free tequila shooter and shot glass. Tacos and Tequila at the Luxor's offering 2-for-1 "Casaritas."
• February 21, 2010 Valley of Fire in USA Today:
The Travel section of today's USA Today contains a big feature on the Valley of Fire, extoling its virtues as a spectacular break from the hectic pace of Las Vegas that's a mere hour's drive away. This and Nevada's other state parks are currently at risk of closure as one of the more drastic measures that the Interim Finance Committee is considering to save money.
• February 21, 2010 Desert Clean-Up Tomorrow:
Tomorrow from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. the Mountain's Edge Master Planned Community is teaming with the Bureau of Land Management to stage a large scale clean-up of both public and private land in the area bound by Blue Diamond, Fort Apache and South Cimarron roads and Cactus Avenue, which has become a dumping ground for furniture, landscaping and construction waste, and other refuse. All volunteers are welcome; water, gloves, and trash bags provided.
• February 21, 2010 New Year in Chinatown:
Las Vegas Chinatown (at Spring Mountain and Wynn) hosts its annual Chinese New Year celebration today, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. As well as being the biggest authentic Asian food gathering in the city, with Hong Kong, Canton, Mandarin, Vietnamese, Thai, and Hawaiian cuisine, there will be a traditional Lion Dance, plus other Asian dance, music, and martial arts displays.
• February 20, 2010 Las Vegas in "Swimsuit" List:
This weekend's USA Today list of "10 Great Places to Strike a Swimsuit Pose" includes Las Vegas. It's a list of former venues for Sports Illustrated swimsuit-issue shoots and Vegas was the setting in 2001 and 2006.
• February 20, 2010 Meet Steve Madden:
Shoe and purse designer Steve Madden will be hosting a meet-and-greet at Nordstrum in the Fashion Show Mall today from 2-3:30 p.m. with special guest host Julissa Bermudez and DJ Graham Funke. Receive a free tee and tote while supplies last and have your photo taken with Steve.
• February 20, 2010 Mutts on Main Street:
The District at Green Valley Ranch is hosting its monthly pet adoption drive from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. today, where multiple local pet rescue organizations come together with the goal of finding "forever homes" for homeless dogs, cats, birds, and other pets.
• February 20, 2010 Free Pretzels:
Auntie Anne’s is giving out free original and cinnamon pretzels today from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at all three Las Vegas locations (Meadows Mall, Circus Circus, and Fashion Show Mall). One pretzel per person.
• February 19, 2010 Gloves Off at GVR:
Things are getting ugly between Station Casinos and the Greenspun group over their Green Valley Ranch partnership. On the one hand, Greenspun's claiming that Station deliberately sabotaged the property's business by siphoning off high rollers to wholly Station-owned properties, a contention that the casino operator is denying. Similarly, Greenspun's company, GCR Gaming, says Station Casinos' recent bankruptcy filing for its share of the property was made in "bad faith" to shield its GV Ranch Station Inc. affiliate from lawsuits and prevent creditors from seizing assets. Greenspun's asking a judge to dismiss the case so it can move to scrap the companies' operating agreement.
Station Casinos said in a statement today that it intends to "vigorously contest" the Greenspuns' "baseless" claims. It looks like it's going to be a messy divorce.
• February 19, 2010 Nevada's Big Casinos Big Losers:
According to the Gaming Abstract, and annual report compiled by the Nevada State Gaming Control Board detailing the revenues of Nevada's highest-grossing casinos, the 260 casinos in Nevada that grossed $1 million or more in the year ending June 30, 2009, generated a net loss of almost $6.8 billion.
• February 19, 2010 Obama Hearts Vegas:
In an effort to counteract the fallout from his recent comments about Las Vegas, Barack Obama expressed his feelings toward the city during his visit today: "Let me set the record straight: I love Las Vegas, always have. How was that?" Probably not enough for Mayor Oscar Goodman, who was seeking a more thorough apology from the President -- and a martini.
• February 19, 2010 Viva Elvis Premieres:
The much-anticipated new Cirque du Soleil show at Aria has its world premiere tonight, after weeks of revamping after initial lukewarm preview feedback. Apparently, the show has been dramatically reworked and received a glowing write-up from a Time magazine reviewer earlier this week. Celebrities expected to attend include Priscilla and Lisa Marie Presley, Olivia Harrison, Regis and Joy Philbin, Lawrence Fishburne, Tommy Lee, Perez Hilton, and a host of Vegas headliners.
• February 19, 2010 Guinness Weekend:
The Auld Dubliner out at Lake Las Vegas has decided not to wait for St Patrick's Day and is hosting a "Guinness Weekend" starting at 8 p.m. tonight with "The Great Guinness Toast" of 2010. Festivities continue through the weekend, with a boxed-food drive on Saturday and Sunday to benefit Three Square Food Bank, with each donating guest receiving a free pint of the dark stuff.
• February 19, 2010 Discounts End Today:
Here's a quick reminder that current special offers on the new Arts America guide book, best-seller Beneath the Neon, and the highly regarded Blackjack Blueprint ends at 5 p.m. PST today. You'll find them -- and lots of other deals -- in the Bargain Bin at ShopLVA.com. Plus, we have only one Multi-Strike Video Poker Bank left in stock and when it goes, we won't be re-stocking until the holidays, so who's going to get the last one?
• February 19, 2010 Live Coverage of President:
LasVegasNOW.com and Channel 8 will carry live coverage of President Obama's town hall meeting at Green Valley High School this morning, beginning at 10 a.m.
• February 18, 2010 Serious Traffic Accident West of Strip:
There's been a serious traffic accident involving injuries near Wynn and Flamingo. All west-bound lanes on Flamingo between Hugh Hefner and Gold Coast Drive are currently closed, so avoid the area if you can.
• February 18, 2010 Another One:
Hot on the heels of the announcement that Harrah's is now the official owner of Planet Ho comes confirmation that investor Carl Icahn today officially took ownership of the unfinished and bankrupt Fontainebleau, for about $104.6 million in cash.
• February 18, 2010 Planet Ho Now Planet Harrah's:
The Nevada Gaming Commission has approved the final stage of the takeover of Planet Hollywood by Harrah's, which anticipates taking over the property's gaming operations tomorrow at noon. The casino giant has already been managing Planet Hollywood's hotel and food and beverage operations for over a month. Approximately 100 layoffs are expected as a result of the completion of the takeover, but 40 positions also need to be filled and will be posted tomorrow, a Harrah's spokeswoman revealed.
• February 18, 2010 Weekly Column Posted:
It's been a big week for news, so check out all the latest openings, closings, and movings with Anthony Curtis weekly Las Vegas digest at LVA in the Media. (Tip: There's a great little-known dining play in their too, this week.)
• February 18, 2010 Special Offers End Tomorrow:
Don't forget that our current special offers on Beneath the Neon, Arts America, and Blackjack Blueprint end at close of biz tomorrow, so don't miss out! You'll find them, plus a heap of other great deals, in the Bargain Bin at ShopLVA.com.
• February 18, 2010 No Respite for Vegas Properties:
Shares in casino giants MGM Mirage and Las Vegas Sands fell 5% and 8% respectively today, following earnings reports that indicated their core Las Vegas gaming market still has a long way to go before any significant turnaround will be evident. While Las Vegas Sands had a record quarter in Macau, in Las Vegas both properties contineu to suffer from revenue declines across the board, including rooms and gambling.
• February 18, 2010 Latest Buffet Shake-Up:
We're in the process of conducting our monthly survey of all the buffets in town for changes in times, prices, etc. and just learned that Mandalay Bay has discontinued its all-day buffet pass. So far, it looks like the other all-dayers -- IP, Palace Station, Orleans, Stratosphere, Excalibur, Circus Circus, Luxor -- are still in place, with one notable exception: the Tropicana closed its buffet indefinitely on Feb. 15. For the full-round up of all buffet and show updates, check out the March issue of the LVA newsletter, which goes to press on Monday.
• February 18, 2010 Kudos for The Joint:
The remodeled music venue at the Hard Rock, which reopened in April 2009 was last night named Best New Major Concert Venue by music industry leaders at the Pollstar Magazine awards in L.A.
- Springs Preserve and Las Vegas Black Image Magazine will host the first Black History Month Festival at the Springs Preserve (2/28)
- The festivities continue downtown, with The Fremont Street Experience hosting the 9th Annual Taste and Sounds of Soul Festival (2/19-2/21)
- The Las Vegas Home and Garden Show's at Cashman Field, with hundreds of ideas for your home and yard (2/19-2/21)
- It's the grand opening of Pablo McFadden’s at the Rio (2/18-2/20)
- Larry the Cable Guy's out at Buffalo Bill’s (2/19)
- Sinbad’s at TI (2/19)
- Mandalay Bay welcomes country singer Brad Paisley (2/20)
- Don Rickles takes the stage at the Orleans (2/20-2/21)
- The Las Vegas Hilton welcomes Tony Bennett (2/19-2/20)
- And last but not least, Supernatural Santana: A Trip Through the Hits is back at the Hard Rock (2/17-2/21)
• February 17, 2010 Heightened Security for Obama Visit:
Tomorrow's visit to Las Vegas by President Obama will be marked by heightened security, including FAA restrictions on Vegas air space, which will be closed to sightseeing air tours, gliders, parachutes, and balloons from 5:45 p.m. tomorrow unti 1:30 p.m. Friday. Only airlines, law enforcement aircraft, and air ambulances will be allowed within a 10- or 12-mile radius of McCarran International Airport.
• February 17, 2010 Tea Party Coming to Town:
Organizers of the so-called "Tea Party" movement for lower taxes and smaller government will be bringing their campaign to Las Vegas from July 15-17, it's been announced. "President Obama told Americans not to go to Las Vegas so that is exactly where Tea Party Nation will be holding our next event!" the group said in a statement.
• February 17, 2010 Strip Club Taxi Wars Rumble On:
Yesterday, the subject of the ongoing controversial practice of gentlemen's clubs paying escalating "tips" to taxis who deliver customers to them was due to come before the Clark County Commission. The upward spiraling of these fees, which started out in the $20-$40 range but have now reached as high as $120/person, is having a serious impact on several clubs, all of which are feeling the effects of the current economic downturn. However, the item was #77 on a total agenda of 80, and the hearing has now been postponed until May 19. You can read an in-depth and recently updated account of the whole "Taxi Wars" controvery in Topless Vegas, now in v.3.1, available with a year of updates.
• February 17, 2010 Liquor Store for McCarran?:
The Clark County Commission, which owns McCarran International Airport, is considering approving a liquor store at the airport's south baggage claim area, which it's estimated estimated could bring in an additional $400,000 to $600,000 annually for the airport. The store, which would sell beer, wine and spirits "for off-site consumption only," would be the only liquor store operating inside a U.S. airport.
• February 17, 2010 Battle for .vegas Domain:
Yesterday Clark County commissioners voted to back Greenspun Media's Vegas.com booking website in its bit to control the new top-level domain suffix ".vegas", thus pitting the booking county in a battle with the city of Las Vegas, which has already thrown its support behind rival bidder Dot Vegas Inc. Ultimately, the decision is up to ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers), but backing from local government is also required in cases where a suffix uses a geographical name.
• February 17, 2010 Another One Bites the Dust:
It's been announced that Hawaiian Tropic Zone in the Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood is to close -- this in spite of on ongoing aggressive PR campaign and a constant program of special events, parties, and celebrity appearances. No word yet as to when it will close or what will take its place, but we'd advise LVA members to take advantage of the MRB coupon for HTZ asap, while the property is still open.
• February 16, 2010 Restaurant Renamed:
MGM Grand's Craftsteak will henceforth be known as Tom Colicchio's Craftsteak, in honor of the James Beard award-winning chef. We really like Craftsteak, especially their "halfsteak" menu: Check out the review in our Restaurant listings and add a review of your own, if you've tried it.
• February 16, 2010 New Sale at ShopLVA:
If you're on our mailing list, check your email "in" box for a great new set of offers from our online store, with big discounts on three great Huntington Press titles. But hurry -- the knock-down prices are only good through this Friday, Feb. 19!
• February 16, 2010 Obama Tix Available:
With details of the president's upcoming visit to Las Vegas slowly being released, it's just been announced by the White House that several hundred tickets will be made available to the general public on a first come, first served basis for his town hall meeting this Friday. Tickets to the event, which is taking place at Green Valley High School, can be picked up at the school's football field office (460 Arroyo Grande Blvd.) from 4 p.m. on Thursday.
• February 16, 2010 Vegas History Celebrated:
Who says Las Vegas has no culture, no history? Not L.A.'s Museum of Contemporary Art, which is soon to take a virtual trip down the Vegas Strip via a new exhibition of historic architectural photographs and movies taken as part of a 1970s architectural study.
"Las Vegas Studio: Images From the Archives of Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown" will run from March 21 through June 20 at MOCA Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood. Admission to the MOCA PDC is free.
• February 16, 2010 Casino MonteLãgo to Close:
Breaking news: We just heard from the spouse of an employee at Casino MonteLãgo, who just received the dreaded phone call: It's following in the footsteps of Lake Las Vegas neighbor the Ritz-Carlton and will close its doors March 14. We'll bring more info as we get it. The closure will leave over 170 employees jobless.
• February 16, 2010 Tribute Show Turns Comical:
The Research Department at LVA has observed at first with interest, and then mounting amusement, the checkered career of Rockstar: The Tribute, which has seemingly been conducting a mini-tour -- up and down the Las Vegas Strip. What makes the history of this bizarrely itinerant show even more bemusing is that it's barely ever actually performed.
It all started back in August of last year, when Rockstar debuted at the kiss-of-death Wyrick Entertainment Complex in the Miracle Mile Shops. By Sept., LVA was already reporting that it had closed and moved to the entertainment merry-go-round that is the Harmon Theater. By mid-November it had -- of course -- closed and was on the move to the Riviera, allegedly, from whence it then disappeared without ever having opened; in the Feb. issue, we reported that Rockstar: The Tribute had returned to the Harmon. Fast-forward to today, however, and we just received and email stating that "due to some structural re-formation" [Ed: tectonic plate activity on the Strip?] the show "has been postponed until further notice." To add insult to injury, last month the totally unrelated Masters of Rock show did open at the Riv.
• February 16, 2010 Wynn Tipping Fight Ongoing:
The dispute between Wynn and its dealers over tip-sharing rumbles on, with attorneys for the resort today asking the Nevada Labor Commissioner for more time to file briefs in the case, which will inevitably result in more delays in his ruling, originally planned for January, and then April. At issue is whether Wynn's policy of pooling dealers' tips to share with other front-line casino staff complies with state labor laws or not.
• February 16, 2010 Miserable Las Vegas?:
We may have the self-proclaimed Happiest Mayor on Earth, but according to a recent national survey, Las Vegas is among the unhappiest cities in the U.S. We ranked 145th in Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index of 162 cities. Analysts blame the current economic malaise, which hit Nevada particularly hard, but Las Vegas also ranks highest in the nation for suicide among seniors, at almost three times the national average.
• February 16, 2010 Obama Visit Detailed:
The broad details of President Obama's scheduled visit to Las Vegas later this week have been released by the White House. On Thursday evening he's due to attend a closed fundraiser for the Democratic National Committee at Palms owner George Maloof's house. The following morning he's due to hold a town hall meeting at a high school and then speak at CityCenter about job creation. While the main purpose of the visit is to give a boost to Sen. Harry Reid's reelection campaign, an apology for recent controversial comments about Las Vegas is also anticipated from the president.
• February 15, 2010 Obama Hits the Strip Ahead of Trip:
While the man himself is scheduled to visit Las Vegas this Friday to meet with Sen. Harry Reid, President Barack Obama made an early appearance today in the form of a new waxwork unveiled at Madame Tussauds at the Venetian. The statue is set in a replica of the Oval Office and was revealed to coincide with Presidents Day. Don't forget there's a twofer coupon for the attraction in the 2010 MRB.
• February 15, 2010 Praise for Viva Elvis:
The new Cirque show at Aria, focusing on the life and music of The King, received some mixed feedback in previews, but gets a glowing review in the new issue of Time magazine.
• February 15, 2010 M.A.G.I.C. Week:
Beginning tomorrow, Feb. 16 through Feb. 18, the Las Vegas Convention Center and Mandalay Bay host the annual Winter M.A.G.I.C. Marketplace, the largest apparel and accessory expo, with thousands of manufacturers and retailers in attendance. Expect fashion-oriented parties all over town this week.
• February 15, 2010 Fat Tuesday:
Tomorrow's Mardi Gras and although it's not traditionally a big date in the Vegas party calendar, there are some events going on. Lola's Louisiana Kitchen downtown (the subject of the Feb. 2010 LVA "Local Corner) had their big party on Saturday, but they'll be continuing the festivities through dinner tomorrow with fresh crawfish. McCormick & Schmick's is offering a special Fat Tuesday menu Feb. 15-17, with New Orleans culinary specials, including crab hush puppies, mini oyster po' boys, jambalaya, and étouffée, plus specialty "voodoo" and "black magic" cocktails. The Fremont Street Experience is hosting a free Fat Tuesday Party from 5 p.m. tomorrow, with free zydeco music until 11 p.m., hourly VIVA Vision shows on the canopy, and food by Rhythm Kitchen. And there's also a Fremont Street Pub Crawl, with access to food and drink specials; RSVP by texting FREMONT to 99158 and show your text at the check-in station next to the Fremont Street Walgreens (#425) before 8 p.m. tomorrow to receive your wristband.
• February 15, 2010 Vegas Mob Evening Canceled:
The "Mob Chronicles" charity event that was to have been presented by former mobster and subject of Huntington Press' title Cullotta, scheduled to take place this Thursday evening at the Stratosphere, has been canceled.
• February 15, 2010 LVA in the Media:
Huntington Press author Cathy Scott appeared on Friday's premiere episode of VH1's new series, "Celebrity Crime Scene," which featured the death of rapper Tupac Shakur, who was gunned down in Las Vegas in 1996. You can read more and get a link to download the show at LVA in the Media.
• February 15, 2010 Presidents Day:
The 3-day Valentine's and Presidents Day weekend concludes with a few notable holiday casino specials. Silverton is awarding 10X points on slots and 5X on video poker, and has a $5 lunch and $10 dinner buffet special. At South Point, it's 5X points on slots and 2X on video poker. El Cortez is giving away free cherry pie to players from noon to 6 p.m.
• February 14, 2010 Singapore Casino Debuts:
The Asian city-state’s first casino premieres today, to coincide with Chinese New Year. Genting Singapore’s Resorts World Sentosa has already debuted the hotel components of its $6.59 billion island resort, a development that it’s hoped will lure rich gamblers away from Macau.
• February 14, 2010 Meet The Situation:
Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino, the "Jersey Shore" sensation, will be signing autographs from 3:30-5 p.m. today as part of the Grand Opening celebration of the new Sugar Factory store in the Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood. Customers who purchase any Sugar Factory Couture Pop will receive a complimentary signed photo.
• February 14, 2010 Happy Valentine’s Day:
And here’s hoping for an auspicious start to the Year of the Tiger, too! Check out our "Special Events" and "Spotlight On…" features for the lowdown on today’s festivities -- cultural, romantic, culinary, and fun.
• February 13, 2010 Hugger Triumphs:
Jeff Ondash, the 51-year-old Ohio man who attempted to break the world most-hugs-delivered-in-24-hours record in Las Vegas, succeeded in his goal, embracing 7,777 between 6 p.m. yesterday and this evening. Ondash was raising money for the American Heart Association during American Heart month and beat the previous record by over 2,000 hugs.
• February 13, 2010 Dita to Return:
Modern-day burlesque legend Dita Von Teese just announced via her Twitter that she will be returning for a guest run in MGM Grand's Crazy Horse Paris March 31-April 7 (dark april 6). Ticket information will be available soon. This will be Ms Von Teese's second stint in the Strip show; other guest performers over the years have included Carmen Elektra and (in the Parisian original) Pamela Anderson. For the complete lowdown on all the erotic revues in Las Vegas, check out our Topless Vegas guide, now out in the brand new v.3.1, available with a year's worth of updates.
• February 13, 2010 USA Rugby Sevens:
The big rugby sevens tournament (seven per side, as opposed to the standard fifteen) runs today and tomorrow at Sam Boyd Stadium. This is major national tournament, featuring the best players from many of the world's best teams. Tickets begin at $30.
• February 13, 2010 Alicia Keys Tix on Sale:
The twelve-time GRAMMY award-winning singer/songwriter brings her "Freedom Tour" to the Mandalay Events Center on Fri., April 9 and tickets for the show, which start at $50, go on sale today at the Box Office and via all Ticketmaster outlets.
• February 13, 2010 Jeff Mitchum Signing:
The world-renowned landscape photographer will be signing copies of his new book, Seasons of Light, at the entrance to the Bellagio Conservatory and Botanical Gardens from 1-4 p.m. today (and you can catch the Chinese New Year display while you’re there).
• February 13, 2010 Chili Cook-Off:
The Village Lake Las Vegas hosts the 2nd Annual Silver State Regional Village Chili Cook-Off today from noon-4 p.m. Sanctioned by the International Chili Society, the event costs $5 per person for tastings and also includes a raffle and giveaways. A People’s Choice Award will allow the public to vote for their favorites among the dozens of red chili and chili verde entries.
• February 12, 2010 Free Hugs:
Beginning at 6 p.m. this evening, outside Paris a 51-year-old Ohio man will be giving out free hugs to anyone on the Strip who'll let him. It's a bid to break the Guinness World Record, which currently stands at 5,000 hugs in a 24-hour period; Jeff Ondash of Canfield, OH will try to beat it to raise money for the American Heart Association.
• February 12, 2010 Foreclosure Crisis Deepens:
According to a report released by California-based Realty Trac on Thursday, while nationally the foreclosure rate dropped slightly in January, for Nevada things remain dire. It was the 36th straight month in which the state topped the national foreclosure-rate list, with a rate four-times the national average. While one out of every 95 homes in Nevada received some sort of foreclosure notice last month, the story in the Las Vegas Valley was even wose, at one out of 82.
• February 12, 2010 Obama Vegas-Bound:
President Barack Obama will be heading to Las Vegas next Friday, Feb. 19, when he'll hold events with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who's facing a tough re-election bid with his popularity ratings at an all-time low, according to a recent poll conducted by the Las Vegas Review-Journal. The visit comes in the wake of a recent second controversial comment by the president about Las Vegas, which drew criticim from Senator Reid, Governor Gibbons, and Mayor Goodman.
• February 12, 2010 Poker Star Shares Secrets of ... Marriage:
Poker legend Doyle Brunson and his wife Louise were among the celebrity couples profiled this week by the Wall Street Journal in a feature about how to keep a marriage alive. The Brunsons have been married for 47 years.
• February 12, 2010 Celine tickets now on sale
Tickets to the first 54 performances for Celine Dion at Caesars Palace went on sale this morning. Ticket are priced at $95, $140, $175, and $250 and can be purchased through Ticketmaster or by calling 877-4CELINE.
• February 12, 2010 LVAers Play Poker Today:
Tonight is the USA Rugby poker tournament at the Hard Rock. There's a $200 buy-in and the tourney is open to the public. But even if you don't play, come by and say hello to Anthony Curtis, Blair Rodman, Ken Einiger, and Max Rubin, who will playing against some of the world's biggest rugby stars (Max is the event's MC). The tournament starts at 6 p.m.
• February 11, 2010 Home & Garden Show:
Next weekend (Feb. 19-21), the Cashman Center hosts the 32nd Annual Las Vegas Spring Home & Garden Show, the longest running show of its kind in Vegas with lots of ideas for your home, both inside and out. It's $5 for adult admission or click here for a 2-for-1 coupon.
• February 11, 2010 Weekend Highlights: It's a big ol' diverse weekend in Vegas, with Valentine's Day and Chinese New Year coinciding this year (click the links for our dedicated features on each in "Special Events" and "Spotlight On...", respectively. Expect lots of special dining options for both events at the appropriate eateries, plus lots of chocolate-flavored Valentine's spa treatments across town). But if you're not in the mood for diamonds or dragons, that's cool because there's a whole heap of other stuff to choose from, too, from chili cook-offs to comedy, and lot more in between. You can find all the details in our Event planner, but here are the highlights:
- Carlos Mencia's at TI (02/11-02/12)
- Ron White brings his blue-collar brand of humor to the Mirage (02/12-02/14)
- Lisa Lampanelli's at the Palms (02/13)
- Smokey Robinson takes the stage at Green Valley Ranch (02/13)
- "America’s Got Talent" winner Neal Boyd's at the Hilton (02/14)
- The Sam Boyd Stadium welcomes 2010 USA Sevens International Rugby (2/13-2/14)
- Lake Las Vegas heats up with the 2nd Annual Silver State Regional Chili Cook-Off (2/13)
• February 11, 2010 Station Files Bankruptcy for GVR:
Station Casinos, a 50-percent shareholder in Green Valley Ranch, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy for the company that manages and owns its share of the Henderson resort-casino. The Greenspun Corp., which owns the other half of the property, has not filed bankruptcy on its share and the resort itself did not file, either.
• February 11, 2010 Weekly Column Posted:
Read Anthony Curtis' weekly digest of all the main news from Sin City at LVA in the Media.
• February 11, 2010 Model Meet at Paris Today:
Three 2010 Sports Illustrated swimsuit models will be signing autographs in Le Cabaret at Paris today from 1 p.m. There will be free magazines, while supplies last.
• February 11, 2010 IGT to Leave Japan:
Slot machine giant International Game Technology announced today that it will close its Japanese operations, at an estimated cost of $20 million, due to difficult market conditions and lack of a "strategic fit." Despite a drop in revenue, the company's first-quarter profits, released last month, were up 20 percent, helped in part by one-time accounting adjustments.
• February 11, 2010 State Gambling Win Reverts:
After last month's increase in the statewide Nevada gambling win -- its first in 23 months -- the December take moved back into the declining column, down 3.2%. It was bad news for the casinos, given that the comparison was against a December 2008 that was off a huge 18.9%. There was a silver lining, however. Bolstered by a baccarat win that was up 101.9%, Strip revenues booked a second consecutive increase, up 5.9%.
• February 10, 2010 Fatal Accident at South Strip:
Police are currently investigating a fatal accident at I-215 and Las Vegas Blvd. southbound, in which two vehicles rolled, so avoid the area if you can.
• February 10, 2010 Free Cupcakes:
We left this until late in the day in the interests of your health, but in case you need a humpday sugar fix, the ever-popular Retro Bakery (7785 N. Durango Dr., #130) is celebrating its second birthday today with free cupcakes until they run out -- they're hoping to make it until close at 6 p.m. Limited to one cupcake per person.
• February 10, 2010 Gilley's Hiring:
Calling all Country fans: Don't forget that the new Gilley's inside TI is hiring today through Friday. The job fair takes place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily in the convention area. All attendees must complete an online application -- click here if you're interested.
• February 10, 2010 Cali to Get Online Poker?:
The California Senate committee held an informational hearing yesterday on legalizing Internet poker, with a view to raising revenue for the cash-strapped state. It's early days, however, and while the coalition in favor of the move is led by the Morongo Band of Mission Indians, the Pechanga tribe said they would not support the measure, fearing loss of revenue. "Frankly, if this had been discussed, our tribe likely would have rejected this because the gaming landscape and market conditions would be subject to rapid change and instability," said Mark Macarro, chairman of the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians.
• February 10, 2010 Celine Return Confirmed:
As strongly rumored, it's now official that singer Celine Dion is to return to The Colosseum at Caesars Palace for a new three-year engagement, set to premiere March 15, 2011. Tickets to the first 54 performances go on sale Friday.
• February 9, 2010 New Poll Tomorrow:
A new LVA reader poll goes live at midnight tonight; if you haven't voted already in our current survey on where in Las Vegas you like to stay, now's your last chance!
• February 9, 2010 Super Bowl Win for Casinos:
The weekend's figures were released today and show that Nevada's race and sports books won almost $6.9 million on this year's Super Bowl, a modest $179,000 up on last year's wn. Bettors wagered a total of $82.7 million on the NFL title game, down from the record high in 2006, when $94.5 million was bet on the Pittsburgh Steelers victory over the Seattle Seahawks.
• February 9, 2010 Jackson Doctor Pleads Not Guilty:
Dr Conrad Murray, who yesterday surrendered to prosecutors, pleaded not guilty to the involuntary manslaughter charge against him following Michael Jackson's death last June while in his care, and has been released from jail after posting $75,000 in bail.
• February 9, 2010 Comedian Cancels:
Louie Anderson, currently performing in his Larger Than Life show at Excalibur, has canceled tonight's performance. Refunds will be available at point of purchase.
• February 9, 2010 Numbers Down for Year, Up for Month:
While the latest stats released by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority indicate that visitation was down by 3 percent in 2009, the latest figures reveal January as the the fourth successive month to show an increase in visitors after 15 straight months of decline.
• February 9, 2010 Iconic Store Closes:
As noted by the Las Vegas Sun, the 3-story FAO Schwartz in the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace allowed its lease to run out and quietly closed Jan. 23. We had an inkling back last year when we went to shop for sour candies (they had the best) and discovered the whole candy section was no more. Now, all that remains is the massive Trojan horse outside, which apparently will be removed soon.
• February 9, 2010 Streisand Turns Down Vegas:
According to PopEater, veteran performer Barbra Streisand, whose latest album (her 63rd) stunned critics by hitting the top of the charts last year, has reportedly turned down a $100-million residency at Caesars' Colosseum to headline alongside Cher and the returning Celine Dion. Streisand instead has opted to go on a summer tour.
• February 9, 2010 China Cracks Down on Online Gambling:
China's Ministry of Public Security has announced on its website that now through August, there will be a severe crack down on the online gambling industry, including the banks and websites -- both domestic and foreign -- that support and facilitate it. Gambling has been banned in mainland China since the Communist takeover of 1949, with the exception of two state lotteries.
• February 9, 2010 Honors for Dino and Frank:
It's been announced that the Las Vegas Walk of Stars will honor Rat Packers Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra with a ceremony on Feb. 22, when their stars will be unveiled and then placed in the sidewalk outside the Flamingo on the Las Vegas Strip. Martin's daughter Deana will be there to accept the honor on behalf of her father; no word yet on whether any Sinatras will be in attendance.
• February 8, 2010 MGM Picks Macau Over N.J.:
As predicted (see this column Jan. 26, 2010), MGM Mirage is exiting Atlantic City in favor of its much more lucrative presence in Macau. Unlike the other U.S. jurisdictions where the gaming company operates, New Jersey's Gaming Control board was unprepared to sanction MGM Mirage's Asian partnership Pansy Ho, daughter of controversial Asian casino billionaire Stanley Ho, who's said to be involved with Chinese organized crime. The company will now place its 50 percent stake in the Borgata (co-owned with Boyd Gaming) and its land holdings into a trust, making them eligible for a sale.
• February 8, 2010 QoD Pix Fixed:
There was a formatting issue earlier with the large gallery of images accompanying today's Question of the Day about the art at Aria. That's now been fixed, so just click here to veiw them all.
• February 8, 2010 Passover Seders
This year, Passover runs from Monday evening March 29 through Tuesday evening April 6. If anyone planning to be in Las Vegas at that time wants to attend a seder, two companies are offering Passover packages. World Wide Kosher's program is at Lowe's Lake Las Vegas; for all the info, call 800/525-0035 or go to mypassover.com; Twersky Passover Tours' program is at the Ritz-Carlton Lake Las Vegas at 888/757-2002 or twerskypassovertours.com
• February 8, 2010 Celine Confirms, Diamond Rumored:
According to Robin Leach's Vegas Deluxe column, not only has singer Celine Dion confirmed a long-rumored return to Caesars' Colosseum, but Neil Diamond, whose new two-CD live CD comes out tomorrow, is strongly picked to join her there.
• February 8, 2010 Second Date for NKOTB:
'90s boy-band sensation New Kids on the Block has added a second date at the Pearl at the Palms and will now play Fri., May 7 in addition to Sat., May 8. Tickets, which start at $115, go on sale for the new date on Saturday, Feb. 13 at 1 p.m.
• February 8, 2010 Jackson Doc. to Surrender:
Dr Conrad Murray, the private physician to singer Michael Jackson, who died under his care last June, will finally surrender at an L.A. courthouse at 1:30 p.m. today, according to his lead attorney. A single charge of involuntary manslaughter is expected for the man who administered the hospital anesthetic propofol and other sedatives to Jackson, who was a chronic insomniac.
• February 8, 2010 Genting Gets License:
Shares in Asian casino giant Genting Bhd. rose today after the company received a casino license from the Singapore government a week ahead of the Lunar New Year holidays that commence Feb. 14. The casino is part of a $4.5 billion resort on Singapore's Sentosa island that's planned to triple annual tourism to the city-state.
• February 8, 2010 Carrot Top on TV:
Las Vegas headliner and prop comedian Carrot Top is due to appear on "The Jay Leno Show" tonight. (Don't forget there's a deal on Carrot Top tix in the 2010 LVA MRB.)
• February 8, 2010 Ritz-Carlton to Close:
In a story just broken exclusively by USA Today, the AAA five-diamond rated Ritz-Carlton out at Lake Las Vegas is to close permanently as of May 2, 2010. The resort's owned by Deutsche Bank subsidiary Village Hospitality, which has decided to cease funding the property. The closure will put approximately 400 employees out of work. A spokeswoman for the property said it would endeavor to find them new jobs "at other Ritz-Carltons, Marriotts, or other hotels in the Las Vegas area."
• February 7, 2010 M in WSJ:
The weekend Wall Street Journal contains a front-page story on the the sports book at M Resort and manager Cantor Fitzgerald's use of financial techniques and software to offer unique wagering options. M is one of our three recommmended sports books, along with the LV Hilton and South Point, at LVASports.com.
• February 7, 2010 Super Sunday:
The city is jamming. The line for today's game currently stands at Colts -5, total 57. On the money line, it's Colts -210 (bet $21 to win $10), Saints +180. You can get real-time updates on these numbers from our free line feed at LVASports.com.
• February 7, 2010 Jerry’s Nugget Doubles Up:
From 10 a.m.-8 p.m. today, video poker players wearing a Jerry’s Nugget royal flush t-shirt and hitting a royal flush receive their jackpot winnings in double. The Royal Flush Mega Bonus works for dollar, quarter, and nickel machines only and you must have max coin in. You also need to have your More Club card inserted and show your royal to a slot supervisor.
• February 7, 2010 Cannapalooza Canned:
Mandalay Bay has canceled the big cannabis expo, Cannapalazoo, which was due to have taken place this March 19-21 at the property's convention center, amid widespread security concerns. An estimated 50,000 people had been expected to attend the event, being dubbed "the largest head shop on earth." Apparently, a member of MBay security was also overheard making the observation that pot heads wouldn't be good for casino business (although we figure the buffet would've done a brisk trade.)
• February 6, 2010 Super Bowl Safety:
According to UNLV's Safe Community Partnership, Super Sunday is second only to New Year's Eve for alcohol-related crashes in Las Vegas. There will be a sobriety checkpoint at W. Flamingo Rd. and Redwood St. from 6 p.m. Sunday to 2 a.m. Monday, plus officers with Metro, Henderson, North Las Vegas, Boulder City, and Mesquite, and troopers with the Nevada Highway Patrol, will all be stepping up enforcement on the roads in search of impaired drivers. So, don't be a statistic: If you've been drinking, don't drive -- call a cab, or take advantage of one of the free-ride options.
From 6 p.m. Sunday until 6 a.m. Monday you can call AAA's Tipsy Tow program at 800/AAA-HELP for a free tow of up to five miles. Or, call Designated Drivers on 702/456-RIDE (7433) for a complimentary ride home in your vehicle until midnight on Sunday.
• February 6, 2010 Vince Neil’s Birthday:
The former Mötley Crüe front man’s celebrating his birthday at Feelgoods, his Vegas bar (6750 W. Sahara) tonight. The party kicks off at 8:30 p.m. with performances through the night by Dinner Music For The Gods, the Vince Neil Band, and Blandini. There's a $15 admission fee at the door.
• February 6, 2010 LVA Reader Poll:
We’re getting a fantastic response to our current Reader Poll about where you like to stay in Las Vegas. The results give us great feedback, so please vote if you haven’t already – click the blue "poll" box on the left-hand side of any page to access it.
• February 5, 2010 Who Dat?! Songs for the Saints:
NPR Music today features the numerous fight songs and varied musical tributes to the New Orlean's Saints -- you're invited to write in with others you know of, plus any Colts anthems you can think of...
• February 5, 2010 New Thread of the Week:
Fezzik will be posting Saints props -- that's the subject of the latest FREE Thread of the Week over at our sister site, LVASports.com. He'll be posting his picks on the member-only LVASportsboards tomorrow.
• February 5, 2010 Pinnacle Abandoning A.C.:
Pinnacle Entertainment, the Las Vegas-based company that owns seven casinos nationwide, is abandoning its plan to build a casino on the Boardwalk in Atlantic City. The company will sell the 19-acre plot in light of the worsening fortunes of New Jersey's casinos, six out of 11 of which are either bankrupt or restructuring debt.
• February 5, 2010 St Patrick's Day at Mandalay Beach:
On Saturday, March 13 Mandalay Beach willl host an early St Patrick's Day Festival, featuring free live entertaiment (DJs and Irish bands) from noon - 5 p.m., followed by "An Evening with Everlast, the music of Whitey Ford Sings the Blues, House of Pain and La Coka Nostra, along with special guest performer B-Real of Cypress Hill." The beach will close for two hours from 5 p.m. to prep for the evening concert, which is scheduled to begin at 8 p.m. Tickets are $40, plus tax and fees. Moorea Beach Club will be turned into a beer garden for the event and there will be food and drink specials around the main pool complex. No word on whether they'll be dying the pool green for the event (as the Venetian has been known to do with its canals).
• February 5, 2010 More Big Game Parties:
They just keep on comin', so remember to keep checking out our dedicated feature in Special Events for the latest details. Plus, don't forget that Fezzik will be offering his second round of Super Bowl props tomorrow at LVASports.
• February 5, 2010 Miracle Mile Hearts Hearts:
The Miracle Mile shopping mall at Planet Hollywood is supporting National Heart Month today by turning its fountain red. All coins tossed in will be donated to the American Heart Association.
• February 5, 2010 Zero G Returns to Vegas:
Zero Gravity Corporation's (ZERO-G), G-FORCE ONE will be returning to McCarren International Airport to offer gravity-defying flights on Feb. 27. Fliers get to float freely in complete weightlessness several times during ZERO-G's 2-hour weightless flight, but this unique experience doesn't come cheap: It's $4,950 per seat, plus tax. Celebrities who've taken the flight include Buzz Aldrin, Martha Stewart, Prof. Stephen Hawking, the Osbourne family, and Teller.
• February 4, 2010 Queen of Comps On TV:
There's a treat in store for fans of Jean Scott, the famous Frugal Gambler -- she'll be appearing on Las Vegas' Channel 3 at 6 p.m. tonight, where she'll be talking about coupons and giving tips on what she does best: saving money!
• February 4, 2010 Wrangling Over Vegas Domain Name:
Local company Dot Vegas Inc. this week received approval and support from The City of Las Vegas in its bid to own and control the .Vegas Top Level Domain Name. However, Greenspun Media, owner of Vegas.com, has designs on the TLD itself and is challenging the authority of the decision-makers. Internet overseer ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) has yet to approve .Vegas. Click here for more on the implications of the initiative and what's potentially at stake.
• February 4, 2010 This Weekend's Highlights: It's a BIG weekend for sports, with what's being heralded as the BIGGEST "Big Game" ever, and Vegas is totally geared up for Super Bowl XLIV. Click here for our comprehensive and still-growing list of parties. But that's not all; there's also a bunch of other sporting events going on, plus some big names in comedy and music, if you get all footballed-out:
- UFC 109: Couture vs. Coleman is at Mandalay Bay (02/06)
- It's the grand opening of the Revolver Dance Hall and Saloon at Santa Fe tomorrow(02/05)
- The Hard Rock welcomes back Supernatural Santana: A Trip through the Hits (02/03-02/06)
- Drew Carey and The All Stars are at MGM (02/04-02/07); as are country music legends, George Strait and Reba McEntire (02/06)
- Jon Stewart's at the Mirage (02/05-02/06)
- The Wranglers take on the Idaho Steelheads at the Orleans Arena (02/04-02/06)
- And the Performance Karting Expo's at South Point (02/05-02/07)
• February 4, 2010 Final Day for Rio B'Day Offers:
Today's the last day for taking advantage of the Rio's special 20th Anniversary offers, which include discounts on dining, rooms, entertainment, and more.
• February 4, 2010 Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba to Close:
Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises restaurant empire is to open its first Mexican-themed restaurant mid-March on the site in Fashion Show Mall currently occupied by the group's Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba tapas joint, which will close Feb. 15. The new restaurant, which has yet to be named, is described as "an informal cantina and taqueria with a mesquite-fired wood grill, and a fairly traditional menu." The good news for Ba-Ba-Reeba fans is that the "beverage program will include housemade sangria" still, plus "out of this world" margaritas. It will take advantage of its proximity to the Strip with a walk-up taco stand up front serving passers-by street-food style.
• February 4, 2010 Weekly Column is Live:
Catch Anthony Curtis' latest weekly round-up, including Super Sunday in Vegas, now posted at LVA in the Media.
• February 4, 2010 Gilley's Returns:
The popular country saloon and mechanical-bull-riding venue that was a long-running fixture at the New Frontier -- owned by Phil Ruffin -- is to return to the casino-owner's new Vegas venture, TI. Gilley's Saloon, Dance Hall and Bar-B-Que is set to open April 16 and will be open for lunch and dinner, with live entertainment Thursday through Saturday, line dancing, and the world-famous Gilley Girls. And a bull.
It seems to be a trend in Vegas nightlife: Former Gilley's manager Stoney Gray went on to open Stoney's Rockin' Country bull-riding bar at the south end of the Strip; then Cadillac Ranch opened at Town Square, while a second Stoney's venue at Santa Fe Station closed, but reopens tomorrow as Revolver, another "country with an edge" saloon and dance hall that will feature a new mechanical bull designed by rodeo champion Ty Murray, available for rides and lessons.
• February 4, 2010 Laughlin Crash Update:
The 70-year-old driver of the Pontiac Vibe that crashed into the Edgewater Casino in Laughlin yesterday, killing two and injuring at least seven others, has been charged with two counts of felony reckless driving causing death. He suffered minor injuries, but some of those hospitalized were described as being in critical condition.
• February 3, 2010 LVMS Extends Invite to Obama:
Following the president's controversial remark about this city yesterday, the Las Vegas Motor Speedway is inviting him to be grand marshal for the Shelby American NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on Feb. 28, to get an up-close and personal look at how important tourism is to the Las Vegas economy. "Telling people not to visit Las Vegas is the same as telling them not to buy vegetables would be to a farmer in the Midwest – or telling them not to buy cars would be to an autoworker in Detroit," said LVMS president Chris Powell. No word yet on whether or not Mr Obama is available and, if so, will accept the invitation.
• February 3, 2010 Traffic Diversion Near Boulder Highway:
"Channel 8 News" has just posted reports of a traffic diversion in the vicinity of Desert Inn Rd. and Boulder Hwy. due to power poles in the neighborhood having been knocked donw. No further information as yet, but that must have been some traffic accident to knock down power poles.
• February 3, 2010 Vegas Cleans Up at Club Awards:
Las Vegas triumphed at the 2010 Nightclub and Bar awards ceremony last night, with Encore's XS picking up the prizes for "Best New Club" and "Best Mega-Club." TAO (Venetian) won in the "Nightclub of the Year" category; Hard Rock's Rehab pool party won "Best Ongoing Promotion," Paul Oakenfold (Rain, Palms) won "Best Resident DJ and the property's "Midsummer Night's Dream" event won "Best Single Promotion of the Year"; and Blush at the Wynn scored in the "Best Ultra-Lounge" category. Congrats to all.
• February 3, 2010 More on Laughlin Crash:
Apparently, the 75-year-old driver of the car that crashed through the main doors of the Edgewater casino this morning may have suffered a "medical episode" just before the car swerved into the building, traveling in excess of 100 mph. Five people (including the driver) were rushed to area hospitals with injuries and two people were killed. There was no passenger in the vehicle. Click here for a dramatic photograph of the wreckage -- the ploughed through slot machines and came to rest 100 feet inside the casino.
• February 3, 2010 More Good News From Allegiant:
The Las Vegas-based airline yesterday announced a 21.6 percent jump in traffic last month, which exceeded its almost 20 percent increase in capacity. Allegiant also announced that it will open a new base in Grand Rapids, Mich., late this April to take advantage of East Coast growth.
• February 3, 2010 Mr Vegas Gets Tribal:
Wayne Newton cancelled his show at the Tropicana in Las Vegas last night to testify before a House committee in Richmond, Virginia on behalf of his tribe, the Patawomeck Indians. Newton asked lawmakers for official recognition of the tribe in the Commonwealth of Virginia and the committee voted unanimously in favor of the measure, which now goes to the full House of Delegates for a vote.
• February 3, 2010 Car Slams Into Casino:
Two people have been killed in Laughlin after a car slammed into the Edgewater Hotel and Casino at high speed this moring. So far, it's unknown whether the victims were in the car or people inside the casino, or both.
• February 2, 2010 Valentine's Day Looms:
If you're going to be in Vegas on Valentine's Day weekend, we've got the complete guide to parties, romantic dining, gift ideas, and more in our annual Valentine's Day feature in "Special Events".
• February 2, 2010 Paris Breaking News:
This just in via Norm! at the R-J: Harrah's is apparently seeking a building permit for a 3-story 72,000-square-foot Strip-front build-out on the southwest corner of Paris. It's not such breaking news, in that the retail-space part of the plan has already been announced in the form of the new Sugar Factory venue, but evidently this project will involve more than simply switching out Ah Sin for the candy store and restaurant -- a nightclub is also planned.
• February 2, 2010 Obama Raps Vegas -- Again:
President Barack Obama is once again under fire for using Las Vegas as a symbol of financial irresponsibility, having told a crowd in New Hampshire "You don't blow a bunch of cash in Vegas when you're trying to save for college." Quick to criticize were both governor Jim Gibbons, who refused to meet the president after his 2009 remark about how bailed-out companies shouldn't book junkets in Las Vegas on the taxpayers' dime, and Sen. Harry Reid, who last time defended Obama but his time conceded he'd gone too far, saying, "Lay off Las Vegas."
• February 2, 2010 Casino Razed for City Hall:
The Queen of Hearts casino -- long defunct -- was today demolished to make way for the new Las Vegas city hall. The site's gaming license was previously maintained by the erection of a temporary mobile casino on the site in August, 2008, but any plans to build a casino property on the plot at Main Street and Lewis Avenue were later abandoned.
• February 2, 2010 Harrah's Plot Thickens:
After rumors yesterday, stemming from an investors report, that Harrah's Entertainment was "acutely interested" in getting a foot in the Macau market by taking over a 32.5 percent share of Melco Crown Entertainment, the top executive of the company this morning dismissed the story as "total nonsense." There's been no comment from Harrah's.
Meanwhile, Macau casino stocks rose today, following a report that gambling revenue in the former Portuguese colony surged to its highest-ever level in January, a record $1.72 billion, up 6 percent on the same month the previous year.
• February 2, 2010 Free Rides on Super Sunday:
From noon until midnight on Sunday, Feb. 7, Designated Drivers will be offering free rides to Super Bowl revelers. The company -- which is a non-profit -- is already in the hole to the tune of several thousand from the holidays, with donations failing to cover the expense of the free-ride service, so if you or your business would like to make use of DD, they encourage you to make a donation if you can.
• February 2, 2010 China to Fund Maglev?:
Having been turned down for federal funding last week, the proposed hi-speed maglev train connection linking Southern California to Las Vegas may have received a new lease on life. The Export-Import Bank of China has apparently negotiated a plan to provide the California-Nevada Super Speed Train Commission with the $7 billion in investment capital needed fund the project, which it's been estimated could create up to 90,000 jobs.
• February 1, 2010 Blood for Tix Promo:
Throughout the month of February, United Blood Services is asking for your donations to its blood drive. In return, you'll be thanked for your time and trouble with a pair of free ticket to see V -- The Ultimate Variety Show at the V Theater in the Miracle Mile Shops. To find out more, call 702/233-9620 or visit United Blood Services.
• February 1, 2010 Grim Outlook for Monorail:
According to a report in today's Las Vegas Sun, according to the company's own financial estimates, the Monorail will never generate enough revenue to pay off its debts and without financial relief to deal with looming bills, necessary train replacements, and other equipment costs, its ability to continue operating beyond 2019 remains in question.
• February 1, 2010 Harrah's Heading East?:
According to the R-J, Harrah's Entertainment could finally be close to joining its fellow gambling giants MGM Mirage, Sands, and Wynn in the Macau market, with an eye on Aussie billionaire James Packer's 32.5 percent share of Melco Crown, a publicly traded company that owns the City of Dreams and the Altira Macau.
• February 1, 2010 Carrot Top Contest:
The legendary red-haired comedian who headlines at Luxor has announced that he'll be holding a national prop contest, building on the success of a previous one he ran just for Luxor employees, the winning prop from which is still used in his show. The same fate awaits the winning national prop, with the creator also winning a trip for two to Luxor, including tickets to Carrot Top's show. Entries will be taken until midnight on May 1, 2010. All props sent in will be judged by members of Carrot Top’s staff and a winner will be announced shortly after the deadline. A full explanation of the rules can be found by going to www.carrottop.com or by visiting the Carrot Top page at www.luxor.com.
In the meantime, don't forget there's a great deal for Carrot Top tickets in the LVA 2010 Member Rewards Book.
• February 1, 2010 Marathon Boost for Vegas;
The 2009 newly rebranded "Rock 'n Roll Las Vegas Marathon" exceeded organizers' expectations, attracting 28,000 runners (3,000 more than the target) and by beating its goal of a $50 million financial boost to the economy by $14.5 million, for a total of $64.5 million in room nights and related expenditure.
• February 1, 2010 Terry Fator Special:
Celebrated ventriloquist Terry Fator will celebrate his first anniversary as a Las Vegas headliner with the introduction of new character during the special anniversary show on Saturday, March 13, 2010 at the Mirage. For this one-night-only event tickets start at $79. If you're a Fator fan, you can find his DVD, Terry Fator: Live from Las Vegas at ShopLVA.com.
• February 1, 2010 Poker Poll:
If you haven't already, if you play poker, please take a moment to complete the online survey in the current Question of the Day daily email. It's some anonymous research being conducted by an associate of ours who's developing a new poker product and is seeking feedback from players. Thanks!
• February 1, 2010 KÀ Offers Birthday Deal:
The Cirque show at MGM Grand is celebrating its 5th anniversary in Las Vegas next week with a $55 ticket on select seats for shows Feb. 2-6 at 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Click here for more information, or call 800/929-1111.
• February 1, 2010 Accolade for Alizé:
Alizé, the French restaurant atop the Palms, has been voted the "Most Romantic Restaurant in the U.S." by OpenTable Inc. online reservations service. The Eiffel Tower (Paris) and Pamplemouuse (E. Sahara) in Las Vegas also made the list.
• February 1, 2010 New Mayweather Ticket:
Floyd Mayweather Jr. will face Shane Mosley in a welterweight super fight on HBO Pay-Per-View at the MGM Grand on May 1. Mayweather's adviser Leonard Ellerbe said the paper work should be completed next week, along with a formal announcement. Mayweather had been scheduled to fight Manny Pacquiao, but negotiations stalled over the issue of random blood testing.
• February 1, 2010 NKOTB Coming to Palms:
New Kids on the Block continue to hide their highly publicized reunion with a night at the Pearl at the Palms on Saturday, May 8. Tickets, priced at $115, $125, and $135 (plus tax and fees) go on sale noon, Sat. Feb. 6 and are sure to sell fast.
• February 1, 2010 Farewell to Midler:
Bette Midler bade farewell to Las Vegas last night after her final performance of The Showgirl Must Go On at Caesars' Colosseum. She thanked the venue and AEG Live for their partnership, but gave no indication of plans to return to Las Vegas. In a recent interview, she said she was exhausted after her two-year run and was looking forward to spending more time with her family.