Compiled by LVA Research
• March 31, 2010 Sands Under Scrutiny: Following a report by Reuters that linked the Sands Macau property to Chinese organized crime figures, the Nevada State Gaming Control Board has said it's analyzing the status of VIP room operations in Macau casinos and possible links to Chinese triads. Earlier this week, the news agency revealed a plot to break the arms and legs of a dealer at Sands Macau suspected of helping a patron cheat millions of dollars from the business, a plot that allegedly would subsequently turn into an order to murder. One of the men assigned to carry out the murder came forward to implicate Cheung Chi-tai, who at trial was identified both as being in charge of one of Sands Macau's VIP rooms and also a leader of the Wo Hop To organized crime group. A spokesman for the GCB said the situation at Sands, along with the general environment regarding VIP operations in Macau, was known to the agency and would be addressed "at the point the investigative product is ripe for consideration." Stay tuned.
• March 31, 2010 Dodgers vs. Reds: If you can brave the wind (and possible rain) tonight the Cincinnati Reds will face the Los Angeles Dodgers in a split-squad exhibition game at Cashman Field. The game starts at 7:05 p.m.
• March 31, 2010 Easter in Las Vegas: Like Thanksgiving, Easter is more of a family-oriented occasion and not one of the bigger events in the Las Vegas calendar. Still, there's plenty of fun to be had, especially if you have kids, and no shortage of candy stores for all your egg and bunny needs:
- The Easter Bunny is ready for his close-up and will be at The District at Green Valley Ranch from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. on Saturday. There will also candy, Easter eggs, face painters, strolling characters, and 2-for-1 carousel rides.
- The Village at Lake Las Vegas is holding its annual Easter Egg Hunt and Celebration from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. with hourly egg hunts ($5), face painting, and a special appearance by the Easter Bunny (4/4)
- Also out at Lake Las Vegas The Ritz Carlton will be celebrating with an Easter Brunch from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. for $85 ($30 for children). The brunch will be held in the Ballroom and prosecco (Italian sparkling wine) is included in the price for adults. (4/4)
- The Springs Preserve is hosting its first annual Egg-Stravaganza Celebration from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. with an Easter Egg Hunt, a petting zoo, a hat parade, bounce houses, and an appearance by the Easter Bunny. Admission is free, with tickets sold separately for the Easter Egg Hunt and bounce house. Bunny Hopper passes are available for $8 and include unlimited use of all activities. (4/4)
- The Easter Bunny will be visiting Ethel's Chocolate Factory and Cactus Garden in Henderson from 1 p.m.-5 p.m. and will be ready for some pictures underneath the gazebo in the Cactus Garden. There will also be face painters on hand and complimentary factory tours. (4-2-4/2)
- As far as shopping is concerned, we may have lost FAO Schwartz, but we've gained the Sugar Factory, candy store to the stars (locations at the Mirage and Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood). In addition, you'll find Ethel M's and Godiva in the Fashion Show Mall, Jean-Philippe Pâtisserie (Bellagio and Aria), Payard Chocolate and Pastry Shop and Serendipity 3(Caesars Palace), and Amore Pâtisserie (Mandarin Oriental), to satisfy your sweet-toothed cravings.
• March 31, 2010 Burlesque Red Carpet: Tonight at 6 p.m. is the Red Carpet for international Queen of Burlesque Dita Von Teese's guest appearance in MGM Grand's Crazy Horse Paris, in which she'll be appearing through April 7. In an interview with Robin Leach earlier this week, Von Teese confirmed that she will be appearing topless, and has created three signature numbers for the show, which she's performing with the help of friends from the original Parisian production, in which she's appeared three times.
• March 31, 2010 Sports Betting for New Jersey?: State lawmakers have announced that a hearing will take place in Atlantic City on April 5 to allow public input on a proposal to permit sports betting at casinos and racetracks, and to allow New Jersey residents to place bets instate via online portals, if the federal government ever legalizes the practice. Nevada is currently the only state that has legal sports wagering.
• March 31, 2010 Farmers Market at Paris: We just learned via the Paris Twitter that they're hosting a farmers' market until 5 p.m. today in the Vendôme Hall, with fresh Roma tomatoes, corn, citrus, pears, bananas, peppers, avocados, and more.
• March 31, 2010 Emergency Exercise Scrapped: The Obama administration has canceled plans for Las Vegas to host a major emergency response exercise in May that would have involved the mock detonation of a radiological "dirty bomb." Up to 10,000 emergency response personnel were expected to participate in the exercise, which remains on the calendar for mid-May, but now lacks a venue. Senator Harry Reid had complained that to "simulate a nuclear detonation in the heart of the city would unacceptably harm the Southern Nevadan economy."
• March 31, 2010 Sinatra's Casino Shuttered: Lake Tahoe's Cal Neva Lodge, owned from 1960-1963 by Frank Sinatra, closed today. Under the singer's ownership, the property was a hangout for mobsters and celebrities, including Sinatra's "Rat Pack" buddies and stars inclucing Juliet Prowse, Joe DiMaggio, and Marilyn Monroe, who spent her final weekend there in a small cabin that's still preserved. Sinatra made use of smuggling tunnels built during Prohibition to keep his high-profile guests away from the public, and built a heli-pad on the roof. So far the restaurants, showroom, and other amenities remain open and the current owner hopes to reopen the casino under a new outside contractor, but Tahoe casinos have been particularly vulnerable to the economic downturn, with last year's revenues down 50% on 1992 figures, and analysts are less optimistic. Other recent casualties on Tahoe's south shore include Bill's Casino, which has closed, while the Horizon Casino eliminated table games last year.
• March 30, 2010 Spring Becomes Official: March 20 may be the official start of springtime everywhere else, but in Clark County the first day of spring is dictacted by Mojave Max, the spokestortoise for desert conservation and education iniatives. Only when this desert tortoise mascot emerges from his winter hibernation is it deemed springtime in these parts and this year he was out early when he emerged from his burrow today. Last year it was April 7 and the year before that it was April 14, the latest that Mojave Max has come out of his burrow (that was the year the previous Max died of natural causes aged 65, however, so he may just have been feeling his age).
• March 30, 2010 Colosseum Headliners: Cher has added additional shows in June and July, while the first tranche of dates for the returning Celine Dion have just been announced. Her show will open March 15, 2011 and dates have been set through August 14. Tickets start at $55, plus taxes and fees and the show will be dark Sunday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Check out the entries in our Production Shows listings for all the dates.
• March 30, 2010 Grandma Lee Back to Bonkerz "America's Got Talent" finalist Grandma Lee will return to Bonkerz Comedy Club at Palace Station for the month of May. Back by popular demand, the foul-mouthed Texas grandma will headline, uncensored and uncut, May 3 through May 29. The show's dark on Sundays. Tickets to the show, which are available from any Station Casinos Reward Center, are $29.95 (hotel guests and locals with valid ID receive a $10 discount).
• March 30, 2010 Twofer Tuesday: Henderson's Black Mountain Grill (11021 South Eastern Ave.) offers a buy one, get one deal on entrées on Tuesdays from 3 p.m.-9 p.m. The deal applies to the dining room only -- no take-outs.
• March 30, 2010 New Bus Rolled Out: A new commuter bus terminal opened yesterday in northwest Las Vegas -- part of the "ACExpress" rapid transit system that will ultimately serve the Strip, Boulder Highway, Sahara Avenue, and Flamingo Road. According to the R-J, early reports from passengers are very favorable, with the buses attracting riders who've never before considered taking public transport being very impressed with the service and enjoying the flexibility afforded by not having to be behind the wheel. See QoD 01/25/2010 for more information about the ACE service.
• March 30, 2010 Cosmopolitan Dining: The restaurant lineup at the Cosmopolitan condo-hotel, due to open later this year, has been announced. The five featured eateries will include: a Las Vegas version of New York's Blue Ribbon Brasserie; Comme Ca by Charlie Trotter protégé David Myers; Estiatorio Milosof, a Greek and Mediterranean restaurant out of New York; Scarpetta Italian restaurant and wine bar (also out of New York); and steakhouse STK, which currently has restaurants in New York and L.A.
• March 30, 2010 Latest Airfare Sale: Following JetBlue's lead (see Today's News 3/23/2010), Virgin America's just announced a sale on nonstop fares from Los Angeles, San Diego, and Las Vegas, with seats as low as $49 each way (up to $100 off regular prices). The sale's valid April 12-June 20 when flying on a Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday. Travel on other days for $20 more, each way. Book 14 days before traveling; sale ends April 5. To book tickets through Virgin America click here.
• March 30, 2010 High Wind Advisory: The National Weather Service has issued a high wind advisory for the Las Vegas Valley until 11 p.m. tonight, with a warning of wind gusts of up to 60 mph in some areas.
• March 30, 2010 Vegas Shuns Chris Brown: Singer Chris Brown, who made headlines for all the wrong reasons for assaulting his former girlfried Rihanna, is reportedly having trouble finding a venue that will host his 21st birthday party. Apparently, Las Vegas club promoters feel the controversial performer might be bad for business and don't want to risk upsetting his popular ex.
• March 29, 2010 Vote for Blair! Check out the newly posted Spotlight on feature about voting in the remaining 20 players for the 2010 All-Star Tournament of Champions and give us one good reason not to vote for Blair Rodman. He's been a major part of LVA since before it even began, but that's not even the half of it... He's our friend, but that aside, we can't think of a single reason why he shouldn't be in this tournament and plenty why he definitely should, so help us to make it happen.
• March 29, 2010 Gloves Off at CityCenter: According to an article in today's Las Vegas Sun, things are starting to get nasty between contractors Perini Building Co., who are claiming that multiple design changes and project modifications, some submitted as much as over a year late, almost doubled their costs, and MGM Mirage, which is countering with complaints about the errors made with the Harmon Tower that leave it much reduced and, to date, far from completed. Perini officials say they intend to file $491.2 million in mechanics' liens against CityCenter by today; these instruments preserve the rights of contractors, subcontractors, and material suppliers to seek foreclosure against the project owner as leverage to get paid for work. Click the link to read more.
• March 29, 2010 Good News for Classic Slot Fans: Eastside Cannery recently launched a new Classic Slot Room -- the only one of its kind in Las Vegas. We haven't seen it yet, but understand it's located next to the poker room and features 56 machines offering some of the most popular slot and video poker games from the 1980s and early '90s, including Fortune 1 video poker games, Humpback Keno, Deuces Wild and Jokers Wild video poker, Triple Diamond, Double Diamond, 5Xs Pay, and Triple Lucky 7s which all pay out in coins -- good news for all those who regret the move to TITO. As stated, we haven't yet had a chance to get over there and check the pay schedules, but we will, and we'll let you know.
• March 29, 2010 Dancing King Postpones: We've heard that popular Hong Kong singer/dancer/actor Aaron Kwok has had to postpone his scheduled April 2 and 3 appearances at Encore, part of his "Dancing King Concert - World Tour", due to visa issues.
• March 29, 2010 Air Advisory: The Clark County Air Quality department has issued a dust advisory from Tuesday afternoon through Wednesday afternoon, so those with allergies and respiratory problems should take precautions where possible.
• March 29, 2010 Armed Heist at Swiss Casino: A masked gang armed with machine guns and pistols staged a spectacular robbery at a Swiss casino yesterday morning. The attack on Basel's Grand Casino, dubbed "Las Vegas in Europe," took place at 4 a.m. when 10 masked men burst into the building after smashing down the entrance door with a sledgehammer. Reports say they immediately started firing rounds at the chandeliers in the building's main foyer but no one was injured. The robbers made off with several hundred thousand dollars' worth of Swiss francs but failed to gain access to the main safe. This follows the robbery of a major poker tournament in Berlin earlier this month. Four suspects have been arrested in connection with that incident, but the haul has reportedly not yet been recovered.
• March 28, 2010 Casinos Change Stance on Net Gambling: The American Gaming Association has officially changed its stance on Internet gambling, now supporting legalization. Of course, this comes at a time when the big casino companies are positioned to take part, unlike the situation a few years ago.
• March 28, 2010 Gilley's Opening Announced: The return of Gilley's at TI has been announced for April 16. Gilley's was a mainstay at the Frontier before it was demolished. TI owner Phil Ruffin also owned the Frontier.
• March 28, 2010 Today's Baskets: In today's NCAA tournament games Tennessee is -2 vs. Michigan State and Duke is -5 vs. Baylor (both underdogs won yesterday). The totals are 135.5 in the Tennessee game and 138.5 in the Duke game.
• March 28, 2010 Coast Connection: If you can find the Friday LV Review-Journal, it contains the Coast Connection insert with good deals and information about Coast Casinos properties. It includes a $10 matchplay for Orleans and $20 for Sam's Town.
• March 27, 2010 Rockin' Pool Party: From 4-8 p.m. today Tuscany's hosting a free pool party with drink specials and a performance by Tommy Rocker.
• March 27, 2010 Elite Eight Today: In today's NCAA tournament games Kentucky is -3.5 vs. West Virginia and Kansas St. is -3.5 vs. Butler. The totals are 132.5 in the Kentucky game and 134.5 in the Kansas St. game.
• March 27, 2010 Earth Hour: Join in the World Wildlife Fund's second annual Earth Hour tonight from 8:30 p.m., when businesses and homes around the Vegas Valley will dim their lights for an hour to raise awareness of climate change.
• March 27, 2010 Free Sangria: Today's National Spanish Paella Day and celebrity chef Julian Serrano is celebrating at his Aria restaurant in CityCenter buy offering a free Sangria with every paella order.
• March 27, 2010 Italian Festival: The third annual Viva la Vita Bella Italian Festival takes place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. today in the multipurpose room of the Sahara West Library, with live entertainment, movies, children’s activities, Italian food, and vendors. The event is free and open to all ages.
• March 27, 2010 Early Easter: The Easter Bunny will be making an early appearance at Ethel’s Chocolate Factory and Cactus Garden in Henderson today and tomorrow and will be available for photos underneath the gazebo. There will also be a face painter on hand for even more family fun.
• March 27, 2010 Shooting Park Debuts: The grand opening of the first phase of the Clark County Shooting Park (11357 N. Decatur Blvd.) takes place at 10:30 a.m. today, with rifle, pistol, target shooting, archery, and plenty of local politicians and other dignitaries in attendance.
• March 26, 2010 Mint 400: Tomorrow marks the third anniversary of the annual Mint 400 off-road race since it was reinstated after a decade-long hiatus. The green flag drops at 7 a.m. on the Moapa Indian Reservation 30 minutes north of downtown Las Vegas and shuttles will be available to take spectators to special viewing areas alongside the race course at the Moapa Travel Plaza. There will be food vendors and bleachers at the start/finish line.
• March 26, 2010 April LVA Online: The April issue of our monthly newsletter is online and ready to read, with our review of the new Viva Elvis show by Cirque du Soleil, a phenomenal room play at Aria, the latest casino-business news, dining tips, advantage play strategies, happy hours, and much more! If you're not already an LVA member, you can read a previous issue for free and see what you're missing out on (not to mention the Member Rewards Book and other perks that come with your subscription).
• March 26, 2010 "Prostidude" Quits: Nevada's first legal male prostitute, dubbed the "prostidude", has quit after only a few short weeks at the Shady Lady Ranch, apparently due both to lack of customers and the multiple attacks he's been receiving both in person and in the media, including an unfavorable review from an undercovere reporter from the New York Post. A Las Vegas local apparently filled in for him initially, with better results, but for now the brothel has decided to put its male service on hiatus.
• March 26, 2010 Festivities Today: The Mint 400 build-up continues downtown on Fremont Street today, with the El Cortez offering food and drink specials outdoors from 10 a.m.-7 p.m. today. Also, the Pahrump Nugget is serving free cake and champagne today and tomorrow at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. in front of Stockman's Steakhouse to celebrate its ninth anniversary.
• March 25, 2010 Mint 400 Party: The legendary off-road race made famous by Hunter S. Thompson in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, that took place annually for three decades before being terminated in 1998, was revived two years ago and tonight Fremont Street hosts the kick-off party for the 2010 race from 6-8 p.m. outside the El Cortez with food, drinks, and an array of off-roading vehicles and their drivers. The race takes place Saturday; for more about its history, check out the QoD archives for 5/10/06 and 3/10/09.
• March 25, 2010 Weekend Highlights: With one of the more eclectic line-ups we've seen in awhile, we defy anyone to not find something fun to do this weekend.
- Walking with Dinosaurs is at the Thomas & Mack (3/24-3/28)
- The Golden Nugget hosts the Spring Wine & Jazz Festival (3/26-3/28)
- David Spade's at the Venetian again (3/25-3/27)
- The Mirage welcomes Daniel Tosh (3/26-3/27)
- Bad Religion takes the stage at HoB inside Mandalay Bay (3/26-3/27), while John Mayer performs in the Events Center (3/27)
- Lionel Richie's at Caesars Palace (3/26-3/27)
- Bret Michaels plays out at Buffalo Bill's (3/27)
- Jay-Z teams up with Young Jeezy and Trey Songz at the Palms (3/27)
- Wasted Space at the Hard Rock welcomes The Used and Escape the Fate (3/27)
- Michael Legrand and (famous) Friends entertain at MGM Grand (3/27)
- The Monster Jam World Finals are being held at the Sam Boyd Stadium (3/27)
- The annual Extreme Thing Sports & Music Festival takes over the Desert Breeze Skate Park (3/27)
- Championship Bull Riding returns to South Point (3/26-3/27)
- Pool Season is slowly starting to take shape and this weekend will be the first parties for Caesars Palace and Tuscany. Vino Maximus featuring Jet, Crash Kings, and Imagine Dragons will take place at the Garden of the Gods (3/27) and Tommy Rocker performs live at the Tuscany's Beach Party (03/27). Check out our Cool Pools feature for the lowdown on the pool scene all summer long.
• March 25, 2010 PiPs Reverts to Station Ownership: Pips Cucina & Wine Bar, the Italian restaurant at Aliante Station, opened by Epicurean Foundation founder Rino Armeni, will be owned and run by Station Casinos as of this Sunday. In an email to columnist Robin Leach, Armeni blamed the economic climate and the time he was having to spend away from his family for his decision to relinquish ownership. It's unclear whether the same chef and staff will remain.
• March 25, 2010 Mob Museum Preview: Apparently, Mayor Oscar Goodman will reveal three of the exhibits from the so-called "Mob Museum" that's in the works during his weekly news conference today. The $50 million Las Vegas Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement has long been a pet project of Goodmans and is due to open downtown next year. Apparently, the exhibits to be unveiled include one called "Mob Mayhem" that focuses on violence and organized crime, another called "The Skim," that highlights the illegal siphoning of funds at mob-run casinos, and "Bringing Down the Mob," which looks at techniques used to investigate and prosecute mobsters. For more on Las Vegas' colorful history, check out the "The Mob" section at ShopLVA.com.
• March 25, 2010 New Column Posted: Anthony Curtis' weekly Las Vegas digest just went live; you can read it at LVA in the Media.
• March 25, 2010 More Confusing Demographic Data: While a report out earlier this week indicated that the population of Las Vegas and Southern Nevada continue to grow, a new annual study just released by the Sociology Department at UNLV finds that 40 percent of Vegas residents want to leave. Click here to read the highlights of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Area Social Survey 2010.
• March 25, 2010 The Future for Station Casinos: In today's R-J, business writer Howard Stutz outlines the proposed bankruptcy reorganization plan for Station Casinos, which would involve the selling of 14 of the company's 18 casinos, with the Fertitta brothers retaining a minority share in four properties, including Red Rock Resort and Palace, Boulder, and Sunset Stations.
• March 24, 2010 Reba McEntire Cancels: The country singer has canceled her sheduled show Saturday, June 5 at Primm Valley's Star of the Desert Arena. No word on why, or whether she'll reschedule. Refunds should be available at point of purchase.
• March 24, 2010 New Pool, Club at Encore: Following the success of the nightclub/pool concept at XS last year, Steve Wynn has expanded the formula into the new Surrender nightclub and Encore Beach Club, opening Memorial Day weekend (that is what's taking the place of the space formerly occupied by the porte cochere). Together with a newly revamped SWITCH restaurant, the trio will be the latest addition to the scene where "daylife" blends with nightlife and will offer all the usual amenities, including cabanas, DJ booth, and al fresco gambling at the pool complex and stripper poles in the club (if the artist's rendition is to be believed). Steve Wynn said he wanted to capture the spirit of Ibiza, Europe's premier "rave" destination.
• March 24, 2010 Earth Hour II at Springs Preserve: As Las Vegas prepares for the second annual Earth Hour event this Saturday, March 27, Springs Preserve is once again hosting a viewing party on the patio of the Springs Café by Wolfgang Puck. The party takes place from 6-10 p.m. (city lights will dim from 8:30-9:30 p.m.), with music and food and drink for purchase. LED candles will illuminate the café for guests. Admission's free, with a $10 suggested donation.
• March 24, 2010 Hostile Bid for Riv: Bloomberg reports that the ailing Riviera hotel-casino in Las Vegas is currently subject to a hostile takeover bid by Starwood Capital Group LLC. In a candid statement, Starwood CEO Barry Sternlicht said he anticipated getting the property for the bargain price of "about $5,000 a room, which is less than the cost of the furniture. I'm thinking of it as a long-term parking lot. We're just going to hold it and have very little invested in the deal."
• March 24, 2010 Social House to Return: According to R-J gossip columnist Norm Clarke, the popular Asian restaurant/nightspot by Pure Management Group, which was formerly at TI but closed suddenly last summer, will reopen early this summer in Crystals at CityCenter. The venue will apparently be located on a second-floor terrace.
• March 24, 2010 Latest Vince Neil Venture: Mötley Crüe rocker Vince Neil continues his entrepreurial activities in Las Vegas (he already had two tattoo studios and Feelgoods bar) with the new Vince Neil Aviation fleet of private jets, which he unveiled at Henderson Airport yesterday. The fleet, which currently consists of a Lear 35, Hawker 700, and Gulf Stream, will enable passengers to experience the rock 'n roll lifestyle in the tricked-out jets (think: zebra-print seats). According to Robin Leach's "Vegas DeLuxe" blog, a new Web site -- VinceNeilAviation.net -- will be up and running within the next few days, with rates and all the other information on his charters.
• March 24, 2010 Hard Rock to Host Adult Expo: This June 10-11, the Hard Rock will host the world's first-ever XBIZ outdoor adult expo. The XFANZ Summer Expo will be a two-day poolside event featuring parties, the Miss Summer 2010 Bikini Pageant, and the chance for fans to meet their favorite adult stars. (For more on adult-industry events in Las Vegas, see the QoD for 03/05/2010 in the archives.)
• March 23, 2010 Hard Rock for Atlantic City?: Hard Rock International (no relation to the Hard Rock in Las Vegas), has said it's considering building a hotel-casino in Atlantic City with Och-Ziff Real Estate, following the announcement yesterday that New Jersey's considering allowing four new "boutique" hotel-casinos. The hip Chelsea hotel, located off the Boardwalk, is another contender for a gaming license.
• March 23, 2010 Garth Brooks Tix: According to the official Wynn Twitter, there are a limited number of Garth Brooks tickets left for the March 26-28 concerts.Call 702/770-1000. Limit of two tickets per transaction, and must give the attendees names (part of Wynn's effort to beat the scalpers).
• March 23, 2010 New Member of LVA Twitter Family: Robin Camacho, LVA affiliate and Las Vegas realtor whose services include the unique Top Ten Real Estate Values, which highlights the best residential deals on the market in real time, is now Tweeting. It means she'll be able to pass on great finds and breaking news wherever she is, so if you're in the market for a second home, or an investment property, or are just thinking of moving, sign up to follow @top10realestate. We at @LVA_Tweet are!
• March 23, 2010 Las Vegas is Growing - Perhaps: According to the annual Las Vegas Perspective report, which was released today, the population of Las Vegas actually grew last year, despite the number of construction and other jobs lost. In fact, it states that all urban areas in Southern Nevada grew, with the exception of Boulder City. If this seems counter-intuitive, it's also at odds with provisional figures released in December by the state demographer, which demonstrated that the population declined for the first time in almost a century last year, with a loss of close to 30,000 people (see Today's News 12/31/2009). So, now we're not sure who or what to believe...
• March 23, 2010 Best Desserts in Vegas: Our current Reader Poll closes at midnight tonight, so get your vote in if you haven't already. Tomorrow a new poll goes live, on a subject that we know a lot of people feel very strongly about...
• March 23, 2010 JetBlue Sale: This morning, JetBlue launched a two-day sale on flights from Long Beach, Los Angeles, and Burbank to destinations including Las Vegas. Sample fares include $39 (each way) from Burbank and Long Beach to Vegas. Fares from Las Vegas and San Diego are also included in this sale. Discounted fares are for midweek travel between April 13 and June 16. All tickets must be booked by March 24 at 11:59 p.m. ET. To book directly through JetBlue, click here.
• March 23, 2010 Osmonds Return: Following a second hiatus while Marie Osmond spent more time with family following the death of her son, Donny & Marie returns to the Flamingo tonight.
• March 23, 2010 Former Hard Rock Employees Sued for Theft: According to today's Las Vegas Sun, a Pennsylvania-based insurance company is suing two former casino workers over theft of $831,519. Apparently, both were table game count staff and the lawsuit charges that the defendants "committed their illegal activity in a specifically calculated and escalating pattern of fraud and conversion, devised to defraud Hard Rock Hotel and Casino by generating false reports that did not reflect the actual amount of the money that was won by the casino and placed in the locked drop boxes to be counted in the count room."
• March 23, 2010 Macau on Track for New Record: Gambling revenue in Macau reached close to HK$13 billion ($1.68 billion) for the first three weeks of March, which puts it on track to beat the monthly record set in January, when revenue rose 63 percent from a year earlier to 14 billion patacas ($1.80 billion). The Chinese territory remains the world's largest and fastest-growing gambling market and one of the richest cities in the world.
• March 22, 2010 One-Off Comedy Double Act: Tomorrow night, comedian George Wallace will be joined on stage at the Flamingo for one night only by comedian and actor Chris Tucke (The Fifth Element, Rush Hour etc.) The show's in the usual 10 p.m. slot and ickets are still available by calling 702/733-3333 or online at www.FlamingoLasVegas.com.
• March 22, 2010 New Stars on Vegas Strip: Multi-Grammy award-winning singer/songwriter Gloria Estefan and her husband, music producer Emilio Estefan, will be the newest additions to the Las Vegas Walk of Stars when they're honored with a shared star to be placed outside the MGM Grand next month.
• March 22, 2010 Gehry on Vegas: Award-winning and controversial architect Frank Gehry has visited Las Vegas to view the progress of his near-completed project here, the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in West Las Vegas, whose metal façade looks like it's melting. "It took my breath away," he said. "I like the way it fits. I wasn't trying to compete with the chaos around it." Click here to read more about the project and here (scroll down) for a series of photographs documenting its construction.
• March 22, 2010 Dog Racing in Danger: The American Greyhound Track Owners Association's annnual convention kicks off today at Caesars Palace and gaming columnist Liz Benston surveys the unhappy state of this declining sport in today's Las Vegas Sun.
• March 22, 2010 New Casinos for A.C.?: Under a law to be introduced today, Atlantic City could get as many as four new casinos which, if the plan goes ahead, would mark the biggest expansion of legalized gambling since it began in New Jersey 32 years ago. Currently, new casinos must have a minimum of 500 hotel rooms, but the legislation being introduced would permit "Monte Carlo-type" boutique casino properties with only 200 aimed at attracting a more upscale clientele and elevating the Atlantic City brand. The move is being strongly opposed by existing properties, which have been struggling since before the economic downturn and resent a plan that would allow newcomers into the market at discount prices, especially as they already face increased competition from neighboring states.
• March 22, 2010 Kudos to Vegas Chefs: Finalists in the prestigious James Beard Awards were announced this morning, and Las Vegas is in the running for two of the national categories, with Kamel Guechida of Joël Robuchon up for Best Pastry Chef and the restaurant itself is a finalist for the award for Outstanding Service. In the Best Chef Southwest category, Las Vegas has three of the five finalists: Rick Moonen (RM Seafood), Claude Le Tohic (Joël Robuchon), and Saipin Chutima (Lotus of Siam).
• March 22, 2010 Predictable Findings from Visitor Survey: The Las Vegas Convention Center and Visitor Authority has released the results of its annual Visitor Profile Study for 2009, which found that year-on-year, spending was down significantly on hotel rooms, shopping, gambling, and entertainment. A drop in higher-spending conventioneer and business-meeting traffic (down 3 percent from 2008 to 9 percent) also occurred.
• March 21, 2010 More Lotus: The Lotus of Siam Thai restaurant has taken over a neighboring space in its Commercial Center location and tripled its seating capacity. Lotus serves the same great food, only now it's easier to get a seat to get it. Lotus of Siam will be the "Local Corner" feature in the April Las Vegas Advisor.
• March 21, 2010 Masters at Bellagio: With the appointment of yet another member of the Court of Master Sommeliers, Bellagio becomes the only hotel in the world with four (overseeing Osterio de Circo/Sensi, Michael Mina, Picasso, and also the hotel's director of wine). Bellagio has 17 sommeliers in all, several in training for Master status.
• March 21, 2010 Knight-Packer College Experience: On Thursday, March 25, Sunday, March 28, and Saturday, April 3, Lagasse's Stadium at Palazzo welcomes basketball legends Bobby Knight and Billy Packer for pre- and post-game March Madness commentary at 3 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. There's no charge to attend these events.
• March 21, 2010 WSOP Seat Giveaway: Club Fortune Casino is giving away a seat at the 2010 World Series of Poker. Now through June 25, a drawing will be held at 7 p.m. on the last Friday of every month, where four winners will be selected to compete in a "Free WSOP Seat" tournament, to take place June 27, for a $10,000 seat at the main event in July. For a complete list of rules and prizes, visit the Players Reward Center at Club Fortune.
• March 21, 2010 More Cooking Demos: There's definitely a trend for cooking demonstrations at the moment, with regular events at M Resort, NOVE Italiano, Whole Foods Market (featuring the chefs of Wynn/Encore) and others. Bellagio opened its high-end demonstration Tuscany Kitchen a few years back, but to date it's principally been used exclusively for private parties and corporate events. This summer, however, the displays will be opened up to all, with top chefs and master sommelier's from throughout the MGM Mirage group sharing their expertise for a series called "Epicurean Epicenter". The first event takes place March 24 with Far Niente Winery and Michael Mina preparing a five-course tasting menu that will be filmed in close-up on three cameras and shown on 60-inch plasma screens throughout the venue, so everyone has a good view. We don't yet have confirmation on how much these events will cost; call 702/693-7171 during regular office hours for more information.
• March 20, 2010 New Name for Cosmo: Well, kind of. The long-under-construction casino formerly known as the Cosmopolitan has changed its name to Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. The slight tweak was necessitated by a tademark-infringement lawsuit brought by Cosmopolitan magazine. The 2,995-room "CLV" is expected to open at the end of this year.
• March 20, 2010 Madness Viewing: As expected, the sports books are overflowing. You can't go wrong by taking in the NCAA basketball turnament games in any of the books around town, but some casinos are making a special effort. They include South Point, NY-NY (in ESPN Zone), Encore (in Society Cafe), Stratosphere, and the Orleans. Former NBA superstars James Worthy and Clyde Drexler will sign autographs at Planet Hollywood (1-2 p.m.) and Flamingo 2:30–3:30 p.m.).
• March 20, 2010 Smashburger Grand Opening: The first Las Vegas location for the popular burger chain opened earlier this week at Lake Mead and Buffalo. Tonight sees the grand opening party, with Californian band Later Days playing on the patio at 10:30 p.m. (guess the contest to find a local band to open the joint fell flat -- see previous March 2 item in this column).
• March 20, 2010 Gold Strike Cash Giveaway: From 10 a.m. until 8 p.m. today, the Gold Strike in Jean is holding hourly drawings for $500 cash prizes. Visit goldstrikejean.com for more information.
• March 19, 2010 Garden of the Gods Debuts: After a year of construction work, Caesars Palace's massive new eight-pool "Garden of the Gods" complex debuted today, with everything from family-friendly to topless to guest-only butler-serviced options. A new swim-up blackjack pool has also been added. Watch our Cool Pools feature for more news and updates about these and all the other most happening pools in town. The European-style Venus Pool Club, owned and operated by PURE Management Group, is set to open April 1. Sign up for the upgrade at Topless Vegas, our guide to Skin City, which we'll continue to update with new reviews of the European pool scene throughout the summer.
• March 19, 2010 Supermarket Slot Scheme Scuppered: It came as no great surprise (and some relief) that the Nevada Gaming Commission today voted against a developer's idea to allow convenience store customers to take their change from a transaction as a credit on a slot machine at the cash register. As reported by the Las Vegas Sun, it was less the fear of underage gaming and more concern about minors being in proximity to slot machines that bothered commissioneres. Commissioner John Moran Jr. said he envisioned "five Little Leaguers with Slurpees in line at the convenience store" waiting for an attendant to activate the "Change Game" slot machine at the counter for another customer. This is just one of the reasons we can think of that make this whole concept a dubious idea.
• March 19, 2010 Balloon Down But Not Out: A pilot from Cloud Nine, whose balloon was ripped apart by strong winds last night, has said the company does plan to rebuild the attraction and has salvaged the expensive hardware. A new skin has apparently been ordered and the company hopes to have the attraction up and running again within 45 days; they also plan to go forward with plans for a petting zoo at the location. The Exotic Animal Safari Grand Opening is scheduled for Monday, March 22nd, although we have no more details than that at this time.
• March 19, 2010 Gilcrease Update: According to Fox 5 News, the number of birds killed in this morning's nature reserve fire has been lowered to 250. Vets in the community have been volunteering to treat those animals and birds injured as a result of the blaze. The sanctuary had apparently recently received a $500,000 grant for new aviaries, which they will now rush to complete.
• March 19, 2010 Yet Another Restaurant Falls: Pure Management Group's Company American Kitchen and Pub House (formerly Company American Bistro) at Luxor has closed; it'll reopen as Company American Lounge, a bar that will be open just three nights a week.
• March 19, 2010 Strip Balloon Destroyed: Just days after it returned to the air, it appears that Cloud Nine balloon's ride on the Strip is permanently over. The ferocious winds that swept the Las Vegas Valley last night ripped the balloon apart as it sat on its launchpad opposite Mandalay Bay. Click here for dramatic footage taken by a bystander.
• March 19, 2010 Ho Speaks Out: Asian casino magnate Stanley Ho has denied he had ties to Chinese triads. The denial, which came via a spokeswoman, came a day after New Jersey gambling regulators accused Ho of letting organized crime gangs operate inside his casinos. The latest claims by Gaming Control came in connection with the Board's dissatisfaction at MGM Mirage's partnership with Ho's daughter Pansy. MGM Mirage opted to sell its 50 per cent interest in the Borgata and get out of the Atlantic City gaming market to pursue its business in Macau.
• March 19, 2010 Rare Exotic Birds Killed in Sanctuary Blaze: More than 350 birds, of which at least 60 are considered rare and exotic, died in an early morning fire at the Gilcrease Nature Sanctuary in the northwest Valley this morning. The cause of the blaze is under investigation.
• March 19, 2010 Two More Culinary Casualties: Effective today, Charlie Trotter has closed his Las Vegas restaurants, Restaurant Charlie and Bar Charlie, located in the Palazzo. "We just celebrated two years out there. But we opened right at the beginning of the economic downfall," said Rochelle Smith Trotter, director of business development (and Charlie's wife).
• March 18, 2010 Nude Club Goes Topless: Déjà Vu Showgirls gentlemen's club is no longer totally nude, meaning that it can now serve alcohol. Must be 21+; for those 18+, sister club Little Darlings is still nude. We'll be reviewing the revamped Déjà Vu, along with other changes in clubland like the first-of-its-kind wedding chapel opening at Badda Bing, in the next upgrade to Topless Vegas -- coming soon!
• March 18, 2010 Free Rides for Locals: After a recent hiatus in service, due to the high winds we've been experiencing, Cloud Nine Balloon Experience (opposite Mandalay Bay) is offering free rides to locals now through Sunday, March 21. Just show your Nevada ID at the Cloud Nine ticket counter for your free admission. If you're not a local, don't worry, you can still get 50% off (or 2-for-1) with the coupon in the "Rides & Attractions" section of the 2010 MRB.
• March 18, 2010 Weekend Highlights: Here's what's happening this weekend. For the lowdown on March Madness, check out the current "Spotlight On..." feature.
- The Wranglers take on the Alaska Aces at the Orleans (3/18-3/20)
- The Hard Rock's weekend-long pool party (3/17-3/21) is already underway -- see the item posted earlier in this column
- David Spade's back at the Venetian (3/18-3/20)
- Bill Bellamy takes the stage at the South Point showroom (3/19-3/21), as is Rick Faugno (3/21)
- Caesars Palace welcomes Jeff Dunham (3/19-3/20)
- Martin Lawrence does stand up at the Pearl at the Palms (3/19-3/20)
- New Found Glory rocks out at Mandalay Bay (3/19)
- Grand Funk Railroad plays at the Silverton (3/20)
- And Jo Koy makes 'em laugh at the Mirage (3/20)
• March 18, 2010 Osmonds Dark Through March 23: Following the item in this column yesterday evening, it's been confirmed that Donny & Marie at the Flamingo will remain dark through March 23, giving Marie Osmond more time to spend with her family as they come to terms with the death of her son Michael Blosil.
• March 18, 2010 Leaving Atlantic City: It's been confirmed that MGM Mirage will give up its stake in Atlantic City's Borgata resort-casino in order to pursue its interests in Macau with partner Pansy Ho. New Jersey gaming officials claim they have proof of her father, Stanley Ho's, long-rumored links to organized crime and that the casino heiress is an "unsuitable" partner for a company doing gaming business in their jurisdiction.
• March 18, 2010 World's Largest (Secret) Pool Party: The Hard Rock is apparently hosting a five-day event, in conjunction with Bud Light, which it's calling the "World's Largest Pool Party." It actually started yesterday, but they didn't tell anyone about it until today... The party, which is taking place at the new new HRH Beach Club, will feature events including an exclusive reception hosted by the UFC on Friday, March 19 and a private concert performance on Saturday, March 20 by The All-American Rejects. Day passes are $40, as are tickets for Saturday's concert. The event runs through March 21 and is also being broadcast live on SIRIUS XM. Click here for more details about play-and-stay packages and to buy your pass.
• March 18, 2010 Weekly Column Posted: With some refreshingly good news, plus the latest dining and entertainment updates from the Strip, Anthony Curtis nationally syndicated column just went live at LVA in the Media.
• March 18, 2010 Indiana Overtakes Mississippi: Indiana overtook its southern rival last year to rank third most popular gaming destination in the country, behind Nevada and New Jersey. Indiana has far fewer state-licensed casinos -- 13 to Mississippi's 30 -- but has a much larger demographic base to pull from, with cities including Chicago and Indianapolis within driving distance. Another factor cited for the increase in revenues was the statewide smoking ban in Illinois.
• March 18, 2010 More Dining News: El Segundo Sol Taqueria and Margarita Bar, the new Mexican restaurant from Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises that occupies the space that formerly housed Cafe Ba Ba Reeba in the Fashion Show Mall, officially opens today. Apparently, the restaurant will feature authentic Mexican fare, plus a Strip-side, "on-the-go" taco shack named Street Taco, that will be open till late nightly.
• March 18, 2010 Burke Out: It's just been announced by the Burke Group, the holding company for Chef David Burke's restaurants, that their joint venture with with E-Brands, the majority owner of David Burke Las Vegas, has been terminated. Chef David Burke will no longer be on location at his eponymous restaurant at the Venetian nor provide any further services. A name and concept change for the restaurant is expected to be announced soon. The "Burke in the Box" outlet at McCarran airport will remain.
• March 17, 2010 Osmonds Show Canceled Once More: Despite a brave attempt to return to the stage in the wake of her son's suicice, Marie Osmond has opted to cancel the rest of this week's Donny & Marie shows at the Flamingo to spend more time with family. We'll let you know if/when performances recommence; it was rumored in the tabloid press ealier this week that the singer had decided to quit show biz altogether.
• March 17, 2010 Sands Gets Gold for Going Greener: Las Vegas Sands today announced a new "Eco 360 Degrees" program, aimed at further demonstrating the group's commitment to sustainable water, energy, cleaning, recycling, and waste management policies. U.S. Green Building Council officials have awarded the Venetian Gold LEED certification; this, together with the silver certification already awarded to Palazzo, makes the two resorts and the Sands expo hall the largest contiguous LEED-certified building in the world. For more information about eco-friendly Las Vegas hotels, restaurants, and attractions, check out our one-of-a-kind Vegas Green Guide.
• March 17, 2010 MBay Club Files for Chapter 11: Citing increased competition from other nightspots, Rumjungle at Mandalay Bay has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection amidst claims that its landlord, to whom over $1 million is allegedly owed in back rent, is in violation of an exclusivity clause in the club's contract.
• March 17, 2010 New Burger Chain Debuts: Popular Denver-based "better burger" chain Smashburger opens its first Las Vegas location today at 7541 W. Lake Mead (corner of Buffalo). Known for 100% Angus Beef burgers and high-quality fresh ingredients, the fast-casual restaurant is also licensed to serve beer and wine.
• March 17, 2010 Regulation for Macau: Macau Chief Executive Fernando Chui announced yesterday that the Asian gambling enclave will not permit growth of the casino industry to continue unchecked, and will put limits on the construction of new project. "Apart from those we have agreed in principle in the past, in construction and those already approved, we will regulate (approval of the building of new casinos) in the future," Chui told a news conference. This could be good news for those companies, including Las Vegas Sands, Wynn Resorts, and MGM Mirage, who are already established in that market.
• March 17, 2010 Happy St Patrick's Day: From green beer and cabbage to live music and leprechauns, today's a big party day in the Vegas calendar, and we've got the lowdown on all the events and food/drink specials around town in our Special Event guide.
• March 16, 2010 Tiger to Return for Masters: Tiger Woods announced today that he'll return to golf next month for the Masters, after a four-month hiatus following recent sex scandal revelations. "After a long and necessary time away from the game, I feel like I'm ready to start my season at Augusta," said Woods. The tournament begins April 8.
• March 16, 2010 New Life for Aqueduct: New York Governor David Patterson is optimistic that the troubled Aqueduct Casino project could be back on track in as little a month, after the first choice, Aqueduct Entertainment Group, was scuttled last week. Patterson said yesterday that he intends to meet soon with Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan) and Senate Democratic Conference leader John Sampson (D-Brooklyn) to discuss the selection of a new bidder.
• March 16, 2010 Nevada Slots Looser: Contrary to public perception, it seems that the state's slot machines have gotten looser of late, according to an article by gaming writer Liz Benston in today's Las Vegas Sun. Reversing the trend from 1995 through 2008, when the percentage of wagers held by Nevada slot machines increased, last year that trend was reversed slightly, with slots paying back 93.9 percent of wagers versus 93.8 percent in 2008. While the reason for this minimal increase is undetermined, Benston posts that it could stem from casinos no longer spending on installing new penny slots, as they were before the recession -- although popular with players, penny denomination machines historically pay out less over time than higher-denomination slots.
• March 16, 2010 More 7-Elevens for Vegas Valley: The Dallas-based convenience store chain already operates more than 160 convenience stores in Clark County but recently hired a commercial real estate firm to help find possible spots for 15 to 20 more stores.
• March 16, 2010 BBQ Offer Today: It's Twofer Tuesday at TC's Rib Crib (8470 W. Desert Inn) -- purchase one lunch special and get one free. Plus, blueberry or peach cobbler is just $1 today.
• March 16, 2010 Cheating Mastermind Gets Six Years: Phuong Quoc Truong, the mastermind behind a nationwide ring that cheated casinos out of $7 million, was sentenced to 70 months in prison by a San Diego federal court yesterday and ordered to forfeit $2.7 million and pay $5.7 million in restitution. Centered in San Diego, Truong's group cheated a total of 27 casinos through a variety of methods, including bribing dealers to perform false shuffles during blackjack and mini-baccarat games. Thirty-seven defendants in the case have now pleaded guilty.
• March 15, 2010 Free Spaghetti: Buca di Beppo's doing one of their free pasta promos today at the Summerlin location (7690 W. Lake Mead Blvd.: Get a free 14 oz. bowl of spaghetti with your choice of meat sauce or marianara when you purchase a small or large pasta dish or entrée. Offer is good for dine-in orders only.
• March 15, 2010 Vote for Your Fave WSOP Champ: Voting went live today for the 41st World Series of Poker all-star Tournament of Champions, a two-day free-roll event featuring 27 of the world's top players. 20 of the participants are to be voted in by fans -- click here to make your picks from the eligible players. To qualify, a player must have won a WSOP individual event champion bracelet and five seats at the table have already been awarded to Annie Duke, Mike Matusow and Mike Sexton (the three previous WSOPTOC winners), Joe Cada (the reigning WSOP champ), and Barry Shulman (reigning World Series of Poker Europe champion). Sponsors will be allowed to fill the remaining two seats. Voting ends at midnight June 15. This year's event will be a no-limit Hold'em tournament with a first prize of $500,000 and the top nine places paid. Play begins June 27 and will be halted once the final nine players are decided. The final table will reconvene at the Rio on July 4th to play for the title.
• March 15, 2010 Troubadors Coming to MGM Grand: Iconic recording artists Carole King and James Taylor have announced additional North American dates for their "Troubadour Reunion" tour, which will stop at the MGM Grand Garden Arena Saturday, July 17. It's the first time the pair has toured together in four decades. Tickets, priced at $55, $85, and $125 (plus taxes and fees), go on sale Saturday, March 20 at 10 a.m. and will be available at all Las Vegas Ticketmaster locations and online at www.mgmgrand.com and www.ticketmaster.com. Sales are limited to eight per person.
• March 15, 2010 Scorsese on Sinatra: The MTV Movie Blog contains an update in which the famed director talks about his vision for and the difficulties of making his planned biopic of Frank Sinatra and who might play his part(s).
• March 15, 2010 Robbery Snarls Up Traffic: Breaking news at 10:20 a.m.: Metro police say they're looking for two suspects in a pharmacy robbery at 2725 Jones Blvd., which is resulting in a lot of police activity in the area near Torrey Pines, Jones, El Dora, and El Camino. Avoid the area if you can for the time being.
• March 15, 2010 Casino MonteLãgo Closed: The casino out at Lake Las Vegas, which debuted in 2003, shuttered its doors at midnight last night following the announcement that the neighboring Ritz-Carlton hotel will close May 2.
• March 15, 2010 Bare Pool Lounge Opens: The Mirage's European-style party pool, operated by the Light Group, officially debuts for the season today at 11 a.m. with the "Summer Returns" party. Look out for upcoming updates to the whole topless pool scene, not to mention gentlemen's clubs, erotic revues, and the sexiest nightspots, in the next edition of Topless Vegas - coming soon! Sign up for the $6.95 upgrade and get exclusive access to online updates for a whole year.
• March 15, 2010 Dew Tour Vegas-Bound: The Dew Tour, the world's premier season-long action sports tour, featuring skateboarding, BMX, and freestyle motocross, will for the first time bring its championships to Las Vegas. The tour debuted in 2005 and has to date been based in Orlando, Florida; it was today announced that the 2010 Dew Tour Championships will take place from Oct. 14-17 at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino here in Las Vegas. Contestants compete for a prize pool of $2.5 million, the largest in action sports, and the Dew Tour is broadcast on NBC, MTV, and USA Network and internationally in over 100 countries.
• March 14, 2010 Lucky Charms: In a first as far as we know, Las Vegas had two entries in a single USA Today "10 Great" list (actually, Las Vegas and Boulder City). In this weekend's "10 Great Places to Find a Lucky Charm," Hoover Dam and the Riviera were cited. At the dam, you'll find "two 30-foot-high statues known as the Winged Figures of the Republic. Rumor has it that touching the toes of these giants may lead to a prosperous day" (we'd never heard that one before). And rubbing the bronzed butts of the Riv showgirls (statue in front of the casino) was a natch. The selections were provided by the author of a book titled "All You Need is Luck."
• March 14, 2010 New Exhibit at Bellagio: The spring display is on show from today through May 9 in the Bellagio Botanical Garden and Conservatory. In addition to a riot of color from traditional spring blooms, this year's exhibit features 100-year-old olive trees, botanical snails and bumblebees, giant mushrooms, and a colony of bronze ants that weigh up to 3,500 lbs. The conservatory is free to the public and open 24/7.
• March 14, 2010 Silver Strike Tournament: The Silver Strikers will kick off the Casino Chips and Gaming Tokens Collectors Club annual convention this summer with a Silver Strike tournament at the Four Queens June 20, 21, and 22. CC>CC convention starts Wednesday June 23 with their early bird dinner at South Point and the convention floor will open Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Visit www.silverstrikers.com and www.CC>CC.com for more information.
• March 14, 2010 Spa Expo Deal: The Las Vegas Convention Center hosts the Day Spa Expo today and tomorrow and complimentary VIP entry passes, which grant you access to special interest sessions, as well as free admission, are available by clicking here. (Thanks to SaveLV.com for this tip).
• March 14, 2010 Move 'Em Forward: Don't miss your planes or that show today. It's the start of daylight savings time, so you have to move your clocks ahead one hour.
• March 13, 2010 Jackson Furniture to be Auctioned in Vegas: 22 items of luxury antique-style furniture, which Michael Jackson had personally had commissioned to furnish the English manor house he'd intended to live in while he performed his planned English concert engagement, are to be auctioned this June 25 by Julien's at a three-day "Music Icons" sale at Planet Hollywood. Also on the auction block will be various items from the singer's wardrobe, including the signed red leather jacket he wore for the "Beat It" video, the military coat he wore for his second wedding, and one of his iconic Swarovski crystal gloves, another of which was purchased by Macau casino mogul Stanley Ho last year for $350,000 (that was the one Jackson wore the first time he moonwalked on TV). The furniture alone at the June sale is expected to raise more than $1 million. A portion of the proceeds will go towards two charities; MusiCares, which provides healthcare and support services for struggling musicians, and Joshua's Heart, which works to combat world hunger.
• March 13, 2010 NFL Athletes in B3 Burrito Challenge: At 6 p.m. today three titans of the gridiron will test the strength of their stomachs as they compete to finish the B3 Burrito Challenge at the NASCAR Cafe located inside the Sahara. Evan Mathis, Kyle Cook, and Kirk Barton will attempt to down the 6 1b burrito within the 90-minute time limit – a feat so far attempted by more than 3,000 guests and accomplished by only 27.
• March 13, 2010 Book Signing: P Moss, owner of the infamous Double Down Saloon, will be signing copies of his new story collection Blue Vegas at 2 p.m. Today at Borders Town Square.
• March 13, 2010 Lake Las Vegas Beer Fest: From 2-8 p.m. today, The Village Lake Las Vegas and the Buckbean Brewing Company host the "Brews Best Village Beer Fest", with proceeds benefiting New Vista Community, a non-profit committed to providing the intellectually challenged of all ages with equal opportunities and support. Tickets for the event, which will showcase beers from ten independent breweries, are $25 and are available on the door or in advance from NewVistaCommunity.org.
• March 12, 2010 CityCenter Dispute: MGM Mirage, which owns the CityCenter site in a 50-50 partnership with Dubai World, today disclosed a threatened mechanics' lien in a filing to U.S. regulators, stating that the primary general contractor at the multi-tower project plans to sue the owners for $492 million. The actual lien may be filed within 15 days of the notice. In its filing, MGM Mirage countered that, "CityCenter believes that its actual obligation to the general contractor is substantially less than the amount claimed and that it is also entitled to significant offsets against the claimed amount." MGM also said it believes it has significant claims against the contractor in connection with construction defects at CityCenter's Harmon Hotel tower, whose height has had to be halved after the discovery that reinforcing bar had been improperly installed on some floors.
• March 12, 2010 Conan Adds Second Date: In addition to the Saturday, May 1 gig already announced, comedian Conan O'Brien will also perform Sunday, May 2 at The Pearl at the Palms. Tickets are $75, $100 & $150, plus taxes/fees and are available from teamcoco.com, any Ticketmaster outlet, from the Palms Box Office, or by calling 800/745-3000.
• March 12, 2010 Boulder City Plane Crash: Breaking news from Channel 8: Crews are investigating a plane crash at the Boulder City Airport. The plane from Phoenix ran out of fuel over Lake Mead and the pilot tried to land at Boulder City but crashed just east of the runway. The pilot is believed to be dead.
• March 12, 2010 Venetian Macau: House of Cards (Literally): 34-year-old card-stacker Bryan Berg has for the second time broken the Guinness Book of World Records for the largest house of free-standing playing cards (no adhesives used) with his model of the Venetian Macau. Catch the YouTube video at
• March 12, 2010 Mexican Cooking Class: From 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. tomorrow and again on Sunday, March 14, join mixologist Eben Klemm with Dos Caminos Corporate Executive Chef Scott Linquist and Dos Caminos Las Vegas Executive Chef Roberto Hernandez for a demonstation-style tequila and modern Mexican cooking class at Dos Caminos at The Palazzo. The class, which costs $65/person (plus tax and gratuity) features signature dishes like Chipotle Braised Brisket Taquitos and a special tequila tutorial complete with a recipe for their signature margarita. Call 702/577-9550 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more info and reservations.
• March 12, 2010 Casino-ology Sale Ends Today: The current special offer on Bill Zender's seminal Casino-ology: The Art of Managing Casino Games ends at 5 p.m. PST today, so don't miss out! It's a must-have volume for any gambling library.
• March 12, 2010 Current Poll Strangeness: For some inexplicable reason, the current poll about "Best Desserts in Vegas" suddenly reverted to a previous poll that we ran back in Dec. 2008, about "Reasons for Visiting Las Vegas." That poll is long-closed (you can find the results in the archives); the current poll is now back in place. Our apologies for the confusion. Gremlins.
• March 12, 2010 Weekend Highlights: Theres's plenty going on for sports fans this weekend, plus some big names in comedy, and downtown's annual music festival:
- The Mountain West Conference wraps up at the Thomas and Mack (3/9-3/13)
- The Wranglers take on the Condors at the Orleans (3/12-3/14)
- The Chicago Cubs play the Chicago White Sox at Cashman Field (3/12-3/13)
- MGM Grand welcomes back Lily Tomlin (3/11-3/17)
- Jason Alexander finishes up his run at Planet Hollywood (3/11-3/14)
- TV's "Mr. Cooper", Mark Curry, is at the Las Vegas Hilton (3/10-3/14)
- Buffalo Bill's welcomes Gladys Knight (3/12)
- Nashville Unplugged is back at Green Valley Ranch (3/12)
- Sevendust takes the stage at the House of Blues inside Mandalay Bay (3/12)
- Jay Leno's back doing stand up at the Mirage (3/12-3/13)
- The Fab is throwing a Fan Appreciation Party at the Cannery (3/13)
- The Zac Brown Band performs at the Joint inside the Hard Rock (3/13)
- The annual Neon Reverb music festival's taking place at various venues downtown, with an after-party at the Griffin bar on Sunday (3/10-3/14)
• March 12, 2010 Sands to Bring Vegas to Florida?: Apparently, some lawmakers were receptive to Las Vegas Sand's proposal to bring a Las Vegas-style casino to Florida during a two-hour hearing yesterday, although others remain skeptical and one of the mixed reports we've read states that the chairman of the House gambling committee rejected the idea. Executives from the company pitched legislators on their vision for a $2 billion resort-casino, showing slides of their gambling facilities in Vegas, Singapore, and Macau, with a spokesman for the Las Vegas Sands explaining that they want to "build something spectacular. There's only a handful of places left where we could spend billions of dollars on a resort – Japan, Florida, maybe Europe. We look at [Florida] as a worldwide market, a worldwide destination." Still, even with lawmakers eyeing the potential revenues additional casinos would bring in, getting approval for the plan will still be politically difficult and could take years, if it happens at all.
• March 11, 2010 New Titles Available at ShopLVA: Check out the new Spotlight on... feature we just posted, for news of two new hiking books from Huntington Press and a special offer that's only good through tomorrow on a highly recommended gambling title.
• March 11, 2010 Aqueduct Casino Project Dead: The late withdrawal of the Rev. Floyd Flake and rap mogul Jay Z has been blamed as the final nail in the coffin for the proposed casino at New York's Aqueduct race track. Click here for more on this story.
• March 11, 2010 Sen. Reid's Family in Serious Traffic Accident: Nevada Senator Harry Reid's wife and daughter were rear-ended by a semi-truck in Washington D.C. today, and while doctors say their injuries are non-life threatening, both are seriously hurt: A spokesperson for Reid says his wife has a broken nose, broken back, and broken neck and his daughter has a neck injury and facial lacerations.
• March 11, 2010 Victor Goes to Hollywood: Las Vegas nightlife impresario Victor Drai, with brothers Cy and Jessie Waits (Tryst and XS), have just opened a new venue in Hollywood's W Hotel, featuring a rooftop Vegas-style "cool pool," retaurant, and nightclub, which opened to the public today. Click here for more information and pictures.
• March 11, 2010 Americans Associate Gambling With ... Las Vegas: In perhaps the most redundant piece of research we've seen in awhile, a Fairleigh Dickinson University PublicMind poll released today reveals the astounding fact that when asked to name a gambling destination, a majority of Americans pick Las Vegas. 54 percent of those polled, in fact, named our fair city, with only 7 percent saying Atlantic City and no more than 2 percent naming any other gambling destination. The survey also revealed the slightly less predictable fact that two-thirds of Americans (or at least, of those Americans polled) have a favorable attitude towards Las Vegas.
• March 11, 2010 New Column Live: With the lowdown on the launch of pool season, March Madness, and a killer new happy hour, Anthony Curtis' weekly round-up of Las Vegas news was just posted at LVA in the Media.
• March 11, 2010 Conan's Coming: Conan O'Brien is bringing his two-month, 30-city tour to The Pearl at the Palms on Saturday, May 1. Tickets, starting at $75, are on sale now and are available from all Ticketmaster outlets.
• March 11, 2010 L.A. Times on CityCenter Dining: The "Food" section of today's L.A. Times features "The Best Tastes of CityCenter" -- click the link to see which of Las Vegas' newest restaurants made the cut.
• March 10, 2010 Room Rates Down, Visitation Up: The LVCVA released its latest figures today, which reveal that the number of visitors to Las Vegas in January was up 4 percent on the same month last year, making it the fifth consecutive month to show an increase. While room rates were only down about 5 percent year-on-year, at $99.75 as opposed to $104.89 a year ago, there have consistently been rates much lower than that, including at major Strip properties, which no doubt contributed to the uptick in visitation.
• March 10, 2010 Hard Rock CEO's Death Ruled Suicide: The Clark County Coroner's Office has ruled the death of Hard Rock President and CEI Andrew "Randy" Kwasniewski a suicide. Kwasniewski was appointed to president of Hard Rock Holdings, LLC, in 2006. He died of a single self-inflicted gunshot to the head at his Summerlin home yesterday morning.
• March 10, 2010 See Gretchen Wilson for Free: The country singer is performing a free concert at Stoney's on the Strip this Thursday, March 11. Doors are at 7 p.m. and Wilson hits the stage at 8:30 p.m. It's also ladies night, with $1 Coors Light draft for female customers.
• March 10, 2010 St Paddy's Day Update: As predicted, announcements of additional festivities for St Patrick's Day weekend continue to roll in, so check for updates in our Special Events section.
• March 10, 2010 Gaming Revenue Down Again: According to the latest stats released by the Gaming Control Board today, Nevada casinos experienced a 3.2 percent decline in statewide gaming revenues in January 2919. The one good news story was the Boulder Strip, where revenues were up 13.6 percent compared to the same month last year, at $69.9 million.
• March 10, 2010 Missouri Casino to Close: Pinnacle Entertainment has reached an agreement with the Missouri Gaming Commission to close the controversial President Casino by July 1 and surrender its license. The aging riverboat casino has been under threat of closure for some time, due to its alleged state of disrepair, and Las Vegas-based Pinnacle decided that fighting Missouri regulators over the President would hurt it in other jurisdictions where it also does business.
• March 10, 2010 New Hours for CityCenter Restaurant: It's the second cut since CityCenter debuted, with Vdara's Silk Road first axing dinner, and now Sage, the Mediterranean-influenced eatery at ARIA, is no longer open on Sundays. Hours of operation are now Monday–Saturday, 5 p.m.–11 p.m.
• March 10, 2010 New Featured Thread: We just posted a new free Featured Thread at LVASports.com. The thread's a sample of the kind of great information you can get from the member-only LVASportsboards forums, hosted by star handicappers Fezzik and Alf Musketa, where there are currently 250 active members. Click the link and scroll down to see their respective records. If you like to bet sports, try the $24.95 one-month trial and see what you're missing!
• March 10, 2010 Stiffs & Georges: Get LVA blogger David McKee's take on the latest movings and shakings in the casino business world, plus news of trouble at the Liberace Museum, and much more at Stiffs & Georges.
• March 9, 2010 Osmonds Return: Just over a week since Marie's son's apparent suicide, Donny & Marie will return to the stage at the Flamingo tonight. The brother-sister duo have also generously added additional dates in April, when the show was due to be dark, to accommodate those customers who had tickets for missed shows.
• March 9, 2010 Free Cooking Demo: From 6-7 p.m. this evening, Chef Stacey Dougan will be doing a vegan cooking demo at the Whole Foods Market at Tenaya and Lake Mead, with a menu of Southern Style Comfort Meals. Dishes she'll be preparing include, Mock BBQ Chicken, Easy Vegan Potato Salad, and Southern Style Kale Greens. RSVP with Customer Service or email Sara in Marketing at email@example.com. If you're looking for vegetarian-friendly/vegan dining options in Las Vegas, don't forget to check our our new-and-improved Restaurant section, where you can find all kinds of special-diet needs catered to.
• March 9, 2010 Last Chance to Vote in Poll: The current LVA Reader Poll closes at midnight tonight, when a new (foodie) one will go live. Vote now if you haven't already, then come back and vote again tomorrow!
• March 9, 2010 PBR Bar to Open Early Summer: Occupying the space formerly housing Hawaiian Tropic Zone, the new PBR Rock Bar is set to debut early summer, featuring live music, mechanical bull riding, BBQ, beer, and all things PBR. "After millions of dollars in extensive market research, we have concluded that people like hot women serving beer," announced Fine Entertainment owner and founder, Jonathan Fine.
• March 9, 2010 Hard Rock CEO Found Dead: Celebrity gossip site TMZ reports that Andrew Kwasniewski, President and CEO of the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, was found dead at his Las Vegas home this morning, apparently from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. We'll bring you more information as it's released.
• March 9, 2010 Balloon Grounded: The Cloud Nine balloon ride that opened opposite Mandalay Bay last year has been temporarily suspended, pending repairs required after the tethered attraction was damaged by strong gusting winds over the weekend. Apparently, the balloon requires a part from France to be fixed and so will likely be out of action for some days.
• March 9, 2010 Harrah's Tells Privé, "Pay Up, or Pack Up" Harrah's Entertainment, the new owner of Planet Hollywood, has told the owners of the bankrupt Privé nightclub and Living Room ultralounge to either pay past-due rent and their share of the $500,000 fine levied by the Gaming Commission last year, or face eviction. The Miami-based Opium Group is still under investigation for numerous violations, including underage drinking, drug use, nudity, and sex. Today's R-J reports that they've asked for an extension on paying their outstanding debts while they decide if they want to retain their lease.
• March 9, 2010 Casino Revenues Down: The latest report from the American Gaming Association comes as no surprise: According to a preliminary estimate, gaming revenues in the 12 U.S. states with authorized casinos fell 5.7 percent last year, following a 4.6 percent drop in 2008. In addition to the general global economic malaise, other contributory factors cited by analysts include competition from home entertainment (HDTV, high-end video gaming, and the Internet, including online gambling), suggesting that trend is not solely a result of the recession, and hence is likely to persist after the recovery kicks in.
• March 9, 2010 Dancer Classes: Video poker maestro Bob Dancer continues his classes in the South Point Showroom this month, with "What Video Poker Players Should Know About Slot Clubs" at 1 p.m. on March 11 and "Secrets of a Video Poker Winner" at the same time and place on March 18. The classes are free to attend and anyone aged 21+ is welcome.
• March 9, 2010 Las Vegas Showcase for Earth Hour: Las Vegas will be a "showcase city" for Earth Hour 2010, which will take place on Saturday, March 27th when, for one hour beginning at 8:30 p.m. PST, casinos and hotels on and off the Strip will dim or turn off neon and flashing lights and Clark County will participate by shutting off the exterior lights to nine of its buildings. Lights for the Welcome to Las Vegas sign also will be shut off and Las Vegas residents are asked to support the effort by turning off their lights and enjoying candlelit dinners or game nights, acoustic concerts, or simply taking advantage of the hour to spend it with family and neighbors. For up-to-date information on all things Earth Hour in Las Vegas including a list of participants, visit earthhour.org.
• March 8, 2010 Centaur Files for Chpt. 11: Centaur LLC, the company that owns Indiana's Hoosier Park casino and horse track, is putting its Fortune Valley casino in Colorado up for sale as it works to restructure at least $574 million in debt under its filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The company said normal operations would continue at Hoosier Park and Fortune Valley despite the filing and that it would also continue work on its planned Valley View Downs & Casino project near New Castle, Pa.
• March 8, 2010 Record Season for Mt. Charleston: Thanks to the effects of the El Nino, which continues to bring above average snowfall this year, the Las Vegas Ski and Snowboard Resort will have a record-length season, which started early and will end at its latest-ever date. The resort's already received more than 14 feet of snow and more is likely on the way.
• March 8, 2010 Kudos for HP Title: Esteemed Las Vegas writer Richard Abowitz has picked Huntington Press title
• March 8, 2010 Gold Strike Cash Giveaway: This Saturday, March 20 the Gold Strike in Jean is giving $500 every hour, on the hour from 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Click here for more information and official rules.
• March 8, 2010 German Poker Tournament Robbed: Arrests are expected soon following the armed robbery at the European Poker Tournament in Berlin on Saturday. The head of the German police union said today that the four armed men who attempted to steal the million-euro Poker jackpot had "plunged to new depths of stupidity" and were clearly amateurs, who'd left behind a "mountain of evidence". Organizers of the tour were also criticized for their carelessness in failing to provide adequate security for the 3.7 million euro ($5 million) prize pool. It's now believed the robbers got away with less than 200,000 euros, and not the 800,000 euros originally thought.
• March 8, 2010 Vegas Tops for Mancations: According to the latest survey of TripAdvisor editors and readers, Las Vegas tops the list of destinations in N. America for guys-only getaways, ahead of New York City and Miami.
• March 8, 2010 Wind Advisory: The National Weather Service has issued a high wind watch from late this afternoon into late tonight for the Spring Mountains, Red Rock Canyon and the western foothills of the Las Vegas Valley. Westerly winds of 25-35 mph are expected, with isolated gusts up to 60 mph.
• March 8, 2010 Annie Wins: Annie Duke defeated Eric Seidel to win the 6th Annual National Heads-Up Poker Championship. She also beat Andy Bloch, Darvin Moon, Paul Wasicka, Jerry Yang and Dennis Phillips on the way to becoming the first female winner. The prize was $500,000. NBC’s broadcast of the tournament will air on six consecutive Sundays beginning April 18.
• March 7, 2010 Heads-Up Final: Eric Seidel and Annie Duke will square off in tonight's H-U final. Seidel is an eight-time WSOP-bracelet winner. Duke is the world's best-known female poker player and runner-up in last year's Celebrity Apoprentice TV show.
• March 7, 2010 Oscar Odds: Here's a quick summary of how the oddsmakers see tonight's Academy Awards playing out. The following odds are representive of what's available at online shops (favorites only): Best Picture Avatar -140 The Hurt Locker -125 Best Actor Jeff Bridges (Crazy Heart) -700 Grorge Clooney (Up in the Air) +650 Best Actress Sandra Bullock (The Blind Side) -220 Meryl Streep (Julie and Julia) +170 Jeff Bridges is a prohibitive favorite (bet $700 to win $100) for Best Actor, but it's nothing like the faves for Best Supporting Actress and Actor. For Supporting Actress, Mo'Nique (Precious) is -2000, and a bigger favorite yet is Christoph Waltz (Inglorious Bastards) at -2500.
• March 7, 2010 Duke and Phillips Advance: Annie Duke and Dennis Phillips have advanced to the second semi-final in the Heads-Up Championship. The Final Four is made up of Duke, Phillips, Erik Seidel, and Scotty Nguyen.
• March 7, 2010 Ivey Snags Cigar Cover: Poker superstar Phil Ivey is the dapper cover image on the March/April Cigar Aficionado. The magazine has a gambling-related story almost every issue, but this is the first we recall to take the cover.
• March 7, 2010 Heads-Up, First Semi: Peter Eastgate and Scotty Nguyen have advanced to the first semi-final match in the Heads-Up Championshp. The second semi will be made by the winners of Dennis Phillips vs. Doyle Brunson and Jerry Yang vs. Annie Duke.
• March 7, 2010 Eight Left in Heads-Up: The remaining eight players in the National Heads-Up Poker Championship include four WSOP main-event winners -- Peter Eastgate, Jerry Yang, Scotty Nguyen, and Doyle Brunson. Annie Duke is the last remaining woman. The tournament concludes today.
• March 7, 2010 Traffic Warning: Expect long delays on the U.S. 93 south of Hoover Dam on Tuesday and Thursday of this week as the Arizona Department of Transportation implements a highway widening scheme. The blasting and cleanup work will be taking place about three miles south of Hoover Dam on both days from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and delays of up to an hour are anticipated. Motorists traveling on non-blasting days this week can expect 30-minute delays due to reduced speed limits, flagging stations, and no passing zones. Alternate routes should be considered where possible.
• March 7, 2010 Ho Goes Home: Controversial Macau casino mogul Stanley Ho was discharged Saturday after seven months in the hospital for unspecified surgery. The 88-year-old billionaire apparently raised his right arm to acknowledge a group of reporters as he was wheeled out of the Hong Kong hospital but did not speak to the media.
• March 6, 2010 Aloha Allegiant: Allegiant Air has signed a forward purchase agreement to acquire six Boeing 757-200 aircraft over the next eighteen months, enabling the Las Vegas-based airline to expand its leisure travel service into Hawaii. The first two planes are expected to be in service in the fourth quarter of this year.
• March 6, 2010 NYT Reviews Aria: The Travel section in today's New York Times contains a favorable review of Aria at CityCenter. Click here to read it.
• March 6, 2010 Heads-Up Poker: Day two of the 6th annual NBC National Heads-Up Poker Championship covenes today at 1:15 p.m. at Caesars Palace. The field of 64 of the world's best players has been cut in half, with notable first-round exits suffered by reigning WSOP main-event champ Joe Cada (lost to David Williams); perennial contender Andy Bloch (to Annie Duke), and last-year's winner Huck Seed (to Eric Seidel).
• March 6, 2010 Tyson Comeback? After the recent announcement that Evander Holyfield intends to return to the ring come rumors that Mike Tyson, who last fought in 2005, is also planning to make a comeback. The 43-year-old was recently reconciled with promoter Don King and received a publicity boost from his appearance in the hit movie, The Hangover. We'll keep you posted if we hear more.
• March 6, 2010 Bark in the Park: Head over to Paseo Verde Park in Henderson from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. today for four hours of free fun for you and your pooch, including demos, contests, and pet adoptions. All pets must be on a leash and handlers must be at least 10 years old.
• March 5, 2010 Manilow Opening Canceled: As just reported by R-J entertainment columnist Mike Weatherford, Barry Manilow's opening night at Paris tonight has been canceled, apparently due to a power surge that damaged some equipment. Today's 7:30 p.m. show has been moved to 10 p.m. Saturday. Those who wish to attend this rescheduled performance may use their original tickets; ticketholders who would an exchange or refund should contact the point of purchase by either calling Ticketmaster at 800/745-3000 or visiting the Paris Theatre Box Office.
• March 5, 2010 New Featured Thread at LVASports: If you got all caught up in the excitement of hockey at the Winter Olympics and like to bet sports, you might want to check out the new "Featured Thread" just posted at LVASports.com.
• March 5, 2010 Dining Listings Revamped: We've got a new set-up for our restaurant listings, which we hope will make it quicker and easier to find what you're looking for. There are so many dining options in Las Vegas these days that it was taking forever for the whole list to load; so, we've broken down the listings by cuisine type, plus you can search by hotel, or by specialty (vegetarian-friendly, Kosher, gluten-free, late-night, outdoor seating etc.) There's still a link to the whole list, if you don't know what you're looking for and are in search of inspiration. Check it out and see what you think.
• March 5, 2010 Cops & Mobsters Talk Vegas Crime: Tomorrow at noon PST former mobster Frank Cullotta, ex-cop and writer Dennis Griffin, and a panel of other experts will discuss the history of Las Vegas crime and whether Sin City was really "safer" under mob rule. Click here for more information.
• March 5, 2010 First Friday: It's the monthly downtown arts festival this evening and the weather should be nice (there's a storm moving in for the weekend, so enjoy being outdoors while you can). Here's a link to what's going on tonight and here's a map.
• March 5, 2010 McCarran Traffic Down Slightly: The latest passenger counts at McCarran International Airport showed a tiny decline for January, down just 0.2 percent on the previous year. Southwest and American Airlines both experienced increased counts, however.
• March 5, 2010 Alabama Casino Defiant: Milton McGregor, owner of Victoryland in Shorter, AL, will reopen the state's largest casino at 1 p.m. today, despite the threat of a raid from the Governor's Task Force on Illegal Gambling. The casino has been closed since early February to prevent a raid, but yesterday the Macon County sheriff and district attorney watched a demonstration of the games and declared them legal electronic bingo, not illegal slot machines, so McGregor has vowed to reopen for business.
• March 5, 2010 Reader Poll: Did you vote in our current Reader Poll yet? If not, just click the link to take part.
• March 5, 2010 How Harrah's Survived the Recession: There's an interesting article in the Business section of today's Las Vegas Sun, featuring candid interviews with top Harrah's executives regarding the drastic measures the company took to avoid the threat of bankruptcy, including learning lessons from their customers via the Total Rewards program.
• March 4, 2010 Weekend Highlights: No chance of being bored, with some big -- and eclectic -- names in music and comedy on the entertainment roster this weekend:
- Barry Manilow opens his new show at Paris (3/5)
- Saturday's St. Baldrick's Day and head-shaving events will be taking place at McMullan's, Nine Fine Irishmen at New York New York, and Fado's Irish Pub to raise money for childhood cancer research.
- This is the penultimate weekend to catch Jason Alexander in his one-man show, The Donny Clay Experience, at Planet Hollywood (3/4-3/7)
- The Orleans welcomes crooner Engelbert Humperdinck (3/5-3/7)
- Bon Jovi takes the stage at MGM Grand (3/6)
- Galatic rocks the Hard Rock (3/7)
- George Lopez does stand up at the Las Vegas Hilton (3/5-3/6)
- And Ray Romano teams up with Kevin James at the Mirage (3/5-3/6)
• March 4, 2010 MO Casino Debuts: At 2 p.m. local time today, Missouri's new 90,000-square-foot River City Casino opens in south St. Louis County, bringing the area count to seven casinos.
• March 4, 2010 Latest Dining Casualty: The Henderson location of the Bonefish Grill chain, part of Eastern Avenue's (somewhat depleted) "restaurant row," has closed.
• March 4, 2010 Win Some, Lose Some at M Buffet: From Friday, March 5, Studio B will revert to serving regular lunch Monday through Friday for $14.95 (recently, the price was upped to $29.95 for an all-day seafood buffet Fri-Sun). The strange part is that they're still serving the seafood buffet for dinner on Friday, for the same all-day Sat./Sun. price of $29.95. So, if you just want to try the (excellent) lunch, go on Friday; if you want seafood, take advantage of the all-day price on the weekend. The MRB 2-for-1 offer is good for all meals.
• March 4, 2010 Weekly Column Live: With the latest economic stats, plus news from the world of entertainment, and an unlikely casino conversion in Tahoe, Anthony Curtis' weekly Las Vegas digest is ready to read at LVA in the Media.
• March 4, 2010 Wynn Offers $250M for Casino Share: Wynn Resorts Ltd. will provide about $250 million for a 51 percent controlling share of the waterfront casino it's seeking to take over in Philadelphia. The sum equates to approximately 40 percent of the estimated $600 million cost of the project and includes funds for construction and a redesign.
• March 4, 2010 Wind Advisory In Effect: The National Weather Service has issued a wind advisory through 10 a.m. for the Vegas Valley today. Gusts recorded around the area this monring included 55 mph at Kyle Canyon, 49 mph at Red Rock Canyon, and 18 mph in central Las Vegas.
• March 4, 2010 Icahn Gets A.C. Trop. Approval: Billionaire Carl Icahn, who last year purchased the Tropicana Atlantic city in a bankruptcy auction, has been granted interim authorization by the New Jersey Gaming Control Board to own and operate the property while it conducts its investigation into the suitability of the company and its owners. Icahn continues to battle with Donald Trump over control of bankrupt Trump Entertainment Resorts and its three Atlantic City casinos.
• March 4, 2010 Donny & Marie Return: After a 10-day hiatus following the death of Marie Osmond's son, the singing duo will return to the Flamingo beginning March 9, and have announced five extra performance dates for next month from April 13-17. Tickets for these extra dates, added to accommodate guests who had tickets to recently cancelled shows, go on sale today.
• March 3, 2010 Kennedy Items Removed from Homicide Exhibit: In response to objections from his family, evidence from the 1968 assassination of Robert F. Kennedy at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles — including the bloody clothes he was wearing when he was shot — has been removed from "Behind the Scenes: The LAPD Homicide Experience," the exhibition currently being hosted at the Palms. The exhibit, which is open to the public, is part of the California Homicide Investigators Association conference that's taking place at the property this week.
• March 3, 2010 CSN Advanced Ticket Sale: Legendary rockers Crosby, Stills & Nash are playing The Joint at the Hard Rock on Friday, June 4. Tickets don't officially go on sale to the general public until this Saturday, but you can click here and use promo code HRHCSN to take advantage of the online pre-sale tomorrow from 10 a.m. until 10 p.m. Friday. Tickets start at $42.
• March 3, 2010 New Mini-Golf Venue: Apparently, The Putt Park opened last September, but they must've opened very quietly, because we didn't hear. So, now Las Vegas has an outdoor 18-hole mini-golf course, that features Cosmic Mini-Golf and Friday Night Lights special events, in addition to the indoor mini-golf at King Putt, which now has two venues.
• March 3, 2010 More Pool News: "Daylife" returns to Wet Republic, the party pool at MGM Grand, which is opening its doors March 12 for the 2010 season. The first celebrity event of the year takes place on March 27, hosted by "Girl Next Door" Kendra Wilkinson.
• March 3, 2010 TAO Beach Hiring: The sometime topless and always popular party pool at the Venetian begins its summer recruitment drive today, hiring for all positions through Sat., March March 6. The open casting call takes place in the nightclub from 1-5 p.m. daiiy. Bring your swimsuit to change into for your audition photo.
• March 3, 2010 Casino Fined: In more news from Pennsylvania, Mount Airy Resort Casino has been fined $100,000 for allowing underage patrons to access the gaming floor and play slot machines in six incidents that took place between July and November of 2009.
• March 3, 2010 Mixed Reception for Wynn: While the Philadelphia Enquirer reported that Steve Wynn's arrival had been greeted approvingly by hoots, hollers, and whistles from more than 150 union tradesmen earlier today, his presentation to state gambling regulators has apparently been interrupted by angry hecklers opposed to the long-stalled casino project that Wynn's hoping to take over.
• March 3, 2010 M Party on Friday: M Resort turned one year old earlier this week, but the celebration's been saved until Friday, when there will be free cake and champagne served on the casino floor from 4-8 p.m.
• March 3, 2010 Casino Converting to Strip Club: Harrah's Entertainment has sold its Bill's Lake Tahoe casino property, shuttered since January due to declining business. The buyer, reportedly, is an attorney from northern Nevada who plans to turn the property into a gentlemen's club. If the plan's approved, it would be the first strip club for Lake Tahoe.
• March 3, 2010 Wynn in Pa. Today: Steve Wynn's due to testify today in a hearing called by the Pennsylvania State Gaming Control Board to determine the fate of the stalled Foxwoods casino project that's supposedly due to open in May 2011, but has yet to begin construction. The board has grown frustrated with the ongoing delays and has fined Foxwoods $2,000 per day -- the total now stands at $186,000 -- for missing a Dec. 1 deadline to provide details on casino construction. The Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation hope Wynn's involvement will save the project. The casino mogul last week told a group of stock analysts that he intends to build "the cutest casino you've ever seen" in Philly, desinged to have local and tourist appeal. He plans to shelve more ambitious original plans for a hotel and resort amenities.
• March 2, 2010 New Look for Frugal Blog: We just updated the "theme" of Jean Scott's Frugal Vegas blog and hope it will make it easier to use and to find things -- take a look and let her know what you think!
• March 2, 2010 Facelift for A.C. Boardwalk: Officials in New Jersey are in agreement that any resurgence for the struggling casinos of Atlantic City must begin with the renovation and image-upgrading of the famed Boardwalk, which has fallen into disrepair amidst protracted bureaucratic wrangling. Click here for more on this story and details on where the necessary funding might come from.
• March 2, 2010 Homicide Exhibit: As part of the Annual Conference of California Homicide Investigators Association taking place this week in Las Vegas, host property the Palms is exhibiting the "Homicide Experience," a recreation of some of California's most infamous crimes. Exhibits on display include evidence from the deaths of Marilyn Monroe, the murder of Nicole Brown Simpson, the Charles Manson killings, and the Black Dahlia case. Some of the clothing featured includes the suit worn by Sen. Robert Kennedy when he was assassinated at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles and the infamous leather glove that O.J. Simpson's attorneys claimed was planted at the murder scene of his ex-wife and Ronald Goldman. The exhibit, which is being housed in the Palms' Key West ballroom, will be open to the public March 3 and 4 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
• March 2, 2010 Internet Outage: CenturyLink is experiencing a major Internet outage in the Las Vegas area and no word as yet on when service will resume (this item posted at noon).
• March 2, 2010 Bad Sign for CityCenter: Silk Road, the high-end Asian restaurant at Vdara, has already cut dinner from the menu. At opening, the venue served breakfast, lunch, and dinner and was open from 7 a.m.-10:30 p.m. daily; that's now been cut to 7 a.m.-2 p.m.
• March 2, 2010 Holyfield Comeback: Boxer Evander Holyfield, who last fought in Las Vegas in 2003 when he lost resoundingly to James Toney in the ninth round, has once again been licensed by the Nevada State Athletic Commission to fight in the city. The decision to grant the 47-year-old fighter a license came over the objection of one board member, who had witnessed the '03 defeat. Holyfield plans to take on 41-year-old Frans Botha at the Orleans Arena on April 17.
• March 2, 2010 Mesquite Casinos File for Chpt. 11: As reported in today's Las Vegas Review Journal, Mesquite casino operator Black Gaming LLC has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The company, in which South Point casino owner Michael Gaughan is an investor, operates the Oasis, Virgin River, and CasaBlanca casinos. The Oasis has been virtually closed since last May but operations at the company's other eight properties, which include the Oasis Golf Course, are expected to continue uninterrupted. Gaughan's South Point casino will operate the race and sports books at the Mesquite casinos and will provide some back-of-the house management services.
• March 2, 2010 Hoffman to Star in "Luck": It's been announced that Dustin Hoffman will star in the upcoming HBO pilot for new series "Luck," which we first reported in the January LVA newsletter. The series is described as a "provocative look at the worlds of horse-racing and gambling told through a diverse group of characters surrounding a racetrack." Landing Hoffman's a major coup for the project; the Oscar-winning actor hasn't done TV in over 40 years. Apparently, an early spring production start in Los Angeles is being eyed for the pilot.
• March 2, 2010 Smashburger Seeks Band: Popular national chain Smashburger is looking for a local band to perform at the restaurant's Las Vegas debut on Saturday, March 20. Bands of all styles are welcome to compete -- just upload a video of you/your band performing (PG, please) to YouTube and then send the link, your contact information, and any questions to firstname.lastname@example.org no later than Sunday, March 7, 2010. Finalists will be notified of their inclusion in the competition. The winning band will be chosen by the public through online voting, which runs through Sunday, March 14, 2010. The first Las Vegas Smashburger is located at 7541 W. Lake Mead, Suite 2.
• March 1, 2010 Unwelcome Accolade for I-15: The interstate linking Clark County, Nevada to San Bernadino County, California has been named #1 most dangerous highway in the country, with speed, DUI, and the widespread lack of seatbelt-wearing cited as the principal culprits. With an estimated eight million drivers using it each year, it's also one of the nation's busiest roads.
• March 1, 2010 Osmonds Show Dark Through Saturday: Following the suicide of Marie Osmond's adopted son Michael Blosil, the Donny & Marie show currently performing at the Flamingo has been canceled through Saturday, March 6. Blosil, who had struggled with lifelong depression, apparently jumped to his death from the window of his L.A. apartment Friday night. He was eighteen years old.
• March 1, 2010 Census Bureau Hiring: Nevada will hire an anticipated 4,800 employees for the nation's upcoming census, making the agency one of the state's largest (temporary) employers. Many of the jobs start at $14/hr, plus mileage when traveling. Applicants must pass a criminal-background check and a 28-question test on grammar and math. Click here for more information.
• March 1, 2010 Happy Birthday to M: M Resort, the locals-oriented Anthony Marnell property south of the Strip celebrates its first anniversary today. A call to the property revealed they're keeping it low-key and not holding any special celebrations, however.
• March 1, 2010 Peepshow Returns: The topless revue at Planet Hollywood featuring "Girl Next Door" Holly Madison resumes performances tonight after an abrupt two-month hiatus, during which the theater was remodeled and the show tweaked. Don't forget there's a ticket offer for this show (and more than 30 others) in the 2010 MRB.
• March 1, 2010 Another Sellout for Garth: Tickets for singer Garth Brooks' next 20 shows at Encore sold out within hours of their release Saturday morning, just as the first batch did. The next set of dates begins March 26-28 and tickets were priced at $143.
• March 1, 2010 Online Gambling for Iowa?: Some Iowan lawmakers are seeking to legalize intra-state Internet gambling, with an eye on the estimated $11.5 million in additional tax revenue that the move could yield. The legal gambling would apparently be limited to online poker run by the state's 17 legal physical casinos, where patrons would have to make a cash or credit card deposit in person. Players would then be able to access their account remotely via computer, provided that they were within Iowa state lines. An estimated 50,000 Iowans already gamble online with offshore casinos. Opponents of the proposal cite fears of an increase in the risk of gambling addiction.
• March 1, 2010 Bethlehem Update: Las Vegas Sands has responded to the rumor currently circulating with a statement that it is not planning to sell its casino in Pennsylvania and rather is looking to restart construction on the 300-room hotel tower within the next several weeks.
• March 1, 2010 Congo Room Closes: Today marks the closure of the Sahara's Congo room, with the two acts that currently perform in there moving to the main theater downstairs. The Sahara Theater is built on the site of the original Congo room that opened in 1952 and played host to stars including The Beatles, Johnny Carson, Tina Turner, and Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis.
• March 1, 2010 Sands to Shed PA Property?: Local newspaper the Express-Times reports a rumor that Las Vegas Sands Corp. intends to sell its Bethlehem casino, only nine months after its opening, due to its disappointing performance and the company's increasing focus on the Macau market. According to the 2009 fourth-quarter report, released last week, the slots-only casino showed an operating loss of $2.1 million. Management declined to comment on the sale rumor, but said it was hoped new marketing strategies and the upcoming legalization of table games in the state would help boost revenues. The Sands Bethlehem hotel, mall, and conference center had been scheduled to open with the casino last May, but construction on the three amenities was halted in October 2008 and hasn't resumed.