Vegas Gang #89 – April 18th, 2013

This time on the show:

Follow-up from show #88
– Construction Updates
– Gold Spike
Video Games and Game Design
– Google Glass
Facebook and Marketing

and more. Leave comments here on the site!

** Reminders **

– Flipboard Magazine: Viva Vegas
VIMFP 2013 @ The D Las Vegas
Roll The Bones : Casino Edition

** Sure Bets **

Chuck – Bud Light Strawberita ; Sanuk
Dr. Dave – Wild Burger @ Wildfire
Hunter – TodoMovies app

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20 thoughts on “Vegas Gang #89 – April 18th, 2013

  1. Hunter and Chuck I love your show your the best Vegas gang I like you tell the stuff from your heart and keeping it real keep doing what you do I will lesson what you have to say and never get mad of what you say.

  2. If at first you don’t succeed with your pocket park build a full size one! Jim Murren…….just like the little engine that could.

  3. Thanks!

    Just to be clear, we’re happy to have people disagree with us… I don’t want to sound like I can’t handle criticism, that’s not it at all.

  4. This comment is focused on Boyd Gaming. Because that is as far as I have gotten and I want to speak to it while it is fresh.
    My frustration is that I feel there is a disconnect between us and I haven’t explained my position in a way that corrects it. Simply put, I think that Boyd does a good job of identifying and servicing their market, and-It Ain’t You! I will argue that Hunter and Chaz suffer from The Arrogance Of Youth and don’t yet understand that things that appeal to other people than yourselves are not necessarily “boring” or inferior. Rather, they are simply not your thing and there is no harm in letting other people enjoy them and avoid them yourselves.

    My wife and I stumbled upon the Rockabilly Weekend, and their Saturday night event at the Orleans a couple weeks ago. Over 500 cars focused on the post war era and thousands of revelers dressing in the same manner. Every age, size and ethnicity were there, along with scores of Europeans. I don’t think anyone would call it boring. Bizarre, maybe, but not boring ;-). It was the most fun I have every had in Las Vegas (excluding any Pod-A-Palooza and VIMFP event, of course).
    Lemme me mention some of the other offbeat things we have attended (usually by accident) at Boyd properties in the last few years: Don Rickles, Frank Sinatra Jr., The Italian Earthquake Relief Benefit Show and the International Police Dog Competition. Some might call them boring, but I think they are much more memorable than seeing Ka, Jersey Boys or the hippest nightclub (knowing that I would NEVER be allowed near one of those), for example.

  5. JRock- the philharmonic used to served their clients well for hundreds of years. nowadays, the majority of the people at the show are blue haired old ladies and society people. time and tastes passed it by, aided and abetted by their own inability to program music beyond the 75 or so pieces in the repertoire. i’m not dissing brahms!

    my thoughts about boyd are primarily related to downtown, they need to evolve or die. right now, after almost a decade of stagnation, downtown is evolving at a very rapid rate. boyd airlines brings in a player… they walk over to the golden gate or plaza or nug or the d and have a great time gambling in a somewhat fresh and invigorated atmosphere. they hit the new restaurants and have a coupla drinks at the bars… then they wander back to the cal to see the same serviceable yet sorta sad casino floor, and wander past the great but sorta sad Dave’s Aloha Bar and decide to skip the spam musubi they always have at Aloha Specialties because they’re still full from eating at American Coney.

    Evolution stops for no man, corporation or algorithm.

  6. Dr. Dave and Chuck, please adjust your mics so they are not positioned up your noses. Listening to your mucusonal funtions is not a plesant sound.

  7. Here is the phrase for overwrought press releases you were talking about:


  8. re: background noise – I usually gate out a lot of that but I was under severe time pressure to get this out and didn’t have time. Sorry.

    So, this again with Boyd, huh? Ok…

    While I am certainly guilty of youthful arrogance at times, if you listen to what I said about Boyd, I was quite clear that I was expressing my opinion. Never did I say that you should not visit Boyd properties or Boyd is bad. I said that *I* think they are boring…

    “I still think Boyd is boring but if you love them, awesome.”

    Where exactly did I say that they were inferior or that others should not enjoy them? Enjoy what you want.

    That said, the rockabilly thing you described sounds supremely boring to me but clearly you enjoyed it. To each his own.

  9. Hey gang, The last two episodes have been your best ever! You keep getting better and better. You’re my favorite Podcast.

    As for Zappos and the living space downtown: I can’t figure it out, Downtown is 8 minutes from Henderson, Sumerlin, Etc. Why do the Zappos workers need to be a block from work anyway? Who needs to live that close to work? Aren’t they allowed cars?

    As I mentioned on our show last week, I’m not to sure about this Hseih-d Downtown Commune.

    Love the show guys!

  10. Thanks Dave!

    Good questions about Zappos that more people should be asking I think.

    Hey – aren’t you guys doing a pizza joint now? What are the details? I’ll pimp it on the next show.

  11. I hit on the Boyd thing because I think there is some good, deep generational/market discussion there we can still discuss. I will admit-without question-that Boyd has stagnation issues downtown. Sam Boyd’s Fremont has redone the casino floor, lobby and rooms within the last couple years and they are good enough for most any downtown customer. I think the joint coffee shop/buffet is too dark and I always feel like I am in a clearing in the jungle at night. The buffet probably has a better selection than the Golden Nugget Buffet and the food quality is about the same, but the presentation is so inferior that the Fremont feels like it is a good value only because it is about 30% cheaper IIRC.
    The California is the biggest example of what Boyd has to struggle with downtown. I will call it The Town Car Conundrum: A company is identified with a product whose customer base is aging and dying off. Yet they are so successful with that product now that they are in a no-win situation. If they change product now, will they run off their customer base? And if they stay with the current, successful formula, will they still be a viable product when that customer base dies off? I don’t know.
    Now, let’s add in the question of what your own casino interests are going to be like as you age into what we will describe as the current Boyd customer demo? I will use age 50 & above. I will be 55 in a couple months; I can say with certainty that I see the world differently that I did in my 20s & 30s. I wear different clothes, wear (what little I have left) my hair differently, have different expectations in cars and have different eating habits. Yet much of my entertainment interests are the same as they were years ago! I find myself watching a lot of Me-TV, Antenna TV and Turner Classic Movies nowadays. And I think todays movies are pointless, loud and overdone.
    So, as you age past 50, is the casino going to have to change to draw you as a customer, or are you going to have to change your casino choices, or are you going to be unchanged? I don’t know, but I am interested in the answer.

    That’s the end of me on Boyd. Promise. Next I’ll rant about the cult of Tony Hsieh.

    Love your show and all you do. Thanks for all your efforts.

    JRock out.

  12. I think this is a Dr. Dave question.

    The mention of Slots-A-Fun and the discussion of the Gold Spike got me to wondering about gaming licenses. Specifically what would the benefit have been for MGM when they surrendered the Slots-A-Fun license a couple years ago? I’m going to jump to the conclusion that they can no longer have table games there (since they stopped doing so and are selling off their unused decks of cards for 50 cents in their gift shop). But I am unsure how it might affect the location otherwise, due to it’s proximity to Circus-Circus. Do these licenses have a high renewal and administrative cost? Are they difficult to get, so they should be kept by the company in case of a possible repurpose? Or is it easy for a large company like MJim to get another in the future, since they have so many currently?

    As this pertains to Gold Spike, I know Siegel is reported to have kept the Gold Spike name for possible future use, but I don’t know if they even had a gaming license? I recall their gaming was operated (at different times) by, I think, Blake Sartini’s company and the Herbst successor company that does slot routes and outside gaming? I don’t think the Gold Spike did any volume in gaming since well before King Jackie Gaughan sold it about 10 years ago.

  13. A little vindication for the Boyd Snob Brigade courtesy of the BYD earnings statement released this morning:

    “The Downtown Las Vegas region reported net revenues of $54.1 million for the first quarter of 2013, down from $57.0 million in the year-ago period. Adjusted EBITDA was $7.1 million, compared to $8.4 million in the first quarter of 2012. Declines were the result of softness in business volumes early in the quarter.”

    Looks like the first few forkloads of BYD’s Downtown lunch might’ve been eaten by others.

  14. Just a guess here but I think Boyd Gaming will buy a property somewhere on the Strip before the end of the year. The Riviera is a possibility (around $200 million dollars) or maybe The Excalibur (around $350 million dollars). I think Boyd Gaming could afford to buy either one of those properties and might want to have a flagship property on the Strip.

    The Linq and Park make sense for Caesars and MGM because tourists spent $44.9 billion dollars in Las Vegas in 2012. These urban settings will be similar to Navy Pier in Chicago (where I live) and both should do pretty good. Hopefully’s MGM’s brand new arena (with AEG) will be phenomenal and maybe attract a NHL Hockey team.

  15. As the person who called Chuck a Vegas snob, I’ll be happy to respond. For one, I think you’re misinterpreting my snob comment. My point was that the gaming industry is much larger than the strip. Acting like Boyd was collapsing because they sold a pile of dirt and steel was pure hyperbole. Here’s a quote by Chuck via VT – We can safely say that this signifies the end of the freeway for Boyd Gaming as a major gaming operator and put them in the acquisition target folder.

    So, selling the Echelon site makes Boyd a small player? I disagree. Boyd does have issues and you’d probably never catch me staying at any of their properties but to write them off as a bit player because they don’t have a high profile strip property is entirely snobbish. Its an insulated view of the gaming industry and I don’t think its accurate. Having a strip property would greatly boost their rep, no doubt about it, but let’s not forget this a company that has casinos across the country that bring in plenty of revenue.

  16. How dare you use my words against me!

    Without a property on the Strip, Boyd’s name is no longer on the marquee. There are a lot of great actors toiling in the local repertory theater who have yet to become stars, fortunately for them and for Boyd, they have fans to support their efforts.

    I feel that the disconnect here isn’t about Boyd, it is about whether or not having a property on The Strip is essential. Is the Strip still marquee? I can guess that many investors would say that having operations in Asia is the stick to be measured by.

    Crown LTD operates two massive casinos in Australia and are a partner in Melco Crown Limited (MPEL) who operate Altira and City of Dreams in Macau and have taken over the stalled Macao Studio City project on Cotai. Crown LTD has a market cap of roughly ((I could be wrong, I did the math myself) $9.6B USD… only MPEL, Wynn and LVS have larger market cap. Then why doesn’t anybody really talk about Crown LTD? Because, like Boyd now, they don’t have a property on the Strip. They had some juice in the Burj Du Strip Crown Las Vegas and Rampart and two Cannery Casinos in Vegas.

    The converse is true with sbe Entertainment. They owns one hotel on The Strip that they ran so poorly it was virtually forced to close. Now they’re renovating it and rebranding it. They’ve got a handful of other hotels in tourist destinations and a slew of eateries and nightclubs in Las Vegas. They’re not a gaming company. Do they deserve respect as a gaming operator just because they had/have a hotel on The Strip?

    Perhaps this discussion proves both of our points, you can be successful casino company and not be on The Strip and that if you aren’t on the Strip, you’re not on The Strip. Perhaps, believing the latter makes me a snob. If so, I wear it with pride.

  17. Late to the game, I know. But I’ll move off the Boyd discussion to ask the Gangsters this….

    In regards to “The Park” ™, it’s supposed to open around a year ahead of the new arena, right? But isn’t major arena construction pretty loud, and dusty? How pleasant will it be to sit outside in The Park, sipping on a frosty beverage, while construction workers are pounding girders into the ground for the arena?

    I know, the timeline was probably inevitable and MGM wants to delay the arena a bit, build up possible tenants. But to me, this makes no sense. I mean, Caesars didn’t build the Linq first, then put up the ferr– er, observation wheel while customers were milling around. They’re doing everything at once, and although the Quad is a construction pit, all the other new stuff will open at once, or close to it.

    I’m just wondering if The Park won’t be at its best until after the arena construction gets finished.

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