Vegas Gang #91 – June 28th, 2013

This time on the show:

– Followup (SLS)
– The Polercoaster
– Grand Bazaar @ Bally’s
– Cosmo Gambling Win
– Revel Rebate Program
– Golden Nugget Fremont Fee

and more. Leave comments here on the site!

** Reminders **

VegasLists appVIMFP 2013 @ The D Las Vegas
Roll The Bones : Casino Edition

** Sure Bets **

Chuck – Black Sabbath ’13’
Dr. Dave – “Making Modern Britain
Hunter – “Master of the Senate

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9 thoughts on “Vegas Gang #91 – June 28th, 2013

  1. Wonderful show, as usual. Thanks for all your efforts. Quick comment about the Golden Nugget & their FSE fee: Seems like there would be a great opportunity for the first travel site that lists all hotel prices with all “mandatory” fees and taxes included. I can see the tag line now “VT Travel-the FIRST honest price travel website!” Also, Dr. Dave’s UNLV Gaming Podcast has, as one of it’s episodes, an excellent interview with Golden Gate owner Mark Brandenberg. Brandenberg gives a great insight and backstory on the formation and dues structure of the FSE.

  2. The fine print of Revel’s rebate reveals that losses incurred during the month of July will be repaid in 5% increments over a 20 week period. You can debate whether this program is desirable.

    I think the bigger question to ask is whether Revel will be prepared to deal with the gambling customer, after 12 months of ignoring them. As an example, how will customer service representatives handle the disgruntled customer who wasn’t aware of the fine print and expects a true rebate the morning after losing his bank roll?

    If early indications are a predictor, I am skeptical that Revel will be able to effectively cater to the gambler, and here’s why: Friday, June 28th at Revel a Beach Umbrella Give-a-way. It was scheduled to start at 3pm, but the line started to form at 1:30 and by 2:15pm, it wrapped around the box office and some of the slot floor. I was in the line at 2:30pm, and I did not get my umbrella until 4:10pm. That is 100 minutes that I was not gambling.

    So what’s the big deal?
    For starters, Revel’s management was either unprepared and understaffed, or worse, unable to understand the importance of these give-aways. Borgata has this down to a science – you’re in and out and back to gambling.

    It’s one thing to offer a clever rebate program; it’s an entirely other thing to adopt a philosophy that caters to the AC gambler.

  3. Chiming in on the concept of the SLS Sam Nazarian (sounds almost like a ship) drawing locals:

    I live 1.8 miles from The Sahara. I can see part of it from my front yard. I know the area.

    From my understanding, “locals” casinos try to market to a 3 mile radius. Unfortunately for SLS, that radius is very, very middle class (with plenty of lower middle class pockets) and only a handful of upper-class pockets like the Country Club, Scotch 80’s, Palamino/Rancho and management types who live in the heart of downtown.

    Sidebar: The rank-and-file Zappos employees headed downtown don’t make enough to patronize SLS. PLUS, their “cult leader” is already creating the habitat that will keep them from straying too far away. (Zappos is cultish, but in a good way. Their people really are happy).

    I agree with Dave from last episode: People from the snobby suburbs aren’t going to make the trek to SLS hang out with a bunch of California douchebags. As it is, locals don’t visit The Strip in any way, shape, or form (unless their last name is Ivy). I’m the only one I’ve ever met in my neighborhood who lives here to be super-close to Fremont and The Strip. The rest work in the industry (living close to work) or really, really like the central Las Vegas location (25 minutes to anywhere in the Valley, tops).

    There are some ways Nazarian could try to get the more upscale locals in the door. But like Dr. Dave, I don’t do free consulting. The key will be to see if it pulls a “Stratosphere” and struggles in the early months and how he handles it (aside from room rate reductions).

    Having said that, I’m not totally ruling it out and here’s why:

    I’m literally 5-6 minutes from Strat, LVH, Riviera, and Circus. 6 minutes only if I hit all the lights red. I have none of their players cards. In 4 years in this neighborhood, I can maybe recall one mailer from LVH and nothing from anybody else.

    However, every couple of months, I get a thick coupon book (also despite no players card) from The Palms. And… I’m barely within that 3 mile radius of Palms.

    So, SLS would be the only property in that area (Palace Station excluded, completely different vibe) marketing to locals if they chose to go that route.

    BTW, if anyone wonders if living this close to The Strip makes it lose its luster. Hell no! I still get goosebumps. I can walk out my front door, drive to Casino Royale, park, and be lounging in Rhumbar within 10 minutes of turning on my ignition. Hope Nazarian builds something like Rhumbar and he may get some of my business (hint, hint, Sam… cigars smokers have disposable income). It would shave 2-3 minutes off the drive.

  4. Quick question I keep meaning to ask regarding the losses at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas: I recall reading that they have never made any payment on the property, and all losses are operational. It is implied that Deutsche Bank is sitting on a bigger loser than they want to discuss. Does anyone know if this is indeed the case?

  5. Something related to Ted’s comment about getting the Palms mailer: I live in Henderson-adjacent, so I’m pretty far from the Hard Rock. Yet I pass one of their billboards everyday (it’s on the 215 at around Warm Springs and a few weeks back got a beautiful, huge, glossy mailer filled with coupons of dubious value. I guess its a lifestyle thing, but even if they offered me a free meal, no strings attached, or $100 in freeplay, I wouldn’t trek up there. Of course, since I work down the street, I’d probably stop by for lunch, but that’s not the point. What I’m saying is that HRH is spending big bucks on an unfocused marketing campaign (I didn’t get the mailer because I have an HRH card, I got it because I’m a RESIDENT of my address). I’d really like to know what their ROI is on that.

    Of course, other people without small kids like to do strange things like “go out” at night, so I might not be their target customer, but if I’m not, why are they spending money mailing to me? I wonder how many “hits” they need to get for the “locals marketing” thing to be considered a success.

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