Vegas Gang #103 – December 14th, 2013

This time on the show:

– Seth Schorr, CEO of Downtown Grand for a special interview with Hunter & Dave. Chuck was absent but he got a note from home so it’s all good.

We talk about ‘growing up Wynn’, Macau, Fremont Street, the amenities and services that downtown hotels may offer in the future and of course, Downtown Grand. We had a lot of fun and we hope you enjoy the chat.

There’s a little bit of noise in the recording here and there but that’s the way it goes with phone-in interviews so just sit back and enjoy!

Leave comments here on the site and stay tuned for another interview next week.

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8 thoughts on “Vegas Gang #103 – December 14th, 2013

  1. I’m glad Seth Schorr gave you a full hour. I thought his comments about Macau’s Portuguese history and the Macanese culture were very interesting.

    Chuck’s question, bringing in Brahms, was one in a million. Brilliant!

    Seth brought back great memories when he talked about living in the Golden Nugget as a child. His references to Stefano’s with its singing waiters, and the elegant Lillie Langtry’s made me remember what an elegant property it was when Steve Wynn owned it.

    All I know about Downtown Grand comes from your podcasts and press releases, but Schorr made it sound like he’s working on fine tuning it every day. I still don’t understand what this new Picnic venue will be.

    Interesting hour. Thanks.

  2. One thing I noticed about the place when I ate there last week was 95% of the gamblers were age 45-70 yet the music they played seemed more alternative music meant for the Zappos crowd that was virtually non-existent there. I think I saw 2 people in their 20’s during my 3 hour visit. Because the design of the place lacks a ceiling (exposed vents) the music just bounces everywhere and seems overpowering. While in their coffee shop (forget the name), they had their own music and it was overpowered by the music played in the casino. Personally, when I’m eating, that’s my time to relax, I don’t want to hear competing sounds of loud music.

    I love the fact that they had the porters there open the doors for their guests. That’s old school and unfortunately a rare sight anymore (I think 4 Seasons, Venetian/Palazzo and Mandarin are the only ones that do it anymore.)

    It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see they will struggle to get foot traffic during the winter months and will rely heavily on the warmer months to deliver the numbers. When I was there a week or so ago, they had live country concerts going on downtown and Fremont St. was surprising packed given it was 35-40F degrees out and yet it was a ghost town walking down N. 3rd St. to the Downtown Grand. I think in the winter months, people are willing to walk down Fremont as access to any hotel that is virtually ten feet away, but walking 1000 feet to the Downtown Grand is “tough” for the winter tourist. Again, in summer it should be much less of an issue.

    Lastly, I’m glad we have some youth leadership like Seth and Tony Marnell that lived the what I feel was the last great decade of Vegas, the 80’s. Most of the rush of new Vegas residents or more importantly Vegas hotel employees the past couple decades are from other cities and don’t have any reference point to what the town was like in the past, so they push their own concepts of what they think Vegas should be, and for many that’s one of the keys to the loss of the town’s luster, whether it’s good for their stockholders or not.

  3. Excellent interview!
    I only wish you would have pointed out to Mr. Schorr that a big part of appealing to the locals is making them feel like they are getting a “good gamble” at your joint. The whole fiasco with downgrading their video poker pay tables shortly after opening got them off on the wrong foot in that department. With the proliferation of gambling info on the internet its not the small percentage of people it used to be who pay attention to this sort of thing. For me personally it means I wont consider staying or gambling there on one of my half dozen trips into town per year.

  4. Very interesting piece of work. Interesting that he agreed that there are two types of downtown visitors. Based on what I have heard so far, Grand is trying to be sort of like Cosmo where good gambling is secondary to a good experience. Cosmo seems to have realized that as a mistake and is trying to make its casino more relevant. I am excited to see the property but I suspect when I want to gamble I will walk over to The D or the El Cortez. Regardless, the downtown area continues to steal most of the exciting headlines.

  5. I love Las Vegas casinos, but don’t gamble much. Just love the experience of being in them. From the Cosmopolitan to the El Dorado, I just love being there and checking them out.
    We made a visit to the Lucky Club in North Las Vegas last summer. Legend had it that is was a very rugged and coarse place. So I was very concerned about dragging my poor wife to another shithole in my quest for “adventure”. I was very pleasantly surprised. I’m not saying it was the Wynn, but it was a nice, clean and safe environment. Good gambling odds, good players club benefits and good food at the restaurant. I know it was good because a regular customer corralled us walking down the hallway and told us “It’s really good!”
    I’m not a Seth Schorr expert, but one I can say from our time in the Downtown 3rd area and Lucky Club is that he provides a better experience and value than the market segment should expect. That is a compliment to him and his team.

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