Vegas Gang #111 – July 17th, 2014

REMINDER: VIMFP 2014 is October 18th, 2014!

This time on the show:

– Downtown Grand Crumbles
– Atlantic City Crumbles
– Caesars Crumbles
– The LINQ Crumbles
– The Quad Vanishes
– IGT Goes Italia

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** Sure Bets **

Dr. Dave – The Discovery Children’s Museum
Chuck – Vegas Gang Co-Hosts
Hunter – Halt and Catch Fire
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7 thoughts on “Vegas Gang #111 – July 17th, 2014

  1. Having been to the old O’Sheas which was a “dive” casino the main reason it was popular was because drinks were cheap along with low ($10) table minimums. I would assume the new O’Sheas is also relatively inexpensive which is probably why Chuck said it was so crowded. Maybe the High Roller should drop the prices to $20 and include one free drink (beer for adults, pop for children). Then when exiting the High Roller the customers might walk through the Linq towards the Strip and spend some money in the different retail and dining establishemnts in the Linq.

    Removing Quad as a casino name for Caesars Entertainment was a good idea because hardly anyone liked that name and Linq sounds much better. When Chuck mentioned getting a good domain name limited the marketing department at Caesars
    Entertainment in naming the casino (which is how The Quad came to fruition) I ran into the same problem ten years ago when I tried to find a good domain name for something related to dice.

  2. Lots of downers in the podcast, but wait until SLS Las Vegas opens next month. It will be as huge to the North Strip as The D Las Vegas is to downtown.

    I, for one, enjoyed the discussion of IGT. From a slot design standpoint, IGT was originally one of the creative forces in video reel slots, and their creative guy, Joe Kaminkow, was the best in the industry. Then, IGT lost its way and lost its creative staff. Where is Joe Kaminkow now? He’s the creative force at Aristocrat Technologies which has become a slot powerhouse. Aristocrat, WMS and some smaller names have left IGT in the dust. In my opinion, IGT has become the General Motors of slots. We’ll see what GTECH can do with it.

  3. I don’t have any problem believing that the Quad was always meant to be a placeholder, for several reasons: First, the way the Imperial Palace name was dropped by both Caesars and Boyd when their respective name use periods expired makes me think that the (prior owner) Engelstad family did not really want to give up the name. I’m guessing they either wanted too much money for a licensing fee, or wanted to sell the name outright for too much money. It’s possible the Hitler issue was a negative that both of the buyers didn’t want to be associated with over the long term. Clearly there was no agreement regarding the value of the name.

    I think Caesars knew there was no way they could finish the Linq project before the name agreement expired, and that the Imperial Palace name was so associated with low price and bargain property that it would be a hindrance to keep it, regardless. But, there was also a long enough period where the hotel and casino would be in such a state of being both run down and renovating that using the “real” name could be permanently damaging to it’s image in the future. I think it’s likely that the entire Quad rebrand cost was lower than the cost of keeping the Imperial Palace name, and/or what Caesars saw as the damage to the long term prospects for the Linq. It is also very possible that Caesars was in such shaky financial shape, and the Las Vegas market was also so soft, that they might have had to sell off either, or both of the projects mid-stream. This would have been the easiest way to handle the separation.

  4. The name The Quad was not intended to be a placeholder. Speculation on that point not required.

  5. OK, then. Well, in that case, please humor me and allow me to ask a couple questions.
    1. What do you think happened then?
    2. WWHHD (What Would Hunter Have Done)?
    Or, possibly, if the wonderful panel would indulge me further
    Love the show, guys. Love what you stand for.

  6. I have a little insight into #1. Basically, they fucked up. The name that they picked from their list (The Quad) didn’t land the way they wanted. Naming the whole place The Linq from the start was on the table but the original thinking was keeping them separate was somehow a branding win. This was not a universally held opinion internally but it’s what won out… until now.

    #2 is a lot harder because there’s so much context missing so it’s unclear what the options truly are. Ideally you’d just skip The Quad entirely and not re-name anything until you could re-open with a totally transformed experience (i.e. rooms too). I don’t love ‘The Linq’ as a name but having it all be one thing makes sense. As you said, the licensing agreement around the IP stuff is not clear so I can’t say how plausible that this would have been. I assume it could have been fixe with $$ but who knows how much, etc…

    … but the grand plan was not to brand the place with a bridge identity.

  7. Chuck nailed Atlantic City – the boardwalk & beach should be “The Strip” or “Fremont Street” but it’s a closed off mix of t-shirt shops during the day and wandering zone for bums in the evening with no police presence. Expanding the beach bars and making the boardwalk a heavily policed 24 hour open container zone would make you *want* to leave the casino and drift from place to place. As it is now, you walk outside during the day and there’s not a bar or casino for a few football fields either way. At night, it’s desolate and intimidating.

    This would also allow it to compete with other NJ boardwalks and beach towns. None have open container zones or beach bars, so folks tend to head to towns like Belmar and Seaside where there are larger clubs and you can rent a house cheaply for the summer.

    Vegas learned long ago to market to 20-somethings with disposable income – Atlantic City (and the state) need to figure it out.

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