Vegas Gang #122 – July 3rd, 2015

This time on the show:

– Kirk Kerkorian dies
– Loveman out
– SLS poop + SLS poop finances
– Bellagio + Apple Watch
– Alon Las Vegas
– Booze Fuels Vegas
– Trump for President
– Macau & Wynn Palace

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** Sure Bets **

Chuckmonster – Grateful Dead show
Dr. Dave – “Nevada, History of the Silver State
Hunter – “Seveneves

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9 thoughts on “Vegas Gang #122 – July 3rd, 2015

  1. Great discussion on Caesars and its new CEO, Mark Frissora. After reading a little about Frissora’s background as CEO of Tenneco and more recently, Hertz, I hope he’s the right person. He had some real critics at Hertz, including Carl Icahn. I always get suspicious when someone in his prime resigns for “personal reasons”.

    I agree with Dr. Dave, Frissora should talk with Derek Stevens, not to learn from Derek, but to see what Derek really thinks of Frissora. They both have somewhat similar backgrounds outside gaming. Obviously, I know that Derek would not share his personal thoughts publicly, but it sure would be interesting.

    It’s unanimous that Caesars should dump Rio, but if it were easy, it would have been done long ago. I also agree with Dr. Dave that Bally’s, Paris and Planet Hollywood don’t add to the corporation. I’d like to see Caesars focus on Caesars Palace, and the properties on the east side of the Strip north of Flamingo. I haven’t spent a lot of time in Caesars in recent years, but I believe it’s the one property that still has some of its former, glory years high-end attributes. There are enough mid-market properties in Vegas and regionally, that Caesars Palace should try to be be the equal of Wynn/Encore and Bellagio. That’s where the focus should be.

    This piece on Frissora is positive, but it’s from McKinsey, a consulting firm.

    The second one, from Forbes, is pretty brutal.

    I can’t wait for Vegas Gang to do its performance review of Frissora a year from now.

  2. The question is, what do the people who have billions invested in the company see in him? There must be something.

    I’d be curious to learn how many names rise to the top in an executive search at this level. Who gets interviewed? What are they looking for?

    I’ve reached out to try to set up an interview, maybe as a “Seven Questions.” Hopefully we can learn more.

  3. Dave, it would be great if you could interview Frissora. We’d learn a lot more about him than what’s on Google. I hope he succeeds. Someone must believe his strengths are financial and leadership, and that he will right the ship.

  4. SLS is a fascinating place for me. My wife and I stayed there during Rock in Rio and a ton of people definitely walked THROUGH the doors but did not stick around at all. I’ve never seen a place fail to capitalize on an audience delivered to your doorstep so poorly… they tried to do more the 2nd weekend but it was too little too late. The hotel was nice enough (we stayed in the World Tower), but a cup of coffee stayed in the hallway 2 of our 3 days there. NO ONE we asked knew how to reset the clock (Bell, Housekeeping, Housekeeping Supervisor, random security guy) until the housekeeper on check out day.

    I actually enjoyed gambling there but I agree with Chuck that the food options did run their course quickly. The limited markets that they just latch on to and won’t let go are forcing the failure… why did they have people waiting behind a velvet rope for the pool when there was NO ONE AT THE POOL???

    I think reworking the F&B and retail would be a HUGE first step. Monkey Bar and Center Bar always had a crowd…take a cue from these and make your nightlife accessible to people who want to have a drink and talk. And let Fred Segal go…i couldn’t believe we could not room charge from these outlets OR the gift shop. To charge from the gift shop they had to run the charge through the front desk which took at least 10 minutes. Won some money and was going to treat the wife to a minor piece of jewelry (300 bucks) but wanted to room charge and pay off at checkout. NOPE. No can do. Well no sale for you then.

    I haven’t finished the episode so the answer might be in there but I’m curious what type of demographic shift might be necessary to pull in the gamblers. What should SLS’s target market be? What types of changes would bring in this market?

  5. I also thought Alon would be bigger than 1100 rooms but at least the hotel rooms should be pretty big. Since James Packer is Australian I really like the PMS colors in Australia’s flag (PMS 280 Blue and PMS 185 Red) instead of what they have in the rendering.

    As Dr. Schwartz said gambling has not been growing as much in Las Vegas. There are casinos in lots and lots of states now because states need tax revenue. Consequently that is part of the reason why the LVCVA bought the Riviera earlier this year and are planning to build the Las Vegas Global Business District there.

  6. I have not finished the yet but I have a question. You did an interesting segment on who the enew CEO from Ceasar’s should talk to. Can you consider asking some of those people onto a segment as a guest. I realize Jim Murran and the CEO types probably will not do it and that some of them may have already done shows with you. But, for example, John Akers (?), the guy who says the slot is dead, would be an interesting segment.

  7. Love the show but you continue to deify Krekorian. Why no comment on his hostile takeover of Steve Wynn’s properties? Or his desperate bailout of City centre? Or the original MGM fire? He was not a saint.

  8. Hi Dan,

    We’ve spent a LOT of time in the past talking about the disaster of CityCenter’s opening. A lot.

    As far as the takeover of Mirage Resorts, how does that have any bearing on him being un-saintly?

    A guy died. We talked about it. There are no saints.

  9. I would like to second Dr Dave’s comment about Dr Michael Green and a note or two. I have heard him speak on at least 20 different occasions.

    You would be amazed at how many positive traits this man has that Dave also has. First of all they are both very knowledgeable on Nevada. They are both a pleasure to listen to. They both have a great sense of humor, they both speak very well, they are both captivating, they both have an unmistakable voice, and you can’t get enough of their stories when they are speaking. And of course, they are both a pleasure to talk to outside of the spotlight.

    I think Vegas Gang should look him up and put his name in the hat for a VIMFP special guest or at least a VIP attendee…or maybe as a podcast guest. His discussion skills are top notch. I don’t know his drinking habits or how he would warm up to the atmosphere of VIMFP. I do know that if you wanted someone to speak 15 or 20 minutes on casino history, mob men, casino owners, or city fathers, or the passing of a LV dignitary, he could hold the crowd in the palm of his hands.

    He doesn’t look like Dave, sound like Dave, or act like Dave, but he shares so many great qualities, you’ll wonder if they are related.

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