Dr. Deathwatch Returns : Nick's Picks 2007

Las Vegas Casino Death Watch's Nick Christenson Gives His Annual Post Mortem for the Las Vegas Casino Industry

Posted by Chuckmonster

VT: With Harrah's going private, there has been some talk in financial circles that other gaming companies may opt to go private as well - Station Casinos has already announced a private buyout by the Fertita Brothers & Colony Capital. What other targets for privatization do you see in the casino sector?

NC: The next two big ones are easily candidates for the same sort of deal, MGM Mirage and Boyd. Kirk Kerkorian, the majority shareholder of MGM Mirage, has already made a tender offer that he hoped would raise his stake by 15 million shares. He didn't quite get there, but who thinks he's going to just give up now? Boyd is already majority owned by insiders, making this kind of move would be pretty easy for them if they wanted to. I give each of these companies a 50% chance of announcing a similar deal in the upcoming year. Others are possible as well, but I think a little less so.

VT: Thank you for sending us your picks for Best & Worst of Las Vegas in response to The Trippies 2006 Readers Poll awards. If you had to pick one joint to tell a first time Vegas visitor to stay at, and another joint for them to gamble at... what would they be?

NC: Well, it absolutely depends on the person, their budget, and their interests. I've met a bunch of people where it has been entirely appropriate for me to suppress a shudder when I say, "I'm sure you'll really like the ambience at Hooters." Mostly I want to suggest to the people there that it would be okay if they'd use their indoor voice, but making that suggestion rarely does any good. The thought that these folks might end up near me after Hooters changes hands keeps me up at night.

Of course, if I don't want to ever talk to these folks again, I recommend the lovely accommodations at the Western. Even if they make it out of there alive, they'll generally never speak to me again. Yell at me, maybe, but I'll take those odds. No risk, no reward.

For folks who are looking to go upscale, I still think the Bellagio is the class of Las Vegas. In what's now mid-market on the Strip, I still like the Mirage. For those who are looking for something approximating "history" and don't mind a little grit, a place like Main St. Station, the Golden Gate, or the current Tropicana have a little more "personality", both in the good way and the bad way. Or, you could always crash on Mayor Goodman's couch. Bring a bottle of Sapphire, and you're as good as gold.

As for gambling, there is very little on the Strip or even Downtown any more that qualifies as a "good gamble". Stay and dine at the Bellagio, gamble at one of the Stations, The Palms, or Sam's Town.

     Add To Itinerary


Comments & Discussion

» No Guts, No Glory... Be The First to Post

Comments Are Closed