Nick's Picks 2008 : Interview With Nick Christenson from Las Vegas Casino Death Watch

Turn your head and cough Las Vegas, the Doctor is In

Posted by Chuckmonster

Nicks Picks 2008

We're happy to welcome our friend Nick Christenson - ghostly host of the original Las Vegas casino blog, the Las Vegas Casino Deathwatch - back for another chit chat session . Nick has been documenting the comings and goings of Las Vegas casinos since the dawn of HTML. He's the original Vegas blogger and we're unbelievably proud to present another installment of VegasTripping's annual visit with Dr. Deathwatch. Ladies and gentlemen, the doctor will see you now.

VegasTripping: Hey Nick, thanks for taking the time yet again for our annual round up of Las Vegas' ever evolving landscape and - holy crap - what a year it was. Of all the many events in the Vegas casino biz that took place this year, which ones stand out to you?

Nick Christenson: No doubt, 2008 will go down as the "Year of the Two Implosions". The demolition of the Stardust and the New Frontier are definitely the landmarks this year. It's a further erosion of the old Las Vegas. Not much of the old days remain.

VT: Probably one of the shrewdest and most calculated chess moves in Las Vegas was the Kerkorian/Tracinda Dubai World/City Center/Circus Circus Center/Kerzner square dance that resulted in MGMMirage selling City Center to Dubai World, clearing up their balance sheet to begin planning a major project at the intersection of The Strip and Sahara Boulevard. What's your take on this?

NC: In the United States, the way we tend to make investment is we want to buy low and then sell high. We're out to make money. I get the feeling the folks from Dubai view investing the same way the hyper-rich collect art. Instead of, "Hey, that's worth more than its cost," they tend to think, "Hey, that's neato, I'd like a piece of that." Do I think Dubai World got a good deal? Not really. In these days of tighter credit markets, though, these two deals are really creative ways to get new projects financed. I think it's smart business, at least on MGM-Mirage's part.

VT: How will the Kerzner/MGMMirage Circus-Circus Center project affect neighboring properties? Specifically, sbe entertainment's recent purchase of the Sahara, the Riviera ownership and redevelopment quandary, Circus Circus proper, and the Worlds Largest Gift Shop.

NC: What's the old saw about real estate? Always buy the worst house in a good neighborhood. Well, once Circus Circus Center goes up, it will be about a four-way tie for that distinction. Moreover, nobody is making any noise about budging. The new Sahara owners say they don't plan to demolish the place, MGM-Mirage is putting Circus Circus changes off, and the World's Largest Gift Shop doesn't need to upgrade, it's clientele thinks Bob Stupak is classy.

You forgot about the proposed "Crown Las Vegas" or "Las Vegas Tower" or whatever that's supposed to go in across the street just south of the Sahara. Of course, that one is high on the list of "Least Serious Projects That the Owner Thinks is Most Serious".

VT: What are the chances that Monte Carlo will re-emerge with a different name and vibe after the repairs from the recent fire have been completed?

NC: About the same that construction will start in earnest on "Crown Las Vegas" this year. Put a dollar on the Monte Carlo getting massively redone and parlay that with Donald Trump winning the World Series of Poker and you could end up with Warren Buffett money. If it hits... .

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