Nick's Picks 2005: Interview with Nick Christenson from the Las Vegas Casino Deathwatch

Boom, Bust or Ba-Boom! - what's up in Vegas for 2005 and beyond

Posted by Chuckmonster

6) Monte Carlo

I don't see this one making any big changes. What did this place cost, less than $350 million opening in 1996? I have friends that don't like this place much, but it has to be one of the best returns on investment in Las Vegas resort history. I expect that in a few years they'll give it a face lift, but I don't think it's going anywhere for a while.

7) Bally's

Assuming the Harrah's/Caesars merger goes through, the new Harrah's will be in an interesting pickle. There's really no coherence to the Caesars chain, no uniform brand, nothing that ties the properties together. It's a lot of individual casinos with a single owner, not a cohesive business. I believe that fixing that is what Harrah's will have to address, especially in the Central and Eastern time zones.

Dealing with these issues and finding and building the new Horseshoe is going to take a long time and a lot of effort. Plus, I think the present Bally's is still viable in the medium term. I would expect only minor changes to most of their existing Las Vegas properties for a while.

8) Rio

There are rumors that folks are interested in buying the Rio from Harrah's, but until they get a Las Vegas Horseshoe built, I don't see them selling. Although, once the Caesars acquisition goes through, after 2005 they could hold the World Series of Poker somewhere else, like the about-to-be-opened poker room at Caesars... .

9) Greek Isles

Put a fork in it.

VT: Do you think that Bob Stupak (visionary/entrepreneur/kook whose responsible for the Stratosphere and the old Vegas World casino) will ever get back in the game?

NPC: No, I don't, at least not in a property with any significant size. The cost of admission has gotten too high, and I doubt there's anyone out there who would be willing to partner with him. Now, a Bob Stupak reality show, that would be a project worth doing. He could do an "Apprentice"-like thing. I'm making myself laugh just thinking of inappropriate titles for the show.

VT: Of all the joints in Vegas, past and present... who wins your "Best of Vegas" award and why?

NPC: I thought this would be a tough question, but after thinking about it for a bit, I realized that the answer was easy. It's the Desert Inn. This is the place I miss the most. The DI had both an old-school feel and some real class. Here a person could easily find a seat at a $5 blackjack table on a Saturday night, and still be treated with respect by the pit. The restaurants were great, and the staff was outstanding. Almost all of them had plenty of experience and good humor, but they still cared about delivering quality service. I loved swapping stories with the table games dealers. This was a fun place.

However, I completely understand Wynn's decision to tear it down. He ran the numbers and made the right call. It was a sad day, though. Some friends and I stayed a weekend at this place after Wynn bought it up. It was perhaps my all-time favorite trip to Las Vegas.

Now I've gotten all wistful and stuff.

     Add To Itinerary


Comments & Discussion

I work at Circus Circus, and it won't be getting demolished for sometime. Actually, there's enough cash flow to renovate the place into it's original decorating scheme (Circus Colors, pinks, whites, reds, purples) that it had before the 1997 renovations. And other than that, MGMMirage needs a mid-level resort to send their customers to, and thats exactly what Circus is.

We frequent Las Vegas 3 times a year. Tried many hotels. Our favorite hotel/casino is The Flamingo. Location is the key. Can you comment on any future plans for The Flamingo. It needs some upgrading particularly in the vent system The air does not circulate well enough to handle all the smoke in the casino. Hopefully something will be done to help this problem. Other than that we are happiest there.

Comments Are Closed