Aladdin Planet Hollywood : Stuffing the Genie Back In the Lamp
Can you polish a turd if you have a big enough budget?
After years of floundering business and a heavy post-implosion debt load Aladdin Gaming LLC surrendered to the pressures of bankruptcy and unloaded themselves to OpBiz - a consortium of turd polishers headed by Planet Hollywood Honcho Robert Earl, Bay Harbour Management and Starwood Hotels. OpBiz pledged $90 million dollars in construction funds to convert the struggling Aladdin into Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino. OpBiz aims to enter the Vegas gaming market on par with MGM Mirage - whom OpBiz have singled out as their competitive model. (Not Hooters?)
OpBiz has pledged to keep the Aladdin open during the 13 month transition period scheduled for completion in November of 2006. Currently, all table game felt, chips, dice and signage in the new casino has been shifted to Planet Hollywood Logo, while the Strip-facing frontispiece still says Aladdin. The large construction drywall seperators that infest the Aladdin's casino trumpet the coming of the Planet.
Planet Hollywood? The faded restaurant chain that was part of the 90's celebrity food chains that mushroomed up in the wake of monstrous success of the Hard Rock. Do you remember the supermodel themed Style Cafe? Where each meal came with a box of Ex-Lax! (Untrue) Or the All-Star Cafe - where condiments are served in the athletic supporter of your favorite sports star (also untrue). You're one of the few.
Planet Hollywood launched to much fanfare in New York on October 22, 1991 with celebrity backers Bruce Willis & Demi Moore (then married), Sylvester Stallone and muscleman turned action hero turned retarded governor of my home state Arnold Schwarzenegger. Planet Ho's restaurants quickly faltered and their stock price at the height of the dot com boom was a paltry $1. P-Ho now has only 5 restaurants in the United States one of which is already in Vegas. The home page of their Vegas store still lists "Sheraton Desert Inn and Country Club" on their map. How can you trust them to redesign a casino when they can't keep their website up to date? Seriously. To make a long story short, P-Ho eventually went bankrupt. Twice. The company still limps along operating a handful of shops in the US and two times as many overseas - the Toronto outpost of P-Ho just closed.
All of this raises some serious questions that the Nevada Gaming Comission obviously didn't give a shit about. Can these knuckleheads with a proven track record of overshooting their abilities to the tune of not one but TWO bankruptcies actually manage and run a relatively dangerous and financially sensitive casino resort operation? The NGC sez yes and OpBiz got their casino and their license to operate. If the NGC could line up three cheers on the common sense payline they would've hit the 'avoid a future bankruptcy jackpot' but, alas, the house always wins and that house's name is Planet Hollywood.