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  • Two Las Vegas Restaurants Added to AAA Four Diamond List

    Posted on January 13, 2010 by Jordan

    Two of Las Vegas' most world renowned chefs are taking their restaurants to the main stage of culinary excellence. The latest report from travel club AAA shows the upscale side of Las Vegas continues despite a recession that's cut into consumers' spending. Travel club AAA has added two Las Vegas restaurants to its list of Four Diamond eateries in Nevada. These restaurants with the new AAA status include Wolfgang Puck’s CUT, and Daniel Boulud Brasserie. Nevada's total number of Four Diamond restaurants is now up to 31, making the state 6th in the US for its share of Four Diamond winners.

    Wolfgang Puck's CUT is located inside the Palazzo, specializing in their fine cuts of meat. CUT in Las Vegas is the second location for master chef and restaurateur Wolfgang Puck’s critically acclaimed, award-winning Beverly Hills steakhouse. This 160-seat restaurant and 60-seat bar, provides a modern aesthetic to the traditional steakhouse. The other inductee Daniel Boulud Brasserie, is located inside Wynn Las Vegas. This restaurant has a prime location with an outdoor patio overlooking the Lake of Dreams. While enjoying the lakeside view, guests can feast on Boulud’s modern French cuisine or take on their extensive wine list.

    AAA's inspectors evaluate 58,000 hotels and restaurants a year to come up with its select list of winners in the Five Diamond category, its highest honor. Just 113 hotels and 52 restaurants made the roster. Inspectors grade properties based on service and atmosphere. Landing consistently high customer-service marks for a hotel with more than 5,000 rooms isn't easy. However, the executives of the MGM Grand, America's biggest hotel by number of rooms achieved the Four-Diamond feat by making the rank a property wide goal.

    All 17 hotel winners are repeat members of the list. The Mirage, which celebrated its 20th anniversary in November, won Four Diamonds for the 20th time. The property owns the longest Four Diamond streak of any local hotel. Four properties celebrate 10 years on the list: Aureole, a restaurant inside Mandalay Bay, and the Eiffel Tower Restaurant at Paris Las Vegas have won Four Diamonds for a decade running, as have Mandalay Bay and Paris themselves. The Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe Resort, Spa and Casino earned its 15th Four Diamond honor.

    This post was posted in Vegas News

  • Gaming Revenues Up For First Time in Almost 2 Years

    Posted on January 12, 2010 by Jordan

    After a great kick off to the New Year, for the first time in 23 months, Nevada gaming revenues increased with casinos state-wide collecting $873.2 million from gamblers in November, a 4.35 percent climb compared to the same month a year ago. It has been almost 2 years since we could report a positive increase in gaming numbers for Nevada. This past year has been the worst with a couple of older casinos desperately making moves to try and compete with the new mega resorts on the Strip. Although this recent increase is great news, the Nevada Gaming Control Board reported monthly revenues for the fiscal year beginning in July are still down almost 8 percent.

    On the Strip, gaming revenues were also up for the first time in almost two years. Strip casinos collected $473.8 million, an 8.3 percent increase compared with the figures from November 2008. After 19 straight months of declines, the casinos on the Strip registered a 4 percent increase in win from the 21 games in November. The increase was mainly because of a 136.2 percent jump in gross win at the 191 baccarat games, which is the seventh-straight month of an increase in this category. Also winnings on sports parlay cards rose 79.7 percent as the pro and college football season was in full swing. Also up was Roulette with increased winnings up 12.3 percent, but craps tables fell 32.4 percent and slot win fell by 3.7 percent for the 17th consecutive month.

    Elsewhere in Nevada, strong win numbers were posted in North Las Vegas, up 20.7 percent; Boulder Strip had an increase of 18.9 percent and the balance of Clark County had an increase of 18.9 percent, ending 13 months of declining revenues for that sector. While the casinos in Southern Nevada enjoyed some success, the gaming business in Northern Nevada continued to suffer. Washoe County casinos reported a 4.2 percent decline in gross win in November; South Lake Tahoe was off 26.6 percent; Carson City was off 10.5 percent and Elko gaming revenue fell 8.7 percent.

    Nevada state revenues collected in December based on November casino winnings topped $57 million. That was up more than 28 percent from $44.4 million in December 2008. Taxes paid on casino winnings account for about 30 percent of the state general fund. Increased gaming numbers are a good sign for the economy's tax dollars, but the number that will really make the people of Nevada happy is the unemployment rate. There are still many people searching for jobs, with gaming numbers up, it seems like a case of the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer. Look for December gaming numbers to be up also, due to the thousands of visitors for a busy month of the CityCenter opening and the world famous New Years Eve party.

    This post was posted in Vegas News

  • Las Vegas Sports Betting Goes Digital With Handheld Devices

    Posted on January 11, 2010 by Jordan

    It just became a lot easier to place a bet in some Las Vegas sportsbooks with the introduction of the eDeck. The M Resort has been the first to use the hand-held sports betting device called the eDeck, which allows gamblers to place bets in real time from anywhere within the property. M Resort’s success using the new device has prompted other casinos such as Venetian and Palazzo to jump on the eDeck bandwagon.  In the casino business more bets equate to more revenue, which makes us wonder why it took Las Vegas sportsbooks so long to embrace the handheld revolution.

    In Las Vegas, the casinos do everything they can to keep you on the gaming floor so that you’re spending as much time as possible gambling during your stay. A company called Cantor Gaming has realized there are still a lot of missed opportunities where a casino guest might be away at the poker tables, slot machines, eating at a restaurant, lounging by the pool, or just relaxing in the room. This idea triggered the company to spend 5 years developing the eDeck, which is a wifi equipped portable gaming device allowing casino patrons to gamble for real money wherever they happen to be on the casino’s property.

    To use the eDeck is fairly simple, players have to setup an account, fund it before the first use and you’re ready to start betting. In the future the eDeck will allow gamblers to play casino favorites like blackjack, baccarat, slots, video poker, roulette and the much anticipated live-action poker. An eDeck can be used anywhere in the casino (except gaming tables), so long as it's within the range of the Radio Frequency Identification chip given to the gambler, all systems go. For the purpose of additional security, all monetary transactions are completed on a back-end server to ensure people’s money is safe.

    This new system, which was approved by the Nevada Gaming Commission in 2008, not only makes it easier for people to bet, but also increases revenue for sports books. Instead of simply betting once on the outcome of a game, bettors can use an eDeck to view odds and bet multiple times. Plus it offers betting throughout the game on everything from a first down to whether a kicker makes or misses a field goal.

    The big question is whether this eDeck is good or bad for gamblers. While the devices make life easier by allowing gamblers to place a bet without leaving their seat, one has to wonder if it will make up for the experience of placing a bet at the ticket window. Also something to consider, the eDeck makes placing bets more convenient, which could see people over betting. Some casinos might be reluctant to adopt the eDeck device in fear of burning out their players.

    This post was posted in Vegas News

  • World's Highest SkyJump to Open at Stratosphere

    Posted on January 10, 2010 by Jordan

    If you are in Las Vegas and looking for a thrill, nothing beats the rides at the top of the Stratosphere Tower. The Stratosphere takes you up on elevators up to indoor and outdoor observation decks with 360-degree views of Las Vegas and its beautiful mountain backdrop.  At night the Stratosphere tower provides picturesque views of the lights of the city along with neon colors of the famous Vegas Strip. The Stratosphere hotel and casino unveiled details about plans to install a "SkyJump," allowing thrill-seekers to dive 855 feet off its tower while tethered to a metal cable.

    The Stratosphere already has three existing rides including the Big Shot, X-Scream and Insanity, the rides currently cost $30 for an all-day pass. The new SkyJump will put Las Vegas on the map as one of the top tourist attractions in North America. The experience itself is described as a "controlled freefall" similar to skydiving and base jumping in which riders will hit speeds over 40 mph. Wires will allow participants to remain on course amid their 108-story fall and their decent will eventually be slowed by a machine to allow for a safe controlled landing This will not only be North America's only skyjump, but, also the highest skyjump in the world.

    It’s called Sky Jump, but it’s more like bungee jumping than a ride. There will be some safety concerns, but riders will be given a safety lesson and then get in custom jump suits. They will then be connected to a "descender machine." After jumping off the tower, riders will be guided by wires to stay on course during the 108-story descent facing the Las Vegas Strip before the descender slows the rider down for a controlled landing.

    The SkyJump will open in April and the entire experience is expected to take about 30 minutes per rider. Stratosphere expects to accommodate six to 10 jumpers per hour and that the attraction will be open 10 a.m. to 1 a.m. Sunday-Thursday and until 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. The attraction is expected to be priced at $100 per jump.

    This post was posted in Vegas News

  • Reap the Benefit of No Resort Fee at Harrah’s Las Vegas Properties

    Posted on January 8, 2010 by Jordan


    Earlier this week, Vegas Buzz reported that Harrah’s had discontinued their resort fees for their Las Vegas properties. Yesterday a representative from Harrah’s kindly contacted Vegas Buzz about misinterpreting Harrah’s press release about the no resort fee. The representative informed us that Harrah’s properties have never charged a general resort fee at any of their Las Vegas region properties and they let the guest choose what amenities they would like to utilize.

    Here is an official copy of the press release, “Reap the Benefit of No Resort Fee at Caesars Palace, Paris Las Vegas, Bally’s, Rio, Imperial Palace, Flamingo and Harrah’s Las Vegas”.

    Jan. 4, 2010 (LAS VEGAS) — Harrah’s Entertainment Las Vegas resorts offer guests the excitement and value of the Las Vegas Strip, without the excessive fees.  The Las Vegas properties, including Paris Las Vegas, Bally’s, Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino, Caesars Palace, Flamingo Las Vegas, Imperial Palace and Harrah’s, do not impose mandatory resort fees attached to a room reservation. 

    Harrah’s Entertainment Las Vegas resorts exclude mandatory resort fees, thus allowing guests to allocate their budget toward entertainment, dining, shopping or room upgrades rather than amenities that they may not use or desire.  Many Strip resorts outside of the Harrah’s Entertainment Las Vegas portfolio of resorts have implemented such fees.  These resorts offer competitive promotional rates; however, in many instances, an additional resort fee is assessed when booking the reservation online.  In some cases, the fee may be in excess of 40 percent of the base room rate.

     Resort fees range in price and services depending on the hotel and may include access to complimentary internet, bottled water, daily newspapers or use of the property’s fitness center.  The amenities may or may not be of value to the guest; however, the fee remains intact regardless of use.

     Guests of Caesars Palace, Paris Las Vegas, Bally’s, Rio, Imperial Palace and Harrah’s Las Vegas can remain confident that the competitive rates booked on the internet are an accurate reflection of the actual room cost per night (plus room tax), with no additional surprise fees.

    This post was posted in Vegas News

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