NEWS Vegas building boom
Big bucks are still going into projects, with retail and leisure preferred to gaming
Business may be slow in a tanked economy for some Las Vegas venues, but that hasn’t killed the local habit of thinking very, very big. Caesars Entertainment, for example, is planning to invest $550m in Project Linq, a development recently approved by Clark County that will sit between the Flamingo and the Imperial Palace Hotel & Casino. When it opens in 2013, it will offer 326,000 square feet of retail, dining and entertainment – but no casino, although the project will also involve a new facade for the Imperial Palace and the inclusion of O’Sheas Casino within it after
The giant wheel will be visible from the air to arriving tourists
demolition of the current O’Sheas building. Project Linq’s centrepiece will be a 550-foot wheel dubbed the Las Vegas High Roller, taller than the London Eye, with its 32 cabins carrying around 1000 people on a half-hour ride when fully occupied.
Besides being a potent attraction in its own right, the giant wheel should ensure visibility from the air to tourists arriving in Vegas. That’s also what developer Howard Bulloch is banking on with his scheme for an Eye-style wheel in the $300m Skyvue retail and entertainment complex located near the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino at the south end of the Strip. At 140,000 square feet, Skyvue will be less than half the size of Linq, but its wheel will be only a little smaller. The development is scheduled to open in late 2012. Yet it’s not all bullishness on the Vegas
property-development front. MGM Resorts, for instance, is having to demolish the 27-storey Harmon Tower in its $8.5bn CityCenter development after engineers warned that a large earthquake could cause it to collapse – proof that ambitious projects can go down as well as up.
Not just for fat ladies
Long-reviled Bingo is on its way back to Vegas casinos – but without the hair curlers
What’s the hot game Las Vegas casinos are hoping will attract a young male clientele? Got to be the latest twist on Poker, right? Wrong: try Bingo.
Always popular among venues catering to the local market, but absent from the Strip since the closure of the New Frontier four years ago, Bingo is now returning to the gaming offer at both the Riviera and the Plaza. Historically, Bingo fell out of favour thanks to a combination of low revenue and high floor- space requirements.
At the Riviera, for example, it will occupy 6000 square feet in a former meeting room that was unused most of the time. But it “has changed over the years”, the Riviera’s Bingo Room Manager Bobby Taylor was quoted as saying. “It is no longer just a loss leader.” Players are younger than they used to be for
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big games like the $200,000 jackpot Bingo that the Riviera will offer every quarter – although “younger” still often means 45 to 55 – and more men are playing, putting paid to the stereotype of the not-so-young lady in hair curlers.
Bingo fell from favour because of low revenue and its use of space
Many Bingo enthusiasts also patronise slots, meaning that besides providing a revenue stream in its own right, the game can be used to attract players who then spend in other parts of the casino too.
At the Riviera, recently emerged from Chapter 11, it’s part of a relaunch across the casino’s entire business that has also involved an overhaul of the food offer and sportsbook as well as new slots. The Plaza, meanwhile, is turning to Bingo with the incorporation of PlayLV, formerly at Las Vegas Club.
COUPON TEST FutureLogic is to trial its PromoNet couponing system at an unnamed Las Vegas casino with more than 2400 slots.
AFRICAN CARDS Shuffle Master Africa is to be exclusive distributor on that continent of Copag da Amazonia’s casino playing cards.
AS YOU LIKE IT Aristocrat Technologies is to introduce its Win Your Way system in Europe with two games, Captain Cutthroat and Big Sky, in the Viridian slot cabinet. Win Your Way lets players choose from three different pay tables.
VLT DEAL Bally Technologies is to supply 800 video lottery terminal (VLT) games and systems to Lottomatica in Italy, bringing the total that Bally will install in the country to more than 5000.
NJ NOVELTY Michael Godard’s Rockin’ Olives, the video slot from Aristocrat Technologies, has made its Atlantic City debut at Borgata Hotel Casino. The real Godard attended the launch.
ANOTHER NO Nepal’s Supreme Court has turned down a bid by entrepreneur Rakesh Wadhwa to halt the Nepalese government’s cancellation of his licence for four casinos.
BACK TO AMERICA Playtech is returning to the US gaming market in a joint venture with Scientific Games. Their company, Sciplay, will provide technology for free-to-play online Poker to the California Online Poker Association.
ITALIAN INSTALL Ritzio Italy has launched Lottomatica video lottery terminals (VLTs) in its six Vulcano della Fortuna gaming venues. Separately, Ritzio International has opened two gaming clubs in Latvia under the City Casino brand.
MACAU DELEGATES More than 5700 people attended the fifth annual G2E Asia expo in Macau, up 25 per cent on 2010.
RNG ROULETTE Cammegh’s new Roulette wheel, the Mercury 360 Aurora, uses a random-number generator to select a colour which can be used for side bets or mystery prizes.
INCREDIBLE SALES Incredible Technologies has begun selling its Magic Touch video slots in 21 US jurisdictions.
MULTIPLAYER TABLE International Brand Gaming and partner Elektrosil are now selling dreaMTouch, a multiplayer electronic table game.
PET PROJECT Bulgarian slot manufacturer Casino Technology has obtained licences for the Penthouse and Penthouse Club brands, and plans to launch slots based on them.
FIJI FUN The Fijian government is inviting expressions of interest from casino operators who could develop and run the nation’s first venue. A casino is seen as a way to attract visitors from China, India and Europe. A regulatory structure similar to those of Malaysia and Singapore is promised.
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