Note: Normally, the column from AccessVegas.com Founder and 20+ year Las Vegas resident and visitor expert is only available to our subscribers who support our efforts. However, in light of possibly the biggest Las Vegas news in a decade, we’re giving our free email subscribers this section today.
Hello From Las Vegas! – Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy. The biggest shake-up in a long, long time could be good for our visitors. Some of you have heard that MGM Resorts CEO Jim Murren is stepping down. For those not up to speed: He’s the guy who brought high resort fees, paid parking, and tons of other high prices and nickel-and-diming. Which ended up permeating most of the industry here.
For those new to the classroom, we generally don’t go way into the business side of Las Vegas here. Although, there have been calls for it in our Members Facebook Group. Hence, I am considering a time-to-time section at the bottom of our Members newsletter version for those interested. I’m constantly involved in talking the business side of Las Vegas with colleagues, industry people, and those in the media.
My involvement the past couple of years has aggressively centered on calling out MGM Resorts for these practices. I’ve frequently been speaking out in assorted articles about how fees were negatively affecting visitors, visitation rates, and simply leaving a bad taste in people’s mouths.
So… Ding, Dong… The Witch Is Dead! Let’s backtrack almost exactly two years, trace this amazing and fortunate downfall, talk about how and why it happened, and talk about what is next for Las Vegas!
On February 17, 2018, I wrote the following Op-Ed in the Review-Journal:
Let’s just say that suggesting the emperor has no clothes on isn’t popular. I got one very gruff phone message, and some of you may have noticed that we haven’t carried any MGM advertising nor promotions in a long, long time! (Except perhaps through a third party not associated with them). However, I really felt strongly about what they were doing to our visitors, the bad path they were taking, and was in a position to speak up.
While I can’t begin to take full credit for getting Murren out the door, what followed that op-ed was quarter-after-quarter of (usually) sub-par earnings calls. Jim Murren kept saying “wait until 2020, wait until 2020” and I was thinking “Yes, 2020 when everybody finally sees that your horrible treatment (financially) of your guests isn’t helping the business and you get shown the door.”
Disclaimer: Murren is resigning, but many feel that the company board of directors suggested that he do so.
In fact, many months ago, well back into 2019, I had specifically told anyone who will listen that Murren would be out the second half of 2020. (He’s taking his time stepping aside, and highly likely will within that window). People no longer think I’m nuts on that one!
I followed that “Warning Signs” article with a Letter To The Editor:
Here’s the crux of that letter:
As someone with more than two decades of Las Vegas tourism promotion, I can tell you what they are doing right: Lower limits, more favorable game rules, looser slots, free-flowing liquor comps, and more affordable food and beverage. They know they are going to get your money eventually. Not only isn’t it a sin to let you play longer, but even after you’ve lost that first $100 bill, you are more likely to pull out the next one because you got your entertainment value out of it.
The mantra of Strip casinos has been “people aren’t gambling as much, so we want to focus on other revenue sources.” The reality is that people aren’t gambling on the Strip as much in recent years because those casinos decided to choke the golden goose some time ago. Slots were tightened, limits were raised, house-favorable rules like lower-pay blackjack were instituted, and people simply lost their money more quickly.
Oh, and could downtown’s lower (or non-existent) resort fees, free guest parking and lower-priced dining (both fine and casual) be leaving people more money to gamble with? Food for thought.
I’ve been additionally quoted regarding the negatives of parking fees here, here, here, and here. Plus, articles such as South Point going strong with “old-school” playbook regarding casino operators who are doing it old-school (good odds, good rules, reasonably-priced food and beverage) and seeming to do just great!
We also started our Access Vegas Insider Vibe Membership program a number of years ago to help combat this. I can’t make the casinos stop charging you resort and parking fees. But, with the support of our members, I can hire help so we can research and stay on all the ways you can do Las Vegas like you always used to, and on the same budget you used to. It is not uncommon for our members to save 2-3 times (and even more) the $34.80 per year we ask you to support us with.
Honestly, you can’t NOT afford to “buy us a cup of coffee” per month (less than $3 per month) if you want to help us not only keep “sticking it” to those who are trying to bilk you on your visits, but provide you both deep and extensive ways to save on each visit that your zillion hours trying to search the internet simply aren’t going to uncover.
Seriously, ask an internet group a simple question like what the best Las Vegas steakhouse is. Try it. You are going to get 18 different answers, often from people who have only heard about a place, and none of which might be appropriate for what your celebration requires. And, don’t even get me started on the problems with possibly fake Yelp reviews. Our members? They ask us, we answer based on their wants, and we often publish that info to help all of our members!
How can I be this confident in how we help our members? Because we have a 60-day money-back guarantee that (literally) virtually nobody ever takes us up on. In fact, it is the other way around: People regularly write and say “When is my subscription up? I want to make sure I’m resubscribed and don’t miss a thing!”
There is a whole lot more to this Murren story, his downfall, future changes, how I knew it was coming months before others did, and what it all means to you regarding what to watch out for future visits. When you choose to become a member, you can Be In The Know Before Your Next Visit and have instant access (to that, and everything else).
Hope you are enjoying this issue!
The hard-charging and endlessly fun “Raiding the Rock Vault” opened at its fourth home in nearly seven years in Las Vegas this month, exploding onto the stage at the 172 music club and restaurant near the Chippendales Theater at the Rio.
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- Pitbull Returns To Las Vegas In Residency April 22 – Click for Tickets
- Shania Twain Extending Her ‘Let’s Go!’ Las Vegas Residency – Click for Tickets
The Flamingo has a long history on the Strip dating back to the 1940s. Its new steakhouse will pay homage to that history.
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Las Vegas is one of the fastest growing destinations in the country right now with new neighborhoods popping up nearly as fast as lawyer commercials on TV. Its residential evolution is influencing what’s possible for tourism, whether it’s the dining scene or attractions that are shifting away from casino culture.
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Lake Las Vegas isn’t exactly one of the most-iconic parts of visiting Las Vegas. In fact, you may not even know it exists. But if you get tired of the glitz and glamour of the Strip, then you should definitely consider visiting Lake Las Vegas.
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It’s quickly becoming a cashless world and some Las Vegas casinos are starting to go that route, as well. Following approval last year by the Nevada Gaming Commision, the Reno-based company Automated Cash Systems Inc has partnered with several casinos to install ATMs at various table games.
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Vegas Videos You’ll Enjoy
Shania Twain Las Vegas Residency Show at Planet Hollywood Zappos Theater. Shania shares what she loves about her Las Vegas show, the songs, the fans, and the incredible theater.
(Producers Notes) Today we explore the Venetian Resort on the Las Vegas Strip. This resort is massive! I feel in love with the Resort and I am pretty sure I saw only half of it.
(Producers Notes)Eating at the worst buffet in Las Vegas? The buffet at MGM GRAND LAS VEGAS.
(Producers Notes) We took a trip to the Arizona Hot Springs. Its a 6 mile round trip hike with an elevation change of 800 feet. The trail offers 3 routes and we tried 2 of the 3. The hot springs were too hot to enjoy, but we still enjoyed the hike. Pack tons of water and a sack lunch.
VIP Grand Canyon Skywalk Tour via helicopter trip to and from the Skywalk. Stunning views! Expedited and exclusive arrangements available.
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