Entertainment

Strip Reset: COVID-19 is definitely challenging, but does the crisis present opportunities for a Vegas makeover?

Las Vegas soared until recent years, but we’ve reached the tipping point, where it’s necessary for the Strip to redefine itself again. Las Vegas is like no other place in the world. It’s the entertainment and sports capital of the world. It has the most amazing resorts. It just needs to remember our industry’s roots, redeliver on customer service, and provide value.

Covid-19 has devastated the industry and the greater Las Vegas economy. With the resulting industry shutdown, the city must take the opportunity to develop a strategy to reopen, reinvigorate and recapture its guests.

For the first time in well over a decade, both Caesars Entertainment and MGM Resorts, which between them operate 18 Las Vegas Strip resorts, have new leadership teams. These teams are comprised of seasoned casino industry professionals—not outsiders from professions other than hospitality—who have the ability to make these changes.

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10 Trends – ROI from the IRs

With competition increasing in casino markets across the world, many of the more astute casino operators are expanding and/or repositioning their facilities to differentiate themselves from their competition to better meet the needs of their customers. These operators have realized that they must create compelling environments and engaging experiences to fully penetrate their marketplaces and improve property performance.

Globally, casino operators have utilized the phrase “integrated resort” as a catalyst to redefine the casino experience. This strategy is not new, as it has been employed in markets like Las Vegas, Singapore and Macau. However, recent developments in these markets have truly reimagined the concept.

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Pampering, Purchasing, and Partying: More opportunity for increased revenue

Providing customers with experiences that exceed their expectations significantly improves the operator’s ability to attract and retain customers.

These experiences can be created in a casino resort environment in spa, retail, nightlife and entertainment in both destination and regional gaming markets. Customers who provide feedback
tend to be inclined to offer both positive and constructive feedback that focuses much on their non-gaming experiences.

Incorporating non-gaming amenities as a complement to the gaming experience provides customers a more complete and hospitality-driven visit. These concepts are not new. Carefully planned and well-executed non-gaming amenities provide operators with significant opportunities to increase revenue, profit, and ultimately, customer loyalty.

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Casinos and the City – A White Paper

Casinos and the places where they can be found have increased dramatically over the last twenty five years. Where at one time there were only a few places on the planet where one could go to participate in legal gambling activities, today casinos are a fairly common enterprise. In the United States alone, there are over 900 commercial and Indian gaming establishments. Casinos can be found not only in North America but also throughout Europe, Central and South America, Oceana and Asia.

Since the passage of the Casino Control Act in 1976, legalizing casino gaming in Atlantic City, NJ, casinos have been narrowly viewed as a tool for urban redevelopment, providing tax revenues to state and local governments and jobs to its citizens. Their success in providing those benefits cannot be disputed. Collectively, the casinos in Atlantic City, the riverboat and barge casinos in the Midwest and southeast United States, Indian casinos, and the land-based commercial casinos in a number of US cities as well as those on the Macau Peninsula and Singapore have contributed billions of dollars to government coffers and created hundreds of thousands of jobs. However, their success as a tool for stimulating commercial activity within the neighborhoods that they are located in has produced less dramatic results.

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Making Nightclubs Work

For years casino operators from around the world have looked to Las Vegas in order to spot emerging trends that could be adapted to their markets. The opening of Caesars Forum Shoppes in 1993 inspired other gaming operators to add shopping malls in order to broaden their reach into new markets. For example, the Viejas Casino in Alpine, California and the Horseshoe Casino in Bossier City, Louisiana developed stunning factory outlet malls to broaden their appeal and casinos in Atlantic City developed first-class shopping malls appurtenant to their casinos.

The more recent phenomenon of so-called “celebrity chef” and “eatertainment” restaurants in Las Vegas inspired casinos in regional markets to also add locally and nationally recognized restaurateurs to their food product offerings. Mohegan Sun features a restaurant by Boston-based Todd English, who opened Olives at Bellagio in 1998 and dozens of casinos now feature nationally recognized brands such as Ben and Jerry’s, Hooters and Wolfgang Puck Café.

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The Challenges of Developing a Casino Resort

Over the past fifteen years the Indian casino industry has evolved and so too have the individual properties that make up this industry. Many of these casinos have evolved from simple gaming operations housed in temporary structures to regional gaming entertainment centers, and some have succeeded in evolving into lavish full-scale resorts. While the evolution of a casino into a regional gaming entertainment center is often a natural and progressive form of casino development, the creation of a true casino resort is often a difficult, expensive and risky process. There is, in fact, a wealth of problems facing any casino operator that attempts to make the transition from a local oriented casino to a full-scale casino resort.

When conducting a market assessment for an expansion of a casino into a resort, consultants examine a number of variables including 1) the location of the proposed resort and
its ability to support this kind of development, 2) the expected demand for a resort from primary feeder markets, 3) the proposed quality level of the resort, 4) the kinds of amenities
that will support the resort experience, 5) the size of the proposed resort and the size of its related amenities, 6) the relative strength of the competition and 7) the ability of casino
management to effectively manage a full-scale resort operation. Misreading any of these variables can doom the project.

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Ten Ways to Make Headline Entertainment Profitable

As the price of headline casino entertainment grows, a loud but vocal minority of casino executives have begun to question the expense associated with entertainment. These people tend to be the financial professionals within the casino organization who believe that such programs should be measured. They may also be of the belief that casino headline entertainment programs seem to exist solely to fund the retirement programs of aging rock stars who, like most baby boomers, neglected to properly plan for their golden years and are now forced to work extra hard while they still retain some marketable skills. This article is not for those naysayers but is written for those that must justify their entertainment programs in the wake of what may be sound logic and reason. Skeptics are asked to ignore this article. Those that must justify their entertainment programs are invited to read on.

There are ten simple steps that entertainment and marketing executives can take to better justify the expense of headline entertainment. By following these suggestions entertainment programs will always make money despite what may be revealed in property profit and loss statements.

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The Coming of the Entertainment Superstore

Casino development in Las Vegas has historically acted as a bellwether for the development of gaming and nongaming amenities in regional markets. Development trends such as the multi-station buffet, multiple dining options, casino food courts and showrooms were first introduced in Southern Nevada and eventually exported to other markets. Casino developers in regional markets have traditionally looked to Las Vegas to see what works and what doesn’t work; what is particularly appealing to gamers and what is not and adopted those development trends that hold the greatest promise.

While Strip properties often offer the most glamorous of amenities, it is Las Vegas’s locals casinos that have developed amenities that are most relevant to casinos in regional markets. Beginning with the opening of Sam’s Town Casino in 1978, followed by the Gold Coast Casino, the whole concept of a locals casino was first developed in Southern Nevada along with the suite of amenities that held appeal to local gamblers.

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Designing the Right Amenity Mix

When leadership decides to commit to an expansion of its gaming facility or a wholesale replacement of its casino, the first step is to determine the proper size of the proposed gaming operation. This exercise involves examining the current utilization of the existing facility, the size of the primary and secondary markets that the casino will serve and the gaming behavior of those markets. While not a precise science, determining the right number of gaming devices, table game positions and casino square footage is based on proven mathematical models. Although
complex, these models can accurately determine the proper sizing of a casino.

The next step is to determine the appropriate mix of nongaming amenities that will support the gaming operation in order to maximize gaming revenue. Non gaming amenities are most often comprised of restaurants, hotel rooms, meeting and banquet facilities, entertainment venues, retail outlets and leisure/recreation operations such as golf courses, movie theatres, nightclubs, bowling centers, arcades and child care facilities. While determining the right amount of hotel rooms and banquet/meeting facilities is primarily an empirical exercise, identifying those other amenities that will maximize gaming revenue and best meet the needs of the market requires far more investigation.

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