News and Rumors Shaking Up Las Vegas This December

Written By Marc Meltzer on December 1, 2021

The holiday season is upon us and Las Vegas casinos started rolling out the Christmas decorations almost before Thanksgiving was over.

Though December is usually a low season month in local tourism, everything is scrambled due to the shockwaves of the pandemic. The weather has been even warmer than usual and everything is busy, including Nevada sportsbooks, which set huge records in October.

Las Vegas generally gets a bigger buzz toward the end of the month, with its famed New Year’s Eve parties planned up and down Las Vegas Blvd., but here are a few news bytes and rumors to tide you over until then.

Bellagio’s holiday display is now welcoming visitors

One of the best and most popular Christmas displays in a Las Vegas casino is at the Bellagio Conservatory and Botanical Gardens.

Admission to the Conservatory is always free and the display is open 24/7 through the end of the year. Here are a few random numbers about this floral holiday display at Bellagio:

  • 13,250: White carnations
  • 8,700: Ornaments on the holiday tree
  • 7,500: Poinsettias
  • 2,000: Senecio “Angel’s Wings” plants
  • 300: Assorted shrubs including cypress and juniper
  • 25: 25-foot fresh-cut silvertip fir trees
  • 8: Arctic animals
  • 1: 42-foot fir tree from Mt. Shasta, California

As we mentioned last month, there are holiday decorations all over Las Vegas. One final note about Christmas inside casinos is that Christmas music will slowly be added to casino playlists as the day gets closer.

MGM Resorts is moving and shaking on the Vegas Strip

In October, we informed you that MGM Resorts was buying operations of The Cosmopolitan. The deal should close in mid-2022.

MGM Resorts followed this up with the announcement that the company would be selling operations at The Mirage during its third-quarter earnings call. VICI, a real estate investment trust, owns the land.

This will be a partial sale of the casino similar to the deal MGM made to purchase The Cosmopolitan. There’s no deal in place for The Mirage as of the writing of this article.

However, there are plenty of potential buyers of The Mirage. Some of the possible casino operators who could be interested in The Mirage operations are:

  • Hard Rock International
  • Golden Nugget
  • Penn National Gaming
  • Boyd Gaming

Hard Rock has been in the rumor mill about buying a Las Vegas casino since the company purchased the naming rights for a Las Vegas casino in early 2020.

The Hard Rock name is at the top of every potential Las Vegas casino sales rumor and this is one of the possible targets. It seems as though Hard Rock might already be sniffing around The Mirage.

Another possible target for Hard Rock could be a Caesars property…

World Series Of Poker moving to Bally’s and Paris

The World Series Of Poker (WSOP) crowned a champion in November. Koray Aldemir took home approximately $8 million in cash and prizes from the event.

Amazingly enough, the winner of WSOP isn’t the big news about the world’s largest poker tournament. Caesars announced that this was the last WSOP at Rio All-Suites Casino & Hotel. The company also announced that the WSOP is moving To Bally’s and Paris beginning in 2022.

WSOP will return to its normal summer schedule taking place between May 31 – July 19, 2022. Actor Vince Vaughn was named the event’s official celebrity Master of Ceremonies for next year.

More information on the 2022 WSOP will be revealed in December.

The announcement of this move brings up two old rumors about Caesars and Bally’s. The company has been saying it would sell a Vegas Strip casino next year.

Bally’s might be off the chopping block since it will become home to the WSOP. However, this could be the beginning a rebrand of Bally’s becoming Horseshoe Casino. The rebrand makes even more sense with the addition of Blake Shelton’s Ole Red bar, restaurant and entertainment venue.

Again, Hard Rock has been in the rumor mill to buy one of the Caesars properties when it becomes available. Bally’s and Planet Hollywood have been the rumored casinos. The WSOP move might make Planet Hollywood the Caesars casino available for purchase by Hard Rock or another operator.

Fontainebleau preparing for 2023 opening

Construction for Fontainebleau Las Vegas has been off and on since 2007. The big blue casino resort tower near Sahara and Resorts World has been about 75% completed for about a decade.

Koch Real Estate purchased the property earlier this year. Fontainebleau Development will oversee the completion of the casino and resort with an expected opening date during the fourth quarter of 2023.

The company will release details about Fontainebleau Las Vegas next year. There is one certain change from the original plans, Fontainebleau will no longer be a condo hotel. All rooms will be for hotel guests.

Expect to hear more specifics about the future of Fontainebleau over the next couple of years.

Oakland A’s are still playing footsie with Las Vegas

The Oakland A’s are negotiating with Alameda County officials about building a new baseball stadium. While those negotiations have been going on the A’s are considering moving to Las Vegas. Residents are discussing more than a few pros and cons of the A’s moving to Las Vegas.

The A’s recently announced the team placed a bid on land somewhere in Las Vegas to build a stadium. The team did not reveal any specifics about the bid. Contessa Brewer from CNBC reports that the A’s are looking at the Tropicana. Again, there’s no offer to buy the land.

It’s possible that the A’s don’t even need to buy land. Howard Hughes Corp. is offering free land in Summerlin, near Red Rock Casino, if the team pays to build a new stadium. Coincidentally or not Howard Hughs Corp. owns the A’s AAA team Las Vegas Aviators and its stadium in Summerlin.

This will likely continue to be in the news through the summer. There should be plenty more rumors about the Las Vegas A’s becoming a reality.

Country music dominates December concerts in Las Vegas

December used to be a slow month in Las Vegas. That changed as interest in the NFR (National Finals Rodeo) has grown over the years. It will be held at Thomas & Mack Center on Dec. 2-11. Here’s a sample of the many country music concerts and residencies in Las Vegas this month:

  • Carrie Underwood – Resorts World Las Vegas (Dec. 1, 3, 4, 8, 10, 11)
  • George Strait – T-Mobile Arena (Dec. 3, 4)
  • Shania Twain – Planet Hollywood (Dec. 2, 4-5, 9, 11-12)
  • Jason Aldean – Park MGM (Dec. 9-11)
  • Reba, Brooks & Dunn – Caesars Palace (Dec. 1, 3-4, 7-8, 10-11, 14-15)

In addition to the big-name country music concerts, there are plenty of other country music artists performing all over Las Vegas in December. There’s so much demand for country music in December that MGM Resorts has country music performers playing inside the BetMGM Sportsbook at The Mirage during NFR.

Las Vegas is such a big country music destination that the Academy of Country Awards will be taking place in Sin City next year. According to Deadline, the awards show will take place inside Allegiant Stadium on March 7, 2022.

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Adele Las Vegas residency finally announced for Caesars Palace

The “Weekends With Adele” residency at Caesars Palace was finally announced for 2022! The show will take place over 12 weekends at the Colosseum inside Caesars Palace beginning Jan. 21.

Adele will perform at Caesars Palace most Friday and Saturday nights from Mid-January through Mid-April.

Rumors about an Adele Las Vegas residency have been around since 2017. She was originally taking her talents to Caesars Palace but other Las Vegas casinos were said to be negotiating with the International pop star. Adele will now take up a residency at the venue originally built for Celine Dion.

Two All-Star games this February

The NFL Pro Bowl will take place at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas for the first time on Feb. 6, 2022. In addition to the Pro Bowl, the league will have a variety of events throughout the week.

A day earlier, on Feb. 5, 2022, the NHL All-Star Game will take place at T-Mobile Arena on the Vegas Strip. Much like the NFL, there will be events for fans during the week.

One of the highlights of the NHL All-Star game could be a rumor that the league will have some skill competitions taking place outside on the Vegas Strip. Fingers are crossed for some ice skating on the lake in front of Bellagio.

Photo by Jordan Strauss / Associated Press
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Marc Meltzer

Marc grew up on the mean streets of the South Bronx. He's the rare combination of Yankees and Jets fan which explains his often contrarian point of view. Marc is a freelance writer and social media consultant. Writing about steak, booze, gambling and Las Vegas is a tough job but somebody has to do it.

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