News and Rumors Shaking Up Las Vegas This October

Posted By Marc Meltzer on October 5, 2021

Welcome to Halloween month! Prior to COVID-19, Las Vegas was actually an under-the-radar Halloween destination. Between parties and people-watching, there was fun everywhere you looked. Ironically, costume masks have not been allowed in casinos in previous years, but naturally, this year will be full of health-related face masks.

It seems as though casino guests are acclimating to the mask requirements and wearing them as required. However, this is Las Vegas and there are many people drinking or smoking so it may appear as though fewer guests are wearing a mask. Unless there’s a major change in the spread of the Delta variant, the current face coverings will still be required when visiting a casino this month. Regardless, the people-watching on Halloween should still be fun.

International travel restrictions getting lifted in November should bring more people to Las Vegas for the holidays. It might be wise to reserve rooms for November and December holidays before all international travelers book up the rooms. As usual, expect a boom for New Year’s Eve, barring any large surges in COVID cases.

Additionally, conventions and expos are big business in Las Vegas but they’re still trying to navigate how to return to in-person events. Major conventions like SEMA (auto) and CES (electronics) remain committed to having in-person events in Las Vegas. Meanwhile, NAB (broadcasters) and AVN (adult) are on hold for the time being.

The Cosmopolitan (operations) sold to MGM Resorts

The Cosmopolitan has been available for sale for a few years. MGM Resorts has been one of the few casino operators rumored to be interested in purchasing the property. The company recently announced it was acquiring the operations of Cosmopolitan for $1.625 billion.

Much like the sale of The Venetian earlier this year, this is a split deal. Various other companies own the real estate including the building. MGM Resorts has a lease agreement to operate the casino for 30 years. You can read about the specifics of the deal here.

The deal for MGM Resorts’ purchase of Cosmopolitan operations should close in the first half of 2022. The company hasn’t announced plans for the property but we should expect to see some differences after the independent casino resort joins the multi-property casino corporation.

Possible (but important) changes that Cosmopolitan guests and players need to know

We can speculate on a few changes that will eventually take place when the deal is done. The Cosmopolitan is likely to become a part of MGM Resorts’ M Life Rewards, its casino loyalty club. This would allow MGM customers access to discounts and complimentary rooms. Current Cosmopolitan Identity Rewards members should see a status match offer. It will take time for MGM Resorts to implement its program so don’t expect this change to happen immediately.

Some of the small touches like unique toiletries, linens, and other plush hotel amenities will likely change. This is traditional corporate synergy. MGM Resorts has bulk buying power and should be able to save money at Cosmopolitan by folding it into its operations.

One change likely to fall under the radar will be the complimentary drink policy on the casino floor. The Cosmopolitan offers mid-premium spirits complimentary. No other Las Vegas casinos offer the quality of the drinks served at Cosmopolitan. Unfortunately, MGM Resorts will likely streamline this perk to become the same as its other properties.

These are some of the small things that make The Cosmopolitan what it is today. Nothing will be changing until next year at the earliest. You’ll have a little while to enjoy the Cosmopolitan as it is today.

Unrelated to the Cosmpolitan deal, MGM Resorts purchased 50% of CityCenter it didn’t already own. The company then sold the real estate and will continue to operate Aria and Vdara.

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Could Planet Hollywood or Bally’s be the next Las Vegas casino sold?

Fun fact – a deal to sell a casino that happens this year won’t close until next year.

Caesars has been planning to sell a Vegas Strip property since its merger with Eldorado Gaming was announced in 2019. The company said it will offload a Vegas Strip property in 2022 but that hasn’t slowed the rumor mill down.

The two Caesars properties that have garnered the most chatter about being on the market are Planet Hollywood and Bally’s Las Vegas. The hot name in the rumor mill to be sold is Planet Hollywood. Or maybe it’s Bally’s. Nope, maybe Bally’s won’t be sold.

Frankly, the rumor about Caesars rebranding Bally’s as Horseshoe casino has always made the most sense. The company could move its World Series Of Poker (WSOP) back to a hotel with the same name as where the tournament started after Caesars’ lease agreement with Rio runs out.

Rumors are fun but nothing is official. Keep your eyes peeled. Where there’s smoke, there’s eventually fire. Remember it took a few years for the Cosmpolitan to get sold.

Oakland A’s are about to get serious about Las Vegas

Pro MLB team the Oakland A’s have been floating the idea about moving to Las Vegas if the team can’t strike a deal with the local government on a new baseball stadium for months. Staff from the team has visited Las Vegas to scout multiple locations around Las Vegas to potentially build a stadium. The team has gone as far as having discussions with potential partners.

It appears as though this flirtation could go to another level after Major League Baseball (MLB) concludes its season. For the time being the search for a new home in Las Vegas is on hold. The city will have to fare with NFL and NHL teams, for now.

The World Series will begin in late October and should be over by the first week of November. Unless there’s a deal with Oakland in October, the A’s could return to explore moving to Las Vegas in early November.

Downtown Las Vegas happenings

A group of revelers outside of The D Las Vegas toppled the beloved Mannekin Pis statue outside of the casino. You can see a surveillance video set to “Benny Hill” music below.

Circa Las Vegas opened its doors last year despite the coronavirus pandemic. The property has several wow factors including the largest sportsbook in the world and technology not found anywhere else in downtown Las Vegas.

After being open less than a year, Circa received an AAA Four Diamond rating. This is quite an honor for a new casino. Moreover, Circa is the only downtown Las Vegas casino to receive this honor. In total, fewer than 7% of all hotels surveyed by AAA receive this award.

Last but not least, Boyd Gaming finally reopened Main Street Station in September. All casinos in the Fremont Street district are now open.

New Las Vegas restaurants and bars today and tomorrow

Las Vegas continues to rebound from 2020. It was difficult for new restaurants to open last year and earlier this year with capacity restrictions due to Covid-19. Well, the restrictions aren’t as drastic now and restaurants are opening, reopening, and being planned.

Superfrico is now open at the Cosmopolitan. This Italian restaurant with unique atmospheric performances picks up where previous tenant Rose.Rabbit.Lie left off.

Here’s a big restaurant rumor for steak lovers from the east coast. Vital Vegas says Peter Luger will be opening at Caesars Palace. The world-famous steakhouse will take over the space that held Rao’sanother New York City institution. This is the second time I’ve read the rumor and I expect Caesars will make an announcement soon.

When some people visit Las Vegas they want a unique “Only in Vegas” experience like Superfrico. There are others who just want to eat food that they know they’re going to like. Olive Garden is the latest chain restaurant to open its first location on the Las Vegas Strip, across the street from Aria.

Coming soon: Another Nobu restaurant will be opening at Paris Las Vegas next year. Bobby’s Burgers will be opening another location inside Harrah’s Las Vegas. This is the quick-serve burger joint from celebrity chef Bobby Flay.

Possibly coming soon: Vital Vegas notes that guests at The Mirage are being surveyed about potentially opening a tiki-style bar overlooking the volcano. While this isn’t an official announcement there’s no way this wouldn’t be a welcome addition. I volunteer to research and taste test this concept if it comes to fruition.

The Moon Casino is back in the news

The idea of the spherical Moon Resort and Casino concept (seen in the above video by Michael Henderson on Vimeo) was first revealed in 2002. It’s been nearly 20 years but the idea is back!

The concept sounds interesting if nothing else. The $5 billion price tag might be a bit optimistic. For comparison, Resorts World Las Vegas cost $4 billion. In addition to building a casino, there will be an expense acquiring the land. It will likely cost more than the $336 million Wynn paid two years ago.

It will take a lot of work, money and time to move this idea forward.

Photo by John Locher / 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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