My wife and I went to San Francisco to see the Giants play two weeks ago. Then we drove down the coast to Los Angeles to visit relatives. And we stopped in Las Vegas for a day on the way home, just to see how the city looked compared with our last trip early in the year.
Over the years, I’ve learned that you have to be careful in drawing any firm conclusions about the hustle and bustle you see. As I’ve already mentioned a long while ago in this blog, I once was in Caesars in Atlantic City at a time when the casino was packed to the gills. (By the way, I’m not a big casino gambler myself. I find it too much like work. But the stocks are simple to analyze and usually generate huge amounts of cash flow.)
I called the company the next day and found out that their profits in Atlantic City were weaker than usual, not stronger. A main set of doors had broken and no one could get in or out easily. Few people were actually gambling; most were just stuck, and preventing fresh money from getting in.
Nevertheless, for what it’s worth:
–the city seemed to have far more foreign visitors than in January
–WYNN had a lot more casino patrons
–the Fashion Mall across the street was bustling
–the Bellagio seemed quieter; the visibly worn carpeting in retail areas hasn’t been replaced
–CityCenter appeared a lot quieter than in January
–I didn’t detect much difference with LVS
–every retail complex I saw had at least one vacancy, even WYNN; CityCenter, understandably had the most empty space.
One of the odder aspects of my trip was the controversy that flared up last week over the yet-to-be-completed Harmon hotel in the CityCenter. MGM is proposing to blow the structure up. (VegasInc has a comprehensive account). It says the building is a potential hazard in an earthquake, because of construction defects. Contractor Perini Building Co., which says MGM owes it $200 million+ for its work on the building, asserts any problems are design defects caused by MGM. Just another day in the desert.