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Marriott To Buy Starwood and Invades the Vegas Strip

Marriott

Marriott

Marriott announced that they will be buying Starwood Hotels this morning. This comes on the heels of Starwood announcing that SLS Las Vegas will be a part of their Tribute Collection last week (see article on Travel Zork). Part of the SLS connection is that Starwood would be changing the Lux tower at SLS into W Las Vegas.

A Starwood sale wasn’t a secret but Hyatt was becoming the favorite to buy them (see article on Travel Zork). This deal was made because most of Marriott’s rooms before the purchase were in the United States. About 2/3rds of Starwood hotel rooms are outside of the United States. Marriott now has 1.1 million hotel rooms around the world.

Back to Vegas.

Starwood’s biggest connection with Vegas is through its current affiliation with Caesars Entertainment. The SLS program will begin in December and W Las Vegas will open mid-late 2016. Marriott’s current Vegas Strip affiliation is with the Cosmopolitan. Since the Cosmo was sold last year it’s been rumored that they will eventually join Hilton in some way.

Might the Cosmopolitan become a Starwood hotel?  I know at least one person that will lose his mind if that happens.

Details on the merger of the programs haven’t been released yet. The press release is more financially driven. It’s possible, but unlikely, that Starwood and Marriott will remain separate brands that would keep their individual loyalty programs.

The deal isn’t expected to be completed until sometime in 2016. Unless relationships change these are the hotels on the Vegas Strip that will become Marriott hotels:

  • Bally’s
  • Caesars Palace
  • Cosmopolitan
  • The Cromwell
  • Flamingo
  • Harrah’s
  • The Linq
  • Paris
  • Planet Hollywood
  • Rio
  • SLS Las Vegas 
  • W Las Vegas

Marriott would be the hotel partner for almost half of the hotels on the Vegas Strip (12 of 26 or so). That’s kind of a big deal. Look forward to more information to follow next year.

PS: Starwood Hotels and Starwood Capital are not the same company. This old rumor is probably just be a coincidence.

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Rumor: The Mirage And Marriott To Partner

The Mirage

The Mirage

By now you’ve probably read the rumors and analyst discussion about MGM Resorts selling The Mirage. Today MGM Resorts CEO Jim Murren said that The Mirage isn’t on the market. Well, if the rumors about The Mirage already being sold are true than he’s not lying. It’s not on the market.

My source that says the The Mirage has been sold also says that they will have a new hotel partner once they’re no longer be a part of M Life, MGM Resorts’ players club.

It’s rumored that Marriott will be the hotel partner for The Mirage once the sale goes through.

It’s difficult to be an independent hotel-casino operator on the Vegas Strip so Starwood Capital Group is taking steps to bring in a partner to help fill the hotel. Marriott was just voted the #1 national hotel chain rewards program by US News and World Report.

Starwood is also rumored to bringing in Paragon Gaming to operate the casino. Paragon currently operates the Westgate casino and used to operate the Riviera casino.

Marriott is currently the hotel partner for Cosmopolitan but it’s been rumor for while that the relationship will end soon since Blackstone, owners of Cosmo, also owns Hilton.

You can see the press release for MGM Resorts’ quarterly earnings here.

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Westgate SuperBook Should Have Mobile Wagering Soon

LVH SuperBook - Las Vegas Hotel

LVH SuperBook

On the latest episode of the “Behind The Betspodcast (download at itunes) Jeff Sherman from the Westgate SuperBook mentioned that the sportsbook is working on mobile wagering and hopes to have it ready by end of the year.

I listen to podcasts on 2x speed so I had to rewind the podcast to make sure that I heard it correctly. I tweeted looking for confirmation and I received it from Jeff (@golfodds) shortly thereafter.

@MeltzVegas @LVSuperBook correct

It’s only a matter of time before every sportsbook operator in Nevada offers wagering via mobile device. Last year I hinted that MGM would offer mobile wagering soon and that was confirmed earlier this year in an article I wrote for Vegas Chatter.

Westgate having mobile wagering will certainly help their bottom line and will offer the best odds to more bettors (like me) but it won’t be a game changer. They’re still only a single casino and as @John_Mehaffey states it will take a lot more coverage to reach as many people as the larger sportsbook operators.

That being said this is still an exciting moment for sports bettors. I rarely visit the Westgate so this gives me a chance to wager with their lines without driving out to the other side of the Vegas Strip. This gives everyone an opportunity to wager with the best odds without visiting the Westgate.

The Westgate is undergoing a lot of renovations (see 5 at Vegas.buzz) and the sportsbook renovation should be finished by football season. I actually look forward to my next visit to the Westgate – that’s something I’ve never said before (even when it was LVH or the Hilton).

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Speculation Games: SLS Las Vegas To Become Cosmopolitan Jr.

SLS Las Vegas Blackjack Table

SLS Blackjack Table

Speculating on the future of Vegas is fun. This isn’t rumor or anything I’ve heard elsewhere. Just speculation on current news.

Subject: Blackstone may acquire more property in Las Vegas

On February 20th Vegas Inc. had an article the reiterated many of the big changes in store at the Cosmopolitan that were revealed the middle of December. Sort of hidden towards the end of the article is the following quote:

Blackstone will hold onto the Cosmopolitan for a while, and possibly acquire more property in Las Vegas

Speculation: Blackstone will purchase SLS Las Vegas.

SLS Las Vegas is off to a rocky start with employees being let go and restaurants being closed or rebranded. Their business model is similar to the Cosmopolitan where the casino generates 20-30% of the revenue and the rest comes from clubs, restaurantsbars, hotel rooms, etc.

If the financial woes continue at SLS Las Vegas throughout the year their owner, Stockbridge (90% owners of SLS), may look to cut their losses.  If Blackstone can turn around the Cosmo’s financial woes to become profitable they may look to target SLS Las Vegas. The property is new and business model is similar to the Cosmo that it might be a perfect addition.

The two hotels are already linked through Blackstone. Blackstone owns Hilton and SLS Las Vegas is already a part of the Hilton Curio collection of hotels. Cosmopolitan is without an outside hotel partner for the time being but a Vegas Curio combo could help the collection.

Hotel room rates are rising rapidly and capacity is shrinking with the Riviera closing. Adding a second property to their Las Vegas portfolio makes sense to create more value for when Blackstone decides to sell. SLS Las Vegas might be the quickest property to turn around and sell again for a larger profit.

I see this potentially as a 1+1=3 scenario if A) Blackstone can create positive revenue at the Cosmo B) Stockbridge decides to sell SLS Las Vegas C) Blackstone can repeat a turnaround at Cosmo at SLS.

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LVH Is Out, Westgate Las Vegas Is In. Here’s What To Expect.

Westgate Las Vegas Marquee

Westgate Las Vegas Marquee

Last week LVH was sold to Westgate. In turn the hotel formerly known as LVH, Hilton and International will now be known as Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino. The purchase price was somewhere around $180 million and the owner says that they will put more than twice that much into rehabbing the old property.

A lot of changes are planned for the new Westgate Las Vegas, here’s what you need to know:

[Read more…]

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LVH SuperBook Set For Renovations

LVH SuperBook - Las Vegas Hotel

LVH Westgate SuperBook

In case you didn’t hear the news, LVH was sold last week to Westgate. LVH is no longer but the SuperBook will continue and become better than ever!

he (Westgate CEO, David Seagel) vows to make Las Vegas’ largest race and sports book the best in the market with new video screens and other comforts.

This is great new for a legendary sportsbook. I’ve never been a fan of the Hilton or LVH sportsbook because it’s old and makes me feel dirty. That said I think I’ll like the newly renovated Westgate SuperBook when the work is done.

There are no dates for renovations but don’t expect anything before football season later this year or March Madness next year.

UPDATE: Since you’ve asked, SuperContest will not be affected by the sale of LVH to Westgate.

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Will Cosmopolitan Join SLS Las Vegas As Part Of Hilton’s Curio?

Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas Suite

Cosmopolitan Suite – Now THAT’S luxury

Yesterday Hilton announced a new brand of hotels for a collection called Curio. The collection was “Created for travelers who seek local discovery and authentic experiences, Curio will be a carefully selected, global collection of distinctive four to five star hotels.”

Sounds cool, but is Curio really going to be what they say? Not if you look at their first Las Vegas hotel. 

Curio will be a part of the Hilton HHonors loyalty club and start with only 4 properties in the collection. It’s strange that SLS Las Vegas is a part of this collection since they’ve been said that they’re not a luxury hotel. SLS PR people have been calling the hotel “accessible luxury” since the project was announced a few years ago. When I hear “accessible luxury”, I think “shabby chic” or “cheap fancy” or “nice stuff at bargain prices” – NOT luxury.

On the flip side of cheap luxury there’s the Cosmopolitan which is 100% luxury in every way. The Cosmo hotel has the highest average daily room rate in Vegas, it has high-end shopping and dining, it’s home to the #1 nightclub (Marquee) in the entire country where they’ll deliver you a bottle of booze by Drone.

The Cosmo oozes cutting edge and luxury from every inch of the property. It’s already rumored that the Cosmo will be a part of the Hilton system. The Cosmopolitan fits the description of Curio to a tee.

Will the Cosmopolitan end up as a Curio hotel? Does it matter where it stands in the Hilton HHonors ecosystem? 

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Cosmopolitan To Say Goodbye To Marriott

Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas At Night

Cosmopolitan At Night

If you’re a Marriott customer and looking to visit to the Vegas Strip you might want to make your reservations for a visit soon.

When Cosmopolitan was sold to Blackstone people with common sense assumed that the new Cosmo would be moving away from some of their current partnerships. Well, that’s the case with their hotel partner.

Say goodbye to a Marriott hotel partner on the Vegas Strip.

Since Blackstone owns HiltonLa QuintaWyndham and the brands beneath them, like Waldorf Astoria, the common thought was that they’d link the Cosmo with one of their existing hotel businesses. #Synergy.

The Las Vegas Sun confirms common sense:

…they will merge one of their hotel investment affinity programs into the Cosmopolitan to reward frequent players and guests.

“We believe that gaming revenues can increase there very quickly by 50 percent,“ I was told. “We have portfolio positions with other leisure travel properties that can be very beneficial to the future of the Cosmopolitan. There will be changes to ensure the property’s profitability in the short term.”

Changing hotel partners won’t guarantee that kind of gaming revenue increase. Even though Hilton hasn’t been named the hotel partner yet the change would be logical as Hilton and Marriott mirror each other.

The Cosmo has some of the highest room rates in Vegas and are often over 95% capacity. The change in hotel partners won’t help hotel revenue much, if any. Are Hilton customers more likely to gamble? We’ll see.

Going full circle, this changeover won’t happen overnight but if you want to use your Marriott Rewards on a free stay at the Cosmo you should book and stay soon.

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BREAKING: Cosmopolitan Sold!

Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas

Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas

Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas was sold by Deutsche Bank to Blackstone Real Estate Partners for $1.73 Billion. Since this is still developing I’ll pass on information as it’s decimated disseminated.

I’ll keep updating this list as news comes in. I’m off to get coffee.

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Rumor: LVH May Become Vegas International Casino and Hotel

At the end of 2011 Hilton decided not to renew their license with the casino that’s been known as the Las Vegas Hilton for years. The owners decided to keep continuity with the name by calling the property LVH. Well, the LVH has new owners and may have another new name next year.

Could the casino now known as the LVH wind up with the name Vegas International Casino + Hotel?

American Casino and Entertainment Properties LLC (ACEP), which applied for a trademark for the name and accompanying logo, is in the middle of the month during which outsiders can register their opposition. This standard part of the process ends Nov. 22.

Executives at ACEP, owned by an affiliate of Goldman Sachs & Co., declined to comment on what they would do with the name. “What’s in the public record is in the public record,” said spokeswoman Kathy Topp.

If you’re familiar with Vegas history you might remember that this property was called Vegas International before becoming the Hilton. Back then it was home to a guy named Elvis.He’s kind of a big deal.

Renaming the hotel Vegas International and bringing back Vegas history may help the casino find some identity and a niche with older Las Vegas vacationers. The article mentions that many of the acts already booked at LVH would make sense with this possible vintage rebranding.

If the LVH opts to adopt a version of its original International name, it would fit with an entertainment lineup heavy with acts that gray-haired guests can remember from when they were young. The current lineup includes impressionist Rich Little, the Doobie Brothers, a Rat Pack tribute group and an Elvis impersonator, reprising the hotel’s most famous headliner.

LVH is a filthy lifeless dump of a casino that offers nothing besides a large sportsbook and something to do when taking a break from the Las Vegas Convention Center.

This rebranding, along with a major deep cleaning and new ventilation, could help the casino continue to stay in business.

photo: Elvis Australia (1961 at Vegas International)

Copyright © 2017 Marc Meltzer & EDGe Vegas