at least for the Casino Industry in
If anything, there is going to be even
more casino competition with the last
few major states jumping on the band-
How would downtown LV compete
with that AND the strip ?
It's true that gambling is everywhere now, but Vegas has an edge in that the game variety and rules tend to be better than most of the newer places due to excessive taxes and regulation. In my home state of WA we have tribal casinos and mini-casinos that offer poker and table games. The tribals only have VLTs, no video poker, and are unpleasant due to the fact that they are the only public places left in the state with legal smoking. The table game rules are generally not as good as the vegas strip. Poker room standards of quality, dealer professionalism, and game variety are much better in Vegas than at home. For these reasons and the other attractions of Vegas I enjoy visiting.
The downtown casinos are not saddled with the massive debt of the megacorps running the strip casinos and retro style is in right now. With the right balance of quality and value they can get my business, and I am sure I am not alone. Unfortunately they may have gone a little bit too far down the cheap road. When the DT casinos are just as run-down, smoky, and filled with the same depressing oldsters gambling away their SS checks as my home casinos I am less interested.
The downtown casinos are not saddled with the massive debt of the megacorps running the strip casinos and retro style is in right now. With the right balance of quality and value they can get my business, and I am sure I am not alone.
Partly that is true. The three Boyd casinos which lead the pack downtown, have no debt and are a solid part of the revenue of that company. But Binion's was bought at a premium price just before the recession. The owners of Gold Spike massively overpaid for the property just before the recession. The debt assumed in purchasing and remodeling the Golden Nugget almost sank the company and caused S&P to downgrade their rating. Stratosphere was the worst of all (but most people don't consider that as being downtown).
The article mentions the Downtown Cocktail Room which is considered the most successful of the new businesses in downtown. Michael Cornthwaite, a 38-year-old entrepreneur who, along with his wife, Jennifer own the place are the most charismatic of the downtown business operators. Michael is notable in that he doesn't speak in superlatives like many of the other investors. He just wants to turn it into a viable district.
The apartment house that is described in the article is a spectacular failure, one which lost about $150-$200 million for the original investors. Those rents of $1600 per month are for condominiums which were expected to sell for a million dollars.
I can a dozen failed concepts for downtown for this successful Zappo's operation. What is not mentioned in this article, is that the City Government desperately wanted to build a new City Hall, and the unions just as desperately wanted a large construction project to put some of their unemployed back to work. The City government financed the new building almost entirely on the back end, so if Las Vegas doesn't turn around spectacularly in the next three years, they will end up having to cut even more basic services to pay for the building.
The City just as desperately needed a tenant for the old City Hall. They coaxed Zappo's in to the building for a sweetheart deal.
But there were plans to build dozens of apartment buildings, new storefronts, new casinos, and new entertainment buildings, bars, and clubs. Most of them fell through.
Downtown did offer the chance to walk around outside to the tourist who didn't want to spend all day inside cavernous buildings. It's kind of a state fair with gambling, prostitutes and a cheezy topless joint. But Harrah's Linq project is going to try and create that atmosphere on the strip in direct competition with downtown. It will be tough to handle the new competition.
My wife and I prefer Downtown, we've decided. I hope Zappos succeeds with their move.
Me too. I went to school with Tony and I know him to be an astute businessman (and a good guy). We were both in San Francisco during the tech bubble. If he can attract even a fraction of the talent to the downtown LV area as was in northern California, Las Vegas is in for a meaningful recovery. When I lived in Henderson, economic diversification was a hot-button issue for local politicians, and for good reason. I worked at one of the only non-gaming tech companies in town. Now that Zappos is there and civic leaders are making a concerted effort to incubate new technology startups, things could change in a hurry, and for the better.