Archive for June, 2011

The New Singapore

June 29th, 2011 | J.C.

Muhammad Cohen at Asia Times reports:

“There is no doubt that the two integrated resorts have added a new sense of vibrancy to Singapore,” University of Nevada-Las Vegas Singapore campus dean Andy Nazarechuk said. “In the past you would hear comments about Singapore being conservative or boring – you don’t hear those comments any more.” Read the rest of this entry »

A Tale Of Two Cities — Part Two

June 24th, 2011 | J.C.

But this time its Bethlehem and Atlantic City. The addition of the Sands Hotel, and the upcoming mall, are changing the nature of tourism on the East Coast. Says the Philadelphia Inquirer:

When it debuted just over two years ago, the Sands Casino Resort here wasn’t shy in letting Atlantic City know it was going after its chief markets: North Jersey and New York. With its new 300-room hotel and a 30-store retail mall on the way, the Sands is making good on its threat. The hotel opened Memorial Day weekend and has had 80 percent to 90 percent occupancy on weekends, 60 percent to 70 percent midweek. A good chunk of those guests, casino president Robert DeSalvio said, used to stay overnight in Atlantic City’s gambling palaces…. DeSalvio said the hotel added another critical component that was missing: the overnight guest coming from farther away.

 The article then provides an anecdote that helps explain the appeal of the Sands Hotel.

The casino, hotel, mall, and events venue… is in keeping with Las Vegas Sands Corp.’s integrated resort model used at all its properties, including those in Vegas, Macau, and Singapore….

“I said, ‘Let’s have a full experience,’ ” said Diane Miller of Allentown, who was celebrating her 58th birthday at the Sands with sister Kathy Hersh, 53, and sister-in-law Linda Swika, 54, of Scranton. Although they live just a short drive away, they decided to splurge and checked in Thursday for a one-night hotel stay. They got a double room that went for $119 midweek, but that Hersh was able to pay for mostly with her comped points. Read the rest of this entry »

A Tale Of Two Cities — Part One

June 23rd, 2011 | J.C.

The projection that Singapore’s gaming industry will, like Macau, surpass Las Vegas continues to attract media attention. USA Today is now reporting it:

Singapore has only two 1-year-old casino resorts — the Marina Bay Sands and Resort World Sentosa — but they are large complexes that attract Asian high rollers. The American Gaming Association says Macau racked up $23.5 billion last year, followed by Vegas with $5.8 billion. Singapore logged $5.1 billion, but may take in a projected $6.4 billion this year and beat Sin City (a projected $6.2 billion).

Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority CEO Rossi Ralenkotter counters that the city has diversified in recent years: “Tourism generates more than $37 billion annually for the local economy, and less than 30 percent represents gaming.”

But gaming isn’t all that’s going on in Singapore either. Tourism shot up 20% since the Marina Bay Sands opened and the economy as a whole expanded 15%. Both of these great destinations are clearly undergoing a process of redefinition.

John Katsilometes, at the Las Vegas Sun, published a terrific interview with Scott Zeiger about the upcoming anniversary of Phantom. Here’s an excerpt:

It seems that each year, when “Phantom — Las Vegas Spectacular” celebrates an anniversary, we ask, “Will it be around for another year?”

The show keeps answering that question itself — it celebrates its fifth anniversary at the Venetian on Thursday. This year, we again posed the question to Scott Zeiger, co-CEO of BASE Entertainment, which produces “Phantom.”

“We can be confident of that,” Zeiger said during a phone interview Monday afternoon from his office in New York.

Why, exactly?

“First and foremost, from Andrew Lloyd Webber and Hal Prince all the way to the associate choreographer and dance captain, the show is in great shape. The quality is still at a pinnacle. Any concierge or ticket broker in Las Vegas can recommend this show and be confident that whoever they are recommending it to is going to be highly entertained.

Read the whole thing.

Quote Of The Day

June 22nd, 2011 | J.C.

“With its high-stakes tables, dozens of invitation-only VIP rooms and sleek design, the Marina Bay Sands is the go-to hotel for visiting celebrities such as Justin Bieber and Katy Perry. And it’s one of the reasons Singapore is poised to vault past Las Vegas next year to become the world’s No. 2 gambling destination, behind Macao in southern China.” — from the Los Angeles Times (although I suspect Justin Bieber isn’t exactly going for the gambling, since he’s under 21).

Christopher Saghin, a 12-year founding Venetian team member, experienced every parent’s worst fear. Last April, his two-year-old daughter, Brooke, was found floating face down in their backyard pool. On average, eight children drown each year in Southern Nevada. Nationwide, drowning is the second leading cause of death for children ages 1 to 14 years. It doesn’t take long for a kid to drown. Most who’ve drowned were last seen in the home, were out of sight less than five minutes, and were in the care of one or both parents at the time.

Fortunately, for the Saghins, the day didn’t end in tragedy. Thanks to their incredible son, Tristin, their daughter survived. The nine-year-old pulled his sister from the water. Having learned CPR from (of all places) his favorite movie “Black Hawk Down”, he revived her before the paramedics arrived.

Today the Venetian and Palazzo partnered with Clark County Fire Department to raise awareness of the importance of pool safety by naming Tristin as an honorary lifeguard.

June 21 marks the first official day of the summer season. As tourists and locals venture into the pool to cool off, we all need to be vigilant about observing pool safety. John Caparella, president of the the Venetian and Palazzo, emphasized at the ceremony that “whether you’re in your own backyard enjoying this Las Vegas weather or at one of our grand pools here at The Venetian, it’s important to us that our guests, Las Vegas visitors and residents of Southern Nevada are aware of potential pool dangers and always practice safe pool activities.”

Howard Stutz, veteran journalist of the Las Vegas scene, reported some news that spun some heads.

Steve Wynn and Sheldon Adelson have buried their animosity after years of open antagonism. In recent weeks, they have publicly said nice things about each other and their respective casino companies….

It isn’t out of the scope of reality, however, that we might see their companies working together on industry issues in the U.S. (Internet gaming legalization) and overseas (continued expansion into foreign casino markets).

Once they put their overpowering personalities aside, Wynn and Adelson are probably on the same page concerning many of these matters.

This détente is not good news for their gaming industry rivals.

Wynn Resorts and Las Vegas Sands are far more financially sound than other casino companies. They also hold the largest stakes of any Nevada-based casino operators in the booming Asian gaming markets.

Read the whole thing.

Very cool story reported at AsiaOne:

A commercial for the Apple iPhone featuring the popular boy band SMAP and shot in Singapore is creating waves in Japan.

The chatter in blogs and websites is not just about the popular boy group SMAP, which boasts stars such as Takuya Kimura and Tsuyoshi Kusanagi, but also about the location of the commercial – Marina Bay Sands (MBS) hotel. The video, produced by Japan’s SoftBank mobile, shows the members of SMAP strutting into the hotel’s spectacular SkyPark to the catchy tune of Atomic Kitten’s hit song, “The Locomotion”….

Someone commented in a blog: “After I happened to see this commercial, I really want to go to Singapore.” Japanese star and SMAP member Takuya Kimura expressed his surprise at seeing Singapore’s rapid development. He told Singapore Keizai Shimbun: “The city model is really successful. I’m really excited to think about how Singapore will be like in another five years.”

The commercial has generated buzz about Singapore as a cool tourist destination and MBS Hotel as a tourist attraction…..

Comments from other netizens include: ”Incredible! Is it real video? The big ship on top of 3 buildings!!” ”I must stay at this Marina Bay Sands Hotel on my business trip to Singapore (so that I don’t have to pay for it. Company will pay!)” ”I have never been to Singapore! But I want to stay here (MBS)!!”  ”Business model of MBS is great. Lots of regional heads in Japan want to implement that idea i.e. casino + hotel, which has achieved great success so far.”

Read the rest at AsiaOne.

Meet Our Peeps: Katie Ballantyne

June 17th, 2011 | J.C.

Today’s team member highlight is the always-smiling Katie Ballantyne in Human Resources. From Brisbane, Australia, and educated at the prestigious University of Queensland, she works tirelessly at fostering a positive work environment for her fellow team members, bringing with her each day the distinctive cheerfulness of the good folks from the Land Down Under.

From Australia to Vegas….How in the world did you get here?

It began when I was recruited to work for a development company in their ski resort division. I started in West Virginia and had the opportunity to move to Canada and California with the company. It was time for a new challenge, so I was fortunate to join The Venetian| The Palazzo. Friends of mine had previously worked here and they spoke so highly about the property that I knew that I wanted to join this team. Read the rest of this entry »

Open Thread

June 17th, 2011 | J.C.

This thread is now closed. Please join us on our new comment thread and continue the discussions! We would love to hear from you – click here

Here is an open thread for readers to discuss the company with one another, and also to suggest topics you’d like to see covered on the blog.