Casinos Not Betting On Guests

After topping off the 23-story Octavius Tower in October as part of a $1 billion expansion at Caesars Palace on the Las Vegas Strip, casino operator Harrah’s Entertainment is delaying plans to open the 665 new rooms because of a lack of demand.

The new sixth tower was scheduled to open this summer. Harrah’s plans on finishing the exterior of the building on schedule but leaving the interior unfinished. A new timetable was not set for opening the rooms but Harrah’s said the tower rooms will open when demand improves.

An expanded pool and garden area and three 10,000-square-foot luxury villas will still open on schedule as well as 110,000 thousand square feet of meeting space because there’s been strong advanced bookings for the facility.

Harrah’s, which owns or manages 50 casinos in six countries, lost $415.1 million for the first nine months of 2008.

MGM Mirage Inc. and Dubai World subsidiary Infinity World Development Corp., partners in building the Harmon Hotel & Spa and the rest of the massive CityCenter project, blamed both a construction problem and the economy for its decision to also cut out 200 condominium units.

Nevada’s monthly gambling win for November 2008 was reported at $836.8 million compared with more than $982 million in November 2007, according to a report from the state Gaming Control Board.

The win is the amount left in casino coffers after gamblers shelled out $11.8 billion that month. It is a gross figure that represents casino revenue – not hotel, restaurant or bar revenue – with no operating costs or other expenses deducted.
The November report showed declines throughout the state in every major market, including the Las Vegas Strip, which was down 16 percent.

In Atlantic City, N.J., the city’s 11 casinos won $302 million in December, down 18.7 percent. Year end totals for 2008 show Atlantic City won 7.6 percent less from gamblers than in 2007. Before 2007 casino revenue for Atlantic City had increased every year since gambling was legalized in 1978.

Over the past two years the city has lost $600 million in gross gaming revenue as well as 3,330 casino jobs.

After cutting more than 500 jobs over the past year, The Mohegan Sun casino in Uncasville, Conn., plans to avoid further layoffs and has announced it is cutting the pay of all 9,800 employees to reduce costs in the sour economy, effective Feb. 1.
Vice presidents and senior management’s pay will be cut by 10 percent, middle managers by 7.5 percent and the pay for non-management salaried and hourly employees by 4 percent.

Future annual and merit pay raises have been suspended and matching payments to 401(k) retirement plans have been halted.

Revenue for the fiscal year ended Sept. 30 was reported at $1.36 billion, down 4.7 percent from the year before.
Mohegan Sun also delayed an expansion project and is reducing operating hours in some outlets.

Since last summer the competing Foxwoods casino has laid off 800 casino workers.
In other depressing casino news, Tropicana Entertainment LLC, which filed for Chapter 11 protection in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in May, submitted a reorganization plan to separate its Las Vegas casino into a company apart from its other properties.

An organization named OpCo would include 10 casinos and resorts, including Nevada properties and sites in Atlantic City, N.J., and Evansville, Ind., and LandCo would consist of the Tropicana Las Vegas casino, according to a filing with the Delaware federal bankruptcy court.