Posted on: February 11, 2021, 02:00h.
Last updated on: February 11, 2021, 09:46h.
Virgin Hotels Las Vegas has once again set an opening date for the off-Strip property. It is March 25 if all goes as planned.
Richard Bosworth, president and CEO of JC Hospitality, seen here. The firm owns the forthcoming Virgin Hotels Las Vegas. The resort casino is scheduled to open next month. (Image: Las Vegas Review-Journal)Two previously scheduled openings for the former Hard Rock Hotel and Casino were postponed mostly due to coronavirus-related concerns.The most-recent delayed opening was supposed to take place on Jan. 15, 2021. Earlier, the opening date was planned for last November.Starting last February, the Hard Rock shuttered while $200 million worth of renovations took place to make way for the rebranded property.“It has been a journey, but to finally reach this milestone and confidently announce our opening date would not be possible without our incredible partners and construction team,” Richard Bosworth, president and CEO of JC Hospitality, which owns the property, said in a statement.Many Amenities in New HotelWhen renovations are complete, there will be three hotel towers with 1,504 rooms.During the renovation, each of the hotel rooms was upgraded. The property will also feature 323 refurbished executive suites.Each of the executive suites measures between 700 and 750 square feet. The upgraded 79 luxury suites measure between 900 and 5,000 square feet.Among the property’s amenities is a 4,500-seat theater and a 650-seat showroom. When the property was part of the Hard Rock, the theater was known as The Joint.Also, Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment will operate the property’s 60,000-square-foot casino.To run the hotel and casino, the property is planning to reassign some 300 unionized workers who were once employed by the Hard Rock, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.“We are not only celebrating the fact that we finally get to welcome back guests to the most exciting resort to open in Las Vegas in years, but we also get to bring our team members back to work,” Bosworth said.The Hard Rock was sold to Bosworth in 2018. He partnered with Juniper Capital Partners and billionaire Richard Branson — associated with the Virgin Group conglomerate — to purchase the hotel-casino in a $500 million deal.The casino and hotel originally planned to remain partially open during the transformation. But developers later realized it was not a feasible option and it would have delayed renovations.But delays came anyway. Last year, Bosworth explained in a statement the delays were necessary.“While the entire team at JC Hospitality is beyond excited to introduce the reimagined resort casino to locals and tourists alike, the safety and health of our guests, partners, and team members continues to be our top priority,” he said.Las Vegas Tourism, Conventions Plummeted in 2020The pandemic hit Las Vegas’ tourism and convention business hard. The 19.03 million people who visited Las Vegas in 2020 was off by 55.2 percent from the previous year, the Review-Journal said. It also was the lowest number since 1989.Overall, in 2020, the number of passengers using McCarran International Airport fell by 56.9 percent, compared to 2019. Last year, about 22 million travelers used the airport. In 2019, the passenger total was over 51 million.Also, Las Vegas Strip casinos reported gross gaming revenue of $3.73 billion in 2020, their lowest haul since 1999.
Posted on: February 11, 2021, 10:51h.
Last updated on: February 11, 2021, 12:01h.
Read MoreA North Dakota man was sentenced to life without parole Tuesday for the brutal murder of a woman he barely knew at Circus Circus Reno.
Tevin Raeshaun Johnson, seen here in a mug shot, pleaded guilty to murdering Amber Morris last year. (Image: WXIX)Tevin Raeshaun Johnson, 23, killed 37-year-old Amber Morris of Ohio on July 29, 2019 by strangling her and stomping on her head in her hotel room, causing brute force trauma to the brain.Johnson pleaded guilty last year to one count of first-degree murder.According to court documents, mother-of-four Morris had met Johnson just two hours before her death. She had arrived in town with her husband and sister earlier that day as her husband had contract work at the nearby Tesla Gigafactory.Morris Loitered in Hallway Before MurderMorris and her sister befriended a man in a Mcdonald’s in downtown Reno and invited him to join them. Later, in the street, the trio bumped into Johnston, who struck up a conversation. He was invited to join Morris, her sister, and their male acquaintance at the casino.Later, the sisters and the male acquaintance went up to Morris’s room, leaving Johnson in the lobby area. According to Morris’s sister, Johnson had become flirtatious, “but in a weird way,” and it had been made clear to him that he was not welcome in the room.Johnson was then seen on surveillance video riding the elevator up to the North Tower, poking his head out on each floor, and looking down hallways, as if he were trying to discover the whereabouts of Morris’s room. According to court documents, when the trio exited the room sometime later to go for a smoke, they found Johnson loitering in the hallway.At around this point, Morris’s husband, Robert Morris, returned to the room after finishing work and argued with his wife. He packed his bags and went to sleep in his car, which was parked on the top floor of Circus Circus’s parking garage.Morris told the group she wanted to stay alone in her room in case her husband returned. The others, including Johnson, went back to the casino.At some point, Johnson returned to the room alone. Morris may have answered the door to him, believing him to be her husband.Husband Suing for NegligenceMorris’ half-naked body was discovered the next day by security after her sister requested a welfare check. She had been sexually assaulted.Police found Johnson’s shoes discarded in an elevator, which were later determined to have Morris’s DNA on them. He was arrested shortly afterward.Robert Morris is suing Circus Circus’s owner, Caesars Entertainment, over his wife’s death, claiming the casino’s security “failed to exercise ordinary care.” It’s one of several recent negligence lawsuits against casino resorts alleging failure to adequately protect guests.Morris argues that patrons have an expectation of safety and that most properties have protocols about allowing access to hotel areas, particularly after the October 1, 2017, Mandalay Bay shooting in Las Vegas.
Posted on: February 9, 2021, 05:09h.
Last updated on: February 9, 2021, 05:09h.
Read MorePolice in Glendale, Arizona have arrested the third and final member of a gang suspected of posing as cops to kidnap two winning slots players from the Desert Diamond Casino, according to local reports.
The Desert Diamond Casino in Glendale, Arizona, operated by the Tohono O’odham Nation. Police believe the victims were scouted inside the casino. (Image: Desert Diamond Casino)David Stevens, 31, was taken into custody on Friday and charged with felony kidnapping, armed robbery, aggravated robbery, and impersonating a police officer.He was identified as a suspect by his girlfriend, Lisa Gomez, 28. She was arrested February 2 for her alleged involvement in the abduction. Isaac Castro Gonzalez, 38, was apprehended by a SWAT team at his home in Phoenix on January 15 in relation to the incident.Gonzalez is a documented member of the Wet Back Power 31st Avenue and the Border Brothers gangs in Phoenix.Followed from Desert DiamondPolice believe Gomez acted as a scout for the gang. She is seen on the Desert Diamond’s security video following the two female victims out of the casino after one of them had won $300 playing slots.As the women started for home in a BMW SUV just after 2am, they were stopped by what they believed to be an unmarked police car with a blue flashing light, a Chevrolet Malibu. Police believe this vehicle was driven by Gonzalez.Another car, a Nissan Titan, blocked the women in. Police think it contained Gomez and Stevens.According to the arrest report, the women were forced out of the BMW and their hands were restrained with zip ties and handcuffs. They were then returned to the vehicle while one of the suspects held them down so they could not see where they were being driven.Their abductors threatened to kill them unless they revealed their PIN numbers. One brandished a gun.The terrified victims were then taken on a tour of Glendale’s ATM machines, while the criminals withdrew around $3,000 from their bank accounts. They also stole their purses and cell phones. The kidnappers eventually released the women at around 5am.Dragnet TightensDetectives were able to identify Gonzalez from the casino’s surveillance video and linked him to the Chevrolet Malibu. He barricaded himself inside his apartment when police arrived with a warrant.Detectives located the Nissan Titan on February 2 after tracking a cell phone Gonzalez had called and attempted to pull it over. It failed to stop, and a chase ensued.Gomez was captured after the occupants abandoned the vehicle and fled on foot. But the driver, believed to be Stevens, escaped, until his arrest last week.Police are yet to release Stevens’ mugshot.Jason Hudson, director of security for Desert Diamond, said the arrests exemplified the “strong working relationships we have built with neighboring jurisdictions, closely coordinating with each other to protect our guests and the public.”
Posted on: February 8, 2021, 04:32h.
Last updated on: February 8, 2021, 05:04h.
Fantasy sports betting companies can begin submitting applications this month to offer that service in Louisiana.
New Orleans Saints fans in the Who Dat Nation cheer on their team. In football-crazy Louisiana, fantasy sports betting could be operational by next season. (Image: NBC News)The date to begin submitting applications is Feb. 19, according to Maj. Chuck McNeal of the Louisiana State Police Gaming Enforcement Division.McNeal said an investigation into any applicant’s suitability takes 60 days to 90 days. The State Police conducts these investigations. If that goes well, the company can appear before the Louisiana Gaming Control Board for a gambling license, according to the Associated Press. That means legal fantasy sports betting could be up and running in Louisiana by April or May, in time for the fall football season. In fantasy sports betting, participants fill out a roster of actual athletes from real teams and compile game statistics for a point total. In November 2018, voters in 47 of Louisiana’s 64 parishes supported a ballot item allowing fantasy sports betting within the boundary of their parish. Participants must be 21 or older. Bettors can travel into a parish to participate. In the election two years ago, DraftKings and FanDuel pumped $1 million into Fairness for Fantasy Sports Louisiana. That was a PAC that promoted the measure in TV and radio ads and other voter outreach efforts, according to the Associated Press. Unresolved Issues Last year, Louisiana voters in 55 of 64 parishes approved sports betting within their parish. The measure passed overwhelmingly in the parishes where the big cities, including Baton Rouge and New Orleans, are located.Gambling critics say sports betting entices juveniles and could shatter families that suffer heavy gambling losses.Proponents contend restrictions are put in place to safeguard against these concerns. Those favoring sports betting also tout the tax revenue states gain from gaming ventures.When the Louisiana Legislature next meets in April at the Capitol in Baton Rouge, lawmakers will have to decide several issues regarding sports betting, including taxation. Legislators also will determine whether to allow mobile sports betting or restrict wagering to in-person bets placed inside casinos. Louisiana is home to 13 riverboat casinos, one land-based casino in New Orleans, and four racinos.With these issues and more still undecided, legal sports betting is not expected to be operational in Louisiana until 2022.Boom in Sports BettingLegislatures in other Southern states, including Georgia and Texas, also are taking sports betting measures under consideration this year. Some states in the region, such as a Mississippi and Arkansas, allow sports betting only inside casinos at sportsbooks and betting kiosks. In November, mobile sports betting became legal in Tennessee for bettors wagering within the Volunteer State. Tennessee does not have legal casinos.According to the American Gaming Association, sports betting is legal in 20 states and Washington, D.C. It is legal but not yet operational if five states. Legislation to allow sports betting is active or has been prefiled in 14 states.
Posted on: February 5, 2021, 06:38h.
Last updated on: February 5, 2021, 06:38h.
Read MoreAn auction of VIP packages to view the impending implosion of the Trump Taj Mahal generated just over $16,375 for good causes on Wednesday.
Seen better days: The Trump Plaza shortly after its closure in 2014. (Wayne Parry/ Associated Press)As well as front-row seats (from a safe distance) for the detonation, the packages include “overnight stays and dinners,” according to The Press of Atlantic City, although presumably not at the Plaza itself, which has been derelict since its closure in 2014.This was some way short of the $1 million Mayor Marty Small had hoped for, suggesting the city’s Democratic mayor underestimated the levels of schadenfreude felt by New Jerseyans towards the 45th US president.In fact, the auction itself only produced $6,375. The extra $10,000 was donated by Hard Rock International, which took over another former Trump property, the Taj Mahal, in 2018.Finger on the ButtonThings might have been different had Small’s original vision been allowed to take shape. The mayor initially wanted to auction off the right to push the implosion button, but owner Icahn Enterprises objected on safety grounds.Icahn greed to match the highest bid for the button-pushing experience at the time the original auction was cancelled, which was $175,000.All funds raised will go to the Atlantic City Boys and Girls Club, which has extended its hours to provide a safe place for children to attend school virtually.During his presidency, Trump’s approval rating was generally low in New Jersey, a state that hasn’t voted for a Republican president since it plumped for George H. W. Bush in 1988. Trump’s threat in 2018 to shut down federal government rather than support the Gateway Tunnel project, considered crucial to New Jersey’s economy, did not help his cause. The project involves the construction of a new train tunnel under the Hudson river so that the existing ones can be closed to repair damage caused by Hurricane Sandy.Trump and Atlantic City Moreover, many in Atlantic City have never forgiven Trump for the failure of his three casinos. In the late 1980s, he financed the construction of the Taj Mahal with high-interest junk bonds, leaving his casino operations saddled with debt, while taking out millions of dollars for himself in salary, bonuses, and other payments.Trump put local contractors and suppliers out of business simply by not paying them and left financial backers chasing their money via bankruptcy courts. Thousands of workers lost jobs when the casinos ultimately collapsed.While the recessions of the early 1990s and late 2000s were hardly Trump’s fault, and other casinos failed too, many in Atlantic City felt betrayed by what they saw as the future president’s financial recklessness and broken promises.Trump quit the casino business in 2009, after the third bankruptcy restructuring of his casino company, Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts. But he retained 10 percent as part of a brand licensing deal until 2014, when billionaire investor Carl Icahn rescued the business from yet another bankruptcy.The Plaza will implode on February 17.
Posted on: February 4, 2021, 03:18h.
Last updated on: February 4, 2021, 03:54h.
A naked woman was arrested after breaking into a fire control room and shutting off power at Circa Resort in Las Vegas, police said.
Circa Resort towers over other properties in downtown Las Vegas. A naked woman is accused of temporarily shutting power at the resort late Monday. (Image: Fox5 Vegas)Alissa Neeley, 28, was booked into the Clark County Detention Center early Tuesday. She faces a charge of theft of a fire prevention device. Neeley was released from jail on her own recognizance and is required to stay away from the downtown resort. She is due in court on March 30. Neeley had been a guest at the resort on Monday. At about 9:30 pm, she was kicked out for walking around in the hotel with no clothes on, police said. She also is accused of entering rooms designated for employee use only. Her driver’s license identified her as an Iowa resident, authorities said.About 30 minutes after she was evicted, power went out in the casino, the hotel, and the parking garage, according to media accounts. The parking garage is known as Garage Mahal.The power outage disabled slot machines, fire alarms, elevators, and more. A maintenance worker investigating the outage found the woman sitting naked on a chair in a secured control room in the parking garage, police said.Security officers placed the woman in handcuffs and notified the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. It was unclear how Neeley was able to get into a secured control room, authorities said. She declined to speak with police.Power OutageElectrical power at the resort was out for about three hours. Power was restored Tuesday at about 1 am. Circa spokeswoman Angela Ciciriello said this was an isolated incident, according to the Las Vegas Review Journal.We have implemented additional security measures to ensure our facilities are protected,” she said.Police said the woman caused about $5,000 in damages. She bent switches on the control panel, creating a delay in restoring power at the resort. She also disabled some wires, police said.Historic Fremont StreetCirca is at the northwest corner of historic Fremont Street in downtown Las Vegas. It is the first resort to be built in the downtown casino district in 40 years. The resort opened late last year as an adults-only hotel-casino. A steakhouse on the site is the only place anyone under 21 is allowed.Circa is on a portion of Fremont Street covered by a lighted canopy that displays colorful electronic images. This portion of the street is a pedestrian mall. Late last year, the canopy displayed a tribute to former Las Vegas investor Tony Hsieh. The ex-Zappos CEO died in November from injuries in a fire at a home in Connecticut.Fremont Street is known for several longstanding casinos. The El Cortez and other properties on Fremont once were controlled by reputed underworld figures. One of these gangsters, Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel, went from the El Cortez to open the Flamingo in 1946 on the Las Vegas Strip south of downtown.