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Gaming Guru

Rod Smith
 

Inside gaming column: Guide way sure looks a lot like a bus lane

14 November 2006

LAS VEGAS, Nevada -- What's in a name? A lot of readers have asked why call a new, dedicated bus lane on the Strip a regional fixed guide way. It sounds like a ski lift, one indignant reader said. The answer, however, is quite simple and silly. It's jargon in the world of federal assistance. The U.S. Department of Transportation is simply going to look askance at anything as simple as a bus lane. But call it a guide way, and, what the heck, you might even get federal aid.

Unintended consequences. The appointment of Las Vegas developer Steve Wynn to the Kennedy Center board of directors has been hailed here as the chance to give the national seat of culture a taste of class, Las Vegas-style. But Kennedy Center associates say the positions offer more of a chance to take the real culture and all that goes with it back home. Start with the parking, Steve. The Kennedy Center from the beginning has had parking flows that made jams around show times distant memories. Such new concepts will be crucial to preserving and enhancing the Strip as one of the premier pedestrian experiences, urban planners say.

More on the mighty Las Vegas Hilton. Scuttlebutt that plans are in the works to implode the landmark in 12 months to 18 months is causing much heartache among workers. Hospitality industry observers say the move might be one of the best ways for Las Vegas to build on its already solid foundation as the country's premier convention destination. Colony Capital is in a unique position to build the Disneyland of the convention world. Hotel rooms, as in Orlando, Fla., could be largely midtier. Conventions, adjacent to the Las Vegas Convention Center as it is, would be its playground. And the biggest, brightest and glitziest entertainment in the world would be at its doorstep. For Las Vegas, there would be no better way to lure added business. And for Colony, there could be no better way to shoot cash flow into the stratosphere, which the Hilton has simply been unable to do for a string of owners over a quarter century.

Lady Luck recently reported it will reopen a year later than planned, maybe late next year. Lady Luck and building company sources say the delay is caused by the shortage of construction workers and materials. However, other operators say the biggest problem is "market muscle." Major casino operators say the muscle is being used to crowd out smaller operators such as Lady Luck and hustle resources toward the big boys who have the most dollars to spend. Somewhere down the pike, state officials say, they may take a look to see if that's the best way to foster competition.

Gaming Wire Editor Rod Smith can be reached by phone at 477-3893 or by e-mail at rsmith@reviewjournal.com.