Friday, July 07, 2006

Harrah's in a rebuilding mode


From the juicy rumour department: Harrah's has offered the Rio (and possibly another casino to be named) in Las Vegas to Boyd's Gaming Company for the Barbary Coast in Las Vegas.

(Aside 1: The Business Press suggests Westward Ho as a possible property to be traded by Harrah's to Boyd's. The problem is that Harrah's doesn't own the Ho. They could probably get it if they wanted to use it to trade away, and if they did, I would imagine that the current owners would be very happy with their purchase and flip.)

Why would Harrah's give up Rio and it's huge lot for Barbary Coast? Well, take a look at this map. All of the red properties are owned by Harrah's. If they were to own Barbary Coast, they would have a stranglehold on the middle of the strip, and could develop it to their heart's delight. Meanwhile, Boyd's Gaming would get the Rio, which is right next to their own Gold Coast property. And if they could get another property out of it, all the better.

(Aside 2: Why hasn't MGM/Mirage purchased the Jockey Club/Cosmopolitan site yet? The Southwest side of the strip could be theirs very easily.)

So, why am I blogging about this? Beyond this proposal being a trade of properties, which I'm sure happens quite often but never realy at this magnitude, this has an interesting side story should it occur.

The World Series of Poker was held at Binion's Horseshoe since its inception in 1970. In 2005, it moved to Rio (except for the Main Event final table, which remained at Binion's for one last year because of the Las Vegas Centennial celebrations). Should the Rio get traded, the Series would have to find another home at a Harrah's property. The question is, where would it move to? The obvious answer is Caesars Palace, but Harrah's might choose another property to give it some business.

All in all, it will be interesting to see what happens with this rumour.

July 9th Update: Las Vegas Business Press has issued a retraction of sorts on their story. You can find it here (see We Blew It 2). The gist of the update is that they messed up and there are two different rumours for how Harrah's will acquire Barbary Coast. One is that Harrah's will give up the Rio for Barbary Coast and some cash. The other is that Harrah's will acquire the Westward Ho site and then trade it for Barbary Coast.

To be honest, both options make sense for Boyd Gaming. Getting the Rio would be huge because it's a money maker, and it is across the street from the Gold Coast. But the Westward Ho site is right next to the Stardust, which Boyd Gaming is going to be redeveloping, and the extra room would be nice to develop with. As well, without the Barbary Coast Boyd would only have the Stardust as a presence on the Strip. I'm not sure if they are that concerned with a huge strip presence (how many people know of the Barbary Coast), but having that extra room to develop whatever the future is of the Stardust would be good as well.

As for the World Series of Poker, it might be time to look at a suggestion made by Howard Lederer on The Circuit Radio Show. Lederer suggested that Harrah's use more of their other properties to run the earlier days of the main even (and some of the other tournaments that have a lot of players entered). For example, this year's main event will see 8,000 entrants. Because of this, the first day is actually being split into 4 real days - a player will only play on one of those days, and each day will play down until they have a certain number of player remaining (I would guess 800, but don't quote me on that). And then "day 2" would be spread over 3 days in the same manner. This means that "day 3" would actually start on day 8. If Harrah's were to put each of these groups of players into other casinos (say, Harrah's, Bally's, Paris and Caesars Palace) they could actually run a real schedule of Day 1, Day 2, and then move the players into Caesars (for example) for the rest of the playdown. It would also allow them to speed up some of the tournaments, get traffic into their other casinos and if they really wanted to, run more events. It makes too much sense to not happen.


Anonymous Not Batman said...

I would only do this trade if I got ownership of the soon to be relocated/renamed Mighty Ducks of Las Vegas. Seeing as I am the owner of the Boyd Gaming Corp.

Don't forget Gamble "BOYD STYLE"

4:53 AM  
Blogger Jason said...

Just for the owner of Boyd's Gaming Corp, here's an article about his favourite power forward. He definitely doesn't seem like the new Bertuzzi (which is a good thing).

5:28 PM  

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