Las Vegas Sun

July 30, 2015

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J.D. Morris

Gaming reporter

After graduating from UC Berkeley in 2014, J.D. moved to Nevada to be a reporter for the Sun. Previously, he spent four years working for Berkeley's student newspaper, The Daily Californian, where he was the managing editor his final year. He has also reported for The Orange County Register as an intern. He grew up in Salinas and Bakersfield, Calif.

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Story Archive

Beaten again by Macau, Wynn Resorts profits drop 72 percent in second quarter
Wednesday, July 29, 2015
Revenue from Wynn’s Macau operations was $617 million, down 35.8 percent compared with the second quarter of 2014. CEO Steve Wynn said that Macau “continues to be more of a question than ...
Tourism authority committee votes for $42 million Riviera demolition plan
Tuesday, July 28, 2015
The shuttered Riviera inched closer to destruction today when a subgroup of the Las Vegas tourism authority voted in favor of plans to demolish it for $42 million. A Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority committee considered ...
Nevada gaming revenue down more than 8 percent in June
Tuesday, July 28, 2015
Dragged down by a particularly unfavorable month on the Strip, the Nevada casino industry suffered a steep decline in statewide gaming revenue in June. The Gaming ...
Fake trees that fueled Cosmopolitan fire aren’t regulated by county codes
Monday, July 27, 2015
Ron Lynn of the county’s Department of Building and Fire Prevention said current codes govern physical structures such as pool decks and cabanas, but plants and outdoor ...
Revenue up 3.5 percent for Boyd Gaming in 2nd quarter
Friday, July 24, 2015
Boyd Gaming, the casino company whose Las Vegas area properties include the Orleans, the California and Sam’s Town, reported its second-quarter earnings on Thursday. Revenue was $559.9 million, up 3.5 percent from pro forma net revenue in ...
Las Vegas Club’s plan for drugstore selling packaged liquor upsets other casinos
Friday, July 24, 2015
Public documents show that the casino asked the city of Las Vegas for permission to turn 13,810 square feet of its space into a drugstore that would sell packaged liquor, which has long been a contentious issue on the tourist-focused part of Fremont Street. A drugstore would be the biggest development for the Las Vegas Club since it stopped taking reservations for its hotel rooms after ...
Railroad Pass owner approved to run historic casino
Thursday, July 23, 2015
The new owner of the historic Railroad Pass casino is finally in complete control of the property he acquired from MGM Resorts International this spring ...
Revenue and earnings rise for Penn National, which is buying Tropicana
Thursday, July 23, 2015
President and CEO Timothy Wilmott reiterated in a statement today that his company expects to complete its two-phase plan for the Tropicana in the next three to five years ...
Golden Gaming merger gets final Nevada regulatory approval
Thursday, July 23, 2015
Golden Gaming, the company behind the PT’s tavern chain, three Pahrump casinos and many of the slot machines inside Nevada grocery stores, will soon become a publicly traded business that also ...
Las Vegas Sands’ earnings drop 30 percent as Macau problems reverberate
Wednesday, July 22, 2015
CEO Sheldon Adelson admitted in a statement that the high-end gaming market in Macau was particularly challenging, but he said his company is focused on the mass market and nongaming segments ...
Amid struggles, SLS reaffirms its efforts to attract locals
Friday, July 17, 2015
SLS Las Vegas is by no means a neighborhood casino: It’s located on the Strip, which many locals avoid, and a lot of its chic restaurant and nightlife options feel like they’d fit in at other upscale, tourist-focused resorts. Yet the financially struggling SLS still wants local residents to ...
Moody’s sees brighter outlook for U.S. gaming industry
Tuesday, July 14, 2015
Moody’s Investors Service is feeling much better about the financial future of gaming than it did around the same time last year. The credit rating agency has upgraded the outlook from ...
Culinary Union targets bank’s ownership stake in Station Casinos
Monday, July 13, 2015
The Culinary Union’s latest attempt to exert pressure on Station Casinos seeks to bring a complex international finance scandal before ...
Sports wagering evolving locally, across the nation
Monday, July 13, 2015
Change is coming to Nevada sports books. At the state level, lawmakers recently approved a bill that allows groups of people to place wagers as a single entity. Meanwhile, the industry is preparing for an even bigger transformation at the national level: the spread of ...
Don’t count them out yet: Slots remain important cog in Nevada’s gaming industry
Friday, July 10, 2015
Slot revenue dropped sharply in 2008 and 2009, much like the rest of the state’s gambling business, and still remains far below its peak from before the economic downturn. After a few years of more stable performance, however ...
Owner of Railroad Pass casino moves one step closer to gaming license
Wednesday, July 8, 2015
The local real estate professional who bought the historic Railroad Pass casino received gaming regulators’ initial approval to run the property today ...
State board approves merger that will give Golden Gaming control of Maryland casino
Wednesday, July 8, 2015
Golden Gaming, the company behind the PT’s tavern empire, took a big step forward today in its plans to expand beyond Nevada ...
MGM selling two Reno casinos to Eldorado Resorts
Tuesday, July 7, 2015
Eldorado Resorts will acquire MGM’s 50 percent interest in the Silver Legacy Resort as well as the entirety of Circus Circus Reno. Eldorado plans to pay ...
Sandoval forms group to boost Southern Nevada tourism
Monday, July 6, 2015
Gov. Brian Sandoval signed an executive order today that creates a committee devoted to tourism improvement projects in Southern Nevada
Las Vegas man tied to Bitcoin poker site pleads guilty
Monday, July 6, 2015
Bryan Micon, pursued by Nevada gaming officials for his involvement with an unlicensed gambling website, pleaded guilty to the charge against him today. Micon appeared this morning ...
Presidential hopefuls may want to bet on casino industry
Monday, July 6, 2015
Nevada is an important state for 2016 presidential candidates, and the casino lobby is trying to make sure its industry is considered important too. If presidential candidates aren’t favorable to casinos, the millions of workers supported by the industry will know it, and that could influence their vote ...
New Caesars CEO starts today, replacing Gary Loveman
Wednesday, July 1, 2015
Casino giant Caesars Entertainment has a new chief executive starting today. Mark Frissora, who formerly led the rental car company Hertz, has replaced Gary Loveman as CEO of Caesars, which operates ...
Congressional push to ban online gaming gains prominence with Rubio
Wednesday, July 1, 2015
The GOP senator's support for an effort to ban gambling on the Internet makes him a key champion for a cause close to the heart of ...
Beyond Resorts World, big potential remains for development on and around the Strip
Monday, June 29, 2015
The $4 billion Resorts World Las Vegas project made a big splash in May when a ceremonial groundbreaking ushered in what, upon completion, would be the Strip’s biggest ...
Nevada gaming revenue passes the $1 billion mark in May
Friday, June 26, 2015
Nevada gaming revenue topped $1 billion in May, with Clark County boasting a particularly good month, the state said today. The Gaming Control Board said ...
Man charged with running Bitcoin poker site agrees to guilty plea
Thursday, June 25, 2015
Bryan Micon, the man targeted by state officials for allegedly running an illegal online gambling website, appeared in a Las Vegas court today and agreed to plead guilty to the charge against him.
Micon’s plea will allow him to ...
Regulators begin the tricky task of forming rules for skill-based slot games
Wednesday, June 24, 2015
Nevada's effort to make casino floors feel more like arcades advanced Wednesday as gaming regulators started crafting the rules that will govern the introduction of skill into the state’s slot machines. The Gaming Control Board ...
Casinos are improving their efforts to fight money laundering, Treasury official says
Friday, June 19, 2015
The gaming industry’s fight against criminals who want to use casinos to disguise illegal money was front and center Thursday at the Paris resort. There, industry leaders and ...
Boyd Gaming pledges $2.5 million for UNLV hotel college building
Thursday, June 18, 2015
Las Vegas-based Boyd Gaming announced today that it will spend $2.5 million to expand the hotel college at UNLV. The money will pay for ...
Kerkorian’s will calls for ‘orderly’ sale of his MGM Resorts stock
Tuesday, June 16, 2015
When casino mogul Kirk Kerkorian died on Monday, he left behind an unimpeachable legacy in Las Vegas, where he built a gaming empire. He also left behind a ...
Gaming changed the city, and time changed gaming
Monday, June 15, 2015
When Gov. Brian Sandoval and state lawmakers approved the largest tax increase in Nevada history, they gave the casino industry’s lobbying group something it strongly desired. The measure aims to ...
Entertainment tax reform is good for casinos, bad for Electric Daisy Carnival
Friday, June 12, 2015
Upcoming changes to a Nevada tax on entertainment have casino representatives breathing a sigh of relief, but the organizers of two annual festivals that contribute millions of dollars to the state economy aren’t happy. Gov. Brian Sandoval signed a bill on Thursday that aims to ...
New executive appointed to oversee Tropicana, M Resort
Wednesday, June 10, 2015
The casino company that is buying the Tropicana today announced the appointment of a new executive to oversee that property and the M Resort in Henderson. Penn National Gaming said ...
Downtown Grand switches up executives
Monday, June 8, 2015
The Downtown Grand announced some executive management changes today. Seth Schorr, the property’s former CEO, has transitioned to the new position of chairman, while ...
Resorts World Las Vegas’ goal: Make a bigger pie
Sunday, June 7, 2015
The architect whose job it is to design a building with a "wow" factor to keep people coming back says the Chinese-themed resort in the works on the site of the old Stardust and Echelon project isn't trying to cannibalize other Strip properties ...
FBI to conduct counterterrorism training exercise at the Riviera
Friday, June 5, 2015
The FBI is coming to the shuttered Riviera resort soon, but not to go after any criminal activity. FBI spokeswoman Bridget Pappas said the bureau’s Hostage Rescue Team will ...
Complaints about payouts are among hiccups at record-setting Colossus poker tournament
Thursday, June 4, 2015
“It was a very ambitious thing,” WSOP Executive Director Ty Stewart said of the Colossus. “Overall, we were pleased, but we know we can get better.”
Lawmakers, industry urge IRS not to lower threshold for reporting slot winnings
Monday, June 1, 2015
Geoff Freeman, president of the Washington, D.C.-based American Gaming Association, said in a conference call today that about 13,000 people from across the country had spoken out against the potential threshold change ...
Macau gaming revenue is down for the 12th consecutive month
Monday, June 1, 2015
Macau has now suffered a full year of declines in monthly gaming revenue, which is bad news for the multiple Las Vegas casino companies with major operations there. Figures released Monday by ...
Casino execs: Expect the unexpected in Macau
Monday, June 1, 2015
Macau once was a reliable cash cow for Las Vegas casino companies. But for almost a year, the Chinese gambling hub has been a source of trouble. A government-led crackdown on corruption in China has ...
Nevada gaming revenue up more than 5 percent in April
Friday, May 29, 2015
Nevada gaming revenue rose significantly in April, with some particularly strong increases in the Las Vegas area, the state said today. The Gaming Control Board said ...
Former Riviera operators approved to manage Westgate Las Vegas
Thursday, May 28, 2015
The operators of the closed Riviera received final regulatory approval today to run the Westgate Las Vegas. The Nevada Gaming Commission voted to ...
How skill-based slots, social media and more will shape the casino of the future
Thursday, May 28, 2015
Senate Bill 9, which unanimously passed both chambers of the state Legislature before Gov. Brian Sandoval signed it this month, allows for an element of skill in the traditionally chance-heavy realm of slot technology. It presents an opportunity for the casino industry to ...
Most major casino executives express rosy view of Las Vegas economy, but Wynn disagrees
Friday, May 22, 2015
Wynn’s pessimism came to light April 28, when his company relayed quarterly earnings results that bore some tough news for shareholders. Much of the company’s poor performance traces back to Macau, which has seen 11 straight monthly declines in gaming revenue. Wynn told analysts in a conference call that ...
Gaming group ‘troubled’ by possible government credit card ban at casinos
Thursday, May 21, 2015
A recent report that found federal employees improperly used government credit cards at casinos could have unnecessary consequences for the gaming industry ...
Sandoval signs bill allowing for skill in slot machines
Thursday, May 21, 2015
Gov. Brian Sandoval’s office today announced that he signed legislation paving the way for the state gaming industry to incorporate skill into slot machines. Senate Bill 9 directs Nevada gaming regulators to ...
UNLV law professor is a key player in Caesars Entertainment bankruptcy case
Wednesday, May 20, 2015
UNLV law professor Nancy Rapoport was recently appointed to lead a committee that reviews bills for legal work as well as other professional fees and expenses tied to ...
Stratosphere parent reports big profit increase for first quarter
Monday, May 18, 2015
The company that runs the Stratosphere, Arizona Charlie’s and the Aquarius in Laughlin reported its first-quarter earnings on Friday. The company said its net revenue boost stemmed from more slot revenue, better occupancy, higher average daily room rates and ...
Gaming on Nevada’s legislative radar, even if not the focus
Monday, May 18, 2015
Nevada’s casino industry hasn’t been the main focus this year in the Legislature, but it is an important part of the action in Carson City. Casino executives have been ...
‘It’s like a big scavenger hunt’: Buyers find bargains, collectibles at Riviera
Thursday, May 14, 2015
Price tags are affixed all over the Riviera now, and crowds poured in to inspect them today as the resort’s liquidation sale opened to the general public. The sale kicked off ...

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