Las Vegas Sun

May 24, 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

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 ...
Loss down, casino revenue up at Cosmopolitan in first quarter
Wednesday, May 13, 2015
This is the Cosmopolitan’s first full quarter under the control of its new owner, Blackstone Group, which took over the property late last year. The Cosmopolitan saw its biggest year-over-year quarterly improvement on ...
Riviera operators get initial approval to run Westgate
Wednesday, May 13, 2015
The operators of the shuttered Riviera are moving across the street. The state Gaming Control Board today granted its initial blessing for executives from Paragon Gaming ...
MGM Resorts might rename, revamp its ‘underutilized asset’ Monte Carlo
Tuesday, May 12, 2015
The opportunity arose with the planned opening of the Park, a new shopping and entertainment area that MGM Resorts is building between Monte Carlo and New York-New York. “I would say we look at that property with a more positive lens than just about any property we own right now,” CEO Jim Murren said ...
After strong first quarter, Station CFO optimistic about Las Vegas economy
Monday, May 11, 2015
Station said its quarterly performance was assisted by strong consumer confidence and spending levels. The company noted in a statement that those factors ...
Caesars CEO: First quarter was company’s best since 2008
Wednesday, May 6, 2015
On a conference call with analysts, outgoing Caesars CEO Gary Loveman said the company has cut costs, made “new and exciting” investments in its hospitality offerings and ...
Resorts World, off to ceremonial start, vies for theme of authenticity
Tuesday, May 5, 2015
Resorts World Las Vegas' Chinese theme isn't just for tourists — it should be appealing to Chinese citizens, too. At least that’s what executives sought to impress at ...
‘Thank you for 60 wonderful years’: Guests, employees say farewell to the Riviera
Tuesday, May 5, 2015
Although the hotel operations were still humming along in a largely normal fashion on Sunday, plenty of signs — literal ones — reminded guests that the end was near. One such sign by the check-in area states plainly that the Riviera closes at noon Monday ...
Six decades later, Las Vegas says goodbye to historic Riviera
Monday, May 4, 2015
The Riviera closed at noon in advance of its eventual demolition. The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, which agreed to pay $182.5 million to buy the property in February, will replace the historic hotel-casino with more convention space ...
Strip room rates fluctuate around Mayweather-Pacquiao fight
Thursday, April 30, 2015
The imminent “fight of the century” at the MGM Grand Garden Arena has caused room rates on the Strip to skyrocket recently, but it seems that some, at least, have now dropped ...
Boyd CEO sees positive signs for Las Vegas in 1st quarter
Thursday, April 30, 2015
Boyd Gaming, the Las Vegas-based casino company whose local properties include the Orleans, Suncoast and the California, reported its first-quarter earnings today. Its downtown Las Vegas casinos reported net revenue of ...
Wynn Resorts: Elaine Wynn received only 17.1 percent of shareholder vote
Thursday, April 30, 2015
Elaine Wynn secured just 17.1 percent of the vote in her failed campaign for reelection to the board of Wynn Resorts, according to ...
Gaming revenue in March down on the Strip, statewide
Wednesday, April 29, 2015
Nevada gaming revenue declined again in March, thanks to a steep drop on the Las Vegas Strip, the state reported today. The Gaming Control Board said ...
Penn National to pay $360 million for the Tropicana
Wednesday, April 29, 2015
Penn National Gaming said this morning that its acquisition of the Tropicana will cost $360 million. The day after the sale was first reported by VEGAS INC, Penn began to shed light on its vision for the classic property. Penn, a regional gaming company that operates the M Resort in Henderson, reiterated ...
Tropicana to be sold to Penn National Gaming
Tuesday, April 28, 2015
M Resort operator Penn National Gaming is buying the Tropicana, a classic but money-losing resort, according to an internal letter. The sale gives Penn its first resort in Las Vegas’ main casino corridor ...
Macau pressures place hit on Wynn’s first-quarter earnings
Tuesday, April 28, 2015
CEO Steve Wynn used much of a conference call with analysts today to reiterate the tough conditions in China that have weighed down his company’s performance. His message was clear: A government-led crackdown on corruption that began last year …
Las Vegas man linked to bitcoin poker site facing prosecution
Tuesday, April 28, 2015
In what’s believed to be an unprecedented move for Nevada, state Attorney General Adam Laxalt announced today that his office is prosecuting an individual tied to a poker website targeted by ...
Sandoval names former casino exec to state Gaming Commission
Monday, April 27, 2015
Gov. Brian Sandoval today appointed a former longtime Northern Nevada casino executive to replace Joe Brown on the state Gaming Commission. Michonne Ascuaga, the former CEO of ...
Should MGM branch out into real estate?
Investment firm sees big potential in converting part of casino company into a REIT
Monday, April 27, 2015
Investment firm Land and Buildings is pushing MGM Resorts to adopt a proposal the investors say could skyrocket shares as high as ...
Elaine Wynn loses fight to stay on board of Wynn Resorts
Friday, April 24, 2015
Elaine Wynn lost her fierce campaign to keep her seat on the board of Wynn Resorts today after stockholders voted in favor of two candidates endorsed by the company. Stockholders gathered this morning ...
Joseph Brown resigns from Nevada Gaming Commission
Thursday, April 23, 2015
Nevada Gaming Commissioner Joseph Brown is stepping down from his post on the top regulatory body for the casino industry. Brown has been a member of the Gaming Commission for more than ...
Gaming Commission approves sale of Gold Strike in Jean
Thursday, April 23, 2015
Nevada gaming regulators today signed off on the new ownership of the Gold Strike casino, paving the way for associated development along the freeway in the area ...
In Wynn vs. Wynn, Elaine faces two company-backed rivals for board seat
Thursday, April 23, 2015
On Friday, stockholders will decide the outcome of Elaine Wynn’s heated campaign to stay on the board of Wynn Resorts by determining whether they prefer her or ...
Macau hampers Las Vegas Sands financial results in 1st quarter
Wednesday, April 22, 2015
Las Vegas Sands, the casino company that runs the Venetian and Palazzo on the Strip, reported its first-quarter earnings today. The Macau casino industry has continued to suffer amid a crackdown by the Chinese government on corruption that ...
‘Make it shine’: New owner offers light at end of tunnel for Railroad Pass
Friday, April 17, 2015
Once a lonely outpost among MGM Resorts' holdings, Railroad Pass is getting some attention under its new owner, Joe DeSimone. The new boss — whose background is in real estate, not gaming — is planning several significant changes that will affect ...
Elaine Wynn wins advisory backing in board battle
Thursday, April 16, 2015
Elaine Wynn has secured a third-party advisory endorsement in her contentious campaign for re-election to the board of Wynn Resorts making her tied with her opponents as the public fight approaches ...
Another advisory firm frowns on Elaine Wynn’s re-election
Monday, April 13, 2015
Elaine Wynn has encountered a setback in her fight to stay on the board of Wynn Resorts due to an advisory firm’s recommendation that shareholders not support ...
Gaming association sets sights on fighting illegal gambling
Monday, April 13, 2015
The gaming industry is trying to crack down on illegal gambling via a new project from its Washington, D.C.-based trade group. At a summit of state attorneys general in ...
Inside the boardroom of Wynn Resorts is a power struggle being fought publicly
Monday, April 13, 2015
It has all the trappings of an intense political campaign, with contentious allegations, appeals to voters, a sleek candidate’s website and, of course, a high-stakes election. But the battle ...
MGM Resorts, Wynn go cashless at poker tables
Friday, April 10, 2015
Two major Strip casino operators recently made changes to their poker operations that may reflect a broader push to beef up their anti-money laundering efforts. Effective this month, MGM Resorts International and Wynn Resorts no longer allow cash at their poker tables. Previously, poker players could use cash without first converting it into chips. Some experts think the change is motivated by ...
$6.4 billion IGT, Gtech merger now complete
Tuesday, April 7, 2015
The $6.4 billion merger of leading slot machine maker International Game Technology and Italian lottery operator Gtech is finished. Company officials said today that the two entities have completed the combination of their businesses and that the new company, International Game Technology PLC, is now trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the IGT ticker symbol. The merger was ...
Former Las Vegas mayor discusses the future of gaming
Sunday, April 5, 2015
Jan Jones Blackhurst, former mayor of Las Vegas, discusses gambling over the Internet, the bankruptcy of Caesars Entertainment and the importance of corporate giving, among other topics ...
Sam Nazarian returns to SBE Entertainment
Friday, April 3, 2015
Sam Nazarian, the businessman who was unable to secure a full gaming license for his role in SLS Las Vegas, is back at the helm of his Los Angeles-based hospitality and entertainment company ...
Reid striving to add ban on online gaming to his political legacy
Friday, April 3, 2015
With the clock ticking on his remaining time in the Senate, Harry Reid is adding to momentum to ban online gaming. Along with supporters such as Sheldon Adelson, Reid ...
MGM Resorts finalizes sale of Railroad Pass
Wednesday, April 1, 2015
MGM Resorts International has completed its sale of the Railroad Pass casino to a local real estate professional ...
February gaming revenue down on the Strip, statewide
Tuesday, March 31, 2015
Nevada gaming revenue declined slightly February, driven by a notable drop on the Strip, the state reported today. The Gaming Control Board said casinos won ...
Cosmopolitan revenue up thanks to casino boost
Monday, March 30, 2015
Casino revenue increased most notably, rising 30.7 percent from last year to $203.2 million. The Cosmopolitan’s filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission said the property is focusing both on increasing its level of table game play ...
Even without a gay bar, LGBT tourists have options on Strip
Monday, March 30, 2015
The fate of Liaison, the Strip’s first gay nightclub inside a casino, exemplifies how difficult it is for a gay venue to become a hit on Las Vegas Boulevard. Liaison closed after less than a year. But that doesn’t mean the Strip has given up catering to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender tourists. In fact, Strip resorts long have found success with events geared toward the LGBT market ...
‘Harry, this is Barack’: Obama surprises Reid during radio talk show
Friday, March 27, 2015

During an appearance by Sen. Harry Reid this morning on KNPR’s “State of Nevada” talk show, the program received a surprise caller. "Harry, this is Barack," ...

Gaming regulators scold Caesars, calling company’s bankruptcy an embarrassment
Thursday, March 26, 2015
Caesars executives had to appear before the Nevada Gaming Commission on Thursday for approval of some routine matters, and commissioners used it as an opportunity to ...
Fourth-quarter revenue, income up at Stratosphere parent company
Thursday, March 26, 2015
The company that owns the Stratosphere, Arizona Charlie’s and the Aquarius in Laughlin, reported its fourth-quarter and full-year earnings today. The company attributed its net revenue increase for the quarter to ...
Elaine Wynn says she knew nothing about nephew’s land deal
Wednesday, March 25, 2015
Elaine Wynn, maintaining her fight to stay on the board of Wynn Resorts, said today that the company’s latest accusations against her are a factually baseless ploy to instigate tension between her and stockholders. In an attempt to “set the record ...
Wynn Resorts goes after Elaine Wynn over land deal, stock sale
Tuesday, March 24, 2015
Wynn Resorts made fresh accusations against Elaine Wynn’s track record today as part of the company’s ongoing effort to defeat her campaign to stay on its ...
Genting: Construction set to begin May 5 on Las Vegas megaresort
Monday, March 23, 2015
The north Strip site formerly home to the Stardust, then the scrapped Echelon project, is set to start coming to life again in less than two months when ...

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