Las Vegas Sun

January 24, 2015

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J.D. Morris

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

Las Vegas mystery: What will become of Fontainebleau?
Friday, Jan. 23, 2015
When viewed from afar in the light of day, the second-tallest structure in the Las Vegas area looks like many of the other resorts on the Strip. But at night, the Fontainebleau reveals itself for what it really is: a monolithic, largely abandoned black hole on the otherwise brilliantly lit skyline. It’s been a ghost of a building for years now, and no one seems to know when ...
Gaming group: Illegal bets on Super Bowl will total $3.8 billion
Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015
Americans will illegally wager 38 times more money on this year’s Super Bowl than they will legally in Nevada, the only state with full-fledged sports betting, according to ...
Wynn redesign of Massachusetts casino has a familiar look
Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015
Wynn Resorts unveiled a new tower design for its planned Massachusetts casino today, and it should look familiar to anyone who’s seen the Wynn or Encore in Las Vegas. Massachusetts gaming regulators awarded the Boston-area casino license to Wynn’s $1.6 billion project last year, but they requested ...
Steve Wynn’s base salary reduced from $4M to $2.5M
Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015
Casino mogul Steve Wynn is taking a salary cut from the company that bears his name. Wynn Resorts disclosed in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that ...
New restaurant at the Cal reflects broader nongaming trend
Saturday, Jan. 17, 2015
Boyd Gaming celebrated the debut of a new restaurant at its flagship downtown Las Vegas casino on Friday, one that company officials say is part of a larger strategic focus on nongambling amenities. “What we’re trying to do is update our restaurants and bars, because there’s so much more nongaming that is important in ...
Caesars bankruptcy: What does it mean for company, consumers and employees?
Friday, Jan. 16, 2015
When the largest operating division of casino giant Caesars Entertainment filed for bankruptcy protection on Thursday, it was just the most ...
Cash-strapped Caesars division files for bankruptcy protection
Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2015
The main operating division of debt-ridden casino company Caesars Entertainment filed for bankruptcy early Thursday morning in Chicago, taking a long-planned step toward ...
What does terrorism insurance program mean for Las Vegas? Quite a lot
Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2015
In its first week back, there was one thing virtually all of Congress could agree on: Las Vegas casinos and other large commercial businesses should be protected financially from a major terrorist attack. A bill to restart a federal program helping to do just that passed the new Republican Congress last week and was signed into law by President Barack Obama on Tuesday. The legislation renews a 2002 federal program that ...
Junior creditors try to halt Caesars restructuring plan
Monday, Jan. 12, 2015
Junior creditors of Caesars Entertainment filed court papers today seeking to prevent the debt-ridden casino company’s financial restructuring plan from taking effect. In documents filed with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware, the junior creditors are attempting to force Caesars’ operating subsidiary into bankruptcy before ...
Caesars clears threshold for creditor support of bankruptcy plan
Friday, Jan. 9, 2015
Caesars Entertainment has cleared a critical threshold of creditor support for a bankruptcy restructuring plan in its operating subsidiary, the casino company announced today. In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Caesars said that more than 60 percent of first-lien bondholders have signed ...
Should betting be allowed on the Olympics? South Point says yes
Friday, Jan. 9, 2015
In recent years, gamblers expecting to place wagers on the Olympic Games at Nevada sports books were in for a letdown: Per state law ...
Caesars nears threshold for creditor agreement on bankruptcy plan
Thursday, Jan. 8, 2015
With the deadline for a bankruptcy agreement fast approaching, Caesars Entertainment said today that more than 50 percent of first-lien bondholders signed on to a financial restructuring plan for ...
After stormy start, do better days lie ahead for SLS Las Vegas?
Friday, Jan. 2, 2015
For evidence of just how important Sam Nazarian was to the creation of SLS Las Vegas, look no further than the iconic starfish-like silver sculpture that looms large at the front entrance. It's reportedly a caricature of Nazarian himself. Nazarian has been the face of the property since he purchased it when it was still the Sahara in 2007. He closed the Sahara four years later, then ...
Nevada gaming revenue slightly up thanks to off-Strip increases
Tuesday, Dec. 30, 2014
The Nevada Gaming Control Board said that casinos won $876.3 million last month, a 0.04 percent increase from the same month last year. But gaming revenue for the fiscal year, which began July 1, is still ...
Portion of Caesars creditors agree to restructuring plan, company inches closer to bankruptcy
Financial filing offers new details on how restructured Caesars would function
Monday, Dec. 29, 2014
Caesars disclosed the creditor support in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing that expands on the restructuring plan first announced by the ...
How tweets turned Ultimate Poker’s demise into funds for charity
Friday, Dec. 26, 2014
Las Vegas-based poker journalist Marco Valerio had an idea for his tiny Ultimate Poker payout: pool the pennies generated from other players and donate the total to charity ...
Smashburger expands to Las Vegas Strip
Monday, Dec. 22, 2014
The variety of burgers available on the Las Vegas Strip will grow on Tuesday when ...
Gambling: The neglected addiction
Sunday, Dec. 21, 2014
Many insurance policies don’t cover the disorder, even though it has been reclassified under the same umbrella as alcoholism.
Union: Cosmopolitan workers remain employed through sale
Friday, Dec. 19, 2014
The new ownership of the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas will undoubtedly institute changes to the resort. But the resort’s workforce, apparently, will remain intact. The Culinary Union ...
Caesars subsidiary to file bankruptcy, restructure finances
Business will ‘continue as usual,’ CEO Gary Loveman says
Friday, Dec. 19, 2014
Casino giant Caesars Entertainment, which for years has struggled with massive debt, announced today that its largest subsidiary reached an agreement with key creditors on a financial restructuring plan. The subsidiary ...
The future of Las Vegas: See what’s coming on the Strip in 2015
Friday, Dec. 19, 2014
Development along the Las Vegas Strip in 2015 will be important in subtle ways. Several projects that are changing the Strip’s physical dynamic will finish or edge closer to completion. The mix of tourism attractions will continue shifting more toward ...
Gaming regulators OK $1.73 billion sale of Cosmopolitan
Thursday, Dec. 18, 2014
The sale of the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas cleared its last regulatory hurdle today when the Nevada Gaming Commission approved the $1.73 billion transaction. The sale was ...
SLS visionary Sam Nazarian gets limited gaming license
Thursday, Dec. 18, 2014
Sam Nazarian, the Los Angeles nightclub tycoon and visionary behind SLS Las Vegas, was awarded a limited gaming license from Nevada regulators today. But under terms of the license ...
Former MGM executive named next CEO at Cosmopolitan
Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014
William McBeath, a former MGM Resorts International executive, is the next chief executive officer of the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. The resort announced McBeath’s appointment ...
Nazarian out of day-to-day operations at SLS
Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014
Sam Nazarian has been the driving force behind SLS Las Vegas, but he encountered serious difficulty two weeks ago when ...
Nightclub operator Hakkasan acquiring Light Group in $36 million deal
Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014
Hakkasan Group initiated a major shakeup of the Strip’s nightlife business today with plans to acquire another prominent nightlife company, The Light Group, for $36 million. Morgans Hotel Group ...
Planning underway for UNLV center on gaming regulation
Friday, Dec. 12, 2014
UNLV's hotel college and law school are teaming up to form a center dedicated to researching gaming regulations and providing courses on the subject for industry professionals. The center is expected to be launched by the 2015-16 academic year, and its research will include examining the effectiveness of such regulations as ...
Study: Casinos contributed $53 billion to Nevada economy last year
Wednesday, Dec. 10, 2014
The American Gaming Association today announced the results of an Oxford Economics study that measured the economic impact of Nevada’s gaming industry. In addition to the general contribution to the economy, the study found that Nevada casinos supported ...
Cosmopolitan CEO leaving resort
Tuesday, Dec. 9, 2014
Unwin, who has been with the resort since 2009, will end his tenure as CEO at the end of the year but will continue afterward in a “consulting capacity” to help with the transition, according to a company press release. The release did not ...
Is Northern Nevada cheating Southern Nevada?
Monday, Dec. 8, 2014
Southern Nevada lawmakers and leaders may disagree sharply along party lines, but there’s one point on which many of them are in lockstep. The South, they say, gets robbed blind by state government officials in the North — year after year, dollar upon dollar. Here’s their argument: Southern Nevada, home to about 70 percent of the state’s population, provides the majority of funding for ...
Gambling association releases first-of-its-kind money laundering report
Saturday, Dec. 6, 2014
Casinos, like banks and other institutions that deal with a lot of money, are required by law to vigilantly look out for financial transactions that may be illegal ...
For Las Vegas-based dietary supplement maker, salespeople are the future
Friday, Dec. 5, 2014
DrVita.com, a Las Vegas-based manufacturer of vitamins, is shifting from selling its products online to a direct-sales model that involves ...
Seeing red flags, regulators recommend limited license for Nazarian at SLS
Wednesday, Dec. 3, 2014
Sam Nazarian, the businessman behind the development of SLS Las Vegas, was unable to persuade state regulators on Wednesday to let him be fully involved with ...
Cosmopolitan sale moves forward
Wednesday, Dec. 3, 2014
The Gaming Control Board recommended that the Nevada Gaming Commission later grant final approval of the sale of the upscale Strip resort, which is in the process of from Germany’s Deutsche Bank to a division of the Blackstone Group ...
Nevada gaming revenue slumps for third consecutive month
Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2014
Nevada gaming revenue declined for the third consecutive month in October, the state reported today. State casinos won $913.6 million last month, a 4.26 percent decrease from ...
4 Las Vegas casino companies earn top marks for LGBT practices
Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2014
Four Las Vegas casino companies earned perfect scores this year on a major advocacy group’s annual rating of corporate practices toward ...
Sorting out Caesars: How company slid into distress, and what’s next
Friday, Nov. 21, 2014
With Caesars appearing to be poised to file for bankruptcy as soon as January, the company's future could be complicated. Here's an explanation of what's happening, and what could happen as ...
Regulators OK $5.1 billion merger of gaming technology companies
Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014
Nevada regulators today approved the merger of Scientific Games and Bally Technologies, paving the way for two of the biggest gaming technology companies to become an even larger combined entity. The state Gaming Commission ...
Revenue, profit up for Stratosphere parent company
Friday, Nov. 14, 2014
The Stratosphere’s parent company, which also owns Arizona Charlie’s and the Aquarius in Laughlin, reported its third-quarter earnings today. As with last quarter, nongaming revenue was key to ...
Nevada online poker company Ultimate Gaming shutting down
Friday, Nov. 14, 2014
Ultimate Gaming, one of Nevada’s three legal online poker providers, announced today that it’s ending operations in the state. The move comes about two months after Ultimate Gaming withdrew from New Jersey. In a news release, the company referenced some of the online poker industry’s overall struggles as ...
Slot parlors among host of gaming issues legislators will tackle
Friday, Nov. 14, 2014
Slot parlors, the role of technology in gambling and illegal sports betting are among the casino-related issues that the Nevada Legislature could take up when it convenes ...
Caesars layoffs to be ‘spread out evenly’ among properties, won’t exceed 680 workers
Thursday, Nov. 13, 2014
Debt-saddled Caesars Entertainment confirmed today that it’s laying off less than 1 percent of its total workforce amid ongoing attempts to improve the company’s financial situation. Caesars employs about ...
Station reports modest revenue growth for 3rd quarter
Wednesday, Nov. 12, 2014
ocals gaming giant Station Casinos, whose properties include Palace Station, Green Valley Ranch and Red Rock Resort, reported its third quarter earnings today. Station’s adjusted earnings before interest, income taxes, depreciation, amortization and management fees — its cash flow — was ...
MGM, Station announce charitable gifts for military families
Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2014
In the spirit of Veterans Day, two Las Vegas casino companies recently announced major charitable contributions to the military community. MGM Resorts International said today it’s committing ...
Caesars CEO encouraged by Las Vegas tourism indicators
Monday, Nov. 10, 2014
Caesars Entertainment, the debt-saddled operator of many of the Strip’s most iconic resorts, reported its third quarter earnings today. Caesars has begun formal discussions with some creditors as ...
Revenue up, loss down at Cosmopolitan for third quarter
Friday, Nov. 7, 2014
The company that operates the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas reported its third-quarter earnings today. Revenue increased in every major category for the resort ...
Medical marijuana a recurring theme at gaming law conference
Friday, Nov. 7, 2014
Medical marijuana and the Nevada casino industry don’t mix, gaming officials said at a conference today, and that’s not likely to change anytime soon.
Will GOP’s surge be a deal-breaker for expansion of online poker?
Friday, Nov. 7, 2014
More than a year and a half after Nevada legalized online poker, the game still hasn’t taken off here. And Tuesday’s election results don’t offer much hope that Congress will help improve the situation. Experts say the game would be more popular if ...
2nd Wheel of Fortune slot debuts in IGT social casino
Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2014
Another variation of the Wheel of Fortune slot machine is now offered in a free-to-play digital casino. International Game Technology announced today that the Wheel of Fortune Triple Extreme Spin game is available in ...
Is Las Vegas becoming the competitive bowling capital of the world?
Friday, Oct. 31, 2014
Can Las Vegas be the competitive bowling capital of the world? The South Point is trying to make it happen. Eight months ahead of schedule, the off-Strip hotel rolled out a new $35 million bowling tournament center on Thursday, adding to the long list of ...

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