Las Vegas Sun

August 31, 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

Icon of Old Vegas will live on
Monday, Aug. 31, 2015
The Riviera has closed, but it will not be forgotten. Parts of it will remain on display elsewhere, and for now the building is still being put to use ...
Nevada gaming revenue dragged down in July by decrease in Clark County
Friday, Aug. 28, 2015
Nevada gaming revenue dropped slightly last month, led by a more significant year over year decrease in Clark County ...
Will court ruling on N.J. gaming stop spread of legal sports books? Don’t bet on it
Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015
Efforts to open legal sports books outside Nevada suffered a major setback Tuesday when a federal appeals court denied New Jersey’s attempt to bring betting on athletics to its ...
Steve Wynn: From ultimate Vegas insider to outsider in Boston
Monday, Aug. 24, 2015
Casino mogul Steve Wynn, who many credit with transforming Las Vegas, has faced pushback in Massachusetts, where he plans to build a new resort. Boston and two nearby cities ...
Gaming regulators give final approval to Penn National’s purchase of Tropicana
Thursday, Aug. 20, 2015
The Nevada Gaming Commission unanimously agreed that Penn National can buy the Strip resort for $360 million, which the casino company said it would do in April. The Gaming Control Board gave the sale initial approval about two weeks ago ...
Tighter slot machines might be hurting revenue, industry research suggests
Thursday, Aug. 20, 2015
Casino markets in many states have tightened their slot machines over the years, and that could be hurting revenues, according to recent industry-backed research. The Association of Gaming Equipment Manufacturers ...
Las Vegas Club, one of downtown’s oldest casinos, closes
Thursday, Aug. 20, 2015
By the time the Las Vegas Club shut down just after midnight today, there wasn’t much left to which customers and employees could say goodbye. Many parts of the historic casino had already closed ...
SLS Las Vegas reports a loss of $48.7 million in second quarter
Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2015
SLS opened last August as a reincarnation of the former Sahara hotel-casino, and its first year has been financially difficult to say the least. The most recent SEC filing reaffirms ...
Drugstore plan motivated casino owners to purchase Las Vegas Club
Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2015
Last month, Derek Stevens signed on to a strongly worded letter opposing the Las Vegas Club casino’s plan to open a drugstore that would sell packaged liquor. Now, Stevens and his brother are the new owners of the Las Vegas Club. And the casino is not debating ...
Las Vegas Club sold to owners of the D casino
Friday, Aug. 14, 2015
The Las Vegas Club, an aging Fremont Street casino that was partly closed more than two years ago, has been sold to a pair of other downtown casino owners. Jonathan Jossel, CEO of the company that operates ...
Revenue, earnings up for Stratosphere parent company in 2nd quarter
Friday, Aug. 14, 2015
The company that controls the Stratosphere, the two Arizona Charlie’s locations and the Aquarius in Laughlin reported its second-quarter earnings today. The company ...
International Game Technology working on deal to sell Las Vegas headquarters
Friday, Aug. 14, 2015
CEO Marco Sala said IGT has entered into a letter of intent to sell the southwest valley headquarters, although the company will probably set up a lease-back ...
Fresh off merger with Gtech, IGT reports higher revenue, loss in second quarter
Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2015
This was the first time the combined version of IGT and Gtech has reported its earnings as one company ...
Station Casinos’ revenue up 5 percent from second quarter of last year
Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2015
Station’s Las Vegas operations did well in the second quarter, leading one of the company’s top executives to again point to healthy trends in ...
Tourism board approves $42 million Riviera demolition plan
Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2015
The Riviera will be destroyed under a $42 million plan approved by Las Vegas tourism officials. It’s still unclear ...
Big changes ahead for MGM Resorts
Monday, Aug. 10, 2015
From Nevada to the East Coast and beyond, the empire of properties controlled by casino juggernaut MGM Resorts International is in the midst of a major evolution ...
Cosmopolitan reports first-ever quarterly profit
Friday, Aug. 7, 2015
This was the first profitable quarter for the resort, which was purchased by Blackstone last year for $1.73 billion. While net revenue ...
Gaming board continues work on rules for skill-based slots
Thursday, Aug. 6, 2015
Nevada officials are continuing to craft regulations that could bring big technological changes to state slot machines, but it will be a while before any of the new games ...
Penn National’s Tropicana purchase gets first regulatory approval in Nevada
Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2015
Penn National Gaming’s purchase of the Tropicana cleared its first major regulatory hurdle today. The Gaming Control Board said the casino company can buy the classic Strip resort for $360 million, a plan that ...
Caesars boosts revenue, turns around loss in second quarter
Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2015
Caesars said its revenue increased because of recent renovations to the Linq hotel, growth in the company’s interactive division, “strong hospitality performance” and ...
MGM Resorts revenue drops 7.6 percent in 2nd quarter; CEO says Mirage not for sale
Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2015
MGM Resorts International, the casino giant whose Strip properties include Bellagio, MGM Grand and Aria, reported its second-quarter earnings today. Macau continued to be problematic for MGM, as it has been for other casino companies that operate there. Revenue from the MGM China subsidiary dropped 33 percent from ...
Scientific Games, recently merged with Bally, grows revenue and loss in second quarter
Monday, Aug. 3, 2015
The Bally merger produced about $150 million in annual cost savings through the end of the quarter, the bulk of which came from eliminating duplicate positions and trimming overhead costs, according to a company statement. Chief Financial Officer Scott Schweinfurth said ...
Merger complete, Golden Gaming becomes publicly traded Golden Entertainment
Monday, Aug. 3, 2015
Golden Gaming, a major operator of Nevada taverns, casinos and grocery store slot machines, has completed its transition from a family owned business to a publicly traded company that also runs a casino in Maryland. The company announced today ...
Co-founder of Real Gaming bullish about online potential
Monday, Aug. 3, 2015
Real Gaming co-founder Lawrence Vaughan sees online gaming becoming a much bigger deal in the future. In the meantime, his site is focused on doing the best it can in the limited market. Vaughan recently sat down with VEGAS INC to discuss Real Gaming and the state of the online gambling industry ...
5 things to keep in mind as the Caesars bankruptcy progresses
Friday, July 31, 2015
More than six months after a major division of Caesars Entertainment Corp. filed for bankruptcy, it’s still unclear exactly how the company will emerge on the other side. Caesars wants a Chicago bankruptcy court to ...
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 ...

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