Casino Beat: Tips and Deals

Some new promotions are making a looming shift in the local’s casino market palatable for gamers and non-gamers alike. But use caution and know what you’re walking into.

It looks like the Station Casino’s bankruptcy case is finally moving forward. Last week a federal bankruptcy judge in Reno approved a plan to auction off eleven (11) Station Casino properties on the open market by August 6. What does this mean to employees and customers of Station Casinos? That depends on which property you are talking about. It’s going to be business as usual at some properties, but employees and customers are already feeling the squeeze at others and unfortunately it may only get worse.

Wined Up Fridays are a good way to wind down your week.

Not all of the Station properties were included in the bankruptcy case and some of the ones that were included are being spun-off into a new holding company controlled by the Fertitta family and investor group Colony Capital. That means things will pretty much remain unchanged at Green Vally Ranch, Aliante, Red Rock, Palace Station, Sunset Station, Boulder Station and the Wild West at Days Inn on Tropicana. (Green Valley Ranch and Aliante were never actually part of the bankruptcy case because they are not entirely owned by Station.) However, the next couple of months will probably be pretty rocky for everyone at the casinos on the auction block: Texas Station, Sante Fe Station, Fiesta Henderson, Fiesta Rancho, Barley’s Brewery, the two Wildfire casino/lounges and the smaller properties: the Greens, Thunder Valley, Gold Rush and Lake Mead Casino.

Rumor has it that Station management refused to include player’s club info last year when Boyd Casinos bid $950 million for several Station properties. Boyd accused Station management of trying to consolidate their local customer base into the properties Station intends to keep, primarily Sunset Station, Boulder Station and Palace Station and for that reason Boyd backed out of the deal. This seems in line with a recent shift I’ve noticed in Station’s marketing policy. For example, last month was the first month in four years that neither my wife or I received a player’s club calendar from Fiesta Henderson. We aren’t huge regular players but it only takes one look inside any of the aforementioned casinos “on the chopping block” to see that we’re not the only ones being dropped. Even long time patrons have fled these properties partly out of superstition that a casino about to be sold tightens its slot machine pay-outs and partly from the fact that player comps have indeed been dramatically slashed. (There’s also the worry that the cost cutting measures could affect the quality of food service operations, which is just one more reason long time locals generally avoid in-transition properties until after they are sold.)

My advice for the next few months is to know whether the Station Casino property you are walking into is on the auction block or not. It’s possible the Fertitta’s may end up keeping the eleven properties they’re trying to sell because they were required to open the bidding at $772 million. Whether they end up with them in the end, or new owners out bid them, you can bet that player comps and slot pay-outs will dramatically improve by the end of Summer to re-attract customers at all locations!

Stay tuned and I’ll let you know how the Station bankruptcy unfolds.

In the meantime, if you were a regular Station Casino patron there are a couple of excellent distractions to consider until after the bankruptcy dust settles:

Tuesdays are for blackjack at the M Resort.

#1 – for gamers, the M Resort is sponsoring a weekly blackjack tournament with a $1,199 top prize ($1 below the tax reporting thresh-hold!) for only a $25 buy-in fee. Registration for the tournament begins at 9:00am on Tuesday mornings and the finals begin at 3:45pm Tuesday afternoons. (sorry day jobbers)

#2 – for oenophiles, Terra Verde at Green Valley Ranch started “Wined Up Fridays” in May and plans to run it through the end of Summer. For $20pp you get “all you can savor” wine and appetizers on Friday nights from 5-7pm on the Terra Verde Patio. Each week features the wines of a specific region or winery. I’ve always enjoyed the food at Terra Verde, especially the appetizers, but was always turned off by their very expensive wine list. This is an excellent way to enjoy their food with a glass or three of wine and not feel ripped off.

Note: Terra Verde usually pulls in an attractive mix of stylish professionals so don’t show up in a t-shirt, shorts and sandals or you’ll feel really out of place ;- )

#3 – for sports fans, the NBA Finals between the Lakers and Celtics will probably go six or seven games. If I weren’t a Lakers fan I’d take the Celtics at +165 to win the series (that means you win $16.50 for every $10 bet, plus you get your $10 back).

As always, Good Luck and Happy Wagering!

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