Reno Gazette-Journal from Reno, Nevada on December 22, 1985 · Page 82
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Reno Gazette-Journal from Reno, Nevada · Page 82

Reno, Nevada
Issue Date:
Sunday, December 22, 1985
Page 82
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Sunday, December 22, 1985 3F Reno Gazette-Journal Las Vegas has attractions for kids, too OMNIMAX THEATRE: Caesars Palace, offers an oval screen where patrons feel they are part of the movie itself. FLY-A-WAY: 200 Convention Center Drive, is a huge flying chamber where customers actually fly in a manner similar to parachutists. IMPERIAL PALACE AUTO COLLECTION: Imperial Palace Hotel, is a collection of more than 200 antique and historic cars, all in perfect operating condition. Included is Adolf Hitler's 1939 Mercedes-Benz. RIPLEY'S BELIEVE IT OR NOTI: Four Queens Hotel, features more than 1,000 exhibits from primitive cultures, nature and man's inventions. WET 'N WILD: 2600 Las Vegas Boulevard South, features 26 acres of dives, slides, flumes, lagoons and a lazy river ride. YOUTH HOTEL: Las Vegas Hilton, has supervised activities a year-round summer camp for guests ages 3 to 18. SCANDIA FAMILY FUN CENTER: 2900 Sirius Ave., features miniature Indy-type car racing, miniature golf, bumper cars and an arcade. CIRCUS CIRCUS: On the Strip, features a carnival, midway and video arcado ATARI ADVENTURE CENTER: Caesars Palace and the Riviera Hotel, features more than 50 video games designed by Atari. What to do with the kids if you're going to Las Vegas? You'd be surprised. OLD VEGAS: 2440 South Boulder Highway, is a Western theme park with Western shops, staged gunfights and gunslingers. OLD NEVADA: One Gun Fighter Lane, is located in Red Rock Canyon. It boasts a wax museum, opera house, shoot-outs and a display of animated wood carvings. HOOVER DAM: 30 miles southeast of Las Vegas, is southern Nevada's most famous visitor attraction. Public tours are given to deep within the 727-foot concrete marvel, which recently turned 50. NEVADA STATE MUSEUM: 700 Twin Lakes Drive, has four separate museums that show the region's native species of plants and animals as well as man's history. It is surrounded by a lush park and spring-fed ponds. ETHEL M CHOCOLATE FACTORY: Two Cactus Garden Drive, is owned by the famous Mars family and produces some of the world's most expensive chocolates. Self-guided tours of the factory and a botancial garden and cactus display are offered daily. LIBERACE MUSEUM: 1775 East Tropicana Ave., displays hundreds of pieces of memorabilia collected by Liberace. The museum includes jewels, custom pianos, fur capes and cars. Vegas market From page 1F two movie theaters as drawing cards. The Gold Coast will have 155 rooms and 1,700 parking spaces. At the Tropicana, a new convention complex, four new restaurants, an expanded casino and a five-acre water park, including swimming pools, lagoons, waterfalls and a water slide, are also part of its $70 million expansion. The Flamingo Hilton will become the city's second largest, with a total of 2,920 rooms, when its expansion opens. The project also includes more restaurants, convention space, pools and many other amenities to complement the increased number of rooms. But there were rocky times as well for some operators. Japanese businessman Ginji Yasuda has put $5 million down to buy the $51.5 million Aladdin Hotel out of bankruptcy. A decision on the sale has been postponed until the end of this month. Golden Nugget owner Steve Wynn hopes to acquire the Dunes Hotel by buying it out of bankrupty for $115 million. The Landmark Hotel, owned by Las Vegas attorney and former University of Nevada Regent William Morris, finished 1985 in bankruptcy. Morris paid $19 million for the resort in 1983 and went $9 million in the hole in two years. THE BOYD GROUP, headed by longtime Las Vegas hotel owners Sam Boyd and his son William, purchased the Stardust and Fremont Hotels this year. Before the purchase, millions were allegedly skimmed from those casinos by Midwest mob families. Several of those reputed mobsters are currently on trial in Kansas City, Mo., on skimming charges. Meanwhile, Kirk Kerkorian, major stockholder of the MGM Grand Hotels in Reno and Las Vegas, decided to cash out. The sale to Bally Manufacturing, now in progress, will total $550 million, including the assumption of a $110 million debt. All of these changes in ownership, plus the new expansions, have kept interior designers for casinos the busiest they've ever been in Las Vegas. David Christianson, professor of tourism and hotel administration at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, credits record U.S. employment 107 million Americans on the job accompanied by growing disposable income for the Las Vegas gaming boom this year. Las Vegas, he said, has captured more than its share of the travel market because it offers bargain-priced vacations. Hannifin said the strong defense indus- Special to the Gazette-Journal ON THE GROW: Construction workers lay the foundation for a 560-room addition to the Imperial Palace in Las Vegas. There are 5,117 hotel rooms currently under construction in Las Vegas, and 5,918 more are proposed. try in Southern California has fueled the increase, providing both the dollars and the confidence for people to spend their money traveling. LAS VEGAS ALSO has been successful in luring the middle-class customers rather than banking on the so-called high rollers. "Even such traditionally high-roller hotels as Caesars Palace and the Riviera are concentrating more of their efforts on the middle class." And with the convention authority's advertising budget doubling to $7.3 million since 1980, the exposure Las Vegas is getting can't be underplayed. The city's newly adopted advertising theme, "Las Vegas: The American Way to Play," is targeted to middle and upper income brackets. Another byproduct of the recession years is Las Vegas Events Inc., which mixes both public and private funds to bring more special events to Las Vegas. It was responsible for the National Finals Rodeo last weekend, which drew a record crowd of more than 140,000. Las Vegas also has spent millions on family attractions to broaden its tourism base. Since the beginning of summer, the $3 million Scandia Family Fun Center, Ripley's Believe It or Not Museum at the Four Queens Hotel and the $14.5 million Wet 'n Wildwater park have opened. Wet 'n Wild attracted more than 300,000 visitors during its first summer season, more than the opening year figures for sister parks in Orlando, Fla., or Arlington, Texas. Other public tourist facilities also are being expanded. TWO YEARS AGO, Las Vegas opened its second convention center downtown, the 140,000-square-foot Cashman Field Center. This fall, the first phase of a $1 billion expansion program was completed at McCarran International Airport. It's this entire package that helps Las Vegas withstand the competition from Atlantic City, said Christirnson. "People from the Midwest who have been to Atlantic City know it is just not the same product as Las Vegas," he said. Las Vegas, however, has faced stiff badly as they once did. EVEN THE CALIFORNIA lottery should help make casino gambling a more acceptable form of recreation, he said. And he believes sports betting among younger people will eventually win them over as casino players. Las Vegas will be building to accommodate the new players. A bullet train connecting Los Angeles and Las Vegas is in the planning. A downtown transportation center, shuttle system and people mover are in the works. The shuttle system is mostly being financed by a $2 million grant from the federal Urban Mass Transportation Administration. The administration already has approved $900,000 for the transportation center. Longer-range plans include a civic plaza next to City Hall. And by year 2000, downtown Las Vegas hopes to boast a mall on Fremont Street. Union Pacific railroad will have built a hotel-casino complex, with up to 10,000 rooms, as well as a 93-acre amusement and recreational park behind the Union Plaza Hotel. competition for its high-roller trade and a lot of people in New York and Philadelphia now go to Atlantic City a couple of times a year rather than spend a vacation in Las Vegas, he said. But Atlantic City competition, he believes, is not nearly as damaging as another national recession would be or continued adverse publicity about Nevada's nuclear waste disposal dump. Also, Nevada's other gambling areas such as Reno, Tahoe and Laughlin along with other vacation destinations such as San Francisco, Hawaii or Miami are Las Vegas's main competition, Christianson said. Laughlin, which has grown from less than a hundred to 2,000 people in the last year, is set to explode. The Tropicana and Harrah's both plan major hotel-casinos there while Circus Circus is expected to begin construction of its steamboat-shaped hotel-casino next year. Christianson said he believes the movement seen in 1981-82 to legalize casino gambling in other states has lost momentum. With the recession over, states are finding they don't need extra income as Builders predicting modest growth construction industry are expected to remain relatively stable in 1986, with the exception of industrial construction, which "reflects the overall sluggishness in manufacturing output." Hails is also president and chief executive officer of Hails Construction Co. of Atlanta. Hails, who takes office Jan. 1. "Construction is definitely benefiting right now from what seems to be some short-term factors, such as increased funding for infrastructure and public works projects and developers' fears over changes in tax law," she said. Hails said most sectors of the WASHINGTON - Next year will see "modest growth" of "only 2 to 3 percent" in construction, according to Associated Builders and Contractors Inc.'s incoming President Jean Hails. Volume should reach a record $221 billion by the end of 1985 and reach $227 by December 1986, said ,-wstt wjysw ,"jyfi?jyiirv Gtornstanas ay Serving begins at 11 am. MENU H HOT ENTREES Roast Turkey with Sage Dressing Mashed Potatoes and Giblet Gravy Candied Orange Glazed Yams Baked Ham with Champagne Sauce Carved Prime Rib with Au Jus SALADS Tossed Green Salad Artichoke Salad with Vinegarette Dressing Fresh Italian Vegetable Salad Tray of Sliced Tomatoes and Asparagus with Vinegarette Dressing Fruit Tray Waldorf Salad Ambrosia Salad music festival is being planned for next July. In the short-term, the Pepper-mill's Bryan said he expects to see an increase in its ski package business, the second year it will be offered. But at most, Bryan said he doesn't expect skiers to ever make up more than 5 to 8 percent of all the visitors to Reno. INCREASING CONVENTION business is seen by the Bryan as the long-term solution to Reno's problems. People in new markets such as the Midwest won't come here until they know what the area offers. And the way to get them here is on conventions. The Peppermill is doubling is travel budget for its sales staff next year to reach new markets. In the past year, Bryan said the Peppermill has met good response to bus tours in the Los Angeles market. LA and Salt Lake City are the two new key markets targeted by the convention authority this year, said Buma. More than $900,000 will be spent in print, billboard and television advertising this year in LA alone. In a recent study of California cities plus Portland and Seattle, LA far and away was most likely to produce the largest number of new visitors to Reno, he said. "We're trying to expand in LA as a way of making the pie bigger while maintaining our market in the Bay area. We were also into Salt Lake late this fall. You have 1.8 million people sitting right next to you. BRAINSTORMING sessions for next year's budget, starting in July, already have begun. "We're looking at going into the southwest a little bit more," Buma said. "We're trying to take it one city at a time." Buma appeared to be more concerned about next year's economic prospects than the casino executives. "We've had 38 months of recovery. That's stretching it. Hopefully, the economy will hang in there in 1986. But it hasn't been too strong this quarter." Hannifin, however, sees the high tech industry coming out of doldrums next year. The confidence that will produce in the Bay area is just as important as workers back on the job or wages boosted, he said. And he said economists are predicting disposable income will increase in northern California. He is somewhat concerned that the California Lottery could have an impact on Nevada gaming next year. But so far, he said it hasn't affected the gaming industry's bottom line. But the estimated $1.6 billion to be spent on the lottery in its first year is that many dollars not spent elsewhere. Anita Witter, Plaza Casino Tours general manager in San Francisco, said the lottery does not appear to have any lasting impact on Reno's bus customers. "We noticed a slight impact in October. The response from our customers was they tried it, they didn't win a million dollars and it wasn't so much fun." are closed in Sparks. For Harrah's, the 3 percent growth in revenues this year has meant watching expenses closely all year, Hannifin said. "If you do hire, you don't hire has as many. And you try to get more production out of the ones you've got." Harrah's now employs 3,200, about the same as this time last year. At Karl's Silver Club, no one has been laid off, Seaver said. And most waitresses and dealers at the Nugget are working short weeks, Lubbers said. Overall, however, layoffs do occur in the winter, good year or bad. For the last four years, the Reno area lost an average of 1,800 workers from each October to December as winter set in, according to state figures. This October, Reno had 31,800 casino employees, up 700 from the year before. HOTEL-CASINO operators are beginning to question whether some operators have gone too far in tactics to cut room rates to get more business than the other guy. "I don't really think people come because of cut-rate rooms," said Lubbers. The biggest impact of slashing rates, he said, is reduced income for the Reno-Sparks Convention Authority. The authority will spend $3.8 million on advertising Reno from the $10.5 million it now expects to collect in room taxes this year. It had budgeted for $1 million more. Many motels are simply struggling to exist in the face of the competition from hotels. The owners are well aware they are caught in a trend: For the same or less money, more people would prefer to stay in a hotel for the added convenience. This summer was the first time a number of motels didn't make enough money to stash some away to carry them through the winter. Some motel owners blamed the 2,000 new hotel rooms on the market this year, primarily at John Ascuaga's Nugget and the Circus Circus. "They've had some pretty rugged years," Hannifin said. "But they are important to us. We want them to survive." TO HELP BUSINESS as a whole, Hannifin said Reno needs to add at least one or two major special events, on top of those being planned and the ones already in existence. Reno, of course, has as its biggest attraction the National Championship Air Races, which draws a very affluent crowd. The highly touted Reno Rodeo, however, draws a local crowd more than 80 percent of attendance each year comes from the Reno area, Lubbers said. The convention authority is cooking up a Canadian Festival, running from Feb. 28 to April 20, said Brent Buma, the convention authority's marketing director. A media blitz in western Canada will precede the festival and a toll-free number for room reservations has been established. In addition, the first citywide Reno market From page 1F - through stock sales, just to buy the buildings. ; In Sparks, small business opera- - tors downtown won an initial skir-mish to stop the city's redevelop- ' ment agency from buying or condemning properties. The land - would have been sold by the city to major hotel-casinos and others "j interested in creating major new special attractions. " Several projects that seemed to ; be left hanging on the drawing board the last few years could get started next year, however. Z The Peppermill has announced definite plans to begin construc- t tion of 350 hotel rooms in 1986. It would be the first phase of a $65 million expansion. " The Sands is still selling stock to ; raise money to add a third hotel. A " foundation permit recently was I obtained to begin the proposed 16-story Virginian Hotel, next to the Club Cal Neva. Developer John Farahi hopes to 1 proceed with plans to build a 301- room hotel just north of Old Town Mall on South Virginia Street. His I Virginia & Peckham hotel had " been tied up in legal battles with T the city. And the Travelers, also ; involved in legal disputes with Reno officials, now expects to . start construction on its 305-room Z hotel-casino near the airport next spring. THE PONDEROSA is trying to Z finance its approved new hotel tower and expansion, McGhie said. r In Sparks, Karl's Silver Club )- officials hope to finish plans within three months for a badly Z needed parking garage, said - spokesman Jack Seaver. It would be the first step in a five-year plan that includes a new hotel tower to complement last year's major . club expansion. Z No casinos have closed in the Reno area this year, but liability r. insurance increases of up to six- fold could very possibly put a few 1 smaller clubs in the red, Lubbers " said. As an example of the high cost, " the Nugget paid $60,000 for $20 million worth of insurance last 2 year. The 1986 premium will be - $420,000, Lubbers said. Z Overall, the 3 percent gain in gaming revenues indicates the local industry as a whole will just I. break even this year, Lubbers Z said. Gross gaming revenues are - what casinos have on hand after - players are paid. From these rev-Z enues, casinos then pay wages, supplies and other costs of doing business. Z AROUND THE STATE, how- Z ever, there were some ominous - signs this fall. Three casinos have closed: The Winnemucca Star, the Z Golden Spike in Carson City and the casino floor of the Mizpah Z Hotel in Tonopah recently was Z converted into a pool hall. - Reno already has a collection of Z closed casinos: The Ma pes, the ;t downtown Gold Dust and the Play- - ers Casino. In addition, the Pearl, King's Inn and the Ponderosa Z, haven't operated casinos for several years. Many small clubs also DESSERTS Pumpkin Pie with Whipped Cream Cherry Cobbler with Whipped Cream Tapioca Pudding Tarts Hot Corn Bread Croissants 2)9 ) PER PERSON ALL YOU CAN EAT Children 10 & under 30' per year Bob Cashell, Dick Scott, and all the employees at Boomtown wish you a very Merry Christmas. I HOTEL-CASINO 7 MILES WEST OF RENOHWY. 1-80

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