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North Strip Renaissance Failing to Take Shape

LAS VEGAS - During the boom years, developers, hoping to cash in on Las Vegas, made big bets on the north end of Las Vegas Boulevard.

"There was a lot of construction, but nothing really happening on this end," said Houston tourist Lorenza Shaw. The promise of a north Strip renaissance never came to a fruition. "It's a disappointment, it really is, but what are you going to do," asked New Jersey tourist Natashia Hicks.

Boyd Gaming's multi-billion dollar Echelon project sits idle on the land of the old Stardust hotel. The development is on hold until market conditions improve.

Up the boulevard, the Fontainebleau stands empty and unfinished. Construction halted last year when lenders cut off $800 million in financing for the project.

Elad IDB intended to build a $5 billion replica of New York's Plaza hotel on the site of the old Frontier. But, the land stands empty.

Casino Owner Riviera Holdings Files for Chapter 11

LAS VEGAS (AP) -- Las Vegas and Colorado casino owner Riviera Holdings Corp. has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization. Company subsidiaries Riviera Operating Corp. and Riviera Black Hawk Inc. also filed Monday for reorganization in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Las Vegas. They own the 2,075-room Riviera hotel-casino on the Las Vegas Strip and the Riviera Black Hawk in Colorado.

The filings say the planned restructuring is supported by holders of more than two-thirds of nearly $248 million in debt under a June 2007 senior credit facility.

That could let Riviera Las Vegas and Riviera Black Hawk continue to operate during the bankruptcy process. The company reported to the federal Securities and Exchange Commission late last year that it was trying to restructure debt to avoid filing for bankruptcy.

 (Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Las Vegas Hotel Rooms Still a Bargain

LAS VEGAS -- Nevada's latest gaming numbers paint a bleak picture at first glance. The Silver State's casino winnings for the month of May were down 4.7 percent over the same month last year.

But gaming analysts tell 8 News NOW, it's not nearly as bad as it may appear. Gaming analysts say the high-rollers were unusually lucky at baccarat beating out the Las Vegas casinos in the month of May. Accounting for that, analysts say the city's resort industry continues to show signs of slow recovery in all areas but one -- hotel room rates.

On the surface, Nevada's may gaming numbers are negative especially for the Las Vegas Strip which was down more than 6 percent over the same month last year. But gaming analysts say that's because of a baccarat blip.

"In other words, high-rollers beat the casinos atypically in that game during the month," said Bill Lerner, Union Gaming Group.

Nevada Casino Winnings Decrease in May

CARSON CITY, Nev.-- Regulators say monthly casino winnings in Nevada decreased 4.7 percent in May, to a little more than $889 million, compared with the same month a year ago.

The state Gaming Control Board reported Wednesday that state tax collections based on those winnings was almost $50.6 million, up 15.3 percent from the same month in 2009.

Only the Boulder Strip and North Las Vegas in Clark County and some parts of Elko County showed improvement in the year-to-year revenues comparison.

Reno, Sparks, South Lake Tahoe and North Lake Tahoe all showed drops in casino win during May. On the Las Vegas Strip, casino winnings were down almost 6.4 percent.

The report shows an overall decrease in casino winnings of 4.1 percent for the first 11 months of the 2010 fiscal year.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Moody's says Casino Industry Has Hit Bottom

LAS VEGAS  -- A casino analyst for Moody's Investors Service says the industry may have hit bottom after more than two years of declines.

But analyst Keith Foley said Tuesday it's unlikely things will get better for the country's casinos in the next 12 to 18 months. Moody's Investors Service upgraded its outlook on the industry to stable from negative, saying credit conditions in the industry are unlikely to change soon.

Foley says the stable outlook doesn't mean casino company profits will immediately improve. But he says casinos will benefit in the second half this year from cost cuts made last year. Foley says casinos need the U.S. economy to improve and consumers to spend more before people start gambling more.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Virgin Atlantic Celebrates 10 Years of Direct Flights to Las Vegas

LAS VEGAS -- International tourists are known to stay longer and spend more money while in Las Vegas. One way to lure them is to offer a direct flight from their home country.

Virgin Atlantic Airways started their direct flights from London to Las Vegas 10 years ago and it's been a major success. McCarran sees 148 non-stop international flights to Las Vegas every week. These direct flights have been such a success, local leaders are hoping to convince more countries to hop on board.

Tuesday, Virgin Atlantic, along with its owner Sir Richard Branson, is celebrating a milestone -- it's the 10th anniversary of non-stop flights from London to Las Vegas.

"Las Vegas is made for Virgin and Virgin is made for Las Vegas and we've had 10 great years. Ten million people have come from England here direct and it's been a lot of fun and we are still having fun," said Branson.

MGM MIRAGE is Now MGM Resorts International

LAS VEGAS -- Shareholders have approved changing the name of MGM MIRAGE to MGM Resorts International to better reflect their strategy.

"We believe this evolution honors our entertainment heritage, better represents the growing global presence our company has today and positions us to move forward under a unified brand strategy," said Jim Murren, Chairman and CEO of MGM Resorts International.