This was the 11th year that Creighton’s Heider College of Business has provided the Las Vegas Travel Course for undergrad and graduate students. We had an outstanding group of students this year, coming from our MBA, Law, undergrad, and even on-line MBA program! Half the students had been to Vegas before (some over 10 years ago) while half had never been.
We visited many companies/organizations including:
- Howard Hughes Company
- First Security Bank & Lucky Cab and Limousine (Jason Awad)
- Golden Nugget Casino and Hotel
- South Point Casino and Hotel
- Wynn and Encore Hotel/Casinos
- Rio Casino/Hotel/Convention center
- MGM Hotel/Casino
- Nevada Gaming Control Board (with Office Creighton Felt)
- International Market Center
- Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority
- City of Las Vegas Development Office
- The Mob Museum
- Hoover Dam!
A few of the interesting random aspects we learned about:
- Las Vegas uses less water than now than it did when it had 400,000 less people, due in large part to water-conservation measures like getting people to get rid of grass lawns. The Southern Nevada Water administration estimates that Vegas could maintain 1,000,000 more residents!
- Las Vegas is land-locked because it is surrounded by government owned land, which is rarely sold. This has put Howard Hughes company, which runs Summerlin, in a very good position, holding enough property to develop housing for 100,000 more residents.
- The real estate market has bounced back, and house valuations have risen for the third year in a row– this year by 11% on average in Vegas. This is due in part to the short supply of real estate property.
- The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority has purchased the Riviera, and plans to tear it down and develop more convention space, reaching all the way from the old Hilton where Elvis played long ago to the Strip.
- The South Point Casino, owned by Creighton Alum Michael Gaughan, continues to innovate and their new PBA bowling center which cost $35 million to build is on track to recoup those initial expenses in just a few short years.
- The MGM corporation is just finishing a new arena which is located between New York New York casino and Ceasars.
- Carolyn Goodman, wife of former 3-term mayor and former ‘mob lawyer’ Oscar Goodman, was re-elected in 2015 to her second term in office.
- The old Union Pacific land west of downtown continues to be developed. The Smith Center for performing arts is going strong and was a worldwide leader in ticket sales in 2015. The International Market Center also appears to be doing quite well with their wholesale furniture sale marketing spaces.
- The City Center finally has deconstructed the Harmon Hotel which it never used on the strip, after discovering that the 1 Billion dollar structure had not had proper footing rebar. The lawsuit is ongoing.
- Most of the casinos have gone from a model which got 60-70% of its revenue to a model in which they make 60% of their revenue from non-gaming sources such as food and beverage, clubs, entertainment/shows, spas, convention business, etc.
- It is nearly impossible to find a cheap buffet these days.
- Each hotel and casino market to different socio-economic and demographic groups. Wynn and Bellagio aim at certain consumers, Treasure Island and MGM at others, and Circus Circus at yet another.
- Karl Icahn put the Fontainbleau on the market for $650 million. He bought it out of bankruptcy in the 2007 crisis for $150 million, sold off a lot of the interior fixtures and furniture, and now most believe it will need to be demolished. Its been an eyesore on the strip now for nearly 10 years…
Vegas is a great place not just to learn about casinos, but to learn about business. That was true this year, as it has been every year of this travel course.