Entries in Las Vegas (13)


MBA Players at Vegas Poker Tournament Win Jobs 

Courtesy of Caesars Entertainment(LAS VEGAS) -- A poker tournament for MBAs only?  Caesars in Las Vegas hosted one on Saturday -- and it wasn't the casino's first.

Caesars has been holding them annually for the past eight years.  The casino's goal isn't to separate players from their money (the buy-in is as low as $85); it's to see which players have management potential.

Using poker as a recruiting tool might sound like an odd throw of the dice, but it turns out that many other big-name employers host ostensibly-fun events whose real purpose, from the company's perspective, is to separate the MBA sheep from MBA goats -- the ones who have what it takes to reach top management.

The practice, says Emily Taylor, associate director of MBA career and education communication at UCLA's Anderson School of management, is called "event recruiting," and it is practiced in some variation by "hosts" who include Amazon, Deloitte, Microsoft and Tiffany.  The idea is for higher-ups to watch how prospective hires behave in situations typical to the company.

In Caesars' case, explains casino leadership service coordinator Tijuana Plant, the poker tournament is used to select the right MBAs for Caesars' executive training program -- though sometimes a student will be hired to fill an immediate job opening.  Not everybody who attends is a current student.  Some players are graduates a few years out of school who come either because they're considering a career change or because they just want to have fun.

Margo DeLeeuw, class of 2014 at Duke University's Fuqua School of Business, tells ABC News she played the poker tournament because she's interested in the hospitality-management and restaurant-management aspects of the casino industry.

"I like to play poker," she says, "but only casually.  I played mediocre at best.  There were 142 players, and I got knocked out when there were still 100 left."

Her performance didn't cause her any worry, she says, because she knows Caesars did not invite her to judge her poker prowess.

"They want to see if you've got a sincere interest in the company -- are you knowledgeable and passionate?  Do you exhibit the behaviors that they're looking for?" DeLeeuw says.

Those behaviors, says Plant, include an ability to take calculated risks, to make decisions on the spot, and to interact in a friendly, helpful way with the public.

"We're not selling insurance here," she says of Caesars.  "We don't sit behind a desk all day.  We enjoy ourselves, but we also know how to network and to get the job done.  If one of our executives sees a student who's a great fit, we pay attention."

The three-day tournament consists not just of table play, but of social events.  Of the several hundred students Caesars invited this year, says Plant, "We'll funnel it down to 21 who will get one-on-one interviews.  We're in that process now."

Those who make the cut get job offers.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


World’s First Nobu Hotel to Open in Las Vegas

Courtesy Caesars Entertainment(NEW YORK) -- Nobu sushi in bed?  That dream of traveling foodies everywhere will be realized next week.

Famous chef and restaurateur Nobu Matsuhisa will open his first hotel in Las Vegas on Feb. 4.  The hotel, called Nobu Hotel Caesars Palace, will occupy 181 rooms at the famed Caesars Palace and is the latest in the boutique-hotel-within-mega-hotel concept.  There are 18 luxury suites ranging from 1,000 to 3,500 square feet.

Nobu Hotel will be the first celebrity chef-branded hotel venture in Las Vegas.

Guests will have use of all the amenities at Caesars, plus a bit of V.I.P. treatment, including priority access to the Nobu restaurant -- the world’s largest -- and 24-hour room service from the Nobu menu.  

Also for guests: Complimentary access to PURE nightclub, complimentary valet service, private access to the ‘Garden of the Gods’ pool and complimentary access to Qua fitness center.

Matsuhisa isn’t the only celebrity involved with the hotel.  Actor Robert DeNiro is a co-owner of Nobu Hospitality and was involved in selecting  David Rockwell, another big name in the hotel industry, to design the hotel.

There are three more Nobu hotels in the works: A Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, location will open in 2013 and hotels in London and Bahrain are “coming soon,” according to the Nobu Hotels website.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


‘Las Vegasdotcom’ Star of New Sin City Campaign VEGAS) -- For a city that’s known for the fast life, choosing an average Joe to represent it in a new marketing campaign may seem an odd choice.

He’s 45 years old. He sells insurance. And his name is Las. Las Vegasdotcom. Everything was fine, you see, before the explosion of the Internet. Now everyone thinks he’s a website. And now everyone wants Las to hook them up with the very best of Vegas.

The new campaign debuted Monday.

The ad’s goal, of course, is to tell viewers about all the cool things Vegas has to offer and ultimately drive potential visitors to the website and convince them to book.

One video shows Las being accosted on the street by a man who wants to know about the secret pizza place inside the Cosmopolitan hotel. “What’s secret about it?” he asks. “That nobody tells you where it is? Or they don’t even tell you what the toppings are and you just sort of get a grab bag of toppings?”

Another asks, “So the sharks at Mandalay Bay? Like, have you swam with them? Do I need insurance for that?”

“The new website and ad campaign are based on comprehensive research about our visitors and what they want,” said Courtney Fitzgerald, spokesperson for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. "Based on our research, we know we have two audiences: the ‘core’ and the ‘persuade.”’

Each audience represents more than 40 million potential visitors a year.

Fans of Sin City’s famous “What Happens Here Stays Here” campaign need not worry — the famous slogan isn’t going anywhere. The new campaign is designed to “compliment” what’s already in place, Fitzgerald said.

The character Las Vegasdotcom isn’t too far off the typical Sin City visitor. ABC built a profile of the typical Las Vegas visitor based on data from the LVCVA. If you’re a married white male, late 40s, employed making over $100,000 per year and love to gamble, it seems Las Vegas is your vacation spot of choice.


Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Las Vegas Airline Would Let Flyers Gamble on Prices

Ethan Miller/Getty Images(LAS VEGAS) -- With all the angst that goes into buying an airline ticket -- Am I too early or too late? Do I wait until the last minute or purchase far in advance? What about the fees? -- purchasing airfare can feel like a bit of a gamble.

But one Las Vegas carrier wants to raise the stakes, so to speak.  In a plan outlined in Bloomberg Business Week, Allegiant Air is considering a pricing structure where customers can either lock in a price or choose an adjustable ticket price based on fuel price fluctuations before travel.

In other words, fliers would have to pay more if fuel goes up or would get a partial refund if fuel goes down.

Allegiant Air relies more on leisure travelers than other carriers, with a presence in several Florida markets, Myrtle Beach, S.C., Hawaii and Las Vegas. The dependence on leisure fliers means it’s more exposed to fuel prices than airlines who have higher-paying business travelers to shoulder fuel cost increases.

The new pricing structure is at least six months away, according to Bloomberg Business Week. The airline’s CEO said that even if the plan passed muster with regulators, the technology isn’t in place. “We as a company are not ready for it mostly because our automation is not ready,” said airline CEO Maurice Gallagher Jr.

Getting the plan past regulators may be no small task.  Earlier this year, the Department of Transportation issued several new rules to provide clarity in airfare pricing for consumers, including disclosing all taxes and fees up front. While a plan such as Allegiant Air’s wasn’t specifically addressed, it doesn’t conform to the overarching goal of making airfare easier for the average consumer to understand.

But, the DOT told Bloomberg, “Our rules do not prohibit airlines and ticket agents from selling tickets in which passengers pay part of the fare immediately and the rest later, with the final payment dependent on changes in fuel or other costs.” As Bloomberg points out, some tour operators operate similarly, with a sale structured in partial payments.

It’s clear Allegiant Air, like the rest of the airline industry, is looking for creative ways to increase the bottom line. Allegiant became the second domestic carrier to charge for carry-on bags. (Spirit Airlines, another airline largely dependent on leisure travelers, was the first.)

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Fired Las Vegas Hotel Worker Sues for Pregnancy Discrimination, Wages

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(LAS VEGAS) -- Melodee Megia, a former employee at The Cosmopolitan Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, claims she was told she was fired from her job for saying "bye bye" on the telephone instead of "goodbye" while eight-months pregnant.

She has filed a lawsuit against the hotel for pregnancy discrimination and a class-action suit for workers' wages, saying employees were not paid for the time they had to wait for and change into their uniforms on a daily basis.

Megia worked at the hotel from November 2010 until September 2011, when she said she was fired "based on her pregnancy," according to court papers filed with the Clark County District Court in Nevada last week.

Megia was a "room service sales" employee answering the telephone when hotel guests called for room service, and occasionally assisting in room delivery, her lawyers said.

She is represented by labor attorneys Mark Thierman and Jason Kuller.

Thierman said "she was denigrated verbally and was mistreated because of her pregnancy," while having a "behind-the-scenes" job at the hotel.

Amy Rossetti, public relations director of The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, said in a statement, "As a matter of company policy, we do not comment on pending litigation."

In March 2011, according to the lawsuit, Megia was asked to deliver a "pleasure packet" of condoms to a hotel customer, when Megia's supervisor said, "Isn't it too late for that?  You should have thought about it before getting knocked up."

"From that point forward, the director of room service frequently gave [Megia] dirty looks or shook his head disapprovingly," the suit said.

On Sept. 16, 2011, when she was eight months pregnant, the "stated reason for [her] termination was that she said 'bye bye' instead of 'good bye' on the telephone to a room service customer," according to the suit.

"In fact, this was merely a pretext as [Megia] had been subject to harassing conduct and other pretextual discipline leading up to her termination since the time her pregnancy was learned by [the hotel]," the suit added.

In the same filing to sue the hotel for unspecified damages for pregnancy discrimination, Megia also made class-action allegations for unpaid wages on behalf of the hotel's employees.

Workers were not permitted to wear their uniforms outside work and had to pick up and drop off their uniforms before and after their shifts, often leading to additional overtime for which they were not paid, the suit claimed.

The suit said employees also had to change into their uniforms on-site in an area away from where they clocked in and out for the day.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


CES Live Blog: 2012 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas

Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images(LAS VEGAS) -- The 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show is underway in Las Vegas. ABC News technology producer Andrea Smith is there and live-blogging via Twitter the news from various press events. Follow her and all the day's news in the application below.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Live Blog: 2012 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas

Ethan Miller/Getty Images(LAS VEGAS) -- The 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show is getting underway in Las Vegas. ABC News technology producer Andrea Smith is there and live-blogging via Twitter the news from various press events. 

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


US Regulators Close 28th Bank of the Year

Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The total of U.S. bank failures this year stands at 28, after banks in Illinois and Nevada were closed by federal regulators on Friday.

The assets from Nevada Commerce Bank will be assumed by the City National Corp.'s City National Bank.

Heartland Bank and Trust Co. has agreed to assume the deposits of Western Springs National Bank and Trust.

Combined, the two bank failures will cost the federal deposit insurance fund $62.9 million.

Last year 157 banks failed, the most since the savings and loan crisis ended in 1992.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Las Vegas Hosts Largest Gun Convention

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(LAS VEGAS) -- While the debate over gun safety rages in the wake of the Tucson shooting, Las Vegas is hosting the largest gun convention of the year, but the rhetoric of that debate might not reflect the reality of the industry.

Shot Show is the convention for those who make rifles, handguns, scopes, bullets and everything in between, to show off their latest and greatest to the retailers who sell them nationwide.  "You can't be in this business and not go to Shot Show," retail store owner Miles Hall says.  And after talking to the president and CEO of Taurus Firearms, Bob Morrison, it sounds tough to be in this business and not make money.  "We are having terrific growth right in the middle of the recession and I'm delighted to be in this business," Morrison says.  Retailers like Miles Hall agree.  "We've had months where we had 300 percent growth over the month in the year before ," Hall says. 

While there's been growth in gun sales for hunting and sporting, arguably the largest growth has been with guns used for self-protection, particularly  with women.  "Concealed carry is the fastest growing with all markets," Morrison says.  "Forty-seven percent of the business now is female, which is pretty amazing, " Hall says.  According to retailers most of the women are mothers with college degrees and middle to upper income. Yet every time a gun is used in a tragedy, the debate of access pops back up .  "I get so tired of everybody trying to blame everything else than the individual. Just remember it was the individual who caused the problem, let' s just stay focused on that," Miles says.  

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Deutsche Bank Gambles on Vegas' Newest Hotel and Casino

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(LAS VEGAS) -- The hottest party in Las Vegas this New Year's Eve was not at any of the monster casinos people know so well. In fact, it had nothing to do with magicians or show girls.

Instead, Jay-Z and Coldplay headlined a concert that included performances by Beyonce, John Mayer, and Kanye West at a hotel start-up on Vegas' Strip. The property had no history and no customer base, and many thought it had no chance of ever opening. But against all odds, The Cosmopolitan is the talk of Sin City these days, for reasons that go far beyond its curious ad campaign, which includes a bellboy with no pants.

"My mom called me and she said, 'I saw that commercial and I don't know what it meant, but I kind of liked it,'" said John Unwin, the CEO of The Cosmopolitan. "We've had good's got a pants-less bellboy and it's got puppies."

Unwin is the leading man in a story that symbolizes America's boom-and-bust era like few others.

Six years ago a developer named Ian Bruce Eichner had plans for a $3.9 billion monstrosity with 28-foot-robots playing guitars and a tower of expensive condos. But when he defaulted on his loans, Deutsche Bank became the sudden owners of the unfinished hotel-casino, and the first bank to own a hotel on the Vegas Strip.

After finding no buyers, the German bank bought out The Cosmopolitan itself for $4 billion. It lured Unwin away from Caesar's Palace, where he was working as the general manager, and finished the place with an entirely new concept.

Vegas is still limping back from a horrible slump, with too many rooms and not enough guests. If The Cosmopolitan somehow manages to draw more gamblers than its bigger neighbor, the Bellagio, it would take 15 years for Deutsche Bank to break even.

Architect David Rockwell had to take a relatively small nine-acre space and build upwards to design the lavish Cosmopolitan. His best known work includes the home of the Academy Awards, the ultra-hip Nobu restaurants and even experimental playgrounds. But he had never designed a casino until now. Now the hotel is one of the most posh places in Vegas, with a lobby that seems to be more like a post-modern art gallery than just a place to check in. 

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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