Posts Tagged ‘casinos’

Frank Sinatra’s Casino Closes Its Doors

Friday, April 2nd, 2010

It’s a sad day in the world of gambling and, to be honest, in the world in general. The Cal Neva, one of the icons of Nevada gambling, has closed its doors and it may be done for good. In the 1960’s no casino was bigger and more iconic than the Cal Neva, which was owned at that time by none other than Frank Sinatra.

Ol’ Blue Eyes renovated the casino and turned the Cal Neva into the place to be in Nevada. Though the recession has forced it to shut down, the Cal Neva will always have its place in history. After Sinatra bought it, the casino became a hot spot for the big names of the day. It was frequented by Sinata and fellow Rat Pack members Dean Martin and Sammy Davis, Jr. Never a classier group of gentlemen than that group, I tell you. The Cal Neva is also the site of Marilyn Monroe’s last weekend, where she lived the nightlife one last time before dying of an alleged drug overdose in 1962.

For all its charm, nostalgia and history, though, the Cal Neva had a problem and that is Las Vegas. Located on Lake Tahoe, the resort straddled the border between Nevada and California. During its heyday there was little competition; when it came to casinos, this was the place.

But then something happened. The Las Vegas Strip exploded into the tourist Mecca of Nevada and soon all gamblers and lovers of the nightlife were heading there instead. Despite its prestige, even the Cal Neva couldn’t compete with the total package the Strip offered, with countless resorts all located in one place and more flash and eye-catching extravaganzas than you could imagine.

Adjusted for inflation, there was a 50% dropoff in revenue at the Lake Tahoe casinos last year as compared to 1992. Cal Neva, though a cultural and historical landmark, simply doesn’t have the modern amenities that your average casino customer wants. For that reason, its days had been numbered for a while and now, after all this time, the Cal Neva’s time has come to an end.

Though the casino has now closed, the rest of the property, including Sinatra’s showroom, will remain open. It is a sad day for anyone who grew up on Sinatra and the Rat Pack and even if you didn’t, it’s a sad day for anyone who appreciates culture and history. You will be missed, Cal Neva.

Mr. President, there’s nothing wrong with visiting Vegas

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010

For the second time, President Barack Obama has criticized the city of Las Vegas and people who want to visit the city and contribute to its economy. This time, the president said that people saving money for college shouldn’t blow their money on gambling in Vegas. After a firestorm from local politicians and businesses, Obama sent a letter to U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who represents Nevada, saying that his comment was taken out of context.

This wasn’t the first time that the president has accused people of wasting their money by going to Sin City. Last February, he chastised companies who took bail-out money for taking trips to Vegas. Not being a businessman, of course, Obama doesn’t seem to realize that companies need to spend money to make money and that expensive junkets and other business trips are necessary for getting new clients and keeping old ones. He also doesn’t seem to grasp that in a struggling economy, you should never tell people not to spend money. Telling people to basically put their money under their mattress is bad for the country’s economy and especially for the economy of Las Vegas.

While the country-wide unemployment rate is 10% (which is a kind estimate that doesn’t count those with part-time jobs or those who have given up looking for work), the rate in Nevada is 13%. Las Vegas’ tourism industry is hurting because people are saving their money and not going on vacations to Sin City. Now the President of the United States is flat-out telling people not to spend their money there.

Here’s my take on visiting Vegas. It’s not for everyone. It never has been. You need a certain amount of disposable income to hit the casinos and play at the blackjack tables. I always tell people that when it comes to gambling, you should never wager money that you can’t afford to lose. Therefore, if losing an amount of money in Vegas would cause a hardship for you, don’t bet that money, because if you do, you might lose it.

However, if you have enough disposable income to do so, there is nothing wrong with going to the casinos and spending your money. Not only that, but it’s a good thing for the economy – not only Nevada’s economy, but the whole country. Consumers spending money (wisely) is an important part of capitalism. Of course you shouldn’t gamble money that you set aside for college. However, if you can afford to go on vacation and spend a little money, why not do it at Vegas? Doing so is not only fun, but it helps a state that is in dire straits.