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Crapping out
February 9, 2009 12:53 PM   Subscribe

Trump Entertainment is about to run out of the third extension of its debt payments. Station Casinos is offering its investors as little as 10 cents on the dollar in a pre-packaged bankruptcy. Wynn Resorts is cutting staff hours and bonuses to avoid layoffs. MGM Mirage may see a default rate of 30% on its City Center condominiums. Harrah's long-term debt has doubled. There are no more traffic jams on the Strip. Oh... and the Borgata Hotel in Atlantic City had to settle a $70 million sexual harassment lawsuit brought by its beverage servers. In short: times are tough.
posted by Joe Beese (61 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
Well, that's what you get when you gamble with the financial markets. At least they had a good time at the tables. That's what it's really about, right? Fun!
posted by leotrotsky at 12:55 PM on February 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


Sexual harassment? Where did they think they were working? Applebees?
posted by jquinby at 12:56 PM on February 9, 2009 [5 favorites]


But CNN told me today that "in hard times, you can bet on Vegas."

NOW I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO BELIEVE.
posted by Spatch at 12:58 PM on February 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


So there's an upside to the economic crash?

Las Vegas has always been a travesty and an eyesore.

But unfortunately, the assholes who got rich off of people's innumeracy and gambling additions will never find themselves working the night shift at the 7-11. Just their employees.
posted by orthogonality at 12:59 PM on February 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


you're fired!

(had to)
posted by rosswald at 1:02 PM on February 9, 2009 [4 favorites]


While I was growing up in Nevada, the state had the number one suicide rate in the country. A good friend of mine who moved to NV from Indiana killed himself after losing big at the tables. I shed no tears for financially imploding casinos. And no, excepting casual gamblers early in their money-losing careers, gambling is not "fun".
posted by telstar at 1:07 PM on February 9, 2009


WTF?? Pussies. PUT IT ALL ON BLACK!
posted by spicynuts at 1:08 PM on February 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


I know the companies in Vegas that produce things like curtains for new hotels, have seen all their orders canceled. The only project that's getting finished is City Center.
posted by nomisxid at 1:11 PM on February 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


orthogonality: You're glad at the economic downturn of casinos because they offend your artistic and moral sensibilities?
posted by zabuni at 1:15 PM on February 9, 2009


Well, that's a damn shame.

I know that my knee is supposed to jerk at the mention of the name "Trump" but I have to say that I really enjoyed the poker room at the Taj Mahal in Atlantic City. The service was unpretentious and friendly. Most of the other casinos I visited were cold and nasty. I won a few times. I lost some others. When I hit my limit, I walked away.
posted by jason's_planet at 1:17 PM on February 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


"Puritanism: the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, might be happy."
posted by jason's_planet at 1:19 PM on February 9, 2009 [7 favorites]


Gambling is a tax on people who don't understand mathematics. Sounds like some people are getting a tax cut!
posted by mullingitover at 1:21 PM on February 9, 2009 [5 favorites]



So there's an upside to the economic crash?

Las Vegas has always been a travesty and an eyesore.


um...I think Las Vegas is probably gonna bounce back from this one. So that kind of negates the dubious upside you were talking about.
posted by orville sash at 1:22 PM on February 9, 2009


I'm so looking forward to my Vegas trip in March.

"I'd like desert, and Mr. Wynn to massage my shoulders and temples with delicate oils."

"Hi, I'm Steve Wynn..."
posted by fatbird at 1:23 PM on February 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Well Trump's lawyers recently called the recession an act of God, so perhaps Trump Entertainment can appeal to the Federal Government for a bailout...

After all, I see no fundamental difference between the banking system of Wall Street and the casino gambling of Atlantic City--especially given that we are now possibly as much as seven trillion dollars in the hole (and yet still lack any idea of where the money's gone). Place your best if you think we'll ever see all that money again.
posted by ornate insect at 1:25 PM on February 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


place your best bets
posted by ornate insect at 1:27 PM on February 9, 2009


and: as much as seven nine trillion dollars in the hole
posted by ornate insect at 1:29 PM on February 9, 2009


I was there last month and it was busier than ever.

But yeah, it's a terrible place and deserves to be turned into a giant empty ghost town used for season 18 of Survivor and that's all. Too bad for lots of people that bought the hype, there's going to be some pain for them.

It really is the most depressing place on earth. Worse than Disney even.
posted by Keith Talent at 1:32 PM on February 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


HEY. What happens to Vegas stays... never mind.
posted by Ron Thanagar at 1:33 PM on February 9, 2009


"orthogonality: You're glad at the economic downturn of casinos because they offend your artistic and moral sensibilities?"

No, because gambling is unproductive and ruins lives by offering false hope that turns into addiction. How many retired widows need to spend the years of their retirements on buses to Atlantic City to zone out pulling the handles of one-armed bandits, before we admit that this destroys thousands for the profits of a few?

How much better a society might we be if those retired gamblers could instead be interested in some activity that fulfilled them and helped society, taking care of children in day cares or teaching the illiterate to read or volunteering at the VA hospital?

Gambling is a waste of human potential and a form of slavery, and therefore an evil.
posted by orthogonality at 1:34 PM on February 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


I agree with Keith - I'm not a big fan of Vegas; the total lack of anything vaguely organic in that town drives me nuts.
posted by Mister_A at 1:34 PM on February 9, 2009


Gambling is a waste of human potential and a form of slavery, and therefore an evil.

You could make exactly the same argument against, for example, World of Warcraft.
posted by Justinian at 1:38 PM on February 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


How much better a society might we be if those retired gamblers could instead be interested in some activity that fulfilled them and helped society, taking care of children in day cares or teaching the illiterate to read or volunteering at the VA hospital?

What's stopping them?
posted by rocket88 at 1:40 PM on February 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


Good thing I didn't buy that timeshare.
posted by Faint of Butt at 1:41 PM on February 9, 2009


How much better a society might we be if those retired gamblers could instead be interested in some activity...

I dunno, based on the older folks I know, it seems like your energies might be better spent getting someone to outlaw soap operas, bad romance novels, pro wrestling, and NASCAR.
posted by aramaic at 1:44 PM on February 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


I haven't been to Vegas in a few years, and I actually sort of miss it. Where else can you get four shots and four beers for $12?
posted by uncleozzy at 1:45 PM on February 9, 2009


Orthogonality:

1. Could the same be said for drugs? How can we call an activity that is freely done slavery?

2. And if we are to direct our ire at unproductive activities, then television, mmo's, video games, sport game watching, and metafilter can be seen as evil.
posted by zabuni at 1:49 PM on February 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Christ, what a cash hole.
posted by phaedon at 1:50 PM on February 9, 2009 [6 favorites]


This is actually great news for those of us who love gambling and Vegas--maybe I can finally find a 5 dollar blackjack table at Caesar's at midnite on saturday when I need to blow off steam from busting OTB from the nooner.

Also, I have never seen anyone as harassed as the waitresses at the Borg. I've literally witnessed degenerate gamblers drool and grunt when they walk by, if they can be bothered to raise their dessicated gazes from the mismatched and dwindling chipstack as it flitters endlessly from their busy fat-stained fingers.

Damn when is that stimulus getting here I got a dream for the city of itches.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 1:51 PM on February 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


I see no fundamental difference between the banking system of Wall Street and the casino gambling of Atlantic City

The difference is that gambling has rules.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 1:52 PM on February 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


Metafilter is unproductive?
posted by sfts2 at 1:52 PM on February 9, 2009


Where else can you get four shots and four beers for $12.

Any of 6 bars within walking distance from my house.
posted by sciurus at 1:52 PM on February 9, 2009


Let's not forget Swift boat funder Sheldon Adelson's Las Vegas Sands Corp. Heh. How's that bush economy workin' out?
posted by delmoi at 1:55 PM on February 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Any of 6 bars within walking distance from my house.

Well christ, they'd better be in walking distance, in that case.
posted by uncleozzy at 1:56 PM on February 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


Oh, and it may be that people have finally realized that the stock market offers the same rewards and excitement of any Las Vegas casino!
posted by delmoi at 1:57 PM on February 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


The one time I was in Vegas I was totally blown away by how open the crystal meth trade is inside the casinos, there were dudes selling right in the lobby of the Hard Rock like they had a license.
posted by The Straightener at 1:58 PM on February 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: a waste of human potential and a form of slavery
posted by heathkit at 2:03 PM on February 9, 2009 [5 favorites]


Hmm, that's funny you say that, Straightener... I was just in the Hard Rock on Tuesday and one of the dealers at the crap table screamed, "I'm buying a bag of pot tonight!" after someone gave him a great tip... I thought it was funny, but somewhat brazen. I can't believe this atmosphere is actually encouraged by management, though, is it? Meth dealers in the lobby sounds like a ticket to serious federal charges...
posted by PigAlien at 2:05 PM on February 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


I see no fundamental difference between the banking system of Wall Street and the casino gambling of Atlantic City

The state gaming commission actually does their job. Unlike the SEC.

Meh, I live in Vegas, what really hit hard is the housing collapse. My house is worth roughly 50-60% of what I paid for it back in 2005. I've lost the 20% down payment and am upside down about $50-75K. No fun.

All the local government agencies are funded through growth-oriented means. When growth stops happening, they dont have money!

And yea, this town is devoid of anything good for a normal person to enjoy. I'm going to PDX this weekend.
posted by SirOmega at 2:06 PM on February 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


How much better a society might we be if those retired gamblers could instead be interested in some activity that fulfilled them and helped society, taking care of children in day cares or teaching the illiterate to read or volunteering at the VA hospital.

Well, go right ahead and make your case to them.

But I'd advise you not to use the same tone talking to them that you use here at MetaFilter. Because old people really, really don't like being condescended to. They get enough of that shit in their everyday life.
posted by jason's_planet at 2:09 PM on February 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


PigAlien: "Hmm, that's funny you say that, Straightener... I was just in the Hard Rock on Tuesday and one of the dealers at the crap table screamed, "I'm buying a bag of pot tonight!" after someone gave him a great tip... I thought it was funny, but somewhat brazen. I can't believe this atmosphere is actually encouraged by management, though, is it? Meth dealers in the lobby sounds like a ticket to serious federal charges..."

I suppose after The Palms started cutting in on the douchebag trade, Hard Rock had to step up its game.
posted by Joe Beese at 2:11 PM on February 9, 2009


You could make exactly the same argument against, for example, World of Warcraft.

Some people do, not without merit. I've had video game obsession take over my life and cause real damage and genuine lost potential.

I think there are real distinctions, though. The implied bargain is pretty different, the "hit" is different, the cost is smaller. WoW is what, $10-$20/month? $60 if you count the broadband package? And that's your loss ceiling, for which they immediately and consistently deliver immersion in a rich, complex, and social fantasy world, and the chance to develop skills and test them against challenges. I haven't spent a lot of time in casinos, but it seems pretty apparent to me the burn rate for cash is orders of magnitude higher, the loss ceiling is as much as you've got (and sometimes more), hits are less frequent and calculated largely to push your ceiling up, the skill level is non-existent for many games, and the immersion is a room with crappy lighting, twitchy bleepy sounds, a maze of twisty passages all alike, cigarette smoke, and people looking roughly about as happy or excited as the crowd at the local Wal-mart. I guess sometimes there's free drinks and cheap food/lodging (generally why I have any exposure to casinos at all).

I've had acquaintances who've enjoyed stopping at Vegas on the way through, playing through $5-10 at the erstwhile nickel slots, or $20-$50 at the card tables, predetermined spending limits, then they leave, win or lose. I guess that's fine, though it seems to me there are better entertainment returns available for that money. It's well known there are a lot of human beings who have a harder time managing that way, and I suspect that once a brain gets hooked on risk-seeking for potential profit it's a little harder to reclaim it than a brain that gets hooked on an immersive narrative about magic and leveling up.
posted by weston at 2:13 PM on February 9, 2009 [4 favorites]


When it comes to disposable income, there's no better way to literally dispose of it than to gamble it away. If people don't have dough to blow, it stands to reason that the gambling industry will tank (although anecdotal evidence tells me that people still think investing in a lottery ticket is a good hedge against hard times). My bro works in Vegas, designing slot machines for Bally, and their clientele is pretty much every casino on Earth. As goes Vegas, no doubt will go the rest of the world. It's a sucker's game anyway, people!
posted by bonefish at 2:17 PM on February 9, 2009


So, what about a billboard with my wife and I on it and we would be smiling and there would be a saying, something like, "These people dropped out of society, they couldn't take it any longer, but they made a mistake. They lost their nest egg at The Desert Inn, but The Desert Inn gave it back."

- David Howard
posted by davebush at 2:19 PM on February 9, 2009 [3 favorites]



(and yet still lack any idea of where the money's gone)
I can tell you where 10% of it has gone. Can you pronounce I R A Q?
posted by notreally at 2:38 PM on February 9, 2009


Personally, I'm rooting for the desert.
posted by Emperor SnooKloze at 4:21 PM on February 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


Wow! So very many people vining for winning the thread, I'd say maybe leotrotsky.

Well, yes, the gambling industry "deserved it", but the credit card industry deserves worse.
posted by jeffburdges at 4:36 PM on February 9, 2009


But if the house doesn't always win, I'm not sure what to believe in anymore...
posted by armacy at 5:10 PM on February 9, 2009


Woohoo! We board our flight to Vegas less than eleven hours from now. Glad we cancelled our reservation at the Grand, though.
posted by subbes at 5:31 PM on February 9, 2009


Good! Fuck 'em!
posted by notsnot at 5:45 PM on February 9, 2009


You wanna know how casinos view their visitors? Like rats in a maze. A surprisingly cheap maze, once you consider how much scratch the rats drop. You think this is puritanism? I am a libertine in all areas but gambling. Anyone with a fourth-grade math education should be as well.

I recall many an acquaintance who confidently predicted his mastery over the games and imminent riches. "Poorer but wiser" is how the lucky among them refer to themselves now.

If you're going to play the odds, try skydiving, or mountain climbing, or obscure-psychedelic ingestion. Anything but those skanky casinos, in my book.
posted by telstar at 5:56 PM on February 9, 2009


Remember that $.10 on the dollar figure in the headline of this post when Tim Geithner rolls out his plan tomorrow and tells us that the government "will probably make money on the deal."

We won't.
posted by tgrundke at 6:01 PM on February 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Here in Beijing, there's a majiang parlor on every corner, sometimes 4-5, gambling takes place in all of them. If you think Vegas is depressing...
posted by saysthis at 6:26 PM on February 9, 2009


The sexual harassment suit has nothing to do with our tough economic times. Its really hard to sympathize with someone who has a valid sexual harassment suit slapped on them. Fuck 'em for all I care.
posted by hal_c_on at 8:24 PM on February 9, 2009


"Gambling is a waste of human potential and a form of slavery, and therefore an evil."

I'd be inclined to strike "gambling" from that sentence, insert "arrogance, being judgemental."

FWIW, yeah, some people get stupid about gambling and it can get ruinous. About 3x/year I play nickle video poker, set a limit usually around $20, stick to it, have left after losing all of it, left with more than $20, left with some of it having had my fill.

For my $20, I find it relaxing/absorbing usually for at least an hour, get at least one or two "free" beverages while I play, tip the beverage server at least a buck/beverage.
posted by ambient2 at 11:52 PM on February 9, 2009


Man, I really want to hit Vegas now. I've only been to the airport.

I can go to casinos here in Seoul, but they're a little too high-roller for my taste. (And by taste, I mean wallet.)
posted by bardic at 12:47 AM on February 10, 2009


Not every one in Vegas is being fleeced, or stupid. I got married there and briefly enjoyed the flashing lights. For the honeymoon, we drove out to the desert, and found Beatty, NV, a little mining town, full of really nice folk. But they all worked for the mining company. The mining company, in turn, owned the 2 casinos in town. Everybody in Beatty, as far as we could see, went down the mine 5 or 6 days a week, collected their money, then went to the casinos and handed it right back again. To the same company. That was very, very close to indenture....
posted by fcummins at 5:24 AM on February 10, 2009


I enjoy some gambling, once in awhile. I know others that feel the same. So some folks don't know when to quit? For this you condemn an entire industry?

Vegas is what it is. If you don't like it, don't go there. I am not entirely decided on my opinion of the place, I've never been there enough to determine a solid opinion. There are things I like about it. Nothing has bothered me about it sufficiently to say I wouldn't want to return, but I wouldn't rule out a judgement of 'meh', either. I don't miss it enough to matter! Other than the stock market (which I've been out of for a couple years), I've barely gambled at all (a few slots in South Africa, when I stayed at a hotel w/casino). I gambled more when I lived near an Ojibwa casino (of course, in that locality, it was one of very few things to do for evening entertainment!).
posted by Goofyy at 8:35 AM on February 10, 2009


I like Vegas.

Its fun to party and be excessive. I always have a budget when I go and I drink, shop and party until the weekend is over and I always come back on budget. If you dont like it, dont go, but dont tell me Im evil because I like to have fun once in a while.
posted by subaruwrx at 10:15 AM on February 10, 2009


In economic terms, Vegas is a export winner for the US economy overall. Since we don't sell foreigners much of anything, exchange rates attract their tourism, and gambling speeds up the dollar recapture process.
posted by Brian B. at 3:08 PM on February 10, 2009


So, when does Vegas start a "Save The Whales" campaign?
posted by FormlessOne at 6:22 PM on February 10, 2009


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