Last year I was a panelist at a table-games conference, and Sam Nazarian, the top man at SBE Entertainment, which owns SLS Las Vegas, was the lunchtime speaker. During his talk, Nazarian made multiple references to the locals market and SLS’ plans to appeal to that market with “value.”
Really? How does the coolest, hippest new joint on the Strip do that? After all, SBE is a company known for its posh Los Angeles nightclubs and high-end restaurants. SBE already has a presence in Las Vegas with Hyde Bellagio, which is a happening place … with $9 beers. So when I had a chance to talk with SLS executives, I asked how they intended to make the nighttime party culture and the value stance mesh.
The answer was that SLS has done its homework and realizes that a casino in Vegas is vastly different from a nightclub in L.A. Hence, they’ve set “intelligent price points” for the restaurants and bars relative to other Strip properties. I won’t know what that really means till the doors open (at midnight the evening of August 22) and I can make some straight-up comparisons, but the restaurant plan sounds enticing. One thing I can confirm right now if you’re looking for an immediate deal: Get “The Code.”
The Code is the name of the players club, and it’s clear that SLS wants to leverage the club for its locals marketing campaign. An area of the SLS website labeled “Serious Local Specials” states that customers with a Code card and local ID will have access to special happy hours with $5 drinks from 5-7 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and there are other benefits for “dining and staying.” Specific details weren’t clear, but I gathered that the buffet, which is being touted as a gourmet-style effort, is a likely target for discounting to local Code members.
It’s all a little cryptic right now, but here’s the reality: New casinos almost always open loose. Sometimes they stay that way. Usually they pull back. But they almost never get looser. Hence, the smart play is to sign up for the club early and see what comes your way.
While we’re on the topic of opening loose, SLS also says that it will offer a more player-friendly gambling product (including better video poker pay tables) than Las Vegas Strip norms. My experience has been that a casino rarely says this then doesn’t follow through, especially during the opening honeymoon period. Whether or not SLS lives up to its promise will be obvious from the start (and I’ll investigate and tell you about it here), but this is potentially more good news for players. Just make sure you obtain The Code before you play.
Anthony Curtis is the publisher of the Las Vegas Advisor and LasVegasAdvisor.com.