High-stakes entertainment heading to Las Vegas

May 19, 2009 5:01 PM
Gaming Insider by Phil Hevener |

Steve Wynn is reaching into the past for a fresh spin on the creative marketing techniques that generated big returns after he opened the Atlantic City Golden Nugget in 1980. His Las Vegas plan involves an exclusive entertainment event for people willing to pay big money for the chance to be part of something special.

Just what the doctor ordered to jolt conspicuous consumer spending out of its slumber. Maybe. We’ll see.

This updated strategy will be applied at the Encore and Wynn Las Vegas complex where he is bringing in Beyonce for concerts July 30-31 and Aug. 1-2. Tickets have been priced up to $1,000 and most will be sold only as part of room or suite packages. Wynn’s announcement puts stress on the fact Beyonce’s Las Vegas appearance will be the last on her 2009 North American tour and the relatively intimate Wynn-Encore theater with less than 1,500 seats will be the smallest of the scheduled venues on her tour.

Wynn embraced similar thinking at the Atlantic City Nugget. He brought stars like Kenny Rogers and Frank Sinatra into a showroom that seated about 500 people and made certain the seats were occupied by guests who would happily spend whatever was required to be part of something special.

The happy result in Atlantic City was that the smallest casino on the Boardwalk, which is what the Nugget was in those days, became the biggest earner in town. This kind of strategy is not necessarily unique but it is usually applied to major athletic or musical events, projects that might bring in 10,000 or more for a single evening.

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