Will the Cosmopolitan Casino Make Money Now?

The Cosmopolitan casino in Las Vegas sold for $1.7 Billion yesterday.  That’s actually a pretty good deal for the buyers since they bought it for less than the original development cost.  How could this happen?  You take a center strip location, do some amazingly creative advertising, and host some of the most beautiful people on the planet on a nightly basis and lose money on gaming.

This is a great example of how positioning your brand as an upscale nightclub and party environment can make you a very successful hotel and nightlife scene while ruining your bottom line in a city that builds billionaires on gaming.

I spoke with a casino industry executive at a conference recently who was incredulously talking about Cosmo and how they have missed the mark.  I was surprised since every time I had visited the place was jumping and beautiful people were overflowing out of every bar and restaurant at all hours of the day and night.  His response was ‘exactly they make $100 a head for a 2 hour dinner and $30 for a couple of drinks, we make exponentially more every 15 minutes someone sits at our boring  tables’.

My mini-review of Cosmo is that I love the vibe as a nightclub – great food, great bars, great people watching, amazing atmosphere and a terrible place to play blackjack.  When there are major events like CES they break out additional tables staffed by beautiful young women who have the personalities of beautiful young women who know they are the center of attention so you lose money and feel worse about yourself when you do.  On a regular traffic night at Cosmo the atmosphere in the building is great, but everyone is there to party so most of the players at the tables are LA D-bags who just want to impress the actress/model they met at the bar.  The dealers tend to have fairly bland personalities and the floor is cramped so you end up watching the party rather than playing your game.

I hope the new owners make some money and find a way to combine the nightclub atmosphere with a winning gaming environment so I can add another solid casino to my Las Vegas rotation.

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