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CNBC’s Las Vegas, Inc.

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CNBC has been doing a great job with long-form programming of late. Their business specials on Wal-Mart and eBay earlier this year were great pieces of in-depth analysis on the companies.

Their latest production – Las Vegas, Inc. – lacks a bit of the depth that made the Wal-Mart and eBay specials so compelling, but it brings to light things about the business of Vegas that I’ve not learned on the countless Vegas specials I’ve seen on the Travel Channel, TLC, A&E or other networks (everybody’s obsessed with Vegas these days).

I don’t want to spoil some of the surprises, most of which revolve around the amazing uses Vegas moguls have for psychology and technology, but to hit just a few of the highlights:

After 30 years in town, Steve Wynn applied his obsession for the distance between table-game chairs, the height of ceilings and other design details in development of his new namesake casino. (As an aside, I’ve been to the Wynn casino and don’t see the appeal. But I’m not his target audience).

The former Harvard B-school professor running Harrah’s knows an awful lot about his customers and leverages his database in amazing ways.

The owner of the Palms has made a science out of sex.

Overall, a very enjoyable and educational 44 minutes of television.

CNBC has a tendency to scatter replays of their specials across their schedule for weeks or even months, so if you want a real behind-the-scenes look at how the business of Vegas works, consult your TiVo Guide.

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About Capn Ken

  • I thought it was great. There is a lot of money to made in Las Vegas and lots of places will open casinos but Vegas will always be the ultimate vacation destination.

  • Harrah’s now has 40 million people in their database of customers with the acquisition of Caesars. That is equal to one out of every seven people in the U.S. They are possibly the most aggressive at marketing to that database. On the flip side, are they going to be able to use it to produce results? Many Las Vegas visitors only come every year or two and my understanding is that Harrah’s now deletes your points after six months of inactivity.

    So … what will they do to entice that yearly visitor? What about Caesars type customers who aren’t so much value driven? Put that together with Harrah’s lackluster media/public relations (as compared to MGM/Mirage) and taking on a customer they have limited experience with, and it could spell some short term trouble. By the way, nothing wrong with the people at Harrah’s PR. I believe they have been understaffed from day one. When they took on The Rio and centralized everything out of Harrah’s (casino location), media relations started suffering and never seemed to rebound.

    Just my perspective.

  • Anand Gala

    does anoyone know where I can get a copy of this show? I heard about it and am interested to see it. I also am interested in seeing the documentaries that were done on Wal-Mart and Ebay. Please post so that I know where to look or ask. Thanks.

  • Get a TiVo. CNBC will probably be running this on and off for the next couple of months.

  • Edward

    I wasnt’ too impressed by the interviewer. His left hand kept fidgeting, like he had taken part in some of the other activities that Vegas is known for.