Travel Weeklys Las Vegas E-letter: March 1, 2005

NUGGET NEWS: Poster Financial Group agreed to sell the Golden Nugget Las Vegas to Houston-based Landrys Restaurants for $140 million in cash. Under the terms of the transaction, which is expected to close within the next year, Landrys also would assume $155 million of Senior Secured Notes due 2011 as well as certain working capital liabilities. Poster Financial Group, which is owned by Travelscape.com founders Timothy Poster and Thomas Breitling, acquired the Golden Nugget Las Vegas and its sister property, the 300-room Golden Nugget Laughlin, from MGM-Mirage last year for $215 million. Barrick Gaming Corp. agreed last fall to buy the latter property for $31 million. The 1,907-room Golden Nugget Las Vegas, which opened as a gambling hall in 1946, is the largest of downtown Las Vegas 14 hotel-casinos.

MERGER APPROVAL: The Federal Trade Commission, Nevadas Gaming Control Board and the states gaming commission approved MGM Mirages acquisition of Mandalay Resort Group, paving the way for the completion of the nearly $8 billion merger. If gambling regulators in other states approve the transaction -- Mississippi already has -- company executives hope the merger could be completed by the end of this month. The deal would create one of the largest gaming companies in the world -- one that would control 28 properties in Nevada, New Jersey, Mississippi, Illinois and Michigan, including 11 casino-hotel resorts on the Las Vegas Strip.

CONSTRUCTION will begin in May on the luxury, all-suite hotel and condominium tower that is a joint project of Conrad Hotels and Las Vegas-based Majestic Resorts. The $350 million project, expected to open in December 2006, will be located toward the north end of the Strip. Plans call for the 378-suite Conrad Hotel to occupy the lower 30 floors of the propertys 60-story tower, while the upper 30 floors will comprise the 286-unit Majestic Manors and Residences. The 654-foot-tall structure will feature a two-story entrance and lobby where concierge, 24-hour doorman and valet services will be located. The tower also will offer a 14,000-square-foot health club and European spa complete with an Olympic-size, heated, outdoor swimming pool, a fully staffed business center, 13 meetings and boardroom facilities, one main and one junior ballroom and an upscale dining, shopping and entertainment complex called Majestic Plaza.

VIVID, located on a second-floor balcony overlooking the Strip, marked its grand opening last month at the Venetian Resort-Hotel-Casino. To create the illusion of live dancers, the club -- a joint effort between Vivid Entertainment, an adult film studio, and ARK Restaurants Corp. -- features holographic images of dancing girls that are reflected onto large panels of glass called trans-screens located above the seating area. Vivid, which can accommodate almost 700 people, opens at 10 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. For more information, call (702) 414-4870.

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