Cosmopolitan Hints for Big Changes Ahead

After a 2014 which saw slight increases in gaming revenue, new owners Blackstone Real Estate Partners have decided to add a new weapon to their arsenal; longtime gaming executive William McBeath (l.). In addition, the casino looks to finally strike a union deal after years of controversy.

The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas, arguably the first casino on the strip aimed at the Gen X’ers and millennials, has experienced pockets of success, but has yet to truly cement their grip as a force on the strip. 2014 saw the company bring in 3 million in gaming revenue, last place on the strip, which only accounted for 20 percent of total revenue, a number practically unheard of. For comparison, the average casino on the strip saw roughly 37 percent of their revenue come from gaming.

This has lead many to re-affirm their view that millennials simply don’t gamble, and would rather spend a night sipping from high priced bottles of booze in a VIP booth of a trendy nightclub. However, the casino has other plans. Cue in William McBeath, named CEO two months ago. McBeath has served as president of the Bellagio, CityCenter, Mirage, and Treasure Island. Needless to say, an impressive resume, and a great fit for a company looking to boost gaming dollars.

McBeath has played his cards as close to his vest as possible, hinting that changes are in the air, but not giving away too much. He has said the casino floor needs to be “more user-friendly and more in line with the contemporary, cool, hip, brand that we are.” One improvement recently speculated on is for the company to transform the top four unfinished floors of a hotel tower into grand suites, in the hopes of luring in high rollers.

In addition to changes and innovations to bring in more gaming, the company has also acknowledged it plans to strike a deal with Culinary Local 226, to the delight of many. After previous owners Deutsche Bank reneged on an offer with the union, members took the streets, protesting, and blocking entrances to the casino, while shouting epithets at customers looking to enter, leading to the arrest of a few hundred.

However, Blackstone Real Estate Partners, the new owners, have decided to offer an olive branch. “This is all about a fresh start,” said labor leader D. Taylor, at a half-hour event to welcome Blackstone to Las Vegas. A labor contract would cover nearly 2,400 of the property’s 5,000 employees.

Three years ago, the Cosmopolitan made a donation of $250,000 to the Culinary Training Academy for equipment such as part of NBC’s The Today Show annual Lend a Hand program. McBeath spoke about the new relationship between the Cosmo and the union. “Only in Las Vegas can you have a champagne toast at 10:30 in the morning.”