From the mailbag; Now for a word from our sponsor …

Update: Full sets of links are now available for the DIY version of my USA Today ‘best of Downtown’ and best of the Las Vegas Strip guides, below. Thank you for your patience.

A reader in Arizona has run the numbers on Caesars Entertainment‘s proposed $180 million makeover of Bill’s Gamblin’ Hall & Saloon and finds the cost rather alarming. Dividing it by Bill’s 200 hotel rooms, it breaks down to $900,000 per room. In other words, it’s comparable to spending $4.5 billion on a new, 5,000-room megaresort, “especially if they are aiming at the [Cosmopolitan] douche-baggery gang that really doesn’t gamble that much.” (For perspective’s sake, Onex Corp. spent less than $150 million on an extensive re-do of the considerably larger Tropicana Las Vegas.) Our correspondent adds, “I wonder if they are going to spend some of that money moving the bathrooms away from the outer walls so that you can have a window across the entire room (instead of only half of it like now). But only the building’s front half or so of the rooms really have a good view; the back half mainly has boring views of Bally’s and the Flamingo.” In other words, probably not.

Besides, rerouting 200 rooms’ worth of plumbing might be so expensive and disruptive that a teardown-and-rebuild would look cost-efficient. Besides, under the Gary Loveman administration, room renovations have been a prescription for scandal and PR disaster. Just ask Fred Frazzetta

Some of you are probably wondering what the heck is up with and where it went last weekend. LVA‘s Jessica Roe (aka “Webmistress Jessica”) writes, “We had a catastrophic hardware failure last week, which had widespread implications and we’re still putting everything back together and reloading databases. We’re aware that there are still SQL problems and our tech team is working on this. We ope to have normal service restored before end of biz today, but we can’t guarantee. Please bear with us and watch Today’s News/Forums for updates.”

Those of you who link into S&G via e-mail flashes, Facebook postings and Twitter updates are probably fine. Those trying to get in via LVA‘s home page may find the experience, uh, trying.

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