MGM Mirage signs deal to develop hotels

Casino operator MGM Mirage said Tuesday it signed a deal with Diaoyutai State Guesthouse to create a joint venture that will develop luxury nongambling hotels and resorts globally.

The venture will initially target locations in China, MGM said.

The expectation is that the joint venture will develop its own distinctive brand identity, associating MGM Grand with Diaoyutai to create unique luxury hotel resorts and related buildings, MGM Mirage said.

Home-sale contracts increase in February

More Americans signed contracts to buy previously owned homes in February, easing concern the real-estate market will worsen.

The National Association of Realtors’ index of signed purchase agreements rose 0.7 percent after dropping 4.2 percent in January. Economists had forecast a decline. The index was down 8.5 percent from a year earlier.

Lower borrowing costs and falling house prices are tempting some buyers back into the market, which is suffering its worst recession since 1991, economists said.

Board will look into Starbucks union effort

The National Labor Relations Board set a hearing to look into whether Starbucks Corp. illegally kept workers from unionizing at four of its Manhattan coffee shops.

The labor board alleged that Seattle-based Starbucks violated labor laws 30 times by “engaging in unfair labor practices,” based on a complaint filed by the International Workers of the World.

The Washington-based labor board said 11 managers at New York Starbucks were involved in firing two workers who supported unionizing, threatening to fire others and prohibiting “employees from discussing working conditions with other employees while at work.”

Starbucks shares rose 24 cents, or 0.77 percent, Tuesday to close at $31.49 on the Nasdaq National Market.

U.S. sues to shutter tax preparer outlets

The Justice Department sued to shut down 125 franchises of No. 2 U.S. tax preparer Jackson Hewitt Tax Service as the IRS accused the outlets of submitting thousands of fraudulent returns that cost the government more than $70 million.

The retail offices, in Detroit, Atlanta, Chicago and the Raleigh-Durham region of North Carolina, preyed on people of “modest means,” the government said. The stores prepared more than 105,000 returns last year.

All of them are partly owned by Farrukh Sohail of Atlanta, who was accused in court papers of creating a “business environment” where “fraudulent tax return preparation is encouraged and flourishes.”

Harrah’s unit will transfer casino reins

A subsidiary of Harrah’s Entertainment will transfer management of the Prairie Band Casino outside Topeka, Kan., on July 1 to the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation, six months earlier than previously announced.

Harrah’s announced in May 2005 that it would not seek a renewal of its management contract of the American Indian casino which was scheduled to expire in January. The gaming company had managed the property since it opened in January 1998.

The company will continue to manage American Indian casinos outside Phoenix, San Diego and in Cherokee, N.C.

Weather linked to uptick in retail sales

Warmer weather spurred a 4.9 percent rise in U.S. retail sales last week, the biggest gain in two months, as consumers snapped up clothing and holiday foods for Easter and Passover.

Sales in the week through March 31 rose 0.3 percent from the prior seven days, the International Council of Shopping Centers and UBS Securities said Tuesday.

An early Easter this year is boosting March sales at the expense of April, the group said.

March sales will probably increase as much as 5 percent, the group said. Easter falls Sunday, compared with April 16 last year, driving purchases of gifts, candy, flowers and other holiday items in March instead of April.


Apple iTunes deals may violate EU rules

The deals Apple struck with record labels to stock its European iTunes stores may violate EU competition rules, regulators said Tuesday.

Apple and the record companies were notified of an investigation into their agreements after regulators built up a “very strong case,” said European Union spokesman Jonathan Todd.

People can only download singles or albums from the iTunes store in their country of residence, a policy that amounts to unlawful “territorial sales restrictions,” the Commission said.

But Apple spokesman Steve Dowling said the company wanted to operate a single store for all of Europe, but music labels and publishers said there were limits to the rights they could grant to Apple.


Quick, someone, Google ‘python’ for me

This was one search that you couldn’t just Google.

An employee’s python went missing over the weekend in Google’s sprawling Manhattan office, sending search teams on an all-out snake hunt. The searchers scoured the complex for the 3-foot-long snake and finally found the serpent, known as Kaiser, on Monday night.

“A snake was lost; it was not an April Fools’ joke. It was found last night,” Google spokeswoman Ellen West said Tuesday. “The snake has left the building.”

She declined to reveal specifics about where in the office Kaiser was discovered. And although West wouldn’t say how the snake made it to the office, she confirmed it belonged to a “Googler” and said the pet was now at its owner’s home.


Bond prices decline amid quiet trading

U.S. Treasury bond prices ended lower Tuesday, after a quiet trading session, with government bonds taking their cue from movement in the stock market and easing tension between Britain and Iran.

At 5 p.m. EDT, the 10-year Treasury note was down $1.88 per $1,000 in face value, or 0.19 points, from its level at 5 p.m. Monday. Its yield, which moves in the opposite direction, rose to 4.67 percent from 4.64 percent.

The 30-year bond fell 0.19 points. Its yield rose to 4.85 percent from 4.84 percent.

The 2-year note fell 0.06 points. Its yield rose to 4.62 percent from 4.58 percent.

Nevada's venture capital money doesn't stay in state
Zach Miles, associate vice president for economic development for UNLV, said there’s venture money in Southern Nevada, “but trying to find the right groups to tap into for that money is different.” According to a 2017 report from the Kauffman Foundation, Las Vegas ranked number 34 out of 40 metropolitan areas for growth entrepreneurship, a metric of how much startups grow. With a lack of growing startups in Las Vegas, investment money is being sent outside of state borders. The southwest region of the U.S. received $386 million in funding in the second quarter, with about $25.2 million in Nevada. The San Francisco area alone received about $5.6 billion. (source: CB Insights)
Neon wraps can light up the night for advertising
Vinyl wrap company 5150 Wraps talks about neon wraps, a new technology that the company believes can boost advertising at night. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Nevada on the forefront of drone safety
Dr. Chris Walach, senior director of Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems, talks to a reporter at NIAS's new Nevada Drone Center for Excellence of Public Safety, located inside the Switch Innevation Center in Las Vegas. K.M. Cannon Las Vegas Review-Journal @KMCannonPhoto
Motel 8 on south Strip will become site of hotel-casino
Israeli hoteliers Asher Gabay and Benny Zerah bought Motel 8 on the south Strip for $7.4 million, records show. They plan to bulldoze the property and build a hotel-casino. Motel 8 was built in the 1960s and used to be one of several roadside inns on what's now the south Strip. But it looks out of place today, dwarfed by the towering Mandalay Bay right across the street.
Project billed as one of the world's largest marijuana dispensaries plans to open Nov. 1
Planet 13 co-CEO Larry Scheffler talks about what to expect from the new marijuana dispensary, Thursday, July 19, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Oasis Biotech opens in Las Vegas
Brock Leach, chief operating officer of Oasis Biotech, discusses the new plant factory at its grand opening on July 18. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
UNLV Tech Park innovation building breaks ground
Construction on the first innovation building at the UNLV Tech Park is underway. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Caesars Forum Meeting Center
Caesars broke ground Monday on its $375 million Caesars Forum Meeting Center (convention center) just east of the High Roller observation wheel. (Caesars Entertainment)
Technology reshapes the pawn shop industry
Devin Battersby attaches a black-colored device to the back of her iPhone and snaps several of the inside and outside of a Louis Vuitton wallet. The device, installed with artificial intelligence capabilities, analyzes the images using a patented microscopic technology. Within a few minutes, Battersby receives an answer on her app. The designer item is authentic.
Recreational marijuana has been legal in Nevada for one year
Exhale Nevada CEO Pete Findley talks about the one year anniversary of the legalization of recreational marijuana in Nevada. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Young adults aren't saving for retirement
Financial advisors talk about saving trends among young adults. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
President Trump’s tariffs could raise costs for real estate developers, analysts say
President Donald Trump made his fortune in real estate, but by slapping tariffs on imports from close allies, developers in Las Vegas and other cities could get hit hard.
Las Vegas business and tariffs
Barry Yost, co-owner of Precision Tube Laser, LLC, places a metal pipe into the TruLaser Tube 5000 laser cutting machine on Wednesday, June 20, 2018, in Las Vegas. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Nevada Film Office Connects Businesses To Producers
The director of the Nevada Film Office discusses its revamped locations database and how it will affect local businesses. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Opendoor isn't the typical house flipping company
Unlike most house flippers, the company aims to make money from transaction costs rather than from selling homes for more than their purchase price.
The Venetian gondoliers sing Italian songs
Gondolier Marciano sings a the classic Italian song "Volare" as he leads guests through the canals of The Venetian in Las Vegas. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Building In Logandale
Texas homebuilder D.R. Horton bought 43 lots in rural Logandale. (Eli Segall/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Indoor farming in Southern Nevada
Experts discuss Nevada's indoor farming industry. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Former Fontainebleau could have become a Waldorf Astoria
Months after developer Steve Witkoff bought the Fontainebleau last summer, he unveiled plans to turn the mothballed hotel into a Marriott-managed resort called The Drew. But if Richard “Boz” Bosworth’s plans didn’t fall through, the north Las Vegas Strip tower could have become a Waldorf Astoria with several floors of timeshare units. (Eli Segall/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
LVCVA CEO Rossi Ralenkotter announces plans to retire
Rossi Ralenkotter, CEO of the LVCVA, on Tuesday confirmed a Las Vegas Review-Journal report that he is preparing to retire. Richard N. Velotta/ Las Vegas Review-Journal
Cousins Maine Lobster to open inside 2 Las Vegas Smith’s stores
Cousins Maine Lobster food truck company will open inside Las Vegas’ two newest Smith’s at Skye Canyon Park Drive and U.S. Highway 95, and at Warm Springs Road and Durango Drive. Cousins currently sells outside some Las Vegas Smith’s stores and at Fremont Street and Las Vegas Boulevard. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas home prices to continue to rise, expert says
Lawrence Yun, chief economist at the National Association of Realtors, gives homebuyers a pulse on the Las Vegas housing market. (Eli Segall/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
NV Energy announces clean energy investment
The company is planning to add six solar projects in Nevada, along with the state's first major battery energy storage capacity. Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal
3 Mario Batali restaurants on Las Vegas Strip to close
Days after new sexual misconduct allegations were made against celebrity chef Mario Batali, his company announced Friday that it will close its three Las Vegas restaurants July 27. Employees of Carnevino Italian Steakhouse, B&B Ristorante and Otto Enoteca e Pizzeria, all located in The Venetian and Palazzo resorts, were informed of the decision Friday morning. Bastianich is scheduled to visit the restaurants Friday to speak to employees about the next two months of operation as well as how the company plans to help them transition to new positions.
Nevada has its first cybersecurity apprenticeship program
The Learning Center education company in Las Vegas has launched the first apprenticeship program for cybersecurity in Nevada. It was approved by the State Apprenticeship Council on May 15. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas union members voting to authorize the right to strike
Thousands of Las Vegas union members voting Tuesday morning to authorize the right to strike. A “yes” vote would give the union negotiating committee the power to call a strike anytime after June 1 at the resorts that fail to reach an agreement. (Todd Prince/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
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