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All Articles for Category: Caesars/Harrah's

July 25, 2012

Render Quality Control Unto Caesar

Posted by daveschwartz

Attention to detail.

On paper, everyone agrees it's important. Like being "goal-oriented," it's one of those generic hallmarks of a good manager. In theory, it all makes sense: people should sweat the small stuff if they want the big stuff to turn out correctly. In practice, though, there are plenty of reasons why attention to detail is honored more in the breach than the observance: time (or lack thereof); conflicting priorities; lack of quality control; loss of ownership over a project.

After the jump, I'm going to talk about one small instance of a critical lack of attention to detail, and what it all might mean.

April 13, 2012

UPDATED: Linqing the Perfect Name

Posted by daveschwartz

There's a bit of a mystery unfolding on the Strip thanks to Caesars Entertainment. Since the initial flurry that surrounded the initial announcement of Linq last August, we've heard precious little about the project, which will mostly be beneath, between and behind the Flamingo and Imperial Palace. After the jump, I take a look at what I consider the biggest unanswered question, and take a few guesses at possible answers.

March 29, 2012

Caesars Total Resorts World?

Posted by daveschwartz

Could the new Total Rewards signal more than an aesthetic shift for Caesars Entertainment? It's possible. Armed with a few images and my imagination, I'll take you on a little journey into the possible future...

September 13, 2011

Family Picnic: Discounted Rates Available

Posted by Hunter

Picnic Goers - we now have discount codes for Planet Hollywood, Paris Las Vegas and Bally's Las Vegas. Using these links you can knock a few bucks off the rack rate at these hotels.

Thanks to Caesars Entertainment for providing these deals.

Planet Hollywood

Paris Las Vegas

Bally's Las Vegas

We're back with part three of Jeff Simpson's 'Advice for The Strip' column here at Simpson on Vegas. In this episode, it's the other side of the Center Strip.

Continue after the jump...

August 17, 2011

Thoughts on Linq

Posted by daveschwartz

I've already shared some of the details that were released at the press conference, but I'd like to talk more about some of the things the speakers said and share a few of my thoughts.

I'll linq you after the jump.

August 17, 2011

Linq details: Straight from the source

Posted by daveschwartz

I went to the Linq press conference today. I'm going to write up some of my thoughts and answer a few questions, but first I wanted to share some of the press kit with everyone, since it will answer some questions.

All the fun after the jump....

This is the 25th edition of the Simpson on Vegas column - congrats Jeff and thanks to all of you that are reading. I love publishing this column and I hope you're enjoying it too.

Jeff hits a few topics this time out but my personal favorite is a reminder that local business media could do more when writing about the gaming industry.

Anyway, keep reading after the jump for the full low-down.

June 23, 2011

Vegas Gang #62 - June 23rd, 2011

Posted by Hunter

Episode #62 is up!

Listen here:

Jeff kinda sounds like he was calling from the moon, so sorry about that.

This time on the show:

* Bellagio Re-Design [photos]
* Sahara Sale [photos]
* George Maloof and his Plams
* Atlantic City: Toast?
* Wynn + Adelson Are Buddies
* Predictions

** Sure Bets **

* 'Midnight in Paris'
* Jeff Simpson on Twitter
* Paternity Leave (but stay away from aggressive ducks)
* 'Everything is a Remix'

June 21, 2011

SIMPSON ON VEGAS #024: Loveman The Local

Posted by Hunter

Will Gary Loveman expand the Caesars empire (ha ha) into the Las Vegas locals market? That's the theory that our intrepid columnist, Mr. Jeff Simpson, is putting forth in this latest edition of SIMPSON ON VEGAS.

Enjoy after the jump and leave your comments to tell us what you think about this possibility.

March 7, 2011

Caesars Announces Delicious New Seafood Tower

Posted by Hunter


This morning, Caesars Entertainment, Inc., in their infinite wisdom, announced a partnership with the folks at Nobu... Yes, that Nobu - the ones that have a restaurant at the Hard Rock, founded by admittedly legendary chef Nobu Matsuhisa.

The Centurion Tower will be re-done and re-branded as the Nobu Hotel. A lounge and of course a restaurant will also be added. The transition will take a year and the hotel will have it's own check-in area.

While 180 rooms and separate check-in may sound like Tower Suites or Skylofts, don't get your hopes up. The Centurion Tower was built in 1970 - most of the rooms are far smaller than what you'd find at Wynncore, Aria or Cosmopolitan. David Rockwell is doing the interiors so I guess we know what the room's desk chair will look like.

More in the Sun and RJ:

It's been quite a week in Vegas-land. Hard to imagine that less than a week ago, we were reading a WSJ story that validated pretty much everything I wrote back in September about CityCenter.

From there, we were off and into conference calls, some of which included a few interesting tidbits. MGM told us that both Bellagio and MGM Grand will be getting room refurbs next year, while Steve Wynn explained that their Cotai development work was wrapping up and they'd start moving dirt around any day. The best part of that call was The Steve's ludicrous assertion that they're not secretive about their hotel designs - he practically laughed the questioner off the call. We'll see detailed models and drawings of Wynn Cotai just as soon as some inept outside designer posts them online, not because the company was feeling generous.

Speaking of leaks, they continue at Aria, where we've learned that they're working on a massive new signage package to lure Cosmo visitors and that they're even considering building The Strip's largest marquee. I've got loads of new CC stuff to share with you as soon as I'm done digesting it all.

That brings us to today, with the only piece of news this week that really surprised me - Wynn Las Vegas superstar Andrew Pascal has decided to leave the company, to be replaced with the reliable Marilyn Winn Spiegel (someone we considered as a VPP guest before we settled on the excellent Tom McCartney). What is Andrew going to do next? He's a young man, I can't believe that he's ready to retire.

Pascal has worked for Wynn for a long time but before this current stint, he was in Silicon Valley as Chairman of WagerWorks, a company that provided online casino games, playable for points. Is he headed back to tech? Chuckmonster is betting on Icahn but I just can't imagine that sort of transition.

Ichan's not really in hospitality, he's in hospitality finance - moving money around from distressed property to distressed property, a far cry from actually serving guests. Nope, I think for Pascal I'd put my money on a few months time off and then into some new entrepreneurial venture of some kind - more likely Silicon Valley than Spring Valley though. Maybe Aunt Elaine has eyes on angel investing - we know she can afford it.

What's more interesting is Wynn hiring a veteran Harrah's exec for such a tough job. The last HET (or should I say CZR?) alum to have the gig, Don Marrandino, didn't even make it to opening day. Spiegel is well regarded but the properties she's overseen for Loveman have very different guest satisfaction aspirations. Hopefully we're not in for a rocky transition just as Las Vegas starts to ramp up again.

Interesting stuff... In other news, I've been thinking recently about re-calibrating this blog and it's content. The landscape has changed dramatically since I started doing this and in a world where my time is limited, I want to make sure I'm spending it to do something that matters, not just be the second, third or fourth site to post on the same topic. More on this as decisions are made.

One last thing - if you haven't already, maybe go ahead and nominate this blog and my app Vegas Mate for The Trippies - you have three days left before they close. Maybe, just maybe, I'll be so pleased with being nominated that I'll spill a bunch of new juicy secret details about everyone's favorite massively overpriced, failing joint venture project.


October 27, 2010

Let The Bummer Years Begin

Posted by Hunter

The Fontainebleau is about to open.

A re-invigorated Plaza project has broken ground and Boyd is halfway through putting up a gorgeous red-gold glass curtain wall on Echelon Place. Jim Murren is a semi-successful investment banker in Connecticut, the Marnell's own the recently joined Rio/Palms complex and Nevada's recently elected junior senator is attending the groundbreaking of a monorail extension that will bridge McCarran Airport, The Strip and Fremont Street.

Can we fast forward to 2017? I'm sure that's what some Las Vegas casino operators would wish for. It's hard to blame them.

Things look a bit sour for Las Vegas - August numbers notwithstanding, let's be honest - some of the city's best boom-time customers don't have any more money to spend on bottle service and $500 dinners at SW. Sure, the biggest players haven't lost enough to kill their gambling habit but that mid-tier backbone - successful young people, boomers and a smaller segment of folks truly blowing the rent on a weekend in Vegas - they're still pretty fucked up from this recession.

Well, at least it's not as bad as it is in Atlantic City where the top operator doesn't even want to own the other half of their property. In my mind, AC is toast.

As someone that has spent the last ten years as mostly excited about Las Vegas and now sells a product that is inexorably linked to the city, I have to say that things look very tough for the next few years.

A CB Richard Ellis study publicized today really laid out the bad news. The market won't be able to handle the massive increase in supply for some time. Thanks a lot CityCenter. At least we don't have any more rooms coming online anytime soon... Oh, crap... Thanks a lot Cosmo.

The Cosmopolitan will be the last property for awhile, and that's almost certainly a good thing. In a way, they may end up with an advantage - they can be the 'newest property on The Strip' for five years or more. That title worked great for The Aladdin. Oh well, whatever, nevermind.

Some of the issues mentioned in the report are structural - air traffic is more difficult than ever in the era of shoe-bombers and naked body scanners. Asian baccarat is slated to increase but that alone is not a market savior. The formerly solid underbelly of Las Vegas tourism - that combination of California drive-ins along with southern and midwestern vacationers... well, they're hurting... and that's not going to change anytime soon (damn that Obama-Reid-Pelosi-Boehner-Palin-McCain cabal!)

It's easy for Wynn to charge $200+/night for a weekend night when the town is half full but when Luxor, Excalibur, Monte Carlo and Treasure Island are all offering rooms in the sub-$50 range (sans the ridiculous resort fees), those rates are harder to justify... and how anyone could feel good about a $150/night room at Aria or Vdara mystifies me. Just say no.

But it's not the Wynns of the world I'm worried about. Aside from maybe Las Vegas Sands, they're probably best positioned to ride this turbulence out. As a lover of the history of Las Vegas, it makes me a little sad to see how little of their revenue now comes from the 'Gambling Capital of the World'. In quarterly earnings today, LVS reported that barely 15% of their revenue comes from their two Strip casinos. With Singapore on the rise, LVS is again a gaming company to watch, even if their numbers don't yet match Chairman Adelson's bluster.

Why am I writing this? I dunno. For whatever reason, a few stories today sucked me in and I felt compelled.

See you Saturday.

Vegas Podcast-a-palooza is coming up fast - October 30th is right around the corner.

Our hosts at The Flamingo have setup a special room package just for listeners / attendees. These special rates are only available to you special folks and it's a great deal.

To book the package:

You don't have to stay at The Flamingo to come to the show but this is a great deal so please take a look.

In addition to the great room package, The Flamingo is offering a 3X RC multiplier for Podcast-a-palooza guests! The details on how to get your point upgrades will be forthcoming but this component will be available to everyone coming to the event, not just people that stay in the hotel.

Thanks so much to Harrah's and The Flamingo for being so generous - support our hosts!

Late yesterday, just as we were recording the latest Vegas Gang (out soon), we got news that Harrah's Entertainment filed papers to publicly trade the 10% stake that investor John Paulson purchased earlier this year.

Of course, the plan for the HET LBO was always to re-emerge as a public company somewhere down the road but this is just a small chunk and it's coming at possibly one of the worst time to IPO in recent economic history.

In addition, the chunk is small enough that the company wouldn't be subject to all the governance rules that we're used to for majority public owned companies.

Interesting interesting interesting...

August 9, 2010

SIMPSON ON VEGAS #005: Downtown Blues, Part Two

Posted by Hunter

Jeff is back with part two of his take on the Downtown Las Vegas scene and what might help it turn around.

Keep reading after the jump and if you missed part one, it's right here.

In a totally unrelated thought - don't forget that we're giving away an iPad.

I am very happy to announce that Vegas Podcast-a-palooza 3 will take place October 30th, 2010 at the Fabulous Flamingo on the Las Vegas Strip.

We'll do the three podcasts in the afternoon, followed by a little cocktail get-together - this is your chance to explain to me why the iPhone sucks, tell Chuck all about remembering to breathe or to ask Steve Friess if he knows how to make the Asian Equation.

Seriously, this is going to be a really fun time and we want all of you guys to come out, hang out, meet us and have some fun.

All the details:

We're hoping to have some room deals for folks so if you think you might like to stay at The Flamingo, stay tuned.

Thanks to Chuck for the great site and big thanks to the folks at Harrah's Entertainment for hosting this year.

July 12, 2010

Labor Board Sides w/ Wynn - Tip Pooling is Legal

Posted by Hunter

Way back in 2006, Wynn Las Vegas bucked a long standing casino trend and decided to split casino dealers tips with their supervisors.

Since then, it has been the subject of much ink and several trips through various parts of the legal system. Today, the Nevada Labor Commissioner has spoken: no state laws were violated.

How long until other properties start to do this? Harrah's has already asserted their right to do this at Caesars, despite the fact they also say they're not planning to do so.

This is a big milestone in this case and a major setback for those fighting it. Expect appeals though, this isn't over.

June 16, 2010

Casino Design Photo of the Week: Caesars Palace

Posted by Hunter

Caesars Palace - a Las Vegas classic and perhaps the best known gaming brand in the world.

Inside, constant expansion has made the place a confusing labyrinth but from the outside, it's a lot of fun to look at.

May 5, 2010

Casino Design Photo of the Week: Flamingo

Posted by Hunter

This time I'm back with a shot of one of the neon signs at The Flamingo.

Neon, when used well, is one of the things I love the most about Las Vegas. It's just so cool.

February 25, 2010

Vegas Gang #44 - February 25th, 2010

Posted by Hunter

This time on the show:

* MGM's Aria - 2 Months In
* MGM Mirage Exits Atlantic City / Wynn Enters Philadelphia Market
* Greenspun / Station Casinos Relationship Disintegrates
* Lake Las Vegas Shuts Down
* President Obama's Remarks and Visit
* Harrah's Interested in The Palms?

Check out the show:

Feel free to leave comments below. Trivia questions can be sent to - we might use yours on the show.

January 22, 2010

Vegas Gang #43 - January 21st, 2010

Posted by Hunter

This time on the show:

* Fontainebleau + Ichan
* Resort Fees
* Harrah's + Planet Hollywood
* Harrah's iPhone App

* Vegas Gang Trivia Episode #1

Check out the show:

Feel free to leave comments below. Trivia questions can be sent to - we might use yours on the show.

January 8, 2010

Updated: Harrah's To Launch iPhone App

Posted by Hunter

The Las Vegas Sun is reporting that Harrah's will be launching an iPhone app sometime this month.

This sort of thing is inevitable - I expect more of this to come.

What's not really mentioned in the article though - GPS doesn't really work indoors. On the iPhone, it falls back to cell-tower triangulation which is not very accurate (it could tell you that you were on The Strip but not that you were specifically inside Caesars) - that's a problem that I combat with Vegas Mate too. I'd invest in high-quality interior maps if I could use them that way.

Now, the other way an iPhone can locate itself is through registered Wi-Fi access points - if Harrah's is installing and registering Wi-Fi stations, that would improve the ability to locate indoors (for Vegas Mate too - it all works the same way). That would be great for everyone.

The author also refers to the app 'text messaging' users. I assume they mean Push Notifications, which are like text messages but are not really the same thing. It's a pretty high level article so I guess the specific details aren't too terribly important.

I haven't tried the app yet but I certainly will. In the meantime, the far more comprehensive Vegas Mate is on sale this week for the bargain price of $1.99.

Update: Is this 'Caesars Palace' app on the App Store the app they're talking about? If so, it's already out... and quite basic. Looks like basically a brochure in app form. Also, it appears to download each screen of data as you move through the app. That means it won't work offline for iPod Touch users. If this is the app they're talking about, count me underwhelmed.

January 5, 2010

Harrah's Blog Disses Resort Fees

Posted by Hunter

Very interesting item on the Harrah's blog today that ties into some of the things we've been talking about.

Basically, a post putting down resort fees and the resorts that charge them. I guess this means the PHo resort fee will be getting the axe sometime soonish? Theirs is pretty small at only about $5.

Three interesting stories breaking this morning:

Binion's to Close Hotel Tower - the legendary Downtown hotel has announced they will be closing the hotel tower and restaurant facilities as a result of the bad economy:

Harrah's Entertainment, who have been buying Planet Hollywood debt, is taking the process to the next step - Nevada gaming regulators:

Las Vegas Sands raised $5 billion in an IPO for their Macanese operations:

September 26, 2009

Vegas Gang #37 - September 24th, 2009

Posted by Hunter

New episode is up:

We discuss:

* Planet Hollywood + Harrah's?
* Fontainebleau + Penn Nat'l?
* Stanley Ho's SJM
* Niche Marketing @ Monte Carlo
* Gaming Figures
* Aria

Do you have questions for MGM Mirage's Alan Feldman? He'll be our guest at Vegas Podcast-a-palooza in October. Leave your question in a comment and we'll consider them for the show.

September 15, 2009

Harrah's Investing in Planet Hollywood Debt

Posted by Hunter

The news that Harrah's had started buying Planet Hollywood debt started fluttering around on Saturday and finally got some major coverage yesterday.

Basically, PHo has been hurting, just like everyone else. I'm sure Harrah's sees an opportunity to potentially pick up a Strip property at a discount, ala Tropicana AC or LV.

Potentially great business decision for Harrah's but I hope this doesn't come to fruition. As others have said, The Strip doesn't need more consolidation - it seems to be healthier and do better with more operators and more competition.

If this does go down, it would be interesting to see if regulators have more pause after the events of the last few years.

June 20, 2009

Fontainebleau Buyout Possible?

Posted by Hunter

Fontainebleau is in trouble but maybe they can hook a high-profile sugar-daddy to bail them out.

Execs from Wynn Resorts and Harrah's have toured the property recently.

Personally, I can't imagine Wynn buying this place - the exterior is just so damn ugly and it's way too far along to change significantly. At bargain basement prices though, you just never know.

May 21, 2009

Vegas Gang #32 - May 21st, 2009

Posted by Hunter

Happy to be back after a little bit of a break. Lots to talk about, as always.

We discuss:

* MGM Mirage Pulls a Rabbit Out of its Hat
* Fontainebleau May Not Be Totally Screwed (we'll see)
* UNLV Center for Gaming Research Trends
* MGM Mirage Selling Properties

Feel free to leave your comments below. If it's a question that you want asked on the show, please make that clear in your post. You can also send those to

April 9, 2009

Gaming Numbers Published

Posted by Hunter

We will touch on this on the next Vegas Gang show but I wanted to post this for comments.

As is typical, the gaming figures have been released. They are of course, down.

Dr. Dave thinks the RJ is downplaying the bad news.

In related news, word comes that the Gaming Control Board is forming an internal crisis team to deal with bankrupt casinos.

Harrah's was able to pull off a debt swap that looks to have improved their position a bit.

March 13, 2009

Harrah's - $5.5 Billion In Asset Write-downs

Posted by Hunter

They are writing down massive amounts of goodwill... plus, the properties aren't throwing off nearly as much cash as they used to.

Two unrelated stories from the Las Vegas Sun.

First off, it seems Moody's are saying that Fontainebleau might be in trouble if they can't sell condos (insight!):

Then we also have Harrah's, a company struggling to avoid bankruptcy. They're attempting to re-structure their debt to avoid that scenario.

Let the good times roll!

January 16, 2009

Vegas Gang #25 - January 16th, 2009

Posted by Hunter

Vegas Gang #25 is online.

This week on the show:

* Harrah's Suspends Caesars Palace Tower
* Rumors Swirling Around The Mirage Sale
* Encore Media Week

Leave any comments below.

Thanks to reader Mark D., we have this bit of news from the LVRJ:

So, along with MGM Mirage's announcement last week about The Harmon being built without its condos, we have this. I hope they at least finish the shell so it doesn't look crappy.

Updated: The LV Sun chimes in:

December 3, 2008

Strip Walk - November 2008

Posted by Hunter

Mike_ch is back with his latest Strip Walk. This one is more in 'trip report' style as he was slummin' it down on The Strip for a few nights at The Grand.

It's a long one so grab a cup of coffee and sit back.

November 13, 2008

Vegas Gang #21 - November 13th, 2008

Posted by Hunter

Vegas Gang #21 is online:

This time around we cover:

* Terry Lanni to Leave MGM Mirage
* Las Vegas Sands Financial Woes Continue
* Should the Nevada Gambling Age Be Lowered to 18?
* WSOP Changes This Year

Feel free to leave any comments below.

Also, please consider voting for us in the Trippies!

November 8, 2008

Harrah's Earnings Drop ; Layoffs Hit Atlantic City

Posted by Hunter

Harrah's earnings took a hit, as expected.

From the Sun:

The RJ says they are going to work on cost cutting:

Also, from a newer blog that Dave Schwartz clued me in on, some info on AC layoffs:

November 1, 2008

Open Topic Discussion - November 1, 2008

Posted by detroit1051

A friend said he had heard that Caesars Palace has mothballed the entire Centurion Tower due to lack of demand. Centurion Tower is 14 stories and opened in 1970. Can anyone confirm this?

October 30, 2008

Vegas Gang #20 - October 30th, 2008

Posted by Hunter

Vegas Gang #20 is online:

This time around we cover:

* Trippies 2008
* Gaming Stocks Slide
* Bellagio Turns 10 To Little Fanfare
* How MGM Mirage and Harrah's Market

Feel free to leave any comments below.

October 20, 2008

Atlantic City Update from Dave Schwartz

Posted by Hunter

Fellow Vegas Gang member Dave Schwartz has posted a photo essay bringing us up to date on what's going on in Atlantic City over on

October 16, 2008

Harrah's in Trouble?

Posted by Hunter

David McKee posted this story today about potential financial problems at Harrah's Entertainment:

We also covered this at length in today's Vegas Gang episode that will go up in a day or so.

October 5, 2008

Quickies: "Switch" at Encore, Cher Done For 2008

Posted by Hunter

Two quick unrelated items:

* has a tidbit about "Switch", one of the new restaurants at Encore. Supposedly it will feature an internal environment that does just that - switches mid-way through the evening.

* Looks like Cher is having some health issues that will force her to cancel shows this year, which will no doubt hurt Caesars Palace.

August 24, 2008

KS Licenses Awarded to Harrah's and Penn Natl Gaming

Posted by Hunter

Fellow podcaster David McKee keeps us updated on the Kansas gaming process here at Stiffs and Georges:

June 27, 2008

VegasGang #11 Posted

Posted by Hunter

Vegas Gang #11 is online here:

This time we feature:

* Encore at Wynn Las Vegas Opening
* Cosmopolitan Sued Over Its Name
* MGM Mirage Using Social Networking
* Harrah's Pays Debt With Debt
* Adelson Profiled in New Yorker

Feel free to add comments below...

May 30, 2008

Vegas Gang #9 - "Wynn + Harrah's = Good Times?"

Posted by Hunter

The latest episode is live - check out our discussions here:

Comments welcome below...

Vegas Gang Podcast #8 has been posted:

Comments can be posted here on this site, below.

Our guest is Steve Friess and we cover his book, 'Gay Vegas' as well as Las Vegas marketing, MGM Mirage splitting up, casino cheating and more.

Yes, we're back (and better than ever?).

Anyway, the episode is posted here:

Comment away!

Mike_ch is back with the latest Strip Walk. This time we have a look at Encore at Wynn Las Vegas, Caesars Palace, New York New York and Luxor.

Notes after the jump, photos here:

Harrah's Entertainment, the recently gone-private casino behemoth, has decided to change its name - to Caesars Entertainment. Fun.

February 20, 2008

Tax Evasion at Pure? IRS On the Scene

Posted by Hunter

This is still breaking but it seems like the Feds raided Pure, the nightclub at Caesars, today.

Pure is not run by Harrah's, it is a separate entity.

Well, the gaming win in the great state of Nevada declined a good bit last time 'round:

Not good for our favorite multi-national casino conglomerates. It's hard not to link this to the degrading confidence in the US economy overall. Gaming is often somewhat insulated - people love to wager no matter how screwed they are - but of course there would be some kind of a hit if things go down big time in the US of A.

December 24, 2007

Caesars Palace Dealers Vote to Unionize

Posted by Hunter

Well, this could be the second shot across the bow in the industry as we see a second major Las Vegas casino's dealers vote to have union representation.

Following Wynn Las Vegas dealers before them, is this a reflection on management in these two organizations? Will we see dealers at an MGM Mirage property go this route?

December 6, 2007

Harrah's Buyout One Hurdle Away From Done

Posted by Hunter

It's making its way through the regulatory process in Nevada, with one hurdle to go.

November 4, 2007

Open Topic Discussion - November 4, 2007

Posted by detroit1051

I can't imagine MGM or Wynn having the problems HET has had with unauthorized remodeling. And, I can't imagine the RJ ever going after this story as aggressively if it were MGM or Wynn.

"Harrah's Entertainment has reached a turning point in recovering from bungled remodeling projects at two of its local hotels.
A block of 501 guest rooms at Harrah's Las Vegas returned to active use by patrons on Friday, Harrah's Entertainment executive Jan Jones announced the same day.
Those rooms were pulled from service due to remodeling that had been performed without permits or inspections. They are located on floors four through 19 of the hotel's Carnivale tower. Those floors no longer need a fire watch, which is round-the-clock patrolling by personnel with two-way communication to report any fire, Marybel Batjer, another Harrah's executive, said Saturday. The rooms were out of service for 25 days.
A smaller block of 87 rooms at the Rio also returned to service earlier last week. Those rooms were shut down for less than 25 days. At that hotel, fire watches continue on floors three through 17, plus 19, of the Ipanema tower."
Improper Remodeling: Harrah's Reopens 501 Rooms

October 29, 2007

Harrah's Privatization: $2.8B Problem Set to Derail?

Posted by Hunter

An interesting wire story about Harrah's dispute with a Native American tribe and a possible $2.8B judgement against the casino company. Analysts pose the possibility that it could even derail the privatization of the company, if the judgement is upheld.

October 4, 2007

Harrah's Cut Corners With Rio Renovation? Unsafe?

Posted by Hunter

Wow, another crazy story, this time involving Harrah's and the Rio.

Did officials cut corners during a recent renovation? It seems some contractors have come forward and alleged this may be the case.

Clark County is on the case.

Well, that was a great conversation... We had an in-depth talk with Chuck from who just recently has gotten back from Macau.

We went over everything from specific hotel talk on topics like Wynn Macau, Venetian Macau, Galaxy Starworld, MGM Grand Macau, Casino Lisboa and more. We also talked about the business - folks like Wynn Resorts, Las Vegas Sands, SJM, Melco and others.

Cotai, gaming industry topics, casino design and more. It was a great discussion and I'm hoping we can do another segment soon.

September 16, 2007

Worst Las Vegas Podcast #17 - September 15th, 2007

Posted by Hunter

Our second time using and it was a lot of fun. Regular readers like Detroit1051, Mike E, Brian Fey, mike_ch and BarbaryKevin were all in on the action.

We covered a broad range of issues, from Cotai, Harrah's, Wynn Resorts, Las Vegas Sands, Palazzo, Encore, IGT and a lot more.

During the show we talked about Chuck's Macau diary. That link is here:

September 16, 2007

Harrah's Making Moves on Cotai

Posted by Hunter

Harrah's is making moves on the Cotai Strip in Macau by purchasing a golf course that makes them the second largest land holder in the area after Las Vegas Sands.

Based on one Web site's analysis, they paid about $22 million an acre - not too shabby.

Harrah's is still without a concession that gives them the necessary license required to operate a facility in Macau but of course, money talks and Harrah's wants in.

August 22, 2007

Harrah's To Build 20,000 Seat Arena

Posted by detroit1051

Here's Harrah's press release on plans to build an arena behind Paris/Bally's. Jason and Billy alerted us to it earlier today.
"Harrah's Entertainment, Inc. (NYSE: HET - News) and AEG today unveiled plans for of an approximately 20,000-seat, privately financed, state-of-the-art arena. This arena is envisioned to be Las Vegas' new home for the most popular and important sports and entertainment events. The site of the venue will be one block east of the world famous Las Vegas Strip on approximately 10 acres of land that is part of the current Harrah's land holdings."

Harrah's Entertainment and AEG Agree to Develop World Class Sports & Entertainment Arena on the Las Vegas Strip

August 21, 2007

MGM Mirage Shuffles Upper Management

Posted by Hunter

MGM Mirage made a few changes in the executive suite which they announced today.

First off, the extremely capable Jim Murren has been promoted to President and COO of the company (from President, CFO, and Treasurer). Murren came from Wall Street and is probably the most responsible for MGM Mirage being a model for other gaming companies to follow, especially when talking about reporting. Murren will also oversee all properties except for those that are part of the 'City Center Campus'.

Bobby Baldwin has been moved into a new position - Chief Design and Construction Officer. He'll oversee all new construction and capital improvements in the US. He also will oversee the 'City Center Campus', which includes City Center, Monte Carlo and Bellagio.

Lastly, Dan D'Arrigo has been promoted to EVP and CFO.

All of these positions report to Terri Lanni, the company's Chairman and CEO. Additionally, John Redmond, who had been running the properties formerly in the MGM family, including MGM Grand and NYNY has resigned as planned.

The press release is here:

Unrelated, Harrah's has scheduled an announcement for tomorrow regarding entertainment changes at their resorts in Las Vegas.

August 16, 2007

Strip Walk: August 2007

Posted by Hunter

Welcome to a new semi-regular feature, 'Strip Walk'. These photo updates from the Las Vegas Strip (and other parts of the Valley) have previously been presented by our man in the field, mike_ch. Well, now he's an official part of the crew and we're aiming to get these two you about every other work, time and schedule permitting.

His notes follow after the jump and the photos for this and future walks are here:


July 19, 2007

Caesars Palace Adds New Tower: Octavius

Posted by Hunter

We've reported on this in the past so it's not new news, but Harrah's is unveiling the plans for the new tower coming in at Caesars Palace - the Octavius Tower.

The LV Sun has more info:

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June 14, 2007

Planning Meeting Agendas: Hard Rock, Caesars

Posted by detroit1051

Expansions at Hard Rock and Caesars Palace are on the agendas for next week's Planning Meetings.
Hard Rock: The plans indicate that the proposed expansion involves the
construction of 6 new high-rise towers to accommodate the additional
2,671 hotel rooms, with 4 of the towers located on the northwest side
of the site.
Hard Rock Expansion

Caesars: This is a request to modify the height of a previously approved high-
rise tower in conjunction with a resort hotel (Caesars Palace). The
tower was originally approved at a height of 295 feet with 1,017
guestrooms with a Tuscan villa design. The new elevations depict a
350 foot high tower with a design that is similar to the existing
Augustus Tower located just east of the proposed towers site.
Caesars Palace Hotel Tower

Station requests time extension on plans for resort at Tropicana and Industrial (Dean Martin Drive):
Station Resort

May 9, 2007

Harrah's Reports Q12007 Results

Posted by Hunter

It's funny, Harrah's is the largest gaming company in the world and I'm just totally not interested in their quarterlies. Maybe it's because they are so spread out and derive revenue from so many locales - I'm not sure.

Anyway, here's an RJ report on Harrah's luck for Q1, which it seems wasn't so awesome due to Atlantic City.

Harrah's is in the process of going private so pretty soon I won't have to write these stories any more.

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Well, this isn't something I would normally report but it's getting a ton of coverage so here's one for the record...

Steve Friess, of the Strip Podcast and his new blog was the one that broke the story - Harrah's clearly should have embargoed some more bloggers because they just lost control of their story (don't get me started on how these PR departments treat most bloggers - we have more traffic than many of the print magazines covering the industry but often I'm treated like we are of no consequence here - big mistake guys - I can give you a HUGE number of readers a month that all *want* to hear your message and yet I often have a hard time getting phone calls returned. I digress).

Anyway, Bette Midler will replace Celine Dion in 2008 when her Caesars Palace show closes. This will likely be a smashing success - the appetite for Celine was ravenous.

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Here comes mike_ch's Las Vegas construction update April 2007. This one covers Paris, Planet Hollywood/Aladdin, Bellagio, City Center, NYNY, Excalibur, Mandalay Bay and Luxor.

Thanks again to him for providing this stuff.

Photos are located here:

There are also some new videos, located here:

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A short set of quick updates.

The Silverton, Ed Roski's joint on the I-15 on the way into town, is plotting a massive (by Silverton standards) expansion with new, high-end hotel rooms along with shopping, casino and entertainment space. They hope to compete with Red Rock and Green Valley Ranch.

Next up is the Imperial Palace. A non-union shop for years, the Culinary is considering trying to organize there as it seems Harrah's may keep the place open longer than everyone expected:

Lastly, a story on an association of small, independent casino owners. I just thought this story was kinda interesting.

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April 7, 2007

Worst Las Vegas Podcast #15 - April 6, 2007

Posted by Hunter

We're back after a few weeks off and this time I'm joined in the studio by two friends, Carter and Kevin.

Discussion includes Harrah's buyout, Macau updates, CityCenter and more, plus some oh so witty banter and a call from Mike E.


Here's the link to all the most recent photos:

A reminder - feel free to call in and leave us a message about anything Las Vegas or Web site related. The call in number is: 702-508-4232.

Direct RSS:

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April 5, 2007

Harrah's Shareholders Approve Privatization Plan

Posted by Hunter

Today Harrah's Entertainment shareholders approved the casino company's privatization plan, moving forward on the 7th largest leveraged buy out in US history.

I don't think this vote was ever really much of a question but it's the latest step in the process:

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March 19, 2007

Harrah's Using More RFID Technology in Casinos

Posted by Hunter

RFID technology in gaming chips isn't new to Las Vegas - we've seen it at the Hard Rock and Wynn Las Vegas already.

This is news that the technology is spreading to Harrah's Las Vegas - are more properties coming soon?

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March 14, 2007

mike_ch Construction Update: March 2007

Posted by Hunter

Another construction update from mike_ch. This one covers Paris, Bill's Gamblin' Hall and Saloon, The Venetian, Encore, Palazzo, Stardust (RIP), Frontier, Bellagio, Planet Aladdin, and Luxor.

Thanks again to him for providing this stuff.

Photos are located here:

Also, we've got new VIDEOS! You can watch them here (goes from most recent to older):

I'll be in Vegas this weekend to see Spamalot, take some photos, tour the CityCenter sales pavilion and attend wedding (not in that order).

February 27, 2007

Mike_ch's February Las Vegas Strip Construction Update

Posted by Hunter

Thanks again to Mike_ch who is kind enough to share his updates and thoughts on what's going on down on the Las Vegas Strip.

This one covers the Stardust, Bellagio, Wynn Las Vegas and Encore, The Venetian, Palazzo, Luxor, Mandalay Bay, Monte Carlo, New York New York, Planet Aladdin, and more.

Photos are located here:

Keep reading after the jump for the report.

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MGM Mirage added a few press releases over the past couple of days detailing some upcoming plans.

First off is a new community in Jean, NV - just outside of Las Vegas. Currently they operate the Gold Strike and Nevada Landing. The latter will close and operations will be consolidated into the Gold Strike as a new casino hotel is developed, along with residential, retail and other mixed uses. What makes Jean interesting is the possibility of a new airport there at Ivanpah, serving Las Vegas's freight needs in the near term and international travel over the next ten years or so. With a monorail extension, this area could start to really hum.

Second on MGM Mirage's plate is brief announcement that their Macau partnership with Pansy Ho will build a resort on Cotai in that region. They don't specify the parcel other than to refer to it as a 'prime identified site'.

The other story of the day I thought was interesting is coming out of the Harrah's LBO. It's been revealed that part of the financing will come from Harrah's own assets. I find this fascinating and I am considering taking Wynn Resorts private by borrowing against their properties - can I do that? :-)

More on the Harrah's setup from the always excellent Business Press.

Lastly, a quick mention that high end condos aren't selling quite as fast as some thought.

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The Nevada Gaming Control Board approved the deal that swaps the Barbary Coast hotel and casino on the Las Vegas Strip for 24 acres of land located near Boyd Gaming's 'Echelon Place' site.

Harrah's had been trying to grab the site for years and Boyd finally relented last year. Harrah's is expected to include the Barbary site in any Strip re-development master plan, though that may have been slowed down due to the company being taken private.

Along with the sale, the Barbary Coast will be changing its name to 'Bill's Gambling Hall and Saloon'. The award winning restaurant 'Michael's' will be moving to the South Point down the road.

More info:

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January 30, 2007

Kerzner and/or Harrah's Working on UK Casinos?

Posted by Hunter

Thanks to David for this tip...

An interesting article on mega-casinos in the UK, this one in Manchester:

Also, this from the LV Business Press:

I know David has some insight into UK gaming law - hopefully he'll share in the comments.

Update: The LV Biz Press link may not be accurate/up to date.

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January 29, 2007

Harrah's to Sell Rio to Maloof?

Posted by Hunter

We've heard all sorts of rumors about the sale of the Rio to various parties. Well, this one I can see maybe actually happening, just because it seems to actually make sense.

The Poker Prof says that the Rio is going to Maloof. We shall see.

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This is a WSJ article so it requires a subscription or you'll have to find some other way to read it but it's recommended - interesting stuff.

Casinos Divide to Conquer

Basically the concept is that operators could sell their real estate holdings and then sign long term management deals with the new owners of the real estate. This lets them monetize these assets and many of these companies like Harrah's or MGM MIRAGE are sitting on billions in real estate.

From the article by Peter Sanders:

"Blackjack players who are dealt a pair of aces often "split" the cards into separate hands, giving them two shots at hitting the jackpot. Now, some casino companies are considering a split of their own: effectively dividing their real-estate assets from the operating companies that run the casinos."

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January 21, 2007

Worst Las Vegas Podcast #12 - Finally, Another Podcast

Posted by Hunter

I'm finally back with another podcast. Sorry - it's been busy. This one's only about 40 minutes long so you should have plenty of time to listen.

In this episode I talk about the the Trippies, Wynn labor dispute, City Center progress, Wynn's golf course, and more. Hopefully the next podcast won't be another month away!

The link to the Las Vegas Photo Quiz is here: - Enjoy!

Update: Our good friends at have posted a little shout out to our shout out to their awards in which they gave us a shout out. Awesome.

A reminder - feel free to call in and leave us a message about anything Las Vegas or Web site related. The call in number is: 702-508-4232.

Direct RSS:

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December 31, 2006

Biggest Las Vegas / Gaming Stories of 2006?

Posted by Hunter

What did you think was the most interesting/biggest story of 2006 that related to Las Vegas and/or casino gambling?

Was it Harrah's being taken private? Wynn Resorts opening in Macau? The Stardust going dark? The insanity around the Tropicana bidding war? I'm interested to hear your take.

The RJ has a story on that topic today with a few examples but we don't have to limit the discussion to those options.

And, for a little bit of history, these are the posts from December 2005. Funny to think of all that has happened this year.

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December 18, 2006

Harrah's Accepts Buyout Offer for $90/Share

Posted by Hunter

Not a lot of detail yet but it looks like Apollo/Texas Pacific boosting the bid to $90/share did the trick:

Harrah's Board have accepted the offer:

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Some quick hits on upcoming development projects in Las Vegas from the Sun.

* Some discussion on Caesars Palace and the Roman Forum / new tower development.

* The Harrah's Center Strip project is still under wraps, likely delayed due to the potential private equity take-over of the company. This potentially includes the re-development of Bally's, Imperial Palace, Harrah's Las Vegas and the Flamingo, with varying degrees of severity.

* Echelon Place is moving along.

* Station has plans for Durango Station some day.

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Well, no big surprise here... It seems the outdoor 'Roman Forum' area at Caesars Palace is a terrible use of space given it is never used for anything significant.

Harrah's will build more casino, retail and back of house space in that part of the property and then also build a new hotel tower in the southwest corner of the property.

The new tower will be 29 stories and have over 1,000 rooms.

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November 26, 2006

Roll The Bones by David Schwartz - Book Review

Posted by Hunter

Roll The Bones is a new book by Dr. David Schwartz, the director of the Center for Gambling Studies at UNLV. His blog, is a great source for gambling information and news along with the ever-popular casino carpet gallery.

Dave has written several gambling related books in the past, including Suburban Xanadu, a study of the casino resort's evolution (this book features an in-depth look at Martin Stern, Jr., who's work we have mentioned several times in the past here on this site) and Cutting The Wire, a look at the Wire Act and Internet gambling.

You can buy this book here (and it supports this site in a small way): Roll the Bones: The History of Gambling

Keep reading after the jump...

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In this latest edition of the podcast, we cover a lot of ground, literally!

First up, here's a warning - this podcast is AN HOUR long. Sorry it is so long but there's a lot in here and I looked at cutting something but I decided that I simply didn't want to and thus here we are.

The notes are after the jump. As always, recent photos are here:

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This Wall Street Journal article (presented via Yahoo! - I hope that means you can read it w/o a subscription!) talks about how construction costs in the Valley have been rising and how that impacts costs for the big gaming operators, both those with projects going and those with stuff on the drawing board.

Wall Street Journal via Yahoo! (free!)

If that doesn't work, here's the original WSJ link (subscription required):

Wall Street Journal (subscription required)

October 24, 2006

Q3 Earnings

Posted by detroit1051

Third Quarter earnings are coming out. The RJ gave a preview:
Big Six Earnings Preview

For conference call junkies, a schedule follows the jump.

October 23, 2006

Harrah's Plans for Paris

Posted by detroit1051

This week's Las Vegas Business Press discusses planned changes and an expansion at Paris. Is Harrah's concerned about pedestrian safety, or is it a great marketing move to bring more Strip visitors into the property?
Plans For Paris

October 22, 2006

BOOK: Roll The Bones: The History of Gambling

Posted by Hunter

I got my review copy of Dave Schwartz's new book, "Roll The Bones" today and I've started to read it. Dave is a friend of mine and I feel lucky to call him that. He's the number one gambling historian and author of several books. He works at UNLV as the Director of the Center for Gaming Research. His Web site is located here, which we are now proudly hosting for him:

A full review will follow when I'm done but so far, it's great. Anyone that's seriously interested in gambling should buy this book right now.

The link below is from and not only do you get the book for a great price, but we get a small cut of the proceeds, so you are supporting the site and getting what so far seems like a great book.

Ok, here goes: Roll the Bones: The History of Gambling


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October 17, 2006

Flamingo Las Vegas Room Renovations Underway

Posted by Hunter

The Flamingo in Las Vegas, now part of the Harrah's empire, has started renovating its rooms with a new color scheme aiming to be hip and modern.

Don Marrandino, formerly of the Hard Rock (and a brief stint at a pre-opened Wynn Las Vegas), is running the joint these days and he's certainly trying to infuse his style and understanding of hipper market into the Flamingo.

We had the advance info on this upgrade a few months ago but now we have photos of the rooms that are already done. The project is set to take about a year and so far is off to a slow start with only about sixty rooms converted.


Here's the LV Sun article talking about the project:

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I've really been enjoying this. I'm having fun with this and so I expect to keep on doing it for awhile. There are certainly better Vegas podcasts out there but this isn't what that is about... It's more like an extension to the blog and while I have a lot to learn, I think we've been doing an okay job so far.

Call our listener line, anytime: 702-508-4232

You can leave a message that we will read on the air. Grab the number and put it in your cell phone so you can even phone in from Vegas. Also, if you are a casino employee or otherwise have info, you can use this as an anonymous tip line to feed us the goods.

This time around I talk about Harrah's rejection of the first bid, the second bid and what might happen to their Strip plans if the deal goes through. After that, it's on to my thoughts on the Downtown Las Vegas casino gaming drop and if it was just a blip. Then lastly I talk about the future of the podcast and a little bit about what's coming up.

Once again, comments are welcome and phone messages are very much appreciated.

Ready to listen? If you subscribed in iTunes or another player, it's probably already downloading as it's been on the feed for awhile. If you don't use iTunes or aren't already subscribed, the links are below. If you want to listen right here on the site, click through after the jump where we have an embedded player, no download required.

Direct RSS:

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Thanks to Detroit for pointing out a few articles today:

Station Plans a Latin Theme for Castaways Site

Station Continues to Expand Green Valley Ranch

Finally, some more thoughts on Harrah's and the buyout:

Plus, what might happen post-purchase:

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Yes, that's two podcasts in a week... I have posted the fourth RateVegas podcast and this episode has an international bent.

I discuss the basics of Macau along with the info about Wynn Macau opening in early September. I also talk about Harrah's pulling out of competition for the second casino site in Singapore as well as our potential nomination for a "Trippie" award.

On top of all of that, we now have a listener line where you guys can call in to get a message read on the air. The number is: 702-508-4232. Go ahead and call us anytime, from the field in Las Vegas or otherwise.

To listen to the podcast, we have a few options:

Direct RSS:

Click on after the jump to listen to the podcast right here on the Web site.

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October 6, 2006

Worst Las Vegas Podcast #3 Posted

Posted by Hunter

I posted a new podcast that I recorded last night.

In this episode I talk more about Harrah's and the Barbary Coast, dig into Sheldon Adelson, and look back at the changes at The Mirage.

You can get the podcast a few ways:

If you use iTunes:

If you don't, the direct feed link is:

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October 6, 2006

Harrah's Scraps Singapore Plan

Posted by Hunter

Looks like we have our first casualty of the pending Harrah's buyout offer - the company has decided not to compete for the second casino to be built in Singapore (the first went to Las Vegas Sands).

Harrah's Won't Compete for Singapore

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October 2, 2006

Harrah's Going Private?

Posted by detroit1051

The Wall Street Journal reported October 2 that Harrah's Entertainment may be purchased by several private equity firms. The report says the deal isn't done yet, but that it could be finalized this week. One of the interested firms is Tom Barrack's Colony Capital which has already made a name for itself in gaming.

What would the deal mean for Harrah's redevelopment of its Strip properties?

I can't link the Journal article, but here is AP's story:
Harrah's in Buyout Talks?

September 24, 2006

Rumble Gets Louder on Harrah's Las Vegas Strip Plans

Posted by Hunter

An official announcement may be getting closer as the news reports start to be coming on a more regular basis. From what we read, the project's scope has expanded and thus we probably won't hear the details this month as expected.

The gist is the same - Harrah's is going to use the property they have on the Strip, combined with some acquisitions, to create a loosely integrated resort complex that retains the individual brands but still sits under a cohesive umbrella. How lose will the integration be? We don't know yet but that will be an interesting component.

What do you guys think? CityCenter is obviously a massive development but this could be bigger? The project would certainly be disruptive and likely undertaken in stages to mitigate the risk to Harrah's cash flow.

More details:
Las Vegas Sun - Jeff Simpson
LVRJ - Inside Gaming

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September 19, 2006

Harrah's Plans on Blowing Up Half of Las Vegas?

Posted by Hunter

ChuckMonster at is running a story about Harrah's plans for its Strip properties.

According to this story, Bally's, the IP and Harrah's all get imploded while the Flamingo gets a major overhaul.

Anyway, it's an interesting read, even if based on at least some speculation. You never know - it could happen!

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September 11, 2006

Harrah's Name Change ; Wynn Macau Opening Video

Posted by Hunter

Two things this morning:

Today in the RJ, Norm! speculates that Harrah's may be changing its corporate name to Caesars and the long rumors Bally's/Horseshoe switch may be in the works:

Also, thanks to a reader for the following video of the opening of Wynn Macau:

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A few quick items:

Harrah's is set to remodel the rooms at the Flamingo, casting any demolition rumors into severe question:

After losing the Tropicana assets, Pinnacle will buy the Sands in Atlantic City:

Boyd has announced the Stardust will close November 1st:

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Harrah's has added the 'slot finder' to their Web site, basically the ability to see if your favorite slot machine is in one of their casinos. Still, no cool features like a map to the machines, etc...

You can find the slot finder here:

This leads to the larger point - Las Vegas casino Web sites generally suck. They are all basically brochures on the Web, in various stages of design prowess. Now, the biggies do have access to their slot club balances online and that sort of thing but there are still lots of features they could add, not to mention much more comprehensive looks at the properties themselves.

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July 5, 2006

Harrah's to Trade Rio For Barbary Coast??

Posted by Hunter

Wow, if this is true, it's mighty insane. The Las Vegas Business Press is reporting that Harrah's might swap the Rio with Boyd Gaming for the Barbary Coast, enabling Harrah's to create their massive Strip project.

We'll see.

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June 26, 2006

Caesars Palace

Posted by detroit1051

The Las Vegas Review Journal has an interview with Jimmy Wike, VP Table Games Operations. He speaks well of his employer, Harrah's, as one would expect, and sounds very supportive of Harrah's ability to bring Caesars back to its glory days. I found interesting his comments that Caesars is expanding games to appeal to different demographics and has actually reduced the number slots in favor of tables. He also discusses Harrah's corporate policy of emphasizing superior customer service.

The article may be read at:
RJ Article on Caesars Palace

So, I'm in Vegas checking out what is new and different and instead of just writing a simple note I decided to record audio as I walked through the properties... So, I guess this is the first Two Way Hard Three 'podcast'. I don't plan on podcasting on any kind of regular basis, this is a convenience thing. It's not short at over 30 minutes.

Anyway, if you don't like to hear people complaining about stuff, this isn't the podcast for you. I listened back and a lot of it is negative - I like talking about how people are screwing up... You have been warned.

NOTE: I recorded this late, late Friday night. I just listened to it again (and edited a bit). It's a little crazy sounding at times, very stream of consciousness. I also sound a little tipsy (never!). Hopefully I won't scare anyone off... Enjoy. I am off to a top secret meeting. Will report back when I have something to report.

Our podcasts are available via the podcast RSS feed:

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May 29, 2006

Harrah's Loveman Hints at Strip Plans

Posted by Hunter

Some interesting hints at what is coming for the center Strip from Harrah's. The company's CEO, Gary Loveman, sat down with the LV Sun's Jeff Simpson (great writer, BTW) to share some of what is coming from the company.

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Yes, I am in Las Vegas. This post is a bit stream of consciousness, just random things I noticed so far:

* Wynn Las Vegas have changed the advertising graphics for Le Reve to include actual performance shots. I assume this is to drive home the CDS connection.

* Corsa Cucina, the Wynn restaurant that had to be remodeled right after opening, is now doing brisk business.

* The Sands/LVB entrance for the Wynn Esplanade is being re-done with an outer door and new glass. It is mid-construction but fully open.

* At The Mirage, Ava is gone, Onda is being renovated and Love will include lots of red (if you go behind the curtain as I did, expect to be yelled at).

* The new poker room at The Venetian is really big, not bad looking and totally empty. Maybe 20% full.

* Bellagio is cruising along, seemingly indifferent and impenetrable to competition.The Prada store still has no mens clothes (the staff dutifully described a belt as 'mens clothes' but I disagree). The new employee parking garage is HUGE... Literally almost dwarfing the large signs that straddle Frank Sinatra Drive.

* Planet Aladdin - If anyone was wondering, Desert Passage is being redone. The whole facade is under scaffold.

* Planet Aladdin Interior - Man. So much work to do. These guys can't pull it off. If they aren't dropping the 40ft ceiling, they got nothing. The place feels empty and it always will. By the way, the signs look like they were designed by prisoners.

* Caesars - the 'E' is out on the new Augustus Tower. To me this is the kind of thing that should last a day at most. It is the FREAKING SIGN ON THE STRIP AND THE LIGHT IS BURNED OUT. Fire somebody.

* Paris - The signs of Harrah's taking over are everywhere and since it was a mediocre place to begin with... BTW, I have never been 'hard sold' on a suite upgrade before. I didn't even want one. The check in clerk had a whole sheet with prices AND justifications, FAQ style. Harrah's central. Wow.

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November 14, 2005

Caesars Augustus Tower in Pictures

Posted by Hunter

It has been open since August but we haven't done a feature on the latest addition to Caesars Palace.

Thanks to some room shots from Harrah's Entertainment, we were able to round up enough shots to make it worthwhile.

Keep Reading After the Jump...

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October 18, 2005

Bourbon Street Closed

Posted by Hunter

Purchased by Harrah's earlier this year, the Bourbon Street casino on Flamingo has closed two weeks early after a water main broke.

No plans have been announced for the property but it is hard to believe they won't be knocking it down.

Bourbon St. Closes Ahead of Schedule

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We went for a last minute trip to Las Vegas this past weekend and I decided to go out and take some photos to keep my friendly readers up to date.

The good stuff - October 2005 Photos - The Mirage, Wynn, Bellagio and More (My RateVegas photo gallery still has some issues - Flickr for now)...

Read more after the jump...

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October 3, 2005

MS Casinos On Land - Yes!

Posted by Hunter

Our friends at are reporting that MS Governor Barbour has agreed to drop the restriction that requires casinos in the state to be built over water, which resulted in massive damage from Hurricane Katrina.

Development is still restricted to be near water, but this will allow the developments to be much more secure in the face of any future disaster.

MS Governnor Signs On To Land Based Casinos

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September 30, 2005

The Future of Caesars

Posted by Hunter

Since being acquired by Harrah's, many have speculated what will happen to the high roller culture at Caesars Palace.

This article sheds some light on what management is planning to do with Caesars:
Loveman on Caesars High Rollers

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August 25, 2005

Marrandino To Head Harrah's LV; Flamingo

Posted by Hunter

Don Marrandino, formerly of the Hard Rock Hotel, will head Harrah's Las Vegas and the Flamingo.

Before the opening of Wynn Las Vegas, Marrandino signed on as general manager, only to leave for Harrah's Tahoe.

Marrandino Back in Vegas

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August 22, 2005

Harrah's Buys Imperial Palace

Posted by detroit1051

Harrah's announced it will buy Imperial Palace for $370 Million. The sale should close by year-end.

To read Harrah's Press Release:

$370 Million Deal Provides Growth Opportunities

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August 16, 2005

Harrah's Close To Buying IP?

Posted by detroit1051

Gaming Today reports that Harrah's purchase of Imperial Palace is "close to being a done deal." As we all have discussed here before, the purchase would give Harrah's control of the east side of the Strip from Paris up to Venetian.
IP On The Block?

August 10, 2005

Caesars Augustus Tower Set to Open

Posted by Hunter

Next week Caesars Palace plans to open the Augustus Tower, a 949 room luxury hotel tower. Designed to be the best that Caesars has to offer, the rooms include plasma TVs, large bathrooms and floor to ceiling windows. Along with the new tower, the hotel has opened a new lobby and a restaurant from chef Guy Savoy.

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Harrah's Entertainment has appointed a new president for its high roller property, Caesars Palace.

Gary Selesner was formerly the general manager of Caesars and was promoted to the position which was vacated when Mark Juliano left to work for Donald Trump.

Harrah's Appoints New Caesars President

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Harrah's second quarter profits were up 17% post the merger with Caesars Entertainment.

Still, shares traded down as analysts had expected better performance. While many gaming companies such as MGM MIRAGE have reported healthy results, none have solidly beaten Street expectations, which is dragging on the stock price.

LV Sun: Harrah's Profits Up

Update: Here's an interesting article from Motley Fool on gaming stocks this quarter:
Motley Fool on Gaming Stocks

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Some folks are wondering if the purchase of the Bourbon Street by Harrah's means implosion for the Flamingo.

I'm still a strong 'No' vote there but anything is possible in Las Vegas.

The Bourbon Street will close in October.

Bourbon Street to Close

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July 18, 2005 Best Of Reader Questions

Posted by Hunter

Some readers may know that part of our parent site,, is a 'Reader Question' area where our guests can write in and ask their vacation questions for me to answer.

Over the course of the last five years we've answered thousands of these important queries, on topics from luxury to Luxor and hot dogs to hot streaks. Some questions are bizarre, others seem to be repeated weekly. All are a good read.

In this post I'll chronicle some of the more interesting items. If you want to read all of the questions completely uncensored, you can also head over to Reader Questions and get the goods for yourself (or submit your own). I will probably make this a semi-regular column here on the blog.

The answers posted are the one I originally wrote when the question was asked. Keep reading after the jump.

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July 17, 2005

MGM MIRAGE To Extend Mandalay People Mover?

Posted by Hunter

According to an article in today's LVRJ, MGM MIRAGE is looking at the possibility of extending the Mandalay Bay-Excalibur people mover all the way to Treasure Island, with a stop at Harrah's owned Caesars Palace.

Plans to have a Mirage Resorts tram that ran from Bellagio to TI were discussed several times under the 'Wynn Administration' but never got off the ground.

This would be a direct blow to the floundering Las Vegas Monorail.

People Mover to Eclipse Monorail?

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July 16, 2005

Mark Juliano Leaves Caesars For Trump

Posted by Hunter

Detroit posted this in the comments but it looks like an important story to me.

This guy has been running Caesars for some time and the conventional wisdom was that he was going to Wynn.

Juliano Leaves Caesars For Trump

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I sometimes forget that new readers may not be aware of all of the thousands of photos that we have cataloged...

So, as a reminder, please be sure to visit our Las Vegas photo gallery at

Wynn Las Vegas Photos
All Las Vegas Photos


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June 22, 2005

Gaming Executive Pay Scale

Posted by Hunter

VegasTripping compiled a nice little table of industry pay: Industry Pay Scales

Wynn's doing pretty well for not having a resort in operation until 2 months ago!

June 15, 2005

What's Next For Caesars Palace?

Posted by Hunter

Now that the Harrah's/Caesars merger is complete, many are left wondering how Harrah's can handle Caesars Palace. The venerable Strip casino has been a high-rolling icon since the 60s - a business segment that Harrah's has not reached in the past.

A piece in today's RJ looks at some of fear that circles the changing of the guard in the Empire.

What's Next at Caesars (LVRJ)

June 14, 2005

Bally's To Be Imploded?

Posted by Hunter

An article in today's LV Sun mentions the possibility of Bally's being imploded to make way for a Horseshoe.

While I think it is highly probably that Bally's will be renovated and turned into a Horseshoe, I would be surprised to see a complete implosion. That's the Wynn way of thinking, not the Loveman way of doing business.

Bally's Imploded?

EDIT: Post your Bally's/MGM Grand memories in the comments!

An interesting article in the LVRJ that details how the two companies got together:

Documents Detail (LVRJ)

According to some Wall St. research published recently in the LVRJ, analysts believe that Wynn Resorts will have the third largest annual revenues in the industry by 2006.

Still, their $2.8B is dwarfed by the $9B and $7.5B that are expected to be generated by Harrah's and MGM MIRAGE.

For the full article, check out this link (LVRJ).

According to a press release issued today, the Nevada Gaming Commission has approved the merger between Harrah's and Caesars Entertainment. That was the last regulatory hurdle for the merger to be completed, which is expected to take place on Monday, June 13th.

Business Wire Release

June 8, 2005

FTC Clears Harrah's Acquisition of Caesars

Posted by Hunter

According to sources familiar with the deal, the Federal Trade Commission today approved the merger between Harrah's Entertainment and Caesars Entertainment.

The last hurdle towards finalizing the merger is Nevada gaming authorities, who are expected to approve the deal on Friday, June 10th.

Once the deal is complete, Harrah's will own the following Las Vegas casinos: Paris, Bally's, The Flamingo, Caesars Palace, Harrah's Las Vegas, and the Rio. Harrah's has extensive holdings outside of Nevada as well.

AP Story: Harrah's and Caesars Merger Clears FTC