Harrahs Takes Over Planet Hollywood This Weekend

That was quick.  Harrah’s begins management of Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas at midnight January 16.

In an internal memo to employees today, Planet Hollywood owner Robert Earl said things would be “business as usual” during the transition, though Harrah’s executives from neighboring Bally’s and Paris resorts will assume key roles at the property.

Sure, I’ve had issues with deal happening but I can’t stop it so it’s time for me to look at how I can benefit from Harrah’s taking over one of my favorite casinos on the strip.

First, business as usual sounds good to me.  My main curiosity is how Total Rewards will work be worked into Planet Hollywood.  I play at the east coast Harrah’s properties pretty often.  It will be interesting to see how my future trips to Las Vegas are effected, if at all, by this.

Seven Stars Insider: December – January Edition

I usually share the Seven Stars Insider when the newest edition arrives.  I lost this one over the holidays and am just getting to it now.  There is plenty of good information on Total Rewards.  This is a great, easy read if you frequent Harrah’s properties.

Question Of The Month

I earned 100,000 tier points shortly before the end of 2009 (and continued to earn more points through December 31), is it true that I will be designated Seven Stars through March 31, 2011, and get all the benefits for two “years”? Yes, if by “year” you mean the one ending March 31, 2010, and the other ending March 31, 2011.  As long as you complete your trip and celebration dinner, as well as order your annual gift by March 31, 2010, you can do it all again anytime between April 1, 2010, and March 31, 2011.  And that’s in addition to all the other benefits connected with the blue and gray card.

Did You Attend The Signature Event In Atlantic City?

According to our October/November informal survey, the event was a real success – only a few minor quibbles (which is to be expected – you can’t please everyone).  Jerry Seinfeld got lots of raves, but Janice Dickinson didn’t fare as well.  “She was horrible,” one person wrote, “offering nothing.”  A sampling of other comments:

  • “I know there were complaints, but for me the fun and pleasure of it way outweighed the flaws that others complained about.  All in all I think they did a great job.”
  • “The event was definitely worth attending, although locals did get lost amidst the hubbub somewhat.”
  • “Some things were really well-handled, others got bungled.  Traffic management was hard – so many ‘heavy hitters,’ all, no doubt, with special needs.”
  • “There were a lot of nice touches (the taffy and peanuts welcome basket in the room, the notes every night about the next day’s schedule, etc.).”
  • “The ‘Dancing With The Stars’ thing [at Caesars] was kind of lackluster entertainment-wise, but the meal was good.”
  • “The welcome parties were waaay too crowded and the one at The Pier was particularly bad. . .and the food wasn’t that good or very substantial.”
  • “The welcome gift – crystal glasses – was not very practical for people who had to fly home.”
  • “The $50 food coupons should have been good any day of the weekend.  As it happens, they were only for days when they were already feeding us big time at an event.  How much can you eat in one day?  I would have liked to use the coupons on Sunday or Monday, but they were not good on those days.”
  • “I was disappointed that those arriving on Friday (me!) didn’t get their [free] slot play. . .didn’t seem fair.”
  • “Spa appointments were impossible to get, but it was good that the spa coupon was redeemable for merchandise (so I actually did get to use that one).”
  • “The fashion show (at least the spillover event at Bally’s I attended) was kind of a bust.  The meal was good, but the host – last year’s ‘Project Runway’ winner – wasn’t very comfortable in front of an audience.”

Seven Stars Club At Harrah’s Atlantic City Temporarily Closes Prior To Christmas Many Seven Stars members were surprised – and irritated – to find the club closed for a couple weeks in December, just as it was last year.  The same with the Diamond Lounges at Caesars, Harrah’s and Showboat.  [Bally’s Lounge operated on a limited schedule to help pick up the slack.]  As one reader wrote, “Just one more thing Harrah’s had to do to p***-off its best customers.”  How nice if Harrah’s had taken a cue from the Borgata in Atlantic City.  A couple years ago while it was expanding its Amphora Lounge – the equivalent of a Diamond Lounge, but with far better food and decor, it offered its Black Card players [a category similar to Diamond] complimentary cocktails and wine in its B Bar, as well as complimentary cocktails and wine to accompany meals at the buffet.  All you had to do was show your player’s card and an ID.  Though at the bufet there was a $10 per person comp charge levied, and it was limited to the player and one guest, it was a great benefit.  Even today, the Borgata offers its buffet – breakfast, lunch, dinner and brunch any day of the week – for 10 comp dollars per person, again limited to the player and one guest.  And it’s still the best buffet – and with the classiest surroundings – in town.  [Unlike the Diamond Lounges and Seven Stars Clubs, the Amphora lounge levies a $10 per person comp charge, and is limited to the player and one guest.  Titanium cardholders – similar to Seven Stars – do not have similar restrictions.]

Special Seven Stars Self-Parking Benefits – An Update

In addition to the special Seven Stars dedicated parking on the seventh floor of Caesars in Atlantic City, each of the other Harrah’s properties has a special Seven Stars (and Diamond) express lane when you leave the self-parking lot (Caesars, Harrah’s and Bally’s) or at Showboat when you enter.  Several readers noted that Harrah’s Chester [Pennsylvania] has a specially-designated Seven Stars parking area on the third floor, but you need to display a special hangtag from your rear-view mirror; however, because the area is not monitored and no one enforces the restrictions, it’s really not much of a benefit.  Several informal “walk-throughs” of the area showed none of the cars or trucks parked there had the aforementioned hangtags, and neither did many of the other vehicles on the floor.  [The entire floor is supposed to be reserved solely for Seven Stars and Diamond players.]  Until Chester invests in a card-operated gate system like Caesars in Atlantic City or Windsor, Ontario, there are always going to be those who abuse the system.  Harrah’s in Reno has the same problem.

Harrah’s & Planet Hollywood

According to several reliable sources, Harrah’s Entertainment is moving forward on their much rumored takeover of the financially troubled Planet Hollywood resort and casino in Las Vegas.  The company filed papers with the Nevada Gaming Control Board that would give it permission to acquire the property.  The filing will now work its way through various regulatory agencies.  “Experts” anticipate a mid- to late-2010 completion of the process.  One columnist wrote, “The hotel will most likely keep the Planet Hollywood name but would get folded into Harrah’s very popular Total Rewards players’ club program.”

Continue reading “Seven Stars Insider: December – January Edition”

Blackjack at The Palazzo and The Venetian

A little more research for my trip to Las Vegas brings me to blackjack.

Blackjack on the Las Vegas strip over the past couple of years has gone from paying out 3:2 to 6:5 for blackjack in many casinos.  For example; the Harrah’s properties seem to exclusively only pay out 6:5 on blackjack.

I look for any advantage I can get so I look for 3:2 blackjack.

On a small scale this isn’t much of a big deal, but the house edge increases about 1.5% when only paying out 6:5.  One of the reasons people play blackjack is that the house edge is so small that money lasts for a while.

You can check house edge based on different rules with the calculator on Wizard of Odds.

Sometimes to offset a 3:2 blackjack game casinos will use a continuous shuffling machine (CSM).  I don’t like playing these kind of tables because every hand is like the first hand being dealt from a shoe.  There is no counting cards with a CSM and no predictability of the upcoming cards.  I don’t count cards, but I pay attention to face cards and usually know when the deck is heavy or light with face cards.

Until this research I thought the CSM decreased player odds a lot.  I never looked at the math behind a CSM.  The CSM actually decreases house advantage. This surprised me, but it’s hard to argue with the math.  This only changes my mind a little.  I still don’t want to play a game with a CMS, but with this knowledge I hate it a little less.

On to my research for my house casino(s) – Palazzo and Venetian.  I found that they both have plenty of blackjack that is hand hand shuffled and dealt from a shoe and pays 3:2.  After my last trip where I saw only 6:5 games at Caesars Palace this is nice to see.  I didn’t play any blackjack on that trip.  Onward and upward!

Harrahs Definitely Closing In On Planet Hollywood

Earlier this year Harrah’s started purchasing debt of Planet Hollywood who has since defaulted on their debt obligations.  Right before Thanksgiving Harrah’s sent an email to its employees stating their interest in Planet Hollywood.

“The Planet Hollywood resort sits adjacent to the Paris Las Vegas Hotel & Casino, currently the southernmost of six contiguous Harrah’s-owned properties on the east side of the Las Vegas Strip,” Loveman’s e-mail said.

“The Planet Hollywood resort is currently in default to its lenders. As a result of our purchase of their debt, we are working on a plan that also would allow Harrah’s to own and manage the property. This is an attractive proposition because of Planet Hollywood’s proximity to our other resorts on the Strip, its high-quality product offering and its strong brand name.”

“This move is the latest example of our strategy to make purchases or acquisitions capitalizing on opportunities created by current economic conditions. I look forward to sharing more details with you about this project in the future,”

Competition always leads to good service for customers.  If the customer doesn’t like what he/she receives from on company they can choose to go elsewhere.  That’s the main reason I do not look forward to Harrah’s taking over Planet Hollywood.

This move would likely mean Planet Hollywood will eventually slow down with some of their innovative marketing ideas and just be another Harrah’s casino with the same mediocre service and offers.

I’m not worried about the gambling at Planet Hollywood going downhill since they already have plenty of 6:5 blackjack and mediocre video poker.  I’m more concerned with the overall vibe and feel of the casino as well as the valuable and interesting marketing ideas at Planet Hollywood.

Maybe Harrah’s won’t get in the way of something small and cool, but that’s not the way the machine works and that’s too bad.

Seven Stars Insider

Here is the new Seven Stars Insider newsletter for October and November.  This is a great source of information if you’re curious about the Harrah’s Total Rewards program.  It was started for the highest level gamblers (Seven Stars), but provides information that can be used for any level of player.

[NOTE: While this newsletter was originally designed exclusively for Seven Stars Club members, there is useful for anyone who has a Total Rewards® player’s card and/or plays/stays at a Harrah’s property.  Please feel free to pass this on to your friends.]

Question Of The Month

I heard that, as long as I confirm my travel plans on or before March 31, 2010, I can take my 2009-2010 Seven Stars trip after April 1, 2010.  Is this true? This used to be the policy, but it changed a couple years ago.  Now, it’s “use it or lose it” if you don’t complete your travel by March 31, 2010.

Do You Plan To “Renew” Your Seven Stars Status For 2010-2011?

According to our September informal survey, “if it happens, it happens.”  No one responding was actually working toward qualification, but if their play happens to get them to that level – or closer to the end of the year, if it appears to be possible, they might even increase their play just to maintain their status.  Nearly everyone who responded – especially “first-timers” – said that the benefits simply don’t justify the amount of money or time required to qualify.  Some came right out and said they would switch to another casino’s “VIP” status because they were disappointed in how they had been treated, and the benefits they received – or, more accurately, didn’t receive.

Special Seven Stars Self-Parking Benefits In Atlantic City

If you self-park at Caesars in Atlantic City, there is special Seven Stars dedicated parking on the seventh floor.  Be prepared to insert your card in order to access the area.  [Caesars Windsor has a similar dedicated parking area.]  Upon departure, each of the Harrah’s-owned properties – except Showboat, where you show your player’s card upon entry – has a special Seven Stars (and Diamond) express lane when you leave the self-parking lot.

Continue reading “Seven Stars Insider”

Beer Pong = Bling Pong

O’Sheas is one of the smaller, older, cheap casinos on the Las Vegas strip.  It’s not what I seek when I’m in Vegas, but they’ve done a really nice job creating a niche for themselves.  While cheap gambling and cheap beer can be attractive, you can go to any older casino to find that.

O’Sheas has become a favorite among college aged people because of one thing.  BEER PONG.  I was catching up on my Vegas news over the weekend when I saw an article on Vegas Chatter that went into some detail about how good of a money maker Beer Pong has become for O’Sheas.

The real shocker: the place rakes in more than $25,000 from it every week, and more than $100,000 per month.

No, that number didn’t come from management or an official press release (though the PR department did, in fact, confirm it). Instead, it came from the people who know best—dealers and pit bosses in the gaming pit closest to the beer pong action.

That seems like some pretty nice coin for Beer Pong and stands out to me because that’s not gaming income, which is something casino’s are always string for.  I would never imagine Beer Pong could bring in over $1 million a year.  Nice work finding your niche O’Sheas.

O’Sheas recently joined twitter and you can follow them for more info and specials.

Harrah’s To Buy Planet Hollywood?

I was sitting on my couch enjoying the Patriots ruin my Monday night parlay when I read a tweet from Tim at Five Hundy By Midnight saying that he doesn’t want to see Harrah’s buy Planet Hollywood.  I immediately jumped up and checked my news feeds to see that the rumor may be true as Harrah’s purchased some of Planet Hollywood’s existing debt.

Sources confirmed this weekend that Harrah’s has purchased a portion of the $860 million debt load that is leveraged against the property…

…Brian Gordon, a principal at Applied Analysis, however, suggested Harrah’s could be following the recent trend of acquiring casino properties through debt purchases rather than through an outright buyout.

“With covenant and debt defaults looming around for some of these properties, it’s a potential way to gain eventual ownership of a property,” Gordon said.

The practice has been used successfully in the past locally, most recently when the Tropicana on the Strip was acquired in bankruptcy court.

The article in the Las Vegas Review Journal cites a few recent examples of investors buying casinos on the cheap through debt purchases.  I’ve loved Planet Hollywood since the Aladdin was sold and the theme changed.  Heck, I even liked gambling at the Aladdin.  Planet Hollywood has become one of my favorite casinos on the strip.

I have nothing against Harrah’s and think that this would be a great acquisition for them.  It would add a property with a cool, young vibe to their list of properties.  It would also allow them more ownership of the middle of the strip.  Independent ownership has allowed Planet Hollywood to carve out a niche and my fear would be that the monster that is Harrah’s will homogenize what makes Planet Hollywood unique in it’s own right.

Time will tell whether or not this happens, but unless Harrah’s own debt doesn’t allow this I don’t see how this deal doesn’t get done.

Seven Stars Insider

Here is the latest Seven Stars Insider newsletter.  This is good information if you are a Harrah’s player and a Total Rewards card holder and has now been tailored for all levels of card holders.

The newsletter doesn’t teach you how to “game” the system, but rather how to maximize your comps.  Sign up for the newsletter here.

NOTE: While this newsletter was originally designed exclusively for Seven Stars Club members, there is useful for anyone who has a Total Rewards® player’s card and/or plays/stays at a Harrah’s property. Please feel free to pass this on to your friends.]

Free Showboat Sunday Seven Stars Brunch

Probably the best kept secret in Atlantic City is the Seven Stars Sunday Brunch at the Showboat. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the room adjacent to the main buffet at Showboat is home to a private – and complimentary – brunch for Seven Stars Club members and one guest. There is a private chef preparing foods to order and/or you can also partake from the regular Showboat buffet. Call ahead before showing up, though, since this may disappear as quickly as it appeared in June.

McCormick & Schmick’s Comps

Sometime in July, Harrah’s management in Atlantic City told McCormick and Schmick’s they no longer could accept comps on a 1:1 basis. Consequently, that $36 entrée now costs you $72 in comp dollars – assuming you don’t choose to pay cash rather than use Reward Credits. This arrangement is similar to Morton’s at Caesars and the restaurants at The Pier.

Harrah’s Cherokee Now Serves Alcohol

The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians has voted to allow the sale of alcohol at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino in Cherokee, N.C. The referendum passed, 1,847-1,301. Nearly 50 percent of the tribe’s 6,489 voters went to the polls. The tribe voted on the question after supporters got 25 percent of registered voters to sign a petition calling for a referendum. The referendum was the second time in 29 years the tribe has taken up alcohol sales. In addition, a similar referendum in 1980 failed by a 2-1 margin. A $633 million expansion, doubling the size of the casino’s floor space, is currently under construction.

Las Vegas Diamond Clubs – Again!

The most reaction I have received to any newsletter item recently was regarding my comments about the “quality” of the crowds in the Las Vegas Diamond Clubs. Descriptions like “bottom feeders” and “low lifes” were among the “kindest” (and printable!). Many, like me, advocated that Harrah’s increase the tier score for Diamond status and/or impose a per person comp charge for admission – Seven Stars Club members exempted, of course. The other comment/question was why the hours in Las Vegas are so short. Currently, clubs are open Sunday through Thursday from 4 to 9 p.m., and Fridays and Saturdays from noon to 9 p.m. The 9 p.m. closings on weekends were particularly annoying, especially to those players from Atlantic City who are used to later hours, i.e., midnight.

Credit Card? Check! ID? Check!

Registration clerks (who can’t express their irritation to guests) and others checking in (who can) wish that players would have the courtesy of having their Total Rewards card, a valid credit card and a valid ID ready to present when they check in. Even if the clerk knows you personally, and even if you think you have a credit card on file with the property, regulations require that employees verify these documents each time you stay. Please do everyone a favor and have these ready so you don’t waste everyone’s time fumbling through your personal belongings to dig them out. (And don’t be offended when someone asks for an ID at a restaurant or a shop when you are using Total Rewards points or charging something to your room; this is for your own protection.)

Question Of The Month

I’ve spoken to a couple people who earned less than 100,000 tier points last year, but still got Seven Stars Club status. Did Harrah’s reduce the number of points required? According to a highly placed corporate executive, who wishes to remain anonymous, the 100,000-point threshold still exists, but some long-time Seven Stars Club members were granted an exception this year “due to the economy.” “This was done on a casino-by-casino basis and very few exceptions were granted,” my source told me. “This will be a one-time-only exception,” my source said, “and the players will need to requalify in 2009 for status in 2010.

All Aboard. . .First!

Another benefit of Seven Stars is priority boarding on the Harrah’s shuttles operating among their casinos in Las Vegas and Atlantic City. Since the shuttles often can become crowded quickly, don’t forget to take advantage of this.

Atlantic City Taxes

While room and tourism taxes often are “forgiven,” Harrah’s sometimes takes your comp dollars to pay this $13 nightly fee. It’s always a good idea to find out in advance how the tax portion of your final bill is being settled. I’m still trying to find out why Harrah’s charges $13, yet Borgata and Trump charge $5.98 and $5, respectively, per night.

Total Rewards Points Accepted At Atlantic City Country Club

For a change of pace from casino dining, don’t forget you can use your comp dollars – on a 1:1 basis – at the Atlantic City Country Club (ACCC). The Tap Room Bar & Grille serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as an elaborate Sunday brunch. All you need is your player’s card and a valid ID. The club is located about 20 minutes from the Boardwalk. Check out their Web site at: http://www.harrahs.com/golf/atlantic-city-country-club/dining.html. Since its founding in 1897, ACCC has been at the forefront of the sport, both nationally and internationally. The prestigious and historic ACCC proudly carries the distinctions of “The Birthplace of the Birdie,” as well as being the site where the term “Eagle” was coined. Many legendary names have played the course, including Sam Snead and Howard Everitt. Bob Hope was an ACCC “regular,” first becoming acquainted with the club when he worked on the vaudeville circuit.

Keeping Score

While it doesn’t happen often, mistakes do occur when it comes to your comp dollars. Before any trip to a Harrah’s casino I always check the Web site and write down my current tier score and comp dollars. I also keep all my receipts to know how my comp dollars have been used. After I get home, I again check the site, write down my then current points and calculate how much I’ve earned, plus what I’ve spent. If nothing else, it gives you a sense of how much you played and earned.

Do You Do Anything To Recognize Your Host and His/Her Services?

According to our May/June informal survey, most players who actively use the services of a host give an end-of-year gift valued at approximately $150 (average). This recognition may take the form of a gift card, a gift basket or some other gift which the player knows his/her host might appreciate. In addition or in lieu of a holiday gift, some players send flowers or give a gift to their hosts on their birthdays – assuming they can find out the date. (It might take a little effort, but usually a colleague in VIP Services can get this information for you.) Only a couple players admitted they didn’t see the need to give a gift since they felt their hosts already were “profiting” from their play.

What Incentives Will Get You To Play More Frequently?

If you live on the East Coast, as I do, a $75 Pottery Barn gift card is not enough incentive to get me on a plane to Las Vegas. Two tickets to a Bette Midler show, maybe. Recently, though, Harrah’s has been sending some pretty piddling offers valued at around $100 (gift cards, cash, designer T-shirts, etc.). Its competitors, on the other hand, are sending offers valued at three, four or five times that amount. (All of these offers are over and above the standard complimentary rooms.) Assuming you had the time and other necessary resources, what sorts of incentives would get you to make an extra long-distance – or even short-distance – trip? And, if applicable, in your opinion, how do Harrah’s offers compare with its competitors’? Drop me an email (sevenstarsinsider@gmail.com) and I’ll share your thoughts – anonymously – with everyone in a future newsletter.

I Can’t Be The Only One This Is Happening To!

Caesars Atlantic City – On a recent Monday night in July, the second floor casino seemed to be running on auto-pilot. Two kids were stealing coins out of the fountain, and there was not a security guard in sight. Shortly after I spotted the little thieves, my machine jammed as I was cashing out. After 20 minutes, I started hitting the “Service” lights on 50+ machines surrounding mine. Still no response. Finally, I asked a friend to watch my machine, and I went searching for a Harrah’s employee. I literally walked half the upstairs casino, and no one! Ultimately, I saw a gentleman in a suit who had a Caesars’ nametag. He called a slot attendant, but when all was said and done, it took an hour to collect my $300. (See below for more on this.)

Harrah’s Resort Atlantic City – On a recent Saturday night in August, the casino – just like Caesars – seemed to be running on auto-pilot. Twice I asked a [homeless?] person – who was sound asleep at a slot machine I wanted to play – to please move. She moved, but continued her reverie at another machine. Once again, no security guards or other Harrah’s employees – other than cocktail servers who were too busy to even stop. Finally, I went to the front desk and one of the managers helped me find a guard. He talked to the woman, but made no attempt to escort her out of the casino, or ensure that she moved. Consequently, once again she fell asleep. Another guest wanted to play the machine where she slumbered, but told me he was “afraid” to disturb her.

Waterfront Tower – Going The Way Of Showboat’s New Orleans Tower?

It had been awhile since I stayed in the “new” Harrah’s Waterfront Tower in Atlantic City. How disappointing it was to find large chunks of my dresser missing, seriously scratched end tables on either side of the bed, a make-up mirror dangling from the wall in the bathroom, pillowcases inside out, no bath mat, and a missing ice bucket. And while a call to Housekeeping promised me a replacement bucket, none showed up; however, an accommodating housekeeper gave me one from a vacant room – so now that guest will find his bucket missing. Even a little touch-up paint or stain would help the unsightly appearance of the damaged dresser and end tables – at least until they can be repaired properly. And the reason I compare this situation to Showboat is the horrible condition of the New Orleans Tower. Ironically, I was in the same room in July as I was a little more than a year ago. The furniture was so scratched and damaged, it literally had less stained wood than bare wood (or, probably, more accurately, particle board). Plus, there were only four hangers in the closet and the shelves in the bathroom looked like they hadn’t been dusted in months.

Which Brings Me To Employee Morale. . .

Maybe it’s because I come across as a concerned guest (which I am) who is supportive of Harrah’s (which I am) and concerned about what I see happening (which I am), but in the last 45 days, more employees than I can count – bartenders, slot attendants, slot managers, security guards, front desk employees, etc. – have confided in me how overworked they are due to understaffing. And more than a few feel the cutbacks are a direct result of huge salary and benefit packages going to Harrah’s senior management. [Perception is reality for some people, a wise man once told me.] Compare this to Trump’s employees who proudly wear promotional “campaign-style” buttons touting their commitment to customer service – unlike that ill-conceived and insensitive DIANA campaign that went on far too long at Showboat. Trump’s employees are upbeat, almost anticipate guests’ needs, and seem proud to be working for “The Donald.”


P.S. Back issues of the Seven Stars Insider newsletter are available online at http://sevenstarsinsider.googlepages.com. You will need Adobe Acrobat to view them, but this is a free program available at www.adobe.com.

Darryl D. McEwen, Publisher

Seven Stars Insider

Harrah’s Big Plan For Las Vegas? Food, Drink, Ferris Wheel

Harrah’s owns quite a few properties in the middle of the Las Vegas strip.  Take a look at the “who owns what” map on Vegas Today & Tomorrow for a visual.  There have been plenty of guesses over the past few years on what Harrah’s plans are now that they own most of the properties in the area.

Two years ago they decided that they wouldn’t implode any of the casinos to build a new mega-resort as they want to keep Caesars Palace as their top tier casino.  Instead, Harrah’s plan is Project Link.

..the plan calls for a collection of about 20 restaurants and bars to be built along a winding corridor between the company’s O’Sheas and Flamingo casinos, on the east side of the Strip.

With a mix of “eclectic” and “mostly casual” restaurants and bars opening to the street, it’s an attempt to create the kind of entertainment district that has developed organically in cities such as Los Angeles, Memphis and New Orleans yet is lacking on the Strip, with its enclosed, casino-centric zones.

At the end of the 1,000-foot pedestrian walkway, Harrah’s wants to build a giant Ferris wheel similar to the London Eye and the Singapore Flyer. The wheel would tower about 600 feet, offering sweeping views, plush interiors and a slow ride.

This would cost less than tearing down and building up a new casino.   It would also play to Harrah’s strong point, which is the middle class type of consumer.  The cluster of stores and restaurants would allow Harrah’s to keep costomers close to their properties.

When I visit Las Vegas I like to treat myself above my usual means of living.  So while this idea isn’t attractive to me, I can see this working.  There are plenty of people that visit Las Vegas that would enjoy something like this and there are plenty of websites devoted to “cheap Las Vegas.”  Again, this fits nicely into Harrah’s overall marketing.

It’s currently difficult to obtain financing for a lot of businesses and with the mountain of debt Harrah’s already has this idea probably won’t come to light any time too soon.  A cynic would say this Las Vegas Sun article was floated out so Harrah’s can try to get the financing needed.  By the time financing is found the idea may have passed it’s time.

Bottom line:  This isn’t for me and I don’t see Harrah’s getting this project started or finished.  Additionally, I don’t see a project with a ferris wheel as an anchor ever happening.


World Series Of Poker (WSOP) Turns People Away!

World Series Of Poker Logo
World Series Of Poker

For the first time ever the World Series of Poker (WSOP) sold out.  Yesterday’s “Event 4” was sold out and forced Harrah’s to turn away people who traveled from all over the world to compete in the event.  ESPN covers both the poker and the upset non-contestants.

Obviously Harrah’s expected to see a decrease in attendance this year with the hurting economy but there have been more people visiting for the WSOP.  I’m sure “A chip and a chair”, “A dollar and a dream”, and other clichés are on people’s minds right now.  This is tough for anyone that spent the time and money to make the trip out there.  If there were a lot of people turned away I’m sure that an extra day could have been added.  I would guess that there weren’t many effected.  The negative PR by a few won’t dissuade the masses.  Still – this is lame.