Rumor: William Hill To Operate Caesars Palace Sportsbook

Caesars Palace Las Vegas Sportsbook
Caesars Palace Sportsbook

While I was away on vacation last week I received an interesting tip from a trusted source:

William Hill would take over operations of the Caesars Palace sportsbook once the current renovations are complete.

This will essentially be a trial run for William Hill only at Caesars Palace. No other Caesars Entertainment properties will be a part of this initial trial run. If all goes well at Caesars Palace then William Hill will take over operations of all Caesars Entertainment sportsbooks.

Caesars Entertainment operates the casino and sportsbooks at Bally’s, The Cromwell (kiosks only), Flamingo, Harrah’s, Paris, Planet Hollywood, The Quad and Rio in Las Vegas in addition to Caesars Palace.

This isn’t the first time that there has been discussion about an outside sportsbook operator taking over activity for Caesars Entertainment. Back in 2011 and 2012 there were heavy rumors that Cantor Gaming (now CG Technologies) would take over operations. That ended with legal problems at Cantor Gaming.

I asked William Hill for a comment and they said “We don’t comment on rumors.” I’ll pass on more details as I hear them.

Photo: Xfinity

Fireworks Return To Red Rock Resort And Green Valley Ranch On July 4th

Fireworks at Red Rock Resort Las Vegas
Fireworks at Red Rock Resort

ICYMI, people love fireworks.

Station Casinos brings in the heavyweights of fireworks, the Grucci family, to do their 4th of July fireworks show. “If you’re not going to hire the Grucci’s to do your fireworks show you shouldn’t bother”, says the guy who grew up with the Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks show in New York City.

Fireworks will go for 9 minutes at 9pm a both Red Rock Resort and Green Valley Ranch. Caesars Palace has done 4th of July fireworks on the Vegas Strip in the past but hasn’t made an official announcement yet.

Caesars Entertainment is probably too busy cleaning up the poop pipes that broke at The Linq over the weekend. I’ll just tweet that info when it comes out. Enjoy the best of the Red Rock fireworks video I could find on the YouTube.

Update: Stratosphere announced that will have fireworks at 9:15 sharp.

Photo: Vegas News

Mr. Chow Plans to Open in early 2015 at Caesars Palace

Mr. Chow Caesars Palace
The Other Mr. Chow

When I think of ultra exclusive restaurants in New York City I think of Rao’s and Mr. Chow. It’s almost impossible to get a table at either restaurant unless you’re super rich, famous or both. While Rao’s in New York is famous because it has fantastic food and only 6 tables but Mr. Chow is different. Mr. Chow is a decent sized restaurant for New York and more famous for being famous. Kinda like Kim Kardashian.

Many moons ago I had a celebratory dinner at Mr. Chow and I couldn’t have been more stoked. Why? Forget any other famous person that may have been dining along side of my group - Jay-Z was in the house! Jay-Z came up to the table as smooth as can be to say hi and congratulate our table on being awesome. Then he knocked over someone’s water and said something that made him appear even smoother. I don’t think I was the only person who was a little swoony.

5 year’s ago Mr. Chow was being planned to open at either The Harmon or Vdara at City Center. Well, things have changed and Mr. Chow will now open next year at Caesars Palace which also is home to Rao’s. If someone wants to do something awesome together and celebrate at Mr. Chow, I’m down! Otherwise, you have a better chance of catching me at another New York favorite at Caesars Palace, Carmines.

Here are more details from the Mr. Chow press release

Caesars Palace is pleased to announce internationally renowned MR CHOW is expected to open its seventh restaurant location in early 2015. The luxurious Beijing cuisine eatery will be located in the impressive second story space currently occupied by Empress Court, which will close this spring.

With locations in Malibu, Beverly Hills, New York, Miami and London, MR CHOW has conceptualized and perfected refined Beijing cuisine dining with European style service. The menu will feature beloved dishes such as the Chicken Satay, Green Prawns, hand-pulled MR CHOW Noodles and famed Beijing Duck.

“Continuing with the tradition of offering Caesars Palace guests the best in customer service, hospitality and dining, I am honored to welcome the legendary MR CHOW to our award-winning culinary lineup,” said Regional President of Caesars Palace, Gary Selesner. “We look forward to guests experiencing the elevated cuisine, paired with the unique location and chic and stylish design MR CHOW is well-known for.”

Not only will the menu feature signature MR CHOW dishes, but also a selection of specialty cocktails made with fresh ingredients and carefully crafted by a team of mixologists.
“For MR CHOW, Las Vegas is a must,” said Mr. Chow. “After many years of hard work, at last, we are happy to announce that we found our perfect match in Caesars Palace. Caesars is the pioneer and cornerstone of Vegas and we are delighted to open in the year of the sheep.”

MR CHOW guests will enter through a set of private elevators, located on the casino floor level of Caesars Palace. The restaurant will be located on the second story, which will overlook the Garden of the Gods pool oasis. With design credits including boutiques for Giorgio Armani, Mr. Chow’s keen sense of design is sure to be reflected in the space.

Buddy V’s At Venetian

Sunday Gravy At Buddy Vs at Venetian Las Vegas
Sunday Gravy At Buddy Vs

I had some friends in Vegas last night and recommended we go to Buddy V’s at Venetian. Reviews have all been positive so this seemed like a safe bet. And it was a safe bet. The food wasn’t anything special but it’s not made to be special. It was just good and tasted like food that a friend’s grandmother would make. Again, that’s the idea.

I had Grandma’s Sunday Gravy because it was Sunday and recommended. The dish was a pot of meatballs, sausage, lamb and beef with a nice sized plate of rigatoni. Most pasta dishes at Buddy V’s were around $20 but Sunday Gravy was $25 because of all of the meat. It was very good and the most full I’ve been in a long time. I didn’t even finish all of the meats. One of each (ok, 2 meatballs) was enough.

With appetizers and a couple of bottles of wine dinner came out to about $62 a person before tip. The food is on par with other good mid-range Italian restaurants on the strip like Carmine’s at Caesars Palace. I’d return if someone wanted to have Italian but wouldn’t go out of my way. It’s good but, again, nothing special. If you spend about $10 more per dish you’ll have better food with a better view at Lavo.

The Average Ticket Price To See Britney Spears at Planet Hollywood Will Be Around $113

Britney Spears "Work Bitch" Single Art
Britney Spears “Work Bitch”

Britney Spears and I go way back. I first saw Britney at the Meadowlands in New Jersey. It was fun be Britney Spears and I didn’t have a special connection until I saw her at Rain at Palms in Las Vegas. Brit and I had a special connection from that night moving forward.

It was an amazing night that I barely remember. The two memories I have of that night were my friend kissing or being kissed on the cheek by Paris Hilton and Britney Spears’ 3 song performance that I was just a few feet away from. It may have been the vodka (it probably was) but something happened.

Now, Britney Spears is coming to Las Vegas for a 48 show per year residency at Planet Hollywood for the next two years.

Britney Spears will be raking in HUGE STACKS in Vegas this winter — a ridiculous $310,000 per show … nearly $15 million per year — but she still doesn’t hold a candle to Celine Dion.

TMZ is privy to the financial details of Britney’s deal.  The 2-year contract calls for 48 shows a year at Planet Hollywood.   According to the contract, Britney will earn $310,000 per show. 

TMZ also looks deeper into the contract.

Britney’s cut of the gate is huge — projected sales per show are $508,514, meaning Brit will be snagging more than 60%.

If the projected gate for the show is correct and the 4,500 seats that the PH Theater now has (according to Johnny Kats) is correct then simple math says that the average ticket price to see Britney Spears at Planet Hollywood will be $113.

The price to see Britney Spears at Planet Hollywood is a little high but it’s not outlandish given today’s ticket prices for shows on the Vegas Strip. For comparison tickets to see Tim McGraw and Faith Hill at The Venetian begin at $187.50 on Vegas.com while tickets to see Celine Dion at Caesars Palace begin at $102.

I’m pretty sure the only way I’ll see this Britney show is if someone gives me a free ticket but you never know. This is Las Vegas and things happen. I’m sure I’ll love the show because I love me some Britney but her new song is a steaming pile of dog crap. Maybe I’m just old. Get off my lawn. Bitch.

Photo: MTV 

Happy Birthday Caesars Palace

Classic Photo Of Caesars Palace Las Vegas
Caesars Palace

Every day I wake up and check the tweets from overnight and early morning. It’s the most peaceful time of the day on twitter because there’s usually no breaking news at 6am in Las Vegas. It allows me to learn a little and catch up with people. This morning’s education came from Caesars Palace.

When I was growing up Caesars Palace always seemed like the most grand place I could stay in Las Vegas. I stayed at Caesars Palace once and realized that I didn’t like the layout and have only returned once. The hotel and casino have expanded and been renovated so much, and in such a mish mosh pattern, over the years it’s difficult to really get a good vibe.

I did enjoy my stay in the Augustus Tower but that’s because I felt like I wasn’t staying at Caesars Palace. The Augustus Tower almost feels closer to Bellagio, across the street, than to the Caesars Palace casino. That’s probably a good thing, but I digress.

Caesars Palace has stood the test of time and is still seen as one of the best hotels in Las Vegas. While I may not agree with the general opinion there’s something to be said for that kind of longevity in this fickle city.

I think I’ll celebrate Caesars Palace with some chicken parm at Carmine’s in the Forum Shops! HUZZAH!

Photo: Caesars Palace 

Aria Marquee Is A Symbol Of The Changing Vegas Strip

Aria Marquee At Night
Aria Marquee At Night

I find a lot of things in the Vegas media funny. Las Vegas is the #42 television market but plenty of people in the media and marketing departments acts as if Vegas is a top 5 market. When I saw press releases and news stories about the Aria marquee I laughed. It’s a sign. In what major market does mainstream (and non-mainstream) media go nuts over a sign? None.

I’ve seen the Aria marquee a handful of times and just thought it was another sign and nothing really special. It’s just a sign but how I thought about the Aria marquee changed a few weeks ago when I was driving to New York-New York to meet a friend for a drink. I was passing the Aria marquee around dusk and it was almost magical.

The mall across the street on the Harmon Corner has a bright huge sign that’s more annoying than useful or interesting since it’s all advertising. I don’t need or want to see advertising that big. It’s distracting and dangerous. The Cosmopolitan has a pretty cool marquee by the boulevard pool but that’s because the content on it is interesting. Sometimes you’ll see ads for the hotel and other times you can see concerts. The concept is great but the marquee is tiny compared to the Aria marquee. You can fit about 4 marquees from the Cosmo inside of the Aria marquee.

The Aria marquee is huge and juts out onto the strip. When I passed by the Aria marquee it was showing casino chips and other cool video snippets like the astronaut above. There was nothing obscene or overly promotional on the sign. It’s just a cool big sign that’s as obnoxiously large as you’d expect from the Vegas Strip (for better or worse).

The Aria marquee isn’t the dawn of the new Vegas strip but it is a sign (pun intended) that a new strip is coming.

Between the giant ferris wheel of The Linq being built across the street from Caesars PalaceThe Quad vortex lighting being installed right now, Gansevoort construction across the street from Bally’s and the park area in between New York-New York and Monte Carlo there is a lot of construction on the Vegas strip. This doesn’t even touch on the north strip construction going on.

The Aria marquee reminded me about all of this and also reminded me that the way see the strip will change drastically over the next few years. Enjoy the memory of the Vegas strip you grew up with because it will be drastically different by this time next year.

Bill’s To Become Gansevoort Las Vegas

Bill’s Gambling Hall closed in February so that Caesars Entertainment could renovate the property. The talk was that the property would cater to a younger, club going crowd and it seems like that will be the case with Bill’s becoming Gansevoort Las Vegas. Here’s the info straight from a Caesars press release I just received.

Caesars Entertainment Corporation announced today the collaboration with New York-based luxury hotel brand Gansevoort Hotel Group and nightlife impresario Victor Drai to launch a never before seen Las Vegas experience creating an intimate urban resort at the location of Bill’s Gamblin’ Hall & Saloon. 

As the only standalone boutique resort, perfectly situated at the center of the Strip, Gansevoort Las Vegas’ exceptionally high standard of style and service will redefine the boutique hotel experience. Glitterati and everyday guests alike will receive the ultimate in VIP treatment and unique social experiences.

Gansevoort Las Vegas will be the fourth installment of the luxury hospitality brand following the recent success of Gansevoort Park Avenue in New York. Following a $185 million renovation, Gansevoort’s iconic style will completely reimagine the hotel experience in Las Vegas, creating the only intimate property among the Strip’s towering skyscrapers.  Gansevoort Las Vegas will feature 188 Parisian apartment-style guest rooms including 19 suites, designed by Tandem Las Vegas. An intimate lobby space will welcome guests upon arrival, with a redesigned lobby bar, ultra-lounge, retail outlets, and 40,000 square-foot casino providing a unique upscale energy. A destination restaurant overlooking the Strip will round out the guest experience.

Caesars Entertainment hasn’t created anything original in years so it’s no surprise that they would partner with a company (actually two companies with Victor Drai) to bring some sort of celebrity cool to their Las Vegas portfolio. USA Today was the first to report that the Gansevoort partnership was happening last week and I’m not very impressed with the initial renderings.

Of course, they are just renderings but the Gansvoort website looks like a 1990′s real estate website which is equally unipressive. I guess the “glitterati” don’t really care about that. Vegas Chatter has some useful information on Gansvoort Las Vegas:

  • Rooms will start at $249
  • Gansvoort Las Vegas will be part of Total Rewards (Bill’s wasn’t)
  • Beyonce, Prince, Brangelina are customers of Gansvoort

$249 seems to be the new price point for luxury hotels with Cosmopolitan and the Nobu Tower at Caesars Palace both charging prices in that range. Total Rewards players usually get better pricing so if you’re a gambler expect a small discount.

Gansvoort Las Vegas is exactly what I expected Bill’s to become and I’m curious to see how it develops.

Photo: USA Today

Checking Out Trevi At Caesars Palace Forum Shops

You may remember the blogger meat up I wrote about last year from Ranch House. These meetups are always a good time with good people and sometimes include good food and good drinks. This time it was all of the above. We met up at Trevi which is inside the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace. Trevi is one of the first restaurants you’ll see when you walk into the Forum Shops from the Caesars Palace casino.

Trevi at Caesars Palace

I’ve been to the Forum Shops over a hundred times and never noticed Trevi but I’ve walked by it every time I’ve been there. To my defense I’m usually in a rush heading somewhere in the netherworld deep inside the Forum Shops. I get lost almost every time I’m at the Forum Shops because I don’t pay close attention and I’m not directionally inclined. Back to Trevi.

Trevi has dining inside and “outside” of the restaurant. The “outside” dining is a fenced of part of the forum shops which seats you close to the pretty fountains. If you sit too close to the fountains you’ll realize how loud they can be. The airy feeling is nice but head inside if you don’t want to be seen or would prefer less noise.

Grey Goose Trevi at Caesars Palace

While everyone else was sampling the fancy cocktails or some wine I decided to fix a craving I had with a perfectly made Grey Goose Orange and Soda. This picture looks so good that I want two or three more like I had at Trevi. Right. Now. This was the perfect way to begin the night.

Meatballs at Trevi at Caesars Palace

We ate family style and the first course brought the excellent meatballs at the top of the page and this very cool chicken parmesan appetizer. What could make chicken parm cool? Look at the picture…the cheese is in the middle. There was little sauce which is just the way I like it and this made the dish very neat and easy to manage. That’s not always the case with chicken parm.

Dessert Trevi Caesars Palace

Between the meatballs and chicken parm I barely touched the main courses. I wanted to keep room for dessert and I dipped into something called gooey chocolate cake. The outside may look dry but when I dove inside and grabbed some of that hot fudge everything was all good. The fresh berries made for a perfect palate cleanser.

The small plates above shared with a friend would make for a perfect happy hour. Trevi’s happy hour is called Trevi Time and they offer similar plates for $6. Not bad.

Happy Hour At Trevi At Caesars Palace

This wasn’t an ordinary day on the Vegas strip. You may remember the tragic shootout last week where three people died and a car blew up. That closed part of the strip so I decided to cut my travel during the day in two. This is why traffic didn’t seem too bad.

I worked from The Venetian food court for a couple hours before heading to dinner. While drinking one of the best latte’s ever I noticed this incredibly animated dude sitting across from me. Unfortunately he took off shortly after I took this picture and we didn’t meet but I think I’d like to play craps with him some day.

This Guy At The Venetian Food Court

Note: The food and drink were complimentary but my thoughts are my own. If you want to see more pictures from dinner at Trevi, check out the tumblr.

 

Hate Resort Fees? Stay at Casino Royale

With Caesars Entertainment adding a resort fee to all of there hotels in Las Vegas beginning March 1, almost every casino on the Vegas strip has a resort fee. That is except for one.

The Best Western at Casino Royal is the only hotel with a casino on the Vegas strip that doesn’t have a resort fee. The rooms at the Best Western have recently been renovated so they should be what you’d expect at a top notch Best Western.

So, if you want to take a stand on resort fees but still want to stay on the Vegas strip Casino Royale is your only option.

Personally, I don’t care about much resort fees specifically (although I got a little cranky when I saw a $7 resort fee on my $35 room at Silverton). I care about the bottom line. The total cost of the room. The Caesars resort fees will raise all of their room rates by $10-$25 or somewhere from 10% to 40% depending on when and where you stay.

Adding $25 to a $250 room at Caesars Palace this may not be much of a big deal but if you’re staying at The Quad, for example, $10 is about a 25%-40% increase. That’s a hefty increase for a budget hotel.

When all is said and done Bally’s and Harrah’s may still be among the better bargains on the strip along with Monte Carlo and Luxor. Time will tell.

If you reserve rooms with now on the Caesars Semi-Annual sale you won’t be charged a resort fee and you’ll get a discount of 10%-25%.

Tweet me @eastcoastgamblr