Caesars Entertainment is not having a good week after being hit with numerous crises; any resemblance of Nero here to business CEO Gary Loveman is solely coincidental.
If the old adage that bad publicity is better than no promotion is valid, then Caesars Entertainment Corp. is doing just fantastically well. By virtually any measures, however: maybe not so much.
As if being forced for PR reasons to cut ties with its Las Vegas Strip new hotel and casino project partner Gansevoort and bailing from a $1 billion Boston-area casino project with racetrack Suffolk Downs were not enough, the casino giant has become reportedly the main topic of federal inquiry into potential violations of the Bank Secrecy Act at Caesars Palace, their flagship Las Vegas property. Then add a strange and random shooting outside of Drai’s at Caesars-owned Bally’s in Las Vegas, a tragedy that left one patron dead who was trying to tackle the gunman, as well as two security guards wounded. Last but not least, a baby that is newborn body reportedly found behind Planet Hollywood on the Strip in the same week might have made it seem like the Apocalypse had landed in Caesars’ backyard in front of schedule.
Problem After Problem for Caesars
Of course, the company’s industry-high $23.5 billion long-term debtload is perhaps not also news anymore; it’s just become a huge yoke that Caesars now carries around wherever it goes these times. The real question is, which of these other catastrophes goes to hurt the company’s already tattered image probably the most.
A Massachusetts that is 600-page Gaming report can’t have helped, that’s without a doubt.
‘Caesars is currently fulfilling its debt requirements that are covenant’ the report noted in its recently released summary. ‘However, should the economy fail to recover sufficiently or if another downturn occurs, it could become difficult for Caesars to satisfy its debt service and covenant requirements.’
The Massachusetts investigating team which has did actually not merely Caesars, but Steve that is also competitor-for-a-Massachusetts-casino-license Wynn probing compared to the FBI, CIA and NSA combined were critical of how the gaming company is managing both its financial obligation and income today, noting that interest payments are pulling almost all of Caesars’ cash flow right now.
But that is just the end associated with the iceberg that is titanic the publicity smacks coming their means.
Among a number of other issues noted in the Massachusetts report was one termed a ‘significant problem’ that of gambling whale Terrance Watanabe, whom reportedly lost significantly more than $100 million in vegas at Caesars Palace and the business’s World group of Poker kingpin property, the Rio, back in 2006 and 2007. Watanabe ultimately sued Caesars in Clark County District Court, claiming the casino encouraged him to even drink and gamble more while inebriated.
Although that suit ended up being settled, Caesars got slapped with a fine from New Jersey regulators (the ongoing company has four casino properties in Atlantic City) for a quarter million bucks, just as a kind of ‘don’t do that stuff right here’ caution, we suppose. The gaming company has since apparently revised its compliance program, but the folks in Massachusetts who may or may well not be aware they are working with gambling, not world hunger weren’t impressed.
‘The episode touches on numerous concerns, including the lengths to which casino operators will go to focus on high rollers and problem gaming,’ the report noted. Good catch, Sherlock.
Scathing Massachusetts Findings
Record of perceived transgressions continued and on into the Massachusetts report. Newly formed Caesars Acquisition Co. CEO Mitch Garber’s apparently past that is shady noted, as Garber who is also CEO of the business’s key online unit, Ceasars Interactive used to benefit European Internet gaming companies that took bets from Us citizens prior to the 2006 passage of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA). We’re not sure how you burn someone at the stake for a thing that wasn’t even unlawful yet when it happened, but we’re not the witch-burning Salem court, either, so there ya go.
CEO Gary Loveman is taking the Steve Wynn approach with the Commission, and attempting to make them look unreasonable; an objective that doesn’t take much effort. Speaking to The Boston world (he lives in the Boston area himself), Loveman echoed Wynn’s earlier sentiments when he said, ‘It’s likely to be very hard for sophisticated, multijurisdictional operators to tolerate the environment this commission has created.’
While it may seem to a casual observer that Caesars is well reduce the scarlet letter of Massachusetts, it could yet have far-reaching effects during the worst possible time with regards to their casino business; both the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency and the Ohio Casino Control Commission have stated they will review the report’s findings and regulate how it might impact potential transgressions for land casino tasks going up in both states. And even Nevada regulators are looking, along with the U.S. Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, understood as FinCen, to see if any money-laundering legislation were broken at the Palace, which could result in disciplinary action against Caesars.
Burning at the stake might be less painful than the feasible whippings to come.
Downtown Grand Opens in Las Vegas with Steve Wynn Betting Large
Steve Wynn (blue top, on right) was on hand to toss the first craps bet at the brand new Downtown Grand, and it’s really not even his property. (Image supply: Las Vegas, Nevada Review-Journal)
Just picture being the craps dealer when impresario that is gambling legend Steve Wynn is tilting over your table: not as being a employer, but as a player. Which was one dealer’s nerve-wracking job when the Downtown Grand, the latest new property to open up as part of Las Vegas’ ongoing and substantial downtown redevelopment efforts, officially launched its doors on the weekend to gamblers, hotel guests and looky loos.
Old Ties Bring Wynn to Craps Tables
Why on earth would Steve Wynn be slumming it downtown these days, and at a competitor’s property, you ask? Turns out that Wynn and the Grand’s owner Seth Schorr get way, way back in the casino company, and Wynn was just being truly a really nice guy showing up at the opening.
The story is the fact that Wynn and Schorr’s father Marc worked together back into huuuge casino login the time whenever downtown was first being recreated via Wynn’s Golden Nugget there; legend has it that the younger Schorr was given the title that is honorary of president of kids’ marketing’ for the Nugget at the tender age of nine years old. Don’t allow the Nevada Gaming Commission hear about this one.
In honor of the many years of growing pains together, Wynn threw away the very first $200 craps bet at the new Grand. It is not clear if he actually bought, or was provided, his initial $5,000 buy-in at the brand new casino, but it ended up being matched by his old buddy Marc’s and in a ‘here’s how you are doing it’ to any gamblers who might have been watching, they both blew through their chips inside of 15 minutes. Here is how you do it to make the homely house cash, that is, of program.
‘There is so much going on here,’ Wynn said. ‘It’s really interesting. We are getting back to our origins when Fremont Street was available to (guests) of any earnings degree.’
Is a polite method of saying ‘what a dump,’ à la Bette Davis?
It probably isn’t quite on the Strip’s toney Wynn or Encore resorts (both owned by Wynn Resorts), but it is a step in a direction that is new both downtown Las Vegas and gaming properties in general.
‘We took a different approach,’ the more youthful Schorr noted. ‘Guests don’t need to walk through the casino to get up to a restaurant. You can find indoor and outdoor spaces. There is also outdoor gaming.’
Not certain how the latter will work with Las Vegas’ scorching 110-degree summer heat that may last from July through September, but hey, it’s a novel idea, anyway.
New Casino Design in Play
Schorr added that he came up with the design to move away from old-fashioned Strip casinos, where visitors must walk through the casino to access anything, even restrooms. In contrast, the Downtown Grand helps it be easy for visitors to come and go and encourages them to discover Fremont Street in all its glory. There are even multiple approaches to get inside and out of the casino, not only a front and possibly side entrance, like a big Strip home could have.
Found at the corners of Stewart and Ogden avenues, the property that is new considered an anchor for Downtown3rd, an entertainment district that encompasses restaurants and bars, as well as other casinos like the D, the Mob Museum, and proximity to the swank Smith Center for the Performing Arts.
With two hotel towers one 18 stories and one 25 stories the Downtown Grand features brick and granite building façades around various storefronts, and even a unique sports wagering window for passersby, run by sportsbook giant William Hill.
The hotel that is new ended up being constructed on the web site for the former Lady Luck, which had closed in 2006 and was purchased by Schorr’s CIM Group in 2007. CIM also has plans to work with the town on a new 100,000-square-foot shopping and convention complex next to the Mob Museum, which recently received unanimous approval from the vegas City Council to move forward.
An official opening ribbon cutting ceremony for the Downtown Grand is slated for November 12; no word on whether Wynn will help hold the scissors for his old pal.