(Most recent post: 'Betting on Broadway' - Feb. 12, 2018)

Latest News and Views About
Caesars Entertainment and Total Rewards

Updated: Feb. 24, 2018

 Follow me on Twitter

 Read my Atlantic City travel articles on TravelZork.com

(click any image below to enlarge)

Seven Stars 'Renewal' Events

As you hear dates for renewal events around the country, please let me know and I will add them to the "calendar" below.  Among the renewal gifts being given this year are a Dyson V6 Top Dog Handheld Vacuum, Amazon Echo, Bose SoundLink Revolve Charging Cradle, and a Dyson AM06 10" Table Fan.  [Links do not necessarily take you to examples of the exact product that's being given away.]  Choices may vary by casino.

Harrah's Council Bluffs/Horseshoe Council Bluffs - March 17 (event will be held at Horseshoe)
Harrah's North Kansas City
- March 24

Caesars Windsor - March 25 & 26
Harrah's Joliet - April 7
Harrah's Metropolis
- April 7
Harrah's Philadelphia
- April 7
Atlantic City (Bally's, Caesars, Harrah's) - April 14
Harrah's Gulf Coast - April 21 (Diamond renewal will be held April 20)
Harrah's New Orleans
- April 21
(Updated  2/24)

Clash course
Caesars Entertainment has partnered with Xtreme Drone Racing to bring racing's largest emerging sport to its Las Vegas Caesars Entertainment Studios on March 3.  Clash of the Drones, Caesars first-ever professional drone racing competition will combine drones flying at 60+ mph, navigating a grueling course produced by world-renowned XDC Racing.  Eight elite racing teams featuring drone racing’s top pilots from around the world will compete for their share of $20,000 in prizes.  The event begins at 5:45 p.m.  Tickets are $17 per person, plus fees.  Purchase tickets at Ticketmaster.com.  (2/24)

Remember, it's "'i' before 'e', except after 'c'." (At least they're consistent!)


Just one of the many reasons I try to avoid the Palace Court Buffet at Caesars in Atlantic City.
[It looks even worse in person.]  Oh, by the way, this is Teriyaki Tilapia.

Caesars casinos nab seven Atlantic City Weekly Nightlife Awards
Caesars three casinos won seven Atlantic City Weekly Nightlife Awards and were nominated for but did not win three additional "Best of the Best" awards which were announced at an awards ceremony Feb. 22 at Boogie Nights in Tropicana Atlantic City.  Now in its 10th year, the awards were determined in two categories, one by reader votes and the other by the magazine’s staff.  (2/22)


Best casino lounge bar for live entertainment
  • Readers’ Choice: Boardwalk Saloon - Wild, Wild West
  • Critics’ Choice: Eden Lounge - Harrah’s
Food and Drink
Best tequila/rum bar
  • Critics’ Choice: Veracruz - Harrah’s
Best beer list (casino)
  • Readers’ Choice: Harry’s Oyster Bar - Bally’s
Bars and Nightclubs
Best swanky bar/lounge
  • Critics’ Choice: Martorano’s - Harrah’s
Best after-hours spot (casino)
  • Readers’ Choice: Mountain Bar - Wild, Wild West
Best industry night
  • Critics’ Choice: The Pool After Dark - Harrah’s


I hope Caesars "Entartaiments gaurds" [sic]
my security and privacy better than it spells.

Rising Ohio River forces Horseshoe Southern Indiana to close

At this time Harrah's Metropolis has not been impacted by the rising river.
Due to a rising Ohio River, to keep team members and guests safe,
Horseshoe Southern Indiana is closed until further notice.  All promotions, events and entertainment through Feb. 25 are cancelled.  For updates follow Horseshoe on Facebook or call the hotline for updates: (866) 605-9088.  (Updated 2/22)

If this happens could you call it Reality TV Dinner?  (In case you don’t know, Lisa Vanderpump is a British restaurateur, author, actress, and television personality known for her appearances on “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” and “Vanderpump Rules.”  She and her husband have owned 26 restaurants, bars and clubs in London and Los Angeles, including The Shadow Lounge, Bar Soho, SUR, Pump and Villa Blanca.)

GDL Italian to open in April at Horseshoe Baltimore
GDL Italian by Giada, Giada De Laurentiis’ new 180-seat Italian trattoria, is on schedule to open in April at Horseshoe Baltimore.  While the menu is still in its planning stages, Executive Chef Brian Drosenos – formerly of BLT Prime by David Burke in Washington, D.C. – will serve a wide array of pastas, meatballs, antipasti and local seafood.  Read more in this article from Baltimore Magazine.  Click here.  (2/20)


Looks like Harrah's Resort in Atlantic City had more than a "system" malfunction.
My guess is that a human composed the text on this apology email.
I think the writer meant ". . .sent you an old. . . ."

Laughing matter
New York City’s Comedy Cellar will open its first West Coast
their description, not mine location at Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas April 5.  The 300-seat club “will be just like coming to the New York Comedy Cellar,” said club owner Noam Dworman.   “The Comedy Cellar will feature the same best-in-the-world comics and the same iconic feel in New York.”  The Comedy Cellar discovered Dave Chapelle, Ray Romano, Jon Stewart, Dave Atell, Amy Schumer and Chris Rock.  In addition, virtually all important comedians of the last 30 years began their careers at the Cellar.   “Our showcase format features five headliner-level comics, each doing their best 15 to 20 minutes,” Dworman adds.  “These are headliners you either have heard of – or will hear of soon."  Shows will take place Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at 7, 9 and 11 p.m.  Tickets are $42, $52 and $62 (plus taxes and fees).  By comparison, shows in New York take place every night; tickets range from $14 to $24 plus a two-item (food or drink) minimum.  (2/20)

Gambling to return to Showboat?
The owner of the Showboat Atlantic City has applied to the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) for a statement of compliance.   DGE will investigate if Bart Blatstein meets the requirements of the Casino Control Act for holding a license.  After the investigation is completed, and should the state Casino Control Commission rule that he meets the criteria, in order to return gaming to the Showboat, Blatstein would have to apply for a casino operator’s license.  (2/20)


Has no one "in charge" noticed that this is what guests first see when they walk in the door
at the Harrah's Seven Stars Lounge in Atlantic City?  Because it's so dark in there, and that backlit panel, you don't know if anyone is behind the desk until you're practically standing in front of it.



What holidays?  Presidents Day?  Easter?

Atlantic City’s gambling revenue was down by nearly 10 percent in January.  James Plousis, chairman of the New Jersey Casino Control Commission, blamed the numbers on the weather.  A storm Jan. 4 dumped snow throughout New Jersey, closing schools and businesses.  Caesars had the largest monthly decline, down 23 percent to $21.7 million; Harrah’s was down 16.3 percent to $23.5 million; and Bally’s was down 8.8 percent to $12.7 million.  (2/18)


No surprise here!


Uh, not exactly. Just saw this machine today at Harrah's Resort in Atlantic City.

Got this from The Red Door at Harrah's Atlantic City
at 5:04 p.m. Feb. 18.  A little late or a little early?

Alcoholic beverages consumed in the Palm Room, i.e., the Diamond Lounge, at Harrah's New Orleans are now "officially" counted toward the daily allotment of eight drinks for Seven Stars cardholders and four for Diamond cardholders.  Until recently, drinks consumed in the Palm Room were tabulated manually by the bartenders and servers.

It's a mystery to me why Horseshoe Baltimore continues to offer these mystery gifts.

It's one thing if you live 10 minutes from the casino, but if you're an hour-plus away,

and have to pay $20+ in tolls, you need to know what it is.

Disturbing news
Not to take credit or say "I told you so" (but I will), in my December 2017 newsletter, right, I wrote: "Is it time for Caesars to rethink this policy [of not checking rooms daily]?  In light of the Oct. 1 shootings at Mandalay Bay, Boyd Gaming is advising guests at all its properties that hotel personnel will enter a room to conduct a 'safety and welfare check' after a 'Do Not Disturb' sign has been in place for two consecutive days.  Steve Wynn said that his properties have a policy in place to investigate rooms if a 'Do Not Disturb' sign is on a door for more than 12 hours."
Hotels operated by Caesars now will check guest rooms every 24 hours, even if they have placed a “Do Not Disturb” sign on their doorknob or turned on an indicator light.  Caesars told The Associated Press it also is considering giving panic buttons to its employees to enable them to quickly summon help if they are in danger or feel threatened.  (See related article, "Arrested developments," below.)  The company will soon implement the new policies at all its properties worldwide, said spokeswoman Noel Stevenson.  Caesars becomes the latest company to adopt new room check policies after the Las Vegas shootings at Mandalay Bay last year. “In light of recent tragic events and to further strengthen security, we intend to check rooms. . .every 24 hours,” Stevenson said.


I guess even the "big guys" make mistakes!  How can a major hotel chain like J.W Marriott misspell "accommodate" on a reservation confirmation?  And how long has this been going on?

Coming attraction
Video screens and signs advertising "2100 Bar & Lounge Coming Soon" can be spotted at Caesars Atlantic City and the Wild Wild West.  The new bar will take the place of 21 Bar, the lounge adjacent to the second floor casino near the entrance to The Playground, that closed last year.  (Updated 2/16)

'Fore'. . .I mean 'Four': Revised Las Vegas golf policy

Even though the complimentary rounds of golf at Cascata and Rio Secco Golf Club in Las Vegas have been reduced to two per year, instead of one guest, Seven Stars cardholders now can bring up to three guests.  (2/12)


He ain't heavy, he's my burger

Heavy Seas Burger Bar at Horseshoe Baltimore has closed; however, the Russell Street location is still listed on the Heavy Seas site, and a photo of Heavy Seas is featured on the Horseshoe's site to illustrate the casino's Marketplace.  (Updated 2/14)

No to Alaska. . .at least on the Bliss

Don't try to book your annual Seven Stars Voyage to Alaska on NCL's newest ship, the Norwegian Bliss.  Like The Pride of America, that itinerary is excluded from the cruises eligible for this benefit.  (2/12)

Atlantic City Signature prevent
Check your invitation to the Atlantic City Signature Event carefully.  Depending on your "status" some Seven Stars cardholders are being limited to accommodations at Bally's and Harrah's, not Caesars.  Those, as I did, who booked rooms at Caesars as soon as the dates but not the specific activities were announced are now having difficulties booking the Event if they are restricted to staying at Bally's or Harrah's.  I can speak to this personally.  I spent 25 minutes on the phone with a Total Rewards representative and her supervisor both of whom were terrific, by the way only to find out I need special permission from a vice president of marketing to book my activities.  This is one of the craziest things Total Rewards has done.  I already have a room reservation at Caesars, but I'm not supposed to be staying there even though the reservation system allowed me to make the reservation weeks ago.  And I can't book any of the Event's activities because they have to be connected to my room reservation.  Talk about a catch-22!  When I pointed out that not everyone attending needs a room perhaps they have a home in the area and prefer to stay there, perhaps both spouses or partners are Seven Stars cardholders and they need only one room, etc. I was told the Event could not be booked as a "non-lodger."  Sorry, but this makes no sense.  How many rooms will go unoccupied when they could be sold at a premium rate due to the time of year and the fact that it's a weekend?  And let's not get into the waste of time mine, the Total Rewards employees in Las Vegas who took my call and are sending emails on my behalf to request an exception, and the executive(s) who have to [hopefully!] sign-off on this.  Anybody remember Susan Powter and her famous catch phrase?  It was "Stop the insanity!"  Maybe that's something Total Rewards should consider.  (2/12)

Live racing season returns to Harrah's Philadelphia April 6

The Live Racing season at Harrah’s Philadelphia returns April 6 and continues through Dec. 16.  Post Time is 12:40 p.m.  For details, click here.  (2/11)

Arrested developments
A New York man, arrested and released this month following a domestic violence assault in the garage at Bally’s Atlantic City, returned to the hotel only to commit an alleged sexual assault and be arrested again.  After Atlantic City patrol officers responded to a report of domestic assault in the garage, Jamel Carlton was arrested without incident and released on a summons with a future court date.  Approximately 2½ hours later officers returned to the hotel for a report of a sexual assault on an employee.  The victim, a 51-year-old female, was pushed into a hotel room where she was sexually and physically assaulted.  An investigation, conducted by detectives and Bally’s security personnel, identified Carlton as the alleged attacker.  A few hours later Carlton was spotted walking along Atlantic Avenue where, after chasing him for several blocks, officers took him into custody.  If you have any information regarding either of these incidents, call (609) 347-5766 or text tip411 (847411).  Begin the text with ACPD.  (2/11)

Companion Cards: Just say 'No!'
[if they won't give you one]
It's not even two weeks into the program year and already three Seven Stars cardholders have contacted me regarding Companion cards.
  • Harrah's Las Vegas told a man he couldn't get a card for this wife until he earned 50,000 tier credits this year.
  • Horseshoe Hammond told a woman flat out that Companion cards were not being issued because that benefit no longer exists.
  • Horseshoe Baltimore told a woman trying to renew her mother's Companion card that the cards were limited to spouses and domestic partners.  (She even explained that this was a short-lived change to the program last fall that was rescinded a little more than a month later.  And, on a return trip, when she showed the card she got in Atlantic City, the Total Rewards Center rep told her that "Atlantic City is just behind the times.")
In other words, if someone at VIP Check-In or Total Rewards tells you that the cards no longer are available or cite some special requirement (over and above having earned Seven Stars benefits for 2018-19), tell them they're wrong.  Here's a link to the current Rules & Regulations.  (2/10)


Check out NJ Lifestyle Magazine's feature on Nero's
Nero's Italian Steakhouse at Caesars Atlantic City and the restaurant's manager, Betty McHugh, and chef, Maurizio DiMarco, get some well-deserved publicity in the current issue of NJ Lifestyle Magazine.  Read it online by clicking here.  (2/8)

Latest skill-based game debuts at Planet Hollywood
Running Rich Racing, a new skill-based game – that you can bet on and win real money – has debuted at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas.  While it looks like a typical arcade game, there are multiple ways to win: skill or chance.  Players can race against up to two other players and six to eight animated cars.  The game seats three people.  How it works: Prior to the start of the race, place your bet on how you’ll do in the actual car racing battle and you’ll be rewarded for a podium finish in first, second or third place.  First place scores 2x your bet, second place wins 1x your bet and third place gets 0.5x.  Currently the game is set up for wagers of $5, $10, $15 and $20 per race.  That same initial bet also allows you to win by chance because every player gets a bonus spin after the race.  The number and type of gems you earn there offer you a chance to win up to $2,000, even if you placed last in the prior race.  Running Rich Racing features six vibrantly colored, dynamic tracks and players can choose from nine unique avatars.  Running Rich is located near P.F. Chang’s.  (2/7)

Vegas resort fees increase. . .again

Related to these resort fee increases, rates to park at MGM Resorts properties in Las Vegas have increased as well.  MGM also is adding a new valet rate for two to four hours.  This marks the second rate adjustment for MGM since it instituted paid parking in December 2016.  Free self-parking is available to MGM’s M life Rewards Pearl, Gold, Platinum or Noir cardholders. Free valet is offered to Gold, Platinum and Noir cardholders.
  • Aria, Bellagio and Vdara*: Self-Parking - Free up to an hour; $9 for one to two hours ($2 increase); $15 for two to four hours ($5 increase) and $18 for four to 24 hours ($6 increase); Valet Parking - $21 for up to two hours ($1 increase); $24 for two to four hours (new); and $30 for four to 24 hours ($6 increase).
  • Delano*, Mandalay Bay, MGM Grand, The Mirage, Monte Carlo/The Park MGM and New York New York:  Self-Parking - Free up to an hour; $9 for one to two hours ($2 increase); $12 for two to four hours ($2 increase) and $15 for four to 24 hours ($3 increase); Valet Parking: $16 for up to two hours ($1 increase); $18 for two to four hours (new); and $24 for four to 24 hours ($4 increase).
  • Circus Circus, Luxor and Excalibur:  Self-Parking - Free at Circus Circus. At Luxor and Excalibur, free up to an hour; $6 for one to two hours ($1 increase); $8 for two to four hours (no change); and $10 for four to 24 hours (no change); Valet Parking: $12 for up to two hours ($2 increase); $14 for two to four hours (new); and $16 for four to 24 hours ($2 increase).
*Vdara and Delano do not have self-parking at their properties.
Caesars Entertainment has increased nightly resort fees up to $5 per night at eight of its nine properties in Las Vegas.  Here are the current fees:
  • Bally’s, Flamingo, Harrah’s and The LINQ: $35 (up from $30)
  • The Cromwell, Paris and Planet Hollywood: $37 (up from $35)
  • Caesars Palace: $39 (up from $35)
There is no change at Rio, which charges $30.  Fees at other hotel-casinos have gone up too.  Nightly fees at MGM Resorts properties range from $30 at Excalibur and Monte Carlo to $39 at Aria, Bellagio and Vdara.  Wynn’s two hotels, The Palazzo and The Venetian charge $39 resort fees.  (2/6)

Giada's Pronto opens at Caesars Palace
Pronto by Giada has opened at Caesars Palace.  (Updated 2/6)

Nobu ranks 18th among top hotels
Eleven Las Vegas resorts made this year’s U.S. News & World Report list of the world’s top hotels.  Nobu Hotel at Caesars Palace placed 18th.  Six properties affiliated with MGM Resorts International and two each from Wynn Resorts and Las Vegas Sands completed the list.  (2/6)


Why not just call it what it is?  Buy one, get one.
Sure, it's a "free" ticket, but most people attend movies with a spouse or friend.
Good golly, I think I'll miss "Molly."

Harrah's Las Vegas completes Valley Tower renovations
As part of a $140 million remodeling project, the 1,622 rooms in the Valley Tower at Harrah’s Las Vegas have been completely remodeled.  A standard room features one king or two queen beds with luxury bedding, a vanity with a backlit mirror and an electronic device docking station.  The rooms feature free-standing closets on each side of the bed that look like wall décor – something guests might not notice until the door is opened to display the inside.  In addition, the Valley Tower features three levels of suites, each with its own unique feel.  To tie the remodel together, they have the same color patterns and accents as the standard rooms.  The 680-square-foot Valley Executive Suite features a separate bedroom with one king bed, a dining area and living room.  The larger bathrooms include ceramic dark plank tile, a vanity, makeup mirror, rain shower and large tub, with a modern design.   The larger Presidential Suite measures 1,700 square feet, and sets itself apart with an open living space and high-end bathroom features like a walk-in rain shower.  To accommodate larger groups, the Presidential Suite comes with the option of adding a connecting room with one king bed.  The living area has a full-size bar, a large round table, surrounded by four upholstered chairs.  There are other seating options with armchairs and ottomans located near the windows which offer a prime spot to view Las Vegas Boulevard, while the curved leather sofa faces a flat screen television.  The bedroom features another flat screen TV; a king size bed and walk-in closet feature a double-sided ottoman seating area, giving the feel of a high-end retail fitting room.  The 2,000 square-foot Penthouse Suite features pops of teal and purple combined with metallic accents.  The large, open living area features a double-sided ottoman and a full-sized bar.  Other features include a game table and back-to-back bathroom sinks separated by a two-way mirror.  There is also a rain shower, modern-style tub and back-to-back bathroom sinks separated by a two-way mirror. 
Rooms in the Mardi Gras tower are scheduled for a refresh with an anticipated completion date in 2019.  The entire casino has been redone over the past couple of years, working toward making the property current, on par with other casinos on the Strip.  In 2015 a $25 million casino refresh was completed, adding new flooring, gaming machines, bars, tables and chairs throughout the casino floor.  (2/5)


The gift shop at Harrah's Reno has closed.
No word on what will replace it.

Ivy expands to Planet Hollywood
Available at Caesars Palace, The Cromwell, Nobu Hotel and The LINQ Hotel & Casino, Ivy™, a 24-hour virtual concierge service, is now available to guests at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino.   After checking in, guests who have provided a cell phone number for their reservation receive a welcome message from Ivy encouraging them to text her with any questions or requests.  Ivy can book dining reservations, show tickets and spa services, as well as facilitate housekeeping and maintenance requests.  Ivy also surveys guests during their stay, which allows for quick recovery of unhappy guests in real time.  Users may opt out of receiving messages from Ivy at any time.   Guests can continue to text with Ivy once they return home for common requests such as to obtain a copy of their folio or locate a missing item.

Interview with Caesars Palace general manager
Here's a link to a podcast with Caesars Palace General Manager Sean McBurney and Roger Gros, publisher of Global Gaming Business.  Last month McBurney was named one of "25 People to Watch," a tradition since the inception of GGB 16 years ago, the “25 People to Watch” feature recognizes executives, regulators, public officials, elected representatives and academics who are poised to make a major impact on the gaming industry.  (2/5)

Where credits are due

VIP that's all it says at the entrance at Harrah's Resort in Atlantic City and maybe others are giving out misinformation concerning Reward Credits.

Harrah's: Viking Cooking School (and its adjacent retail shop), as well as Destinations Gift Shop (and all retail) accept Reward Credits at 1:1, not 2:1.  Room Service is not listed, but Reward Credits are accepted 1:1.  Reward Credits also are accepted 1:1 at The Pool, The Red Door and #thebarwithnoname.  Tobacco products are accepted at certain retail, but at 2:1.

Caesars: Bar 21 [actually, it was 21 Bar] and Dusk Nightclub are closed.  Not listed are retail establishments such as Emperors Essentials and Caesars Exclusively, nor are The Salon, Qua and the Toga Bar, as well as Auntie Anne's and Cinnabon at The Playground.  Tobacco products are accepted at certain retail, but at 2:1.

Bally's: Corner Cafe is closed.  Not listed is Fralinger's (enter from the Boardwalk), which accepts Reward Credits at 2:1.  Also not listed are retail establishments such as Studio, Park Place Jewelers and The Gift Shop, as well as the pool at Bally's, the Mountain Bar, the Lobby Bar and Boardwalk Saloon which accept Reward Credits at 1:1.  Tobacco products are accepted at certain retail, but at 2:1.  (2/4)

Fever pitch
Please read the rules for the February Tier Credit Fever bonus and any other promotion Caesars/Total Rewards offers.  The answers to most of your questions are there.  I don't mind responding to emails when players have legitimate questions, but please read the rules first.  Click here for a link to the rules for the February Tier Credit Fever Bonus.  (2/4)

Upgrade to Diamond

Through Dec. 31, 2018, visit any Total Rewards Center, present an eligible loyalty card from select Caesars competitors and receive an upgrade to Diamond status through Jan. 31, 2019.  Click here for a list of eligible competitor tier levels.  (2/4)

Rooms for improvement

A proposal to add much needed additional hotel rooms at Harrah’s New Orleans is under consideration by state and city lawmakers.  The second hotel would be built adjacent to the current hotel.  While there are no plans to expand gaming, Harrah’s is looking to add restaurants and a nightclub at the casino.  Plans call for a 24-story, 340-room “luxury” hotel with a rooftop pool, gym, spa and 20,000 square feet of meeting space.  It would be built on the site of the casino’s main entrance, across Convention Center Boulevard from the former World Trade Center building.  To allow for year-round outdoor entertainment Harrah’s also wants to build a clear roof over the closed-off section of Fulton Street between the hotel and its parking garage fronting Convention Center Boulevard.  For more details, click here.
  (Updated 2/14)


From Harrah's Ak-Chin:  It pays to complain.