Read my Mr. AC Casino column in the Atlantic City Weekly

(Most recent post: "Become a 'star' in 'TMZ' slot machine" - Jan. 27, 2017)

Latest News and Views About
Caesars Entertainment & Total Rewards

Updated: Feb. 21, 2017

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@7StarsInsider
 Read my Atlantic City travel articles on TravelZork.com


(click any image below to enlarge)

Credit Where Credit Is Due
Harrah’s Joliet now gives Seven Stars cardholders staying in the hotel a daily $25 folio credit.   Previously each day of their stay they received a voucher good for the breakfast buffet or a $25 food credit at Cross Street Grill.  Now you just charge it to your room and it’s comped at check-out.  One added benefit is that any food outlet will accept the $25 credit – even Starbucks (but not on purchases of prepackaged items, just handcrafted drinks and prepared food like pastries).  However, unlike a typical folio credit, you must use the entire $25 at one time.  And, because it’s no longer a voucher comp, taxes don’t come off, so the benefit is devalued by eight percent.  (2/21)


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At Least They Consistent
I happened to get offers for gift cards from all three Atlantic City casinos.  It wasn't until I went to reserve them that I noticed they all had the same typo:  "Call. . .to book you reservation."  (2/21)



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Dos Caminos at Harrah's Resort in Atlantic City is now Veracruz.

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From the Veracruz menu.  The Merriman-Webster dictionary defines "tartar" as "
an incrustation on the teeth consisting of plaque that has become hardened by the deposition of mineral salts."  Yuk!  I think they meant to write "Tartare."  [The website calls it "tuna tar tar."]



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Sort of a moot point since I didn't see this until the next morning.



Las Vegas Resort Fees To Increase March 1
Resort fees will increase at Caesars Las Vegas properties on March 1.  The new fees will be $30 at Bally’s, Flamingo, Harrah’s, The LINQ and Rio, and $35 at Caesars Palace, The Cromwell, Nobu, Paris and Planet Hollywood.   In addition, the resort fee is subject to 8.15 percent in taxes.  Seven Stars and Diamond cardholders don’t pay the resort fee.  Perhaps you've seen it, but there's an interesting website comparing about 100 Las Vegas resort fees, detailing what's included.  Click here.  Very interesting.  (2/17)

Blind Tiger Opens

The Blind Tiger on The Great Lawn is the newest addition to Harrah's Gulf Coast dining options.  The open-air bar and restaurant is patterned after its Bay St. Louis, Miss., location.  A favorite among locals since its opening in 2013, The Blind Tiger offers "quality food and simple, yet unique, cocktails in a casual, waterfront setting," according to Harrah's.  The 160- seat restaurant currently is open only for lunch.   Dinner service will be added Feb. 24 when the kitchen will turn out food from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekdays, and until 11 p.m. on weekends.  Bars will remain open later.  The restaurant recalls the look of the seafood factories that once stood along the beach in East Biloxi.  Wrap-around decks give 360-degree views of Deer Island, boats and dolphins in the channel, and sunsets over the coastline.  Parking is available in Harrah’s garage or south of U.S. 90, where a handicapped-only elevator is available.   Harrah’s garage also provides handicapped-accessibility.  An elevated crosswalk connects from Harrah’s pool area to the restaurant, passing windows where guests can peek into the kitchen and watch preparations for a crawfish boil.  Reward Credits are accepted, but at 2:1, i.e., $5 = 1,000 Reward Credits.  (2/17)

Atlantic City Restaurant Week
Bally’s, Caesars and Harrah’s all will participate in Atlantic City’s Restaurant Week, March 5 - 10.

Bally’s
Buca Di Beppo | Guy Fieri’s Chophouse | Harry’s Oyster Bar & Seafood | Noodle Village

Caesars
Gordon Ramsay Pub & Grill | Kwi Noodle House | Morton’s The Steakhouse | Nero’s Italian Steakhouse

Harrah’s
AC Burger Co. | Coastal Craft Kitchen + Bar | Martorano’s | McCormick & Schmick’s
Oshi Modern Asian Kitchen | The Steakhouse


Lunch (where offered) will be $15.17 per person; dinner is $35.17 per person.  All participating restaurants are listed at ACRestaurantWeek.com.  (2/17)

Presto Change-O
Pharaoh’s Secret Temple has replaced Danger Arena in Atlantic City at Bally’s Wild Wild West, Caesars, Harrah's and Tropicana.  According to GameCo, one of the developers of the Egyptian-themed “Match 3”-style game, “players embark on an adventure to unlock the riches of the Pharaoh’s Secret Temple by matching gems to collect rare treasures before their time is up.”  Designed to appeal to casual gamers and current slot players, the skill-based game features boosts, power-up prizes, charms, and Egyptian-themed traps.  Pirates Gold Studios developed the original game specifically for GameCo’s proprietary Video Game Gambling Machine platform which makes it easy to switch out the computer program that controls the games, as well as the graphics on the cabinet.  (2/16)

Las Vegas Signature Event Entertainment Announced

Steve Martin and Martin Short will perform at Caesars Palace during the Seven Stars Signature Event in Las Vegas.  Britney Spears will be the alternative choice over at Planet Hollywood.  (2/14)

Sounds Like A Super Market

The Market at Harrah's Philadelphia is now open.  The Market offers breakfast, lunch, dinner and late-night dining options, featuring salads, pizzas, Italian-style deli sandwiches, baked pastas, panini and other made-to-order specialties.  Additionally, The Market offers guests a selection of house-made soups, yogurt parfaits, fresh fruit and juices.  (2/10)





Small plates are available at The Bar At The Block in Harrah's Philadelphia.
The Bar At The Block also is  the home of the Saturday Seven Stars Mixer from 5 to 6:30 p.m.
Drawings for free play take place around 6:15.

Everybody Back In The Pool
The Pool After Dark at Harrah’s Resort in Atlantic City reopens next month after extensive renovations and improvements.   The Grand Reopening Weekend will include performances by Young M.A March 3 and Fetty Wap on March 4


The home page of Young M.A's website features a video showing someone pointing a handgun directly at the camera.  The lyrics (which I won't quote, but are available by clicking here) glorify excessive drinking, demean women and even refer to the person holding the gun as a "hitter" (defined on genius.com as "someone in your group who isn’t afraid to shoot and kill if necessary").  (Updated 2/14)


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Atlantic City's first fully-automated electronic craps game is available for play at Bally's Wild Wild West.  Manufactured by Interblock, the same company that introduced electronic roulette
and other games, the table accommodates up to eight players at one time.
The "downside" is that it takes $200 "coin-in" to earn one tier credit.



Horseshoe Baltimore Feels The Competition From MGM National Harbor
Horseshoe Casino Baltimore last month registered its lowest level of revenues – $20.2 million – since it opened 2½ years ago.  Blame the new MGM National Harbor across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C.   Depending on traffic, it’s about 45 minutes from the Horseshoe.

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I’ve been to MGM twice, staying over both times, and it’s really a stunner.  The fact that there is a hotel connected to the casino is a real plus, not to mention an array of fine and casual dining options, a Conservatory with seasonal floral displays to rival its "big brother"
the Bellagio out in Las Vegas, a spa and fitness center, a 3,000-seat theater, retail (including the only stand-alone SJP as in Sarah Jessica Parker shoe store), and an extensive art collection on view throughout the building and outdoors.  Some of the restaurants even have seating that spills onto a large deck/patio for seasonal al fresco dining.  MGM is not without a few problems, including one section of the casino packed with so many slot machines you literally cannot walk between them something I'm shocked the fire marshal approved, but which is in the process of being corrected, I was assured.  Signage outside and inside the casino also needs some work.  (Updated 2/14)

Harrah's New Orleans Receives Top Rating By U.S. News
For the fourth straight year, Harrah’s New Orleans has been named one of the best hotels in New Orleans by U.S. News & World Report.  “We are honored that Harrah’s has once again been recognized with a Silver badge in the U.S. News and World Report Best Hotels rankings,” said Dan Real, Caesars Entertainment regional president-south and Harrah’s New Orleans general manager.   “This award would not be possible without our exceptional team members who go above and beyond to provide our guests with the highest level of customer service each time they visit.”  The rankings were awarded to more than 2,500 hotels across the United States, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean based on a combination of a hotel’s industry accolades, along with expert and guest reviews, as well as hotel class ratings.   The top 10 percent received Gold badges and the top 30 percent within specific markets received Silver badges.  (2/6)



If "Seven Stars guests will receive a complimentary stay any day"
why send me this stupid email?  (In addition to the 50+
other emails I'm getting bombarded with every month.)
Also, check your grammar.  "You're" not the "valued Total Rewards member"
(I think I'm the one to whom you're referring), so you can't say "we're offering you. . . ."


Caesars Buys Vegas Apartment Complex

Caesars Entertainment Corp. has purchased the French Villa apartments, a 1960s-era complex on Albert Avenue.  The sales price was $10.95 million.  The apartments, across Koval Lane, are parallel to the Caesars Strip properties that extend from Flamingo Road to Harrah’s.  Caesars spokeswoman Adrienne Prather-Marcos said plans for the property “have not been determined.”
  (2/4)



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Ah, "The Gift Of Love" – a Total Rewards gift card.
That sure was the first thing I thought of when it came to Valentine's Day.




Click on the image above to watch a 1:05 minute video of how long it takes
to download Return Rewards at Caesars Atlantic City.


Total Waste Of Time
I take back everything I've said about Return Rewards being faster and more efficient than the old cashback system in Atlantic City (and elsewhere).  It doesn't sound like long, but it takes more than a minute to "download" the free slot play into your Bank.  Then, you get a message that the download couldn't be completed.  (It has, but you have to remove your players card and reinsert it, then you will see the amount in your Bank.)  If you have Return Rewards from several days of play, plus any bonus free play the casino awards you, it can take "forever" to get it into your Bank.  I took this video at Caesars Atlantic City on Feb. 3, but I had the exact same experience at Bally's and Harrah's, and later that evening at Harrah's Philadelphia (and a week later at Horseshoe Baltimore).  [The problem still exists at each of these locations.]  Come on, Total Rewards, invest some money in this antiquated system that one of your IT folks cobbled together years ago.  Technology has changed and so should you!  (Updated 2/9)

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So, if it were three nights would it be a Stay Stay Stay in a Las Vegas Suite?
[I guess somebody from Total Rewards actually reads this, so it's since been corrected.]




Tier Renewal Events Begin

The first of the tier renewal events will take place at Caesars Windsor Feb. 26 and 27.  Harrah's Philadelphia's Seven Stars renewal event will take place on April 8, but no details are available.  In Atlantic City the event will take place on April 29.  If your "home" casino sends you anything, please share it with me so I can put together a calendar of events.  (2/4)




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A Starbucks is born. . .well, almost.  The gift shop at Harrah's Philadelphia
 has reopened and work continues behind the scenes on the area's first Starbucks.
Starbucks is scheduled to open the end of next month.


Bill's Bar & Burger Is Latest Harrah's 'Casualty'
With the opening of the AC Burger Co., another restaurant staple at Harrah's Resort in Atlantic City closes.  Located in the space formerly occupied by Bill's Bar & Burger, this latest casual dining spot right off the casino floor offers a variety of burgers, milkshakes and other treats.

I stopped by for lunch about 1:15 on Feb. 8 – about a week after the transition.  The servers and kitchen seemed a little flustered.  [My guess is that there was a conference at Harrah's that didn't include lunch on the agenda and the whole group showed up at once when the place opened at noon.]

My bacon cheddar burger ($13.50) had very little cheese and the smokiness of the bacon totally overwhelmed the taste of the beef.  It didn't help that the burger was cooked well done, not medium as requested (and "as the chef suggests").

The eight onion rings ($6) of various sizes either were burnt to a crisp or battered so heavily that the crust was crunchy but the batter inside tasted like gummy glue.  Very disappointing.

Insider Tip

The menu posted online doesn't include prices.  Click here to see a menu with prices.

Worse were the metal trays on which everything is served.  Seriously?  They look like something from an Army-Navy surplus store or what a prison would use to serve inmates.   (Updated 2/9)


What's Different Between 2016 and 2017 Benefits?
The information about the benefits for 2017 came out so late, I didn't have time to do any sort of analysis before the February newsletter was published.  However, the 2016 and 2017 programs are virtually identical, with the following exceptions:
  • Insider Tip

    The benefits for the Seven Stars Atlantis trip have been reduced, as well. Gone is the $100 per night folio credit, as well as the complimentary room taxes and maid gratuity.  Also, the free slot play went from $250 to $200.  You now need to have earned 500,000 tier credits to get the same benefits as last year.
    There no longer are 5,000 tier credit bonuses (added to your 2018 tier score) at the Aspirations Level 1 (40,000 tier credits) and Level 2 (80,000 tier credits), but the Level 1 and 2 Getaways are still in place.
  • Earning 80,000 tier credits also gets you a two-night stay in a suite in Las Vegas.  However, you're on your own to get to Las Vegas.  This is a benefit separate from the four-night stay with $750 airfare credit.
  • Those who earned 500,000 or more tier credits last year got a chance to book their Signature Events earlier than others, but without much detail on the programming.  These players also can attend all four Events.  (All others are limited to one.)  Again, I don't see this as much of a benefit since you need to provide your own transportation (or use your Annual Retreat or Aspirations Getaway).  Also, the Events are almost identical to those held previously.  I, for one, don't find these Events much of a benefit.  Who wants to attend an Event at the same time as 500 or 1,000 other Seven Stars cardholders, all trying to jockey for the best rooms and claiming they're more important than the next player?
  • Those who earned 500,000 tier credits last year get a complimentary two-night stay in a Las Vegas "premium suite"; those who earned 1 million tier credits last year get a four-night stay.  Once again, you're on your own for transportation and other expenses.
  • Finally, those players who earned 1 million or more tier credits last year get a Penthouse cruise on NCL along with a $300 spa credit.  Transportation to and from the port is not provided, nor are any other expenses associated with the cruise.  (2/2)