Caesars Entertainment is not having a week that is good being hit with numerous crises; any resemblance of Nero here to company CEO Gary Loveman is purely coincidental.
Then Caesars Entertainment Corp. is doing just fantastically well if the old adage that bad publicity is better than no publicity holds true. By other measures, however: perhaps 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 is currently reportedly the subject of federal inquiry into potential violations of the Bank Secrecy Act at Caesars Palace, their flagship Las Vegas home. Then add a bizarre and random shooting outside of Drai’s at Caesars-owned Bally’s in Las vegas, nevada, a tragedy that left one patron dead who had been trying to tackle the gunman, in addition to two security guards wounded. And lastly, a newborn baby’s body reportedly found behind Planet Hollywood on the Strip in the same week might are making it seem like the Apocalypse had landed in Caesars’ garden ahead of schedule.
Problem After Problem for Caesars
Needless to say, the company’s industry-high $23.5 billion long-term debtload is maybe 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 is certainly going to harm the business’s already tattered image the most.
A 600-page Massachusetts Gaming Commission report can’t have helped, that’s for certain.
‘Caesars is meeting its debt covenant requirements,’ the report noted in its recently released summary. ‘However, should the economy fail to recover sufficiently or if another downturn occurs, it could be hard for Caesars to meet up its financial obligation service and covenant requirements.’
The Massachusetts investigating team which has appeared to not only Caesars, but also competitor-for-a-Massachusetts-casino-license Steve Wynn more probing than the FBI, CIA and NSA combined were critical of how the video gaming company is managing both its debt and cash flow today, noting that interest payments are pulling almost all of Caesars’ cash flow right now.
But that’s simply the tip for the titanic iceberg for the publicity smacks coming their means.
Among a number of other issues noted in the Massachusetts report had been one termed a ‘significant problem’ that of gambling whale Terrance Watanabe, whom reportedly lost more than $100 million in vegas at Caesars Palace and the business’s World Series 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 drink and gamble even more while inebriated.
Although that suit had been settled, Caesars got slapped with a fine from New Jersey regulators (the business has four casino properties in Atlantic City) for 25 % 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 might not be aware they are dealing with gambling, perhaps not world hunger weren’t impressed.
‘The episode details on many concerns, including the lengths to which casino operators goes to focus on high rollers and problem gaming,’ the report noted. Good catch, Sherlock.
Scathing Massachusetts Findings
Record of perceived transgressions proceeded and on within the Massachusetts report. Newly formed Caesars Acquisition Co. CEO Mitch Garber’s seemingly shady past was noted, as Garber who is also CEO associated with company’s key online division, Ceasars Interactive utilized to work with European Internet gaming organizations that took wagers from Americans ahead of the 2006 passage of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA). We’re not sure the way you burn someone at the stake for something that wasn’t even illegal yet when it occurred, 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 trying to make them look unreasonable; an objective that doesn’t take effort that is much. Talking to The Boston world (he lives within the Boston area himself), Loveman echoed Wynn’s earlier sentiments when he said, ‘It’s likely to be extremely tough for sophisticated, multijurisdictional operators to tolerate the environment this payment has created.’
While it could seem to a casual observer that Caesars is well rid of the scarlet letter of Massachusetts, it could yet have far-reaching effects during the worst possible time for their casino business; both the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency and the Ohio Casino Control Commission have said they will review the report’s findings and regulate how it could impact potential transgressions for land casino tasks increasing in both states. As well as Nevada regulators searching for, along with the U.S. Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, understood as FinCen, to see if any laws that are money-laundering broken at the Palace, which may 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 put the first craps bet at the new Downtown Grand, and it’s not even his property. (Image supply: Las Vegas, Nevada Review-Journal)
Picture being the craps dealer when gambling impresario and legend Steve Wynn is leaning over your table: not being a employer, but as a player. That has been one dealer’s nerve-wracking job when the Downtown Grand, the latest new property to open as part of Las Vegas’ ongoing and substantial downtown redevelopment efforts, officially opened its doors this weekend to gamblers, hotel guests and looky loos.
Old Ties Bring Wynn to Craps Tables
Why on planet would Steve Wynn be slumming it downtown these times, as well as a competitor’s home, you ask? Turns out that Wynn and the Grand’s owner Seth Schorr get way, long ago in the casino company, and Wynn was just being a guy that is really nice up at the opening.
The tale is the fact that Wynn and Schorr’s father Marc worked together back within the day when downtown was first being recreated via Wynn’s Golden Nugget there; legend has it that the more youthful Schorr was offered 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 www.huuuge.com years of growing pains together, Wynn threw away the initial $200 craps bet at the new Grand. It’s unclear if he actually purchased, or was provided, their initial $5,000 buy-in during the new casino, however it had been matched by their 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 mins. Here’s how you do it to result in the homely house money, that is, of program.
‘There is so much going on here,’ Wynn said. ‘It’s really interesting. We are becoming back once again to our roots when Fremont Street was available to (guests) of any income level.’
Is the fact that a courteous method of saying ‘what a dump,’ à la Bette Davis?
It most likely isn’t quite on the Strip’s toney Wynn or Encore resorts (both owned by Wynn Resorts), however it is one step in a direction that is new both downtown Las Vegas and gaming properties in general.
‘We took a different approach,’ the younger Schorr noted. ‘Guests don’t have to walk through the casino to have up to a restaurant. You will find interior and spaces that are outdoor. There clearly was even outdoor gaming.’
Not sure how a latter will work with vegas’ scorching 110-degree summer heat that can last from July through September, but hey, it’s an idea that is novel anyway.
New Casino Design in Enjoy
Schorr added that he arrived up with the design to get away from conventional Strip casinos, where visitors must walk through the casino to make the journey to any such thing, even restrooms. In contrast, the Downtown Grand makes it easy for visitors to come and go and encourages them to check out Fremont Street in all its glory. There are even multiple techniques to get in and out of the casino, not only a front and side that is possibly, like a big Strip property would have.
Located 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, along with 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 gambling window for passersby, run by sportsbook giant William Hill.
The new hotel casino was constructed on the web site for the former Lady Luck, which had closed in 2006 and had been snapped up by Schorr’s CIM Group in 2007. CIM additionally has intends to make use of the city for a new 100,000-square-foot shopping and convention complex next to the Mob Museum, which recently received unanimous approval through the Las Vegas City Council to maneuver 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.