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

(Most recent post: "That's life: New player card at Borgata" - May 10, 2017)

Latest News and Views About
Caesars Entertainment & Total Rewards

Updated: May 22, 2017

 Follow me on Twitter

 Read my Atlantic City travel articles on

(click any image below to enlarge)

Here's a solution to the slow downloads shown in the video above:
As soon as you see the "coins" start to drop, immediately remove your
players card.  When you reinsert your card, you'll find the free slot play is in your Bank.
[Credit for this goes to someone who prefers to be known only as a "Seven Stars Engineer."]

Starbucks has replaced the Corner Cafe in the lobby at Harrah's Gulf Coast.

Good News/Bad News
Harrah’s Philadelphia inaugurated the first of a series of monthly “Diamond Club Days” May 19.  The next will be June 16.  Through December, from 3 to 8 p.m. on the third Friday of every month, the Diamond Lounge will feature an upgraded and themed menu, as well as special decorations and prizes.  May’s theme was a summer barbecue.  Great idea. . .except many Seven Stars and Diamond cardholders who frequent Harrah’s Philadelphia didn’t find out about it until the party was nearly over.   They received emails that Friday time-stamped between 5:30 and 7 p.m.  So, if you thought President Trump had a bad week this month, consider that same week for Harrah’s:
  • Two of its restaurants reduced their hours – presumably due to lack of business.  Guy Fieri’s is now closed Mondays and the Cove is now closed on Thursdays.
  • The casino sent two emails with erroneous information, meaning two more “oops” emails to clog up our already overflowing inboxes with more messages from Total Rewards.  (See sample of one below. The other advised players they had to earn tier credits in order to receive a gift, which turned out not to be true.)
  • A new expanded Seven Stars parking area on the third floor opened May 19 with no official announcement, and was practically empty late Saturday afternoon, as well as Sunday.  Look for 200+ spaces, as well as more spaces closer to the entrance, tripling the number of spaces previously available.  Entrance to the area on the third floor of the casino’s self-park garage is controlled by a gate which opens when you swipe your players card.  The project also included installation of additional LED lighting and a plan to help keep the area private.   However, unless you know it’s there, you can’t read the sign even when you’re right on top of it.  Like the restricted Diamond parking on the second floor, it needs an illuminated sign so drivers can see it as they approach.
  • Starbucks continued to overcharge for at least one of its beverages. (See details below.)
  • The first “Diamond Club Day” took place, but many potential guests never received advance notification.  (5/21)

Bringing Home The Bacon Award
Congratulations to Guy Fieri’s Chophouse at Bally’s in Atlantic City.  The restaurant’s Bacon Mac ’N Cheese Burger won the “It’s Better With Bacon” Fat Boys Munch Club Award at the 2017 Burger Bash May 20 at the Golden Nugget.  This same burger is available at Fieri’s Philly Kitchen + Bar at Harrah’s Philadelphia, his Vegas Kitchen & Bar at The LINQ, and his Baltimore Kitchen + Bar at Horseshoe Casino Baltimore.  (5/21)

Planet Hollywood Sued Over Room Décor
A tourist from Southern California is suing Planet Hollywood, claiming a life-sized mannequin in his darkened room caused him to flee and suffer injuries.  Kent Jacobs Boutwell filed the lawsuit May 15, seeking at least $10,000 in damages.  Caesars Entertainment declined to comment, citing pending litigation.  Boutwell said he was shocked and surprised by a human figure when he entered his darkened hotel room two years ago.  As he tried to escape the room thinking that there was a person inside who was there to hurt him, he said he suffered serious injuries.   Turns out the human figure was a mannequin wearing a “Miller Lite” racing suit that was locked in a glass cabinet.  Planet Hollywood has traditionally decorated its rooms with memorabilia, but, as part of ongoing renovations, these sorts of things are being removed.  The lawsuit claims Boutwell suffered undefined injuries to his body, limbs, organs, mind and nervous systems, resulting in conditions that may be permanent and disabling.  Claiming a life-sized human figure in a darkened room is dangerous and hazardous, the suit says Planet Hollywood should have warned Boutwell and other customers about the mannequins.  Boutwell said the incident has left him limited in what he can do for work and fun, including a loss of life enjoyment.  He’s seeking damages to cover his medical bills, attorney fees, pain and suffering, wages, and earning potential.  (5/19)
Express Yourself In Atlantic City
Bally's, Caesars and Harrah's have introduced Express Check-In/Out kiosks.  At Bally's and Harrah's you'll find them near the front desk; at Caesars they are temporarily located next to VIP Check-In across the lobby from the front desk.  You'll need a valid U.S. driver's license or passport, as well as a credit card with the name of the person in whom the reservation was made.  A confirmation number or barcode from the confirmation email may be helpful, as well.  If your room is ready, the kiosk will print your keys; if not, you can check your bag(s) and get an email when the room is available.  (5/18)
To quote one of my readers:
"Subject lines like this make me want to exclaim, 'What the @#$*?!'"
'Benvenuto, Giada'?
Looks like Giada De Laurentiis’ slip of the tongue on the Today Show back in March is getting closer to reality.   Word on the Strip is that François Payard’s patisserie and bistro may soon be bidding adieu to Caesars Palace as Caesars says “benvenuto” to Giada.  Stay tuned.  (5/18)
If it's May 18 and you're sending me an email today,
then May 26 would be "next" weekend, not "this" weekend, correct?
 However, when Harrah's Philadelphia realized there was an error they
 corrected it later in the day – and with a sense of humor.

Zero In On This Offer
Pay no service fees on any ticket purchased during the month of May from TR Live Events.  (5/18)
Guy's Sammich Joint and Pin-up Pizza have opened
at Harrah's Resort in Atlantic City.
Pink Power
Caesars Entertainment will spend $90 million to renovate 1,270 rooms at the Flamingo as part of a wide-ranging refurbishment of its Las Vegas properties.   The Flamingo’s renovated rooms will feature contemporary and retro-chic elements such as gold and bright pops of flamingo pink, all designed to recall the Flamingo’s 71-year history.  Work is scheduled to begin in late August, with the first rooms completed by November, and the balance to be completed in the second quarter of 2018.  Caesars already has upgraded more than 4,800 rooms at four of its Las Vegas resorts – Caesars Palace, Planet Hollywood, Paris and Harrah’s.  The company will finish upgrading 2,000 rooms at Planet Hollywood by summer.  (5/18)

Rio←→Bally's Shuttle Discontinued
The complimentary shuttle between Rio All Suite Hotel & Casino and Bally’s has been discontinued, but the shuttle between Rio and Harrah’s is still in operation.  You’ll need to show your Total Rewards players card in order to board.  The shuttle runs daily 10 a.m. to 1 a.m. from Rio’s Carnival World Buffet entrance.  Pick-up times are approximately every 30 minutes, depending on traffic conditions.  At Harrah’s the shuttle departs from the Shuttle/Bus/Trolley drop-off.  The service is wheelchair and electric scooter accessible, but does not take guests who have luggage.  (5/16)
Tahoe Introduces New Free Play System. . .But Doesn't Tell Anyone
Apparently, it wasn't supposed to go into effect until June 1, so customers have yet to be notified, but a new system for handling free play coupons was introduced over the weekend at Harrah's and Harveys Lake Tahoe.  Previously, players took their free play coupons and used them like cash in their favorite slot machines.  Now, when the coupons are inserted they go into an online account accessible either from a player's smartphone or by pressing "7" on the machine's keyboard.  To access free play, press "1" for $1, "2" for $5, "3" for $10, "4" for $50 or "5" for $100.  [Good luck if you have $30.  That means going through the whole process three times pressing "3".]  (5/15)
Maybe They Should Call It Star-ExtraBucks
If you've purchased a Tall or Grande Vanilla Bean Creme Frappuccino at Starbucks at Harrah's Philadelphia, unless you caught the mistake, you probably were overcharged.  The register rings the price for the next size up.  [I'm not sure what happens when you order a Venti®.]  This has been happening at least since April 21 – and probably since this location opened.  I called it to the cashier's attention the first time, but I'm sure she had no authority, and didn't bother to tell her manager.  When it happened a second time on May 3 and a third time today, the manager was there and both times he acknowledged the error in the system.  He insisted it can't be corrected in-house, a work order has to be written up and then some service makes the correction.  So why didn't he do this May 3?  The next question would be:  How many other products sold there ring up with the wrong price?  Word to the wise, check your bill carefully before you pay.  (5/14)
Isn't this the same lame laptop they foisted on us at last year's Seven Stars Renewal Events?
Mine is still in the box.  I can't even give it away!
Coastal Craft Opens At Harrah's In Atlantic City
Coastal Craft Kitchen & Bar has opened at Harrah’s Resort in Atlantic City.  (Harrah’s website lists it as Coastal Craft Kitchen + Bar.)  Don’t look for many physical changes to the space – except for the sign out front, it looks almost identical to its former incarnations as Sammy D’s and the “temporary” Café.  However, the hours have been expanded and the menus have been totally revamped.  You can view or download them by clicking on the link above.  (Prices for some of the add-ons and substitutions are missing from the breakfast menu.)  (Updated 5/15)

Insider Tip

The Sunday brunch at Nero’s is now $65 (plus tax and gratuity) per person, up from $56 per person.
AC Employee Of The Year
Nero's Italian Steakhouse and Betty's Back Room Manager Betty McHugh has been named Caesars employee of the year in Atlantic City.  Congratulations, Betty!  Couldn't have happened to a nicer, more deserving and hard-working individual.  (5/11)
Harrah's gets an apostrophe, not Saturday.
If you're pluralizing a noun, just add an "s".  Grammar lesson over.
Is Friday a new month that I never heard of before?
Yep, these closings are over the annual Seven Stars Renewal Weekend.  [What are they thinking?]

Tahoe Restaurants Close For Renovations
The iconic Sage Room at Harveys Lake Tahoe and the American River Café at Harrah's Lake Tahoe are closed until May 24.  Friday's Station Steak & Seafood Grill and 19 Kitchen Bar are alternatives to the Sage Room.  While the American River Cafe is closed, breakfast and lunch are being served daily at Friday's Station from 6:30 a.m. until 2 p.m.  In addition, Sushi Kai at Harrah's is closed until May 26.  (Updated 5/15)
The new High Limit Table Games Room at Horseshoe Council Bluffs is now open.
Quest For Rewards Winners
For a list of winners in the Quest For Rewards promotion, click here.  (5/10)
Caesars Receives Top Industry Awards
Caesars Entertainment received four Loyalty360 Awards at this year’s Loyalty Expo in Orlando, Fla.  Caesars received one Platinum Level Award, two Gold Level Awards, and the Platinum Level “360-Degree Award,” recognizing the company as the overall number one loyalty company this year.   “We are very pleased that Total Rewards has been recognized again by Loyalty360, and we are especially proud of receiving the 360-Degree Award.”  According to Senior Vice President Chief Experience Officer Michael Marino, “Our goal is to continually ensure that Total Rewards remains not only the benchmark for the gaming industry, but also among the premiere global loyalty programs.”  Loyalty360, an association focused on customer loyalty, seeks to enable collaboration among industry leaders.  This is the third consecutive year that Caesars won a Loyalty360 Award.  The Platinum Level Award is the most prestigious.  To qualify brands must enter three or more of the categories and be nominated as a finalist in at least one of those categories. Caesars received the Platinum award for “Technology & Trends.”  (5/10)
On Track
Horse and dog track wagering has returned to the casino floor at Horseshoe Council Bluffs through Pari-Mutuel Simulcast, managed by William Hill.  The 90-seat race book has its own sports bar, as well as walls of video screens.  There are 22 spots with smaller monitors, as well as cocktail tables.  William Hill is situated near the Whiskey Roadhouse.  On busy days the Whiskey Roadhouse will accommodate spillover crowds for the race book.  Guests who wager do not earn Tier Credits or Reward Credits, however; William Hill Race Book has its own Rewards Club.  William Hill operates thousands of betting shops worldwide, including more than 100 in Nevada.  (Updated 5/10)
Second AC Beach Concert Confirmed
The day after Pink opens the BeachFront Concert season, country music star Brantley Gilbert will perform July 13 as a stop on his "Devil Don't Sleep Tour."  He will perform with Luke Combs, whose single "Hurricane" has become a chart-topping country song.  Gilbert's hit songs include “The Weekend” and “You Don’t Know Her Like I Do.”  (5/8)
Cruise Deals
Now is the time to book your Norwegian Cruise Line Seven Stars Annual Voyage.  On select cruises you can get up to a $500 onboard credit.   Plus, you can take advantage of Norwegian’s Free at Sea Promotion and select up to five offers for $3,000 in total value.  As an added bonus they will hold your cruise with 50 percent reduced deposits.  If you purchased any CruiseNext certificates on a previous cruise, you’ll save even more.  (Updated 5/15)
I thought I was the only person to receive multiple copies of the same email survey.  I completed the first one because I wanted to be sure my host at Harrah's Philadelphia was properly recognized, then completed the second in case the first got lost in the shuffle, but I just ignored the third.  The person who sent me this acted similarly.  I'm sure we're not the only two who got three (or more?) surveys.  (5/7)

Insider Tip

While Rio Secco is closed for construction, Cascata will allow Seven Stars cardholders to play twice per quarter at their course over the time period of the Rio Secco closure.  Rio Secco is expected to reopen Sept. 28.  Also, Cascata will be closed for its annual overseeding from Aug. 22 to Sept. 13.

'Fore!' No More?  No!
Some golfers are being told that, once the Rio Secco Golf Club closes for course renovations May 23, when it reopens in the fall, there no longer will be a complimentary Seven Stars quarterly golf benefit there, or at Cascata Golf Course.  I have confirmed that this is not true, so, after May 23, golf will still be available at Cascata and, once Rio Seccco reopens, both courses will offer this benefit.  (Updated 5/19)
Card Trick
Here's my nomination seconded by many others for the most misleading, confusing and, yes, even a bit tasteless Total Rewards promotions in a long time.  Everyone I've heard from thought this was another giveaway until they continued reading and saw that it was basically an ad hawking the Total Rewards gift card.  [The subject line gives the impression that you have a gift card waiting to be claimed ("Please open!  You deserve a break this Memorial Day.  Claim your gift card!").  Then, printed over the photo, it states "Pick up your Total Rewards gift card today."  In the first line of the text it says ". . .celebrate Memorial Day by letting Total Rewards take care of the tab."   But, as you read further, you learn that, in order to obtain your gift card, you have to purchase it!]  And to tie it in to Memorial Day showing a happy couple smiling and enjoying cocktails?  While I'll be the first to admit that Memorial Day weekend has become the unofficial kick-off to summer and has lost most of its original meaning as a tribute remembering the people who died while serving in the U.S. armed forces, this just seems inappropriate.  (5/6)
Ramsay To Get Steak In Harrah's Resort?
Gordon Ramsay told the Preston & Steve Show‏ (WMMR 93.3 FM) May 5 that he’s working on a second spot a steakhouse in Atlantic City, a sister restaurant to his Pub & Grill at Caesars.  My guess is that Ramsay's restaurant will replace The Steakhouse at Harrah's.  (5/5)
I think Harrah's Ak-Chin meant to write: "Nothing complements these sunny Arizona days. . . ."
A compliment is "a polite expression of praise or admiration."
Lucky 13!
Thirteen employees at Bally's, Caesars and Harrah's Resort took home Atlantic City Host Awards May 3.  The Host Awards honor employees in the tourism/hospitality industry who enhance the experience for Atlantic City visitors.  The awards are presented to employees who distinguished themselves through enthusiasm and exemplary service, while promoting Atlantic City.  Eligible to be nominated were non-managerial employees in the hotel, restaurant, retail, tourism or hospitality-related fields, including the public sector.  Each had direct contact with, or provided support to, visitors and customers, and distinguished themselves by promoting Atlantic City through exemplary service and customer satisfaction.  The 2017 winners are:
Felipe Aguilar, Best Food Production Personnel
Elvin Alvarado, Best Butler
Ernest Doerbach, Best Public Area Personnel
Pamela Fennell, Best Host/Hostess
Tina Stalworth, Best Cashier
Maryann Taimanglo, Best Cocktail Server
Marta Cruz, Best Room Attendant/Housekeeper
Tri Nguyen, Best Food & Beverage Support
Jatin Tailor, Best Casino Support Personnel
Jason Valentino, Best Server, Fine Dining Casino Restaurant
Elvis Wilks, Best Concierge/Guest Services
Harrah’s Resort
Linda Giordano, Best Retail Sales Associate
Alexander Price, Best Spa Personnel
For one thing, I don't even play blackjack, but I think there is some missing information here.
I guess no one proofread these emails before sending them.
OK, here's the explanation.
World Series Of Poker Kicks Off May 30
The 48th World Series of Poker (WSOP) begins May 30 at the Rio All Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.  The something-for-everyone schedule includes gold bracelets, satellites, cash games and deep stack tournaments running for 49 consecutive days.  The Main Event with nine players takes place July 17.  Nearly 500 poker tables will be set up across more than 100,000 square-feet of ballroom space to accommodate the players from around the world who attend poker's annual pilgrimage.  (5/4)
Improvement For Rooms (and more!)
With positive first-quarter earnings, Caesars Entertainment Corp. announced it will renovate 7,000 more rooms in Las Vegas and nationwide, as well as improve the infrastructure at Caesars Palace and the company’s other Las Vegas properties.  The company also has plans for the significant amount of land it owns on and around the Strip.   “We have sizable land holdings on the east side, some 80 to 90 acres,” Chief Financial Officer Eric Hession says.  “And we also own seven acres of undeveloped land in front of Caesars Palace, all of which is prime for potential development, from additional convention space to retail to other offerings our customers would desire.”  While there are plans for the property, which sits behind Harrah’s and Bally’s, don’t look for any specific announcement until the latter half of the third quarter.  (5/3)
Louisiana Downs Racing Season Open
The 2017 Live Thoroughbred Racing season at the racetrack at Harrah's Louisiana Downs is now open and runs through September 27.  Click here for the 2017 schedule.  (Updated 5/6)
So which offer did you get – if any?
Plus, there are still other variations floating around,
e.g., earn 800 tier credits get 500; earn 2,000 get 500.
Renovated, Expanded Spa To Open This Summer In Southern California
A renovated and expanded spa at Harrah’s Resort Southern California is expected to open in early summer.  Located off the lobby, The Spa at Harrah’s – as it’s officially known – will be about 11,000 square feet, 3,000 square feet larger than the previous facility.  The spa will feature 15 treatment rooms, a barbershop, salon, and such new treatments as salt baths.   “The casual, yet elevated” space, according to a statement, “will provide guests an ultimate relaxation experience in true Southern California-style with laid back and calming design elements.”   Currently, guests can find the spa – with limited services – in its temporary home on the second floor of the North Tower.  To book an appointment, call (760) 751-7709.  (5/2)
Beckford Extends Rio Residency
Tyson Beckford has extended his residency with The Chippendales through July 9 at the Rio in Las Vegas.  (5/2)
Does this mean that the buffets are really loud?
Dinning means "make a loud, unpleasant, and prolonged noise."
Update: VIP Lounge At Ak-Chin
The admittance rules for the VIP Lounge at Harrah’s Ak-Chin Phoenix have been revised.  The free buffet offer is being extended to lunch or dinner daily; however, this offer is not valid for the Friday or Saturday seafood dinner or Sunday brunch.  If guests choose not to dine at the buffet they can receive a $15 food comp that is accepted daily at Agave's Restaurant/The Range Steakhouse or the Copper Cactus Grill.  They will receive an additional $15 food offer for their guest (who must be present to qualify).  The comp offer is for dine-in only, not take-out.  The Total Rewards Center prints these vouchers from 11 a.m. until 8 p.m.; the VIP Lounge prints vouchers during operating hours.  All vouchers are valid only on the day they are printed.  In another change from the original rules, Seven Stars cardholders may bring up to three additional guests into the lounge.  They will receive the same benefits as in the previous Diamond Lounge up to eight drink coupons and two chef features.  Seven Star Companion cardholders will receive four drink tickets and one chef feature, but can receive two chef features if they bring a guest.  (Updated 5/10)
Reminder: Early Bird Bonus
Book your Seven Stars Annual Retreat to Las Vegas or Lake Tahoe and complete your trip by May 31 to receive a 5,000 tier credit bonus.  Contact your host or the VIP Reservation Hotline at (877) 7-PLAYER.  Mention code: SEV17RTRT.  (5/2)