High-roller salons to demand big tickets

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Hey, high-rollers: Nevada’s exclusive casino salons will
require you to wager at least $20,000 a hand, according to new rules proposed by
the state Gaming Control Board.

The salons, designed to help the state’s resorts compete
with international casinos, would also demand a $500-a-pull minimum on slot
machine play.

“That doesn’t sound too far off to me,’’ said Alan
Feldman, spokesman for MGM-Mirage, which was instrumental in winning legislative
approval for the salons. Caesars Palace, the Venetian and the Aladdin are also
champing at the bit to start dealing.

“This is an effort to create a new market and generate
new revenue,’’ Gaming Control Bo Board member Bobby Siller said.

Some gaming companies, however, expressed concern that the
betting requirements might be a bit rich. Station Casinos, among others, said
during the last legislative session that high-rollers at neighborhood casinos
are a breed apart from the whales who gamble at the megaresorts along the Strip.

Industry observers believe there may only be about 250
high-end players who meet the betting profile proposed by the Gaming
Control Board.

According to the guidelines, players may be accompanied by
non-wagering guests. But no more than three of them will be allowed to gamble.
These “secondary patrons’’ must play at least $500 a hand.

Siller said the board doesn’t want to “lower the
bar’’ by creating different salon levels for different casinos. “This is
not about redefining an existing market,’’ he told GamingToday.

Feldman agreed, noting that existing high-limit areas are
available to accommodate players who do not meet the state’s exclusive
guidelines.

Casinos seeking to open private gaming salons will have to
apply for a license and pay a non-refundable $5,000 fee to the state. The rooms
must be equipped with high-powered surveillance equipment connected to the
offices of the Gaming Control Board, allowing agents to monitor the games.
Resorts also must set financial and recruitment standards for players.

In addition, Siller said detailed logs will be required on
each player. Participating casinos also must notify the agency when they open
and close their salons.

A workshop on the proposed rules will be conducted Sept. 25
at the Sawyer State Office Building on East Washington Ave.

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