Driver, to Foxwoods! New tables calling

December 26, 2000 10:11 AM
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COME ON, BIG BOYS . . . Give us a chance! Leave it to Bill Sherlock and his team to continue to find attractions to get gamblers to come to Foxwoods Resort, tucked safely in the woods in Ledyard, Conn.

The former Las Vegas casino executive, who operates the mighty resort just off I-95, unwrapped the Stargazer Casino high atop the 25th floor of the Grand Pequot Towers. Sherlock left his casino position locally to take up as president and chief executive officer of Foxwoods and hasn’t looked back since.

"The Stargazer Casino is aimed at high-end players," Sherlock told us by telephone. "There are only 12 blackjack tables where a player can bet up to $10,000. There is also a Salon Privé that’s even more exclusive, but it only has two tables. We are not really looking for what you call whales. That is not the intent. Rather, there are plenty of high-end players and we have the facilities to make them feel at home."

Sherlock is putting out the Foxwoods net to bring in players from all over the world.

"I know how important a gourmet restaurant is. One flight below the new casino is the Paragon Restaurant. It seats 60 diners and it will serve gourmet tastes from the East and the West," Sherlock added.

Both the new casino and restaurant are somewhat private. At the same time, the $10,000 limit is arbitrary. The house will deal to the face, as they say in the business. If you’re a customer in good standing and would like to up the limit, there’s a chance to accommodate.

While Sherlock was boasting about the two new facilities, he was quick to point out that there are new offerings for Foxwoods’ regular, low-stakes customers as well. He told of more slot machines, a new jazz and comedy club and a new dance club to replace the Cinedrome Nite Club.

Sherlock was on a roll: "We don’t want to tell anybody or make the impression that we are not concerned or that we are turning our backs on the customers who helped us achieve this room. They are the quarter slot players, the $15 blackjack players and the bingo hall players."

We got the message. But, we couldn’t hold back in trying to find out how much money was involved in the new high-roller haven.

"No comment," Sherlock fired back.

I expected as much, but I had to ask. Nearly everyone knows that Foxwoods is owned by the Mashantucket Pequot Indians and is the world’s most successful gaming property, which nearly everyone in the business would give their eyeteeth for some of its astounding monthly slots play.

Before I could ask another question, Sherlock had one of his own.

"Why don’t you ask me about the complex?"

He continued: "It is decorated and gives the impression that no expense has been spared. It runs the gamut from the platinum-rimmed Austrian crystal glasses and velvety tablecloths to the exotic woods and marble that trim the area."

More: "A 16-foot globe rises from the bar through an atrium to the second story where the casino is located. The globe can be lighted to give the effect that it is rotating. Above it, against an inky, black dome, tiny lights twinkle like stars."

What a perfect setting, thought I. A celestial place to play blackjack, baccarat and roulette.

Driver, to Foxwoods! Make the ride from JFK as comfortable as National Airlines did from Las Vegas.