Whales splash over New Year’s

Jan 2, 2001 11:57 AM

Caesars Palace casino welcomed the New Year with more than a bang!

The strip resort appears to have been the leader among Las Vegas casinos taking care of business over the holiday weekend.

"A couple of whales got things started in the right direction when they shot off more than $10 million in high-end play," said a casino observer.

"Caesars played real lucky over the holiday. It not only did well with the two Big Players, it also faded plenty of baccarat and blackjack action from the outset of the weekend," the observer continued.

There was strong play in nearly all the Strip clubs with the Mirage ending up the season with a very, very good month of December.

More observer: "The weather caused plenty of cancellations. Visitors that had to travel through New York ended up as no-shows.

"Fortunately for the casinos, the really big players found a way to get here and fired at will. The casino market mix was very strong, from Mandalay Bay north to the Stratosphere Tower.

"A baccarat tournament was just what the casino doctor ordered at Mandalay Bay. It netted more than its share of holiday whales.

"The Bellagio recorded several strong days over the New Year’s Eve weekend. However, the house didn’t play lucky."

GamblingToday noted a number of not-so-filled tables on New Year’s Eve. It appeared as if there was great focus on the fireworks display, and it led players from the tables to the Strip to take a look.

As far as the much-publicized fireworks, which made stops at 14 sites along the Strip, it certainly attracted people ””younger people who seldom get close to the action.

One casino executive, who asked not to be identified, expressed his doubts about fireworks on New Year’s Eve.

"I’m not sure we should spend $500,000 to attract non-Vegas type visitors on a holiday weekend. It’s bad enough it takes away from casino attention, it also tells the world in television land that Las Vegas appears to be a rowdy place where young rascals come to raise hell."

Revelers gathered by the hundreds of thousands to see the fireworks. Police closed off all access to the Strip long before midnight. If anyone wanted to make a bet, they had to come early or park quite a distance and walk. Visitors arriving late into town had little opportunity to get to any of the Strip destinations unless they walked as well. And, that in itself is no easy task.