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High-roller salons to demand big tickets

Aug 28, 2001 6:36 AM

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.