Caesars tips hand for high rollers

Jan 8, 2002 8:30 AM

Palace Court at Caesars Palace is a storied room, having served for decades as the resort’s upscale gaming area and premier dining room.

The original upstairs Palace Court is gone, but Caesars last month opened a new Palace Court high-stakes area, designed to help the venerable Strip resort cash in on the state’s international gaming action.

The chic salon ”” located near the registration area ”” is actually four distinctively decorated rooms dubbed Florence, Rome, Capri and Pompeii. Their elaborate entrance is highlighted by life-sized statues of Roman maidens and a gold-leaf portal.

Inside, authentic Romanesque columns and sparkling chandeliers accompany original paintings hanging on honey onyx walls. Gourmet dining continues the tradition of Caesars’ earlier Palace Court incarnations.

Offsetting the old-world elegance are modern furnishings, including gaming tables, designed by Allard Design, Conversano and other top industry craftsmen. And the glittering washrooms are, of course, oh-so private.

“We’ll have the ability to move tables to meet demand,’’ said Park Place Entertainment spokeswoman Debbie Munch.

She noted, for example, that some blackjack or roulette games might give way to pai gow for Chinese New Year. Currently, the four salons feature eight blackjack tables, four roulette wheels, seven baccarat tables and six mini baccarats along with 30 slot machines.

Caesars’ latest evolution comes as Park Place, MGM Mirage and other leading Las Vegas gamers seek to bolster high-end play. This month, Nevada regulators are scheduled to give final approval to the exclusive international gaming salons, where minimum bets will be $500 and $500,000 in cash or credit is expected for entrance.

If those minimums are enacted, Palace Court’s $100 slots would have to be upgraded to comply with the state’s $500-per-play rule.

The new regulations also require state-of-the-art surveillance, including round-the-clock video recording, and those closed-circuit feeds must be linked directly to the gaming control offices downtown. Additionally, the host resort must notify gaming agents by phone and fax any time the rooms open for business.

Caesars and other casino operators have been reluctant to tip their hands on the upcoming offerings and amenities for big-spending whales.

“We don’t want to give too much away before we know what all the rules are going to be,’’ one exec told GamingToday. For now, casinos say only that admission to their high-limit parlors is determined on a case-by-case basis, with bets varying wildly from the low $100s to the hundreds of thousands.

But it’s clear that competition for whales is fiercer than ever ”” and Caesars is poised to get its piece of the action.