Delores Owens leaves Caesars for Bellagio

Feb 26, 2002 9:13 AM

Delores Owens, a casino executive with grace and charm, is changing teams. She has resigned her long-time post at Caesars Palace as the person in charge of Mid-East operations and will take up new duties at MGM MIRAGE at Bellagio.

Delores is not one know to surprise people, except for the cashiers where she works where big players follow her call. They play, pay and go home. Then they come back again.

Delores joined up with Caesars since 1976. During her long reign she has seen seven changes of the guard. Her loyalty never wavered.

She began as a pit clerk with stints in the cage and with special events. In 1981 Terry Lanni, a good man at picking fleet footed fillies, put her on the up escalator. Nearly all that time she has kept her focus on the Mid-East.

She has a reputation ”” a well earned one at that ”” that when she turns her charm on a big player it’s Katie bar the door. They don’t run. They stay in her warmth.

To put it in Delores’ words: “You’ll never know what that means to me.”

When Lanni left Caesars Palace the odds on Delores following dropped sharply.

“My friends used to tease me all the time,” she said the other day, “about my attachment to Caesars. They were right. My car had two destinations ”” my home and Caesars Palace. I dearly loved my job. I remember a friend of mine who insists that if you love your job more than your pay you’ll be happy every day.

“Nothing stays the same. There have been dynamic changes at Caesars; out with the old and in with the new. Loyalty has always been my trump card. I’m from the old school. My players know what to expect from me and I know what to expect from them. I had no real plans for the future other than to be at peace with myself.

“When word got out that I had resigned, Terry Lanni was on the phone. I can’t think of a more professional person to spend the rest of my career with. I slipped out of Caesars pinstripes and put on the uniform Terry wanted to see me in ”” Bellagio.

“Caesars had a little cocktail party for me to say good-bye to all the employees I’ve felt so close to down through the years. It included rank and file from valet parkers to dealers to pit bosses to change girls, the lovely people in the cage and up and down the executive line. They’ve all been good to me. I’ll miss them.

“There were so many tears at the gathering. I wish I could wrap them all up and take them with me.”

She wanted to make sure that I was invited to the private reception. I was. And, one of my big regrets is that I was still doing battle with some unknown viruses that finally surrendered to a stronger force ”” me!

Delores Owens came to us from Grosse Point, Mich. In 1955 she married her husband, George, when he came home from the Korean War. They met at a cocktail party. They’ve been holding hands ever since.

A number of readers called asking to be mentioned in this tribute to Delores. There were so many of them that I couldn’t include them all. So I picked one that seemed to express them all.

It came from Dan Chandler: “There should be a crown above that of queen. It should most certainly be bestowed upon Delores Owens. What casinos need more now than ever are more Deloreses.

Bob Hope’s song to his wife, Delores, comes to mind, even though Delores Owens and I never smooched: ”˜How I love the kisses of Delores . . . aye, aye, aye, Delores!’”