|State regulators approved a request Thursday by Park Place Entertainment Corp. to launch a private gambling area at its Caesars Palace hotel-casino in Las Vegas. |
Park Place is only the second casino, after MGM MIRAGE, to receive approval from the state Gaming Control Board to operate an 'international gaming salon.' The salons, which are closed to public view, require minimum bets of $500 and a minimum cash or credit line of $500,000.
The plan now moves to the Nevada Gaming Commission, which is expected to approve it.
MGM MIRAGE, which has already received commission approval, expects to open its private salon this month within MGM Grand's high-limit Mansion Casino. The salon would mark the first of its kind in the state and one of the only such private gambling areas in the nation.
The salon, located in a high-limit gambling area off the main casino floor, consists of four separate rooms with doors that can be closed for privacy.
Legislation enacted last year allowed regulators to change Nevada law requiring that all gambling be conducted in public. The original law was aimed at preventing fraud and other improprieties. Casinos pushed for the change, arguing that they were losing lucrative business to casinos in Europe and Asia that allow wealthy patrons to gamble out of the public eye. Regulators agreed, requiring companies to submit to a much higher standard of surveillance for the rooms.
Caesars Palace, like MGM Grand, is installing surveillance equipment so that regulators can view live video of gambling action in the rooms. While MGM Grand's system is based on Internet technology, Caesars Palace is installing fiber optic lines that will connect the casino's surveillance room with the Gaming Control Board offices at Grant Sawyer Boulevard. While the systems differ somewhat, the surveillance standard will remain the same for all companies, Control Board Chairman Dennis Neilander said Thursday.
The salons can only be licensed for a two-year period, after which companies will need to reapply. Before then, regulators expect to adopt new audit standards for the salons.
Caesars Palace has spent about $15 million on the private areas, including the rooms' surveillance technology. The rooms have already been available to the public since Palace Court, the casino's high-limit area, launched in December. The casino expects to open the salon for private players in mid-October, though the rooms will likely be re-opened for the public more often than they are closed, Caesars Palace President John Groom said. The company can't predict the effect the salon will have on business, Groom said, though enough demand exists to keep the rooms private periodically throughout the year.
Each private room would have space for several table games. As a whole, Palace Court is 3,000 square feet and offers more than 20 table games.
Regulators said Thursday they have received several inquiries about operating the salons but haven't yet received additional licensing applications.