Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Harrah's Finally Private, Who Cares?

So the big news is Harrah's has finally gone private, the deal getting it's last approvals. Now they are free to rape and pillage their customers and the Vegas Strip without the prying eyes of the New York stock exchange.

But really, what's new and who cares? In a Las Vegas Sun article entitled "Harrah's can chase high rollers or stay mid market -- Executives face tough choice but have new owners' backing" Liz Benston gives us the rundown. http://www.lasvegassun.com/sunbin/stories/consumer/2007/dec/24/566617989.html

It is a well written story about a company in transition, with plenty of background on the Private Equity firms that are now holding the reins. I read the whole darn thing, and suggest you do the same. Then we can all put our two cents in on what Harrah's will do. Of course, they're private now, so they don't have to tell us. It's any body's guess.

One thing that seems fairly concrete is the expansion to Caesars Palace, the most overly expanded casino resort in history. I miss the days when you could see four decades of design in the properties many different facades. Now it is a fairly congruous 1990's Roman theme light. The funny thing is, if they had just kept part of the 1960's modern grating they'd fit right in with Vegas' modern cum slightly mid century retro design craze going on right now. But that's always the way, just when you destroy it, it comes right back in spades.

What does all this mean for the slot jockey? Personally I stopped playing at Harrah's as soon as I became a local. The slot selection is poor, the machines are tight, and the comps tighter. However when I travelled to Vegas I was known to stay at Harrah's properties when the price was right. I fit into the mid-level market scenario and even stayed at Caesars once on a December deal, doing my Christmas shopping in the Forum shops.

I really don't give a rat's ass if Harrah's revamps their East Strip properties or not. They've stripped Imperial Palace of it's Slot Club, and I'm pretty pissed off about it. They can do as they please, but it won't be on my nickel. I'm through with Harrah's. There you have it Gary Loveman -- put that in your privatized pipe and smoke it.

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