Gary serves as Casino City's managing editor and has worked as a writer and editor more than 20 years. The Boston native was a member of the Poker Hall of Fame's inaugural Media Committee and a current member of the Women in Poker Hall of Fame voting panel.
Contact Gary at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter at @CasinoCityGT. More articles by Gary Trask
Casino City's Friday Five: Celebration Edition
12 January 2018
By Gary Trask
This week’s Friday Five provides plenty of reason to celebrate.
We’ve got a new casino opening in the Pacific Northwest, much to the dismay of its too-close-for-comfort competitors, and a one-year anniversary bash in another casino-congested region on the east coast. We’re also applauding the introduction of very cool guest room technology on the Las Vegas Strip, some big-time online slot winners at PokerStars
and an incredible feat pulled off by a Betway
player who picked up a cool £25,000 in less than 15 minutes.
So, cue up Kool & the Gang. It's time to celebrate.
5. Caesars Entertainment rolls out virtual concierge service
Casino City got a sneak preview of this new technology over the summer
when we spent a few nights at The Cromwell
, a vastly underrated Las Vegas Strip property.
This is how it works: Shortly after entering your room, you are contacted via text by Ivy, a personalized virtual concierge service that communicates throughout the stay and takes requests for towels or tickets to a show, answers questions such as what time the pool opens, offers food and beverage specials, and asks for immediate feedback. I immediately became a big fan of Ivy when she offered me a complimentary adult beverage before I even unpacked my toothbrush.
Guests can continue to text with Ivy once they return home for common requests, such as to obtain a copy of their folio or locate a missing item.
Ivy is now live in more than 6,000 rooms within Caesars Entertainment Las Vegas Resorts, making Caesars Entertainment the first major gaming company in Las Vegas to offer it. Created by Go Moment, Ivy is expected to expand to Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino
next month, with planned rollouts to the remaining Las Vegas resorts later in the year.
4. Rivers Casino celebrates one-year anniversary
Anniversary celebrations for casinos are going to be commonplace in the coming years, since three venues (Rivers Casino & Resort Schenectady
, del Lago Resort & Casino
, and Tioga Downs Casino
) have all opened within the last 13 months, with a fourth (Resorts World Catskills
) set to be unveiled in March.
Of course, with such stiff competition, you can expect the casinos to try to make a big splash for all significant milestones, and that’s exactly what Rivers Casino is doing for its first birthday. Country music star Randy Houser will appear on Friday, 9 February, as part of the property's one-year anniversary party, which it is dubbing the biggest “party Schenectady has ever seen.”
The casino is planning an entire month of events, promotions, parties and giveaways, so stay tuned.
3. Spokane Tribe Casino announces opening
While not as congested as the upper New York state area, gamblers in the Spokane area now have two casinos to choose from within a four-mile radius. The Spokane Tribe Casino enjoyed its grand opening this week, just around the corner from Northern Quest Resort & Casino
and about an hour's drive from the Coeur d'Alene Casino Resort.
Of course, this hasn't sat well with the competition. The Kalispel Tribe, which owns Northern Quest Resort and Casino, realizes there may not be enough players in the area to support two casinos just a few miles apart, and Spokane County leaders are suing the federal government over the new casino's potential impact on Fairchild Air Force Base.
Nonetheless, the $40 million facility was built on 145 acres of trust land in Washington and is part of a $400 million master plan that will include a hotel, a cultural center, an entertainment venue and retail shops. The built-out complex will create more than 5,000 jobs with an annual payroll of about $66 million.
To celebrate its opening, the casino launched a $165,000 Giveaways & Getaways promotion, with more than 400 guaranteed winners, $100,000 in cash and $65,000 in vacation getaways and prizes.
2. PokerStars creates nine millionaires in 2017
As we transition from openings and unveilings to big winners, we turn to PokerStars, which is best known for being the biggest online poker room in the world, but which earned some attention in 2017 for its casino offerings.
During the past year, a total of nine players struck it rich with multiple slot games, including three in the month of December. A player named “beckskr” cashed in for $1.8 million on 10 December while playing Arcade Bomb
. Then, on 26 December, a Ukrainian player turned a 50-cent bet into $2,510,318.95, the largest jackpot amount ever won at PokerStars Casino
, before the casino’s newest in-house developed slot, Stars Mega Spin
, awarded its first jackpot, paying out more than $1.4 million just weeks after launch.
Yes, it’s clear that PokerStars is no longer just for poker players.
1. Betway customer scoops 25,000 GBP in 15 minutes
While John Bolton’s total of £25,000 in winnings pales in comparison to the above, we’re much more impressed with the South Wales resident’s feat, since it entailed much more than pushing a button on an online slot.
The 32-year-old won the five figures by correctly predicting that Plymouth, Morecambe, Eastleigh and Brackley would be the first teams to score goals last Saturday during play of the English football’s four leagues. Not only did Bolton nail the correct teams as part of Betway’s "4 to Score" game, but it all happened in less than 15 minutes.
The Manchester United fan is planning to use the money for an upcoming holiday and a deposit on a house.
"I'm going on a driving holiday to the U.S. in a couple of months, and this will really help with the spending money. I was also looking for a deposit to put down on a house, so I'll be using the rest of the money for that. For me, it's life-changing."