Issue 132
March 24-30, 2003
Volume 3
page 2

Caesars Palace Bets on Love with
Celine Dion Show

LOS ANGELES, CA - The world's biggest gambling house is betting big on love.

Celine DionCeline Dion, the chart-breaking French-Canadian romantic chanteuse, will launch a three-year exclusive engagement in Las Vegas on Tuesday, March 25th, in the $95 million Caesars Palace Colosseum theater, newly built by Park Place Entertainment Corp., the world's largest casino operator.

Dion is expected to make about $100 million over three years from the show, with tickets averaging $125 each.

Dion, who has won fans worldwide with hits like "My Heart Will Go On," the theme of the movie "Titanic", will sing and even fly above the crowd in a show called "A New Day..." The production is by Franco Dragone, designer of the lavish theatrical Cirque du Soleil shows, who has created a moving "painting" on a huge high-definition video screen and assembled a cast of some 60 dancers, singers and musicians.

Caesars, a former entertainment giant, is in the midst of a a planned renaissance. In the works along with the Colosseum are a Roman plaza of restaurants, a Forum mall addition, a parking garage and potentially a new $350 million hotel tower.

For the renaissance to pay off, 800,000 to 1 million people a year must follow Dion into Caesars and then indulge in a Roman orgy of eating and gambling, since the casino gets hardly any of the ticket proceeds, executives have said.

The diva is also releasing a new album, "One Heart," on March 25th. Show organizers fearlessly predict success, pointing to the popularity of Dion and the wave of high-end entertainment sweeping the gambling capital.

"It is to me as paramount in this town as Elvis going to the Hilton," said promoter John Meglen, co-chief executive of Concerts West, which is ponying up an estimated $40 million to create the show.

If Elvis Presley was the king of rock and roll, Dion is arguably the queen of pop, with more than 150 million albums sold -- more than any other woman. The partners are confident she can fill the 4,100-seat theater five nights a week through 2006.


The U.S.-led war on Iraq has dampened the planned festivities. Organizers have canceled a post-premiere party, and a ceremony for Dion to receive a star on Hollywood Boulevard was postponed. CBS still plans to show a Dion special linked to the show on Tuesday evening but may pre-empt it with war news.

But tickets are nearly sold out for the first three months of the show, which will be be presented 200 nights a year, Meglen says.

He says there is plenty of demand for entertainment. Two-thirds of the 35 million tourists who went to Las Vegas last year took in a show, up from 40 percent in 1998, the local visitors bureau says, and most of the visitors came more than once last year.

Dragone has already created two shows, "Mystere" and "O," featuring acrobats from the artsy Cirque du Soleil. He was initially afraid the second show would drain

audiences away from the first, but they reinforced each other and still sell out, years into the run.

He describes a "three-dimensional show" of Dion, dancers and the "tableau" of the video screen.

"We try not to do a magical effect, an illusion effect, but a poetic effect," he said in an interview. "The main ingredient is Celine."


Caesars, though, will only make money if spectators stick around for the food and gambling. "We have carefully developed a host of new attractions that will ensure that the people who come to see Celine will stay in our rooms, dine in our restaurants, shop in our mall," Caesars Palace President Mark Juliano said in
a statement.

If 1 million people per year spend an extra $50 each, then Park Place can make the roughly 20 percent return on investment it aims for, officials have said.

That goal is "challenging but not impossible" and depends largely on how Caesars fills the Colosseum on the nights Dion does not perform, said Deutsche Bank analyst Marc Falcone.

"In order to be more competitive with other leading Strip properties, Caesars needed to add a major entertainment attraction," he said.

Dragone, who has spent 2-1/2 years designing the show, said he has already wondered about a follow-up if Dion quits after three years, but he has not yet been asked.

"Everybody is waiting to see if the show is good or not," he said.

Security High at Atlantic City Casinos - ATLANTIC CITY, NJ - Uniformed State Police officers, baggage restrictions and car searches on March 20th became as much a part of casino business as slot machines and blackjack tables. Casino employees went on a heightened state of alert as the start of war in Iraq raised fears of retaliatory terrorism in this country.

Rick Santoro, senior vice president of corporate security for the Trump casinos, said guests cannot bring bags onto the casino floor and visitors' cars are subject to search. Officials are also verifying the source of any delivery considered not routine. The obvious steps include extra uniformed and plain-clothes security on foot, on bicycles and in vehicles, and barriers to keep vehicles away from certain areas, he said. The invisible steps include "precautions in utilities, air-handling and food supplies," Santoro said.

Showboat Casino is posting security guards at its hotel elevators 24 hours per day. Guests must show room keys and employees must show their photo ID for elevator access. Employees at the three Park Place Entertainment casinos are instructed to immediately call security if they see an unattended bag, spokesman Brian Cahill said.

"Should a casino here be subject to an act of terrorism," Santoro said, there are few places better equipped to handle such an emergency.

In Reno, Sports Bettors Distracted by War News - /Reno Gazette-Journal/ - RENO, NV - Near the big screens that carry pictures of the Kentucky game and the Oregon-Utah game at the Club Cal Neva sports book are a couple of televisions always tuned to the coverage of the war in Iraq.

Those TVs are a reminder that people have their minds on war as well as the NCAA Tournament. Not surprisingly, most sports books report that the betting is slightly off from the wagering on the Big Dance last March. “I think it’s down a little bit,” said Chris Andrews, the Cal Neva’s vice president of race and sports operations.

When the tournament is interrupted with a report from Baghdad, the normally loud sports book becomes quieter. Andrew said the betting could rebound, but ultimately he expects betting to be down from last year’s tournament.

Beastie Boys and
DJ Hurricane

The Beastie Boys and DJ Hurricane will appear at House of Blues in Mandalay Bay Resort Casino April 25, 2003.

$75.00 (General admission), $150.00 (Reserved)

Price Note:
May not include all taxes & fees.

Show Time:
8:00 p.m.

Reservations Recommended

For more information please call: (877) 632-7400
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