Nevada Newsmakers

News - October 6, 2020 - by Ray Hagar

Eldorado Resorts completed its $17.3 billion buyout of Caesars Entertainment in July and with it comes a change of Caesars' corporate culture, Caesars Entertainment Executive Chairman of the Board Gary Carano said recently on Nevada Newsmakers.

The new Caesars will have a smaller corporate operation and instead empower the management and staffs of each property, Carano told host Sam Shad.

"When they see the CEO go in and sit down with the general manager and his team and go over the financials in the detail that we do and then go and talk to the employees in the back of the house, that's not how corporate gaming in America works in most companies," Carano said. "But that is the culture change for Caesars Entertainment."

Carano evoked the name of Phil Satre of Reno, the former chairman of the board of Harrah's Entertainment, which later became Caesars Entertainment, in describing the new "corporate culture" of Caesars.

"That (new Caesars culture) used to be the culture when Phil Satre was the chairman and Phil did a magnificent job with Harrah's and built a tremendous company and now he's doing great things with Wynn," Carano said.

"But the culture we have is more aligned to how Phil Satre operated and that is having a small corporate department," Carano said. "When we had 26 casinos in 12 states (before the Eldorado and Caesars merger), I think we had all told, 250 corporate employees. Twenty-six casinos, 250 corporate (employees).

Caesars had about 60 (properties) and that includes 15 of them in Europe," Carano said. "So they had 45 or somewhere in or high 40s in America and they had over 3,000 people in corporate. So that is the difference and opportunity that we saw and we have."

The new Caesars corporate stance will "empower the properties," Carano said.

"Our culture is to empower the properties whether you are on the Las Vegas Strip, at Lake Tahoe or the Midwest, Southwest, wherever. The property management makes the decisions, with the support of corporate, and that's clearly flipped-flop to how Caesars was run in the past," Carano said. "So the management team, when we had our initial meetings with the Caesars team, that was music to their ears."

Carano also mentioned Satre as the leading pioneer in the customer-loyalty Total Rewards program that links all the customers and properties in the corporation.

It has been rebranded as the Caesars Reward Program and has a database of more than 60 million players and guests, when combining the rewards programs of Caesars and Eldorado Resorts.

"That is an instant offense as far as revenue is concerned," Carano said. "And it is not just revenue but it helps determine what becomes profitable.

"The Caesars brand and the Caesars Rewards and the network of tentacles it has across America is completely invaluable," Carano said. "It tremendous. We can't say enough about the opportunities it has for our company."

Expect Caesars to boost its charter air service to fly customers to their properties, Carano said.

"They (Caesars) have got a tremendous network of this charter business all across America that they kind of backed off from a little bit in recent years. but we are bringing back in a big way," he said.

"Reno and Tahoe are going to see the volumes of charter planes across America that Caesars Rewards database will bring," Carano said. "The south also, Biloxi and Shreveport and Bossier City, is a a great hub, too."

Caesars is toying with the idea of starting its own airline, although Carano had little to report.

"We have had those thoughts and those discussions," he said. "But being a public company, I'm not going to say."

For now, the focus in on the charter service, and buying bulk airline seats, Carano said.

"The charter program right now is where we are concentrating now, as far as air service," Carano said. "But we also buy tremendous numbers of bulk (airline) seats. So I shouldn't just say it is a charter program. From a Caesars Entertainment operating standpoint, we buy a tremendous amount of bulk seats. So that helps the industry also."