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HOME > VEGAS > Vegas News > New player-friendly gaming options unveiled on Las Vegas Strip at The Cromwell

New player-friendly gaming options unveiled on Las Vegas Strip at The Cromwell

8 August 2017

By Gary Trask

LAS VEGAS – Even with his extensive background in gaming analytics, Blake Segal doesn't need an intricate spreadsheet to realize the limitations he faces as general manager of The Cromwell.

There aren't any dancing water fountains in front of the Las Vegas Strip boutique hotel casino, and there isn't a gigantic buffet for guests to gorge on. In fact, with 40,000 square feet of gaming space and just 188 rooms in the tower above, The Cromwell — the former home of Barbary Coast and Bill's Gamblin' Hall and Saloon on the corner of Las Vegas Boulevard and East Flamingo Road — is a fraction of the size of its competitors and fellow Caesars Entertainment casinos, like Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino (60,000 square feet of gaming, 2,500 rooms) two blocks south and Caesars Palace (120,000 square feet of gaming, 3,700 rooms) across the street.

When asked if this discrepancy in size and space is a competitive disadvantage, Segal smiles as if he's sitting with ace-king in front of him at one of the blackjack tables steps away.

“It’s all about understanding where your place is in the market and doing what you need to do to win the battle," Segal explains as he rests comfortably on one of the couches at Bound, the ultra-hip cocktail lounge near the back of the casino. "We think that the things we are doing here are the best way to differentiate ourselves, and we think our guests are going to agree.”

Bound is a hip cocktail lounge at The Cromwell.

Bound is a hip cocktail lounge at The Cromwell.

To Segal's point, with the launch of a host of new offerings underway — including a casual eatery, social bar and gathering place, and state-of-the-art sportsbook — The Cromwell is turning its size into a strength, aiming to become the most player-friendly casino on The Strip.

Value-hunting gamblers are surely going to lap up the new gaming options unveiled this week at The Cromwell. In recent years, The Strip has become void of blackjack games that pay 3-to-2 with low minimum bets or double-deck options. Long gone are the days of EZ Baccarat tables, single-zero roulette wheels or 100x craps odds. But all of those gracious offerings are now available at The Cromwell and, according to Segal, it's the small stature of the venue that has made it all possible.

"Look, if I were sitting at a place like The Flamingo or Caesars Palace this isn't a strategy we would ever want to partake in," he said. "Anywhere else but The Cromwell, you would have to overcome so much in order to make it work. But because of the size of this property, we can do it."

Segal fully realizes that, while the attractive gaming options have already started to lure new gamblers into the casino ("Word tends to get out pretty fast," he added), it's vital for The Cromwell to offer the kind of conveniences and comforts that will keep players playing and entice them into making a return trip. That's where the new list of amenities comes in.

When The Cromwell opened in 2014, it immediately became known for its unique design and modern feel. There are Parisian-style awnings and fixtures; the hotel reception area is a true throwback, with shelves filled with leather-bound books; and the sleek guest rooms offer waterfall showers, wood floors, leather couches and vanity areas with "showgirl" lighting.

Deluxe rooms at The Cromwell include leather couches and a waterfall shower.

Deluxe rooms at The Cromwell include leather couches and a waterfall shower.

Over the last year, however, Segal and his team have made a concerted effort to make dozens of cosmetic changes with the goal of lightening and brightening the property at every corner.

"We’ve built a more lively and vibrant atmosphere," he said. "We weren't looking to make a radical departure from what we were, but rather improve on what was already in place from a touch and finish standpoint while maintaining the brand quality that was initially laid out."

The Cromwell's staple venues – Drai's After Hours, Drai's Beach Club and Nightclub, and GIADA — remain wildly popular attractions, but Segal calls the addition of eatwell and the new sportsbook "game-changers" for the property. Eatwell is just steps off The Strip near the entrance by The Flamingo and provides guests a casual eatery with menu items that include breakfast sandwiches, Starbucks coffee, pizza, tacos and Coney Dogs.

"We consider it a gaming amenity as much as a nongaming amenity because it's really a great addition for the folks at the tables or slot machines that want to get quick drink or bite to eat," said Segal, who added that the menu will be pushed throughout the property.

As for the sportsbook, it is set to open by the start of the upcoming football season and is a welcome addition to the property since, up until now, The Cromwell was one of just three Strip venues without sports betting. The book will house a 32-foot-long-by-9-foot-tall video wall and 9-by-5-foot LED odds ticker that will be visible throughout a good portion of the casino floor. So while there is technically around 50 seats, the wide-open layout and flex seating will allow for many more eyes in the building to catch the action on screens that Segal says will feature The Strip's first and only 1.8 millimeter pixelation, particularly in Bound, which is adjacent to the new sportsbook location.

"It will have an intimate feel, but at the same time it will be very high-end and one of the most technologically advanced books in Vegas," Segal said with confidence.

Speaking of technology, The Cromwell recently became the first Strip casino to allow guests to use the option of an electronic key to their room instead of the traditional hotel card key. Shortly after entering their room, guests can be 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.

The Cromwell sits on the center of the Las Vegas Strip, next to Flamingo Las Vegas.

The Cromwell sits on the center of the Las Vegas Strip, next to Flamingo Las Vegas.

"Getting that direct feedback is key because oftentimes you either never hear from your customer or you don't hear from them until well after they've checked out," said Segal, who said Ivy is already available an Nobu Hotel at Caesars Palace and Harrah's Resort Southern California and will be rolled out soon at Caesars Palace and The LINQ Hotel & Casino.

As Segal walks from Bound to Interlude — the newly renovated, centralized hotel bar and lounge that features free, live music — he has the look of a proud parent as he gazes around the bustling casino floor. He's been with Caesars for 14 years in a number of different executive positions, but it's clear his mission and vision for The Cromwell is something that he's worked long and hard on over the last eight months. And now, it's all coming to fruition.

"It's exciting," he said. "We know we have a great product here. It's just a matter of getting the word out to the customer who may have been turned off recently by the Las Vegas Strip experience and letting them know there is a place to come that not only has fair, player-friendly gaming options, but the service and amenities to match it.

"We realize this is a small, boutique property that may not be for everyone. And that's OK. But for the folks that are looking for this kind of intimate experience, it's a no-brainer. We know they are going to love it."

Gary Trask
Gary  Trask
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 gary@casinocity.com and follow him on Twitter at @CasinoCityGT.

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