Unhappy New Year: Caesars Laurel Lounges Cut Hours, Meals

Laurel Lounge at Harrah's Atlantic CityLaurel Lounge at Harrah's Atlantic City. May 2021

After closing Laurel Lounges in most casino markets, Caesars Entertainment drastically changed the Atlantic City ones to start the new year.

Caesars Rewards Diamond players were surprised when trying to use Laurel Lounges in Atlantic City this week. Signs on the doors showed new hours. The VIP rooms are now closed during the week. The other unwelcome news is that hot meals are no longer available. The only food offered is snacks. This includes potato chips and pretzels. No changes have been reported at Seven Stars lounges.

Here is an example of an Atlantic City Laurel Lounge menu from 2023: 

This is the new hours noting food is now light snacks:

This left Atlantic City Caesars players feeling ripped off. Many worked in 2023 to maintain their Diamond status to receive access to the full-service Laurel Lounges. Several reported in a Facebook group dedicated to Caesars Rewards Diamond and Above players that they felt bait-and-switched.

Some players spoke about how Caesars Rewards is the best players club for free hotel rooms. Until that stops, those players feel the value is still there in giving action.

Caesars Entertainment does not like food comps

Caesars Entertainment CEO Tom Reeg showed his dislike for offering loyal players food comps when discussing the closure of most company buffets in 2021:

“I’m old enough to remember when casinos were only in Nevada and New Jersey. And yet in those 48 other states, everybody figured out how to eat dinner. Once the casinos opened, it became, How do we feed them dinner? Let’s just give it away for free, because God forbid they stop at McDonald’s on the way home.”

In May 2023, Reeg noted that Caesars would no longer pursue low-value players. Instead, higher-value ones were replacing them naturally.

“You’re bringing in higher-value customers and you’re already full, so you’re kicking out the lowest end,” Reeg said. “I see no reason that needs to or would stop,” Reeg said.

Are Caesars Rewards tier upgrades to blame?

Travel clubs like FoundersCard and Wyndham Rewards offer members Diamond upgrades to Caesars Rewards. Laurel Lounges were once called Diamond Lounges. The subtle name change likely reflected that the base Diamond tier was no longer welcome in the exclusive lounges as a perk unless using Rewards Credits for entry. 

This helped exclude guests who achieved Diamond without playing and intended to just take advantage of the free food and drinks. The fee for base Diamond players was 1000 or 1500 Caesars Rewards credits per person to enter, depending on the property. This required $5000 in slot or $10,000 in video poker coin-in for 1000 Reward Credits and $7500 in slot or $15,000 in video poker for 1500 Reward Credits. Spending on the property also earns points, though it would require about the same amount in retail, hotel, and dining. Atlantic City Laurel Lounges require 1500 Rewards Credits for base Diamond members.

Hard Rock and Ocean Resort changed the Atlantic City casino market

In May 2018, Hard Rock and Ocean Resort opened in Atlantic City. Hard Rock is on the old Trump Taj Mahal property. Ocean Resort replaced the shuttered Revel. Both casinos took revenue from the exiting seven in the market. 

The list below compares year-to-date gaming revenue from 2023 through November to the same range in 2019, the first full year Hard Rock and Ocean Resort were open. Of the six legacy Atlantic City casinos, only Borgata managed to stay above water. Three of the four worst performers are operated by Caesars Entertainment. 

(Sources: November 2019 and November 2023 New Jersey Division of Gaming reports.)

VIP lounges are common at the other Atlantic City casinos. Competitors may try tier matching to lure high-value players away from Caesars Entertainment’s casinos at a time when many have a reason to be unhappy. 

We stopped playing at Caesars Entertainment casinos

In December, our Vegas Advantage Newsletter ran a story about the reasons why we stopped chasing the Caesars Rewards Diamond tier. We published it yesterday at US Casino Advantage. The loss of Laurel Lounges is a big reason. Deteriorating game quality is another reason.